HDSLM: Panasonic LUMIX GH5 / GH5s

The Panasonic Lumix GH5 takes the position of the high-end system camera in the G-series.

In the spring of 2017, Panasonic launched the LUMIX GH5, a successor to the very popular undefined. The GH5 adds professional video features including focus-peaking, undefined, waveform monitoring and vectorscope.

The GH5 supports 4K movie recording up to 60fps and 180fps in Full HD. The camera firmware was updated in October 2017 to add support for recording at data rates of upto 400Mbit/s. I-frame only recording is supported as well as High Dynamic Range (HLG via HEVC recording).

The Live MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor measures 17.3 x 13.0mm and has a natrive resolution of 5184 x 3888 pixels (20.3 MP) without a low pass filter to increase sharpness. Optical low-pass filters are commonly employed to suppress artefacts arising from the pixel arrangement on the sensor at the cost of fine detail. The new processing engine in the GH5 combats artefacts while preserving the sharpness of the captured image.

The GH5 does not crop the sensor but down-samples from the entire sensor, thereby preserving the angle of view through different resolutions.

In 4K and undefined this sensor can capture up to 60 fps, in Full HD this rises to 180 fps. In 16:9 mode the camera can capture upto 5184x2920.

The relatively low susceptibility to undefined artifacts is due to the fact the senseor can be read in just 15ms, compared to other cameras in this class which provide readout times between 20 and 40ms. 5-axis stabilisation in the sensor mount helps to prevent blurry pictures and can be used in combination with stabilizers in lenses.

A special feature of the GH5 is the ability to record in 4:2:2 at 10 bits either internally or by using external recorders. Internally the signal is encoded with undefined. Panasonic recommends using UHS-I / UHS-II Speed Class 3 (U3)"  SD memory cards when recording 4K as MOV or MP4. The GH5 does not limit the recording time to 30mins and thus allows much longer recordings even in 4K onto commonly used 64GB SD cards. Using external recorders via the HDMI 2.0 Type A connector allows the recording of uncompressed codecs such as undefined to create professional video files.

Recording with the Panasonic V-Log is achievable through a paid update. This software update allows video to be recorded using Panasonic's proprietary log-curve, increasing the dynamic range from 10 to 12 stops.

Varicam-style 3D-LUTs (*.vlt) can be imported into the camera. These are not included in recorded files but can be used in the viewfinder preview. Such LUTs can be created in various packages. 

The interfaces are: HDMI 2.0 Type-A USB 3.1 Type-C 3.5mm jack audio out 

Panasonic LUMIX GH5s

In early 2018, Panasonic released the sister model of the popular Lumix GH5,  the Lumix GH5s. This new camera is mainly aimed at film makers. This article explains the differences in the GH5s.

The most significant and important difference is the low-light sensor, which is unrivaled in the Micro Four Thirds class. The increased light-sensitivity is achieved by using fewer but larger pixels in the sensor, resulting in 10.2 MP. Additionally, the GH5s sports a “Dual Native ISO ” system like the one in the EVA1 or the Varicam . Two signal-paths are provided that work at different base-ISO and feature bespoke noise-reduction for each. The paths can be chosen manually as “LOW”/”HIGH” (base ISO 400/2500, or 800/5000 when using V-Log or HLG). This allows ISO ranges of 160-800 (LOW) or 800-51,200 or even ISO204,800 in expanded settings (HIGH). The GH5s comes with V-log installed.

Since the sensor in the GH5s is a little larger than the one from the GH5 it can be used as a “multi-aspect sensor”. This means that irrespective of the aspect ratio chosen the image diagonal is the same size.

While the Lumix GH5 can record 4K videos in 60p, but "only" in UHD-1, the Lumix GH5s can shoot in 4096x2160 Cinema 4K format. The GH5s records in 4:2:2 10-bit 400-Mbps All-Intra in 4K 30p / 25p / 24p and  several modes in 4:2:0 8 bit. At FullHD the GH5s can record up to 240 FPS. As with the GH5, there is no recording-time limit at either FullHD or 4K video. The sensor supports 14-bit RAW photos, providing greater flexibility for professional RAW workflows.

The Lumix GH5s uses an ITU-R BT.2100 compliant gamma curve and can record 4K HDR videos with Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG). There is also a 4K HEVC low-bit-rate recording mode for HLG, which allows playback on HEVC-compatible AV devices. For Timecode in/out, sync is established via the flash-synch terminal and the supplied coaxial cable with a BNC connector. Some users report a slight offset in this mode that can only be resolved by an externally connected timecode generator.

V-Log L and LUT (Look Up Table) are pre-installed.

The auto-focus is the same speed on both cameras at 70ms.

Another handy feature is the live view boost, which allows the operator to control the picture parameters at low light: the sensitivity is only increased for the live-view image. Since the GH5s is aimed very much at filmmakers it does not have the mechanical stabilizer from the GH5. Instead, tripods or gimbals may be required.

Summary Panasonic GH5s

Sensor Type: Four-Thirds Live MOS sensor without low-pass filter, 10.28 MP effective
Sensor size: 17.3 x 13 mm
Optics mount: Micro-Four-Thirds connection
Viewfinder type: OLED Live View Finder (3.68 million pixels)
Field of view: approx. 100%
Magnification: Approximately 1.52x / 0.76x (equivalent to 35mm camera) with 50mm lens at infinity
Display speed: 120/60 fps
Autofocus type: Contrast AF system
Exposure compensation system: 1728-zone multi-pattern
Exposure Modes: Program AE, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual
ISO sensitivity: max. ISO 204,800
Image formats: Still picture: JPEG (DCF, Exif 2.31), RAW (14/12 bit) 4K Photo: MP4 (H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC; Audio: AAC 2-channel)

Resolution and frame rates:

• 4096x2160 (23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p) 
• 3840x2160 (23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p)
• 1920x1080 (23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 50i, 59.94p, 59.94i), max. 240fps

Signal: up to 4: 2: 2, 10 bits


HDMI 2.0 Type-A 
USB 3.1 Type-C 3.5mm jack audio out
3.5mm microphone connection
2.5mm shutter remote
2x SD card slots T
TC over BNC

Storage type: SD / SDHC / SDXC cards UHSI / II (U3)

Dimensions (W x H x D): 138.5 x 98.1 x 87.4 mm

Weight: approx. 580 g

Operating temperature: -10 ° to + 40 ° C

Power Supply: Li-Ion 7.2V, 1860mAh, 14Wh (included)