The Panasonic Lumix GH5S was announced at CES yesterday and is sure to interest filmmakers in particular. Yet it wasn’t so long ago that the GH5 was launched. So what’s the real difference between the two cameras?
Well, the champion feature of the GH5S is its prowess in low light. The camera has the best ISO sensitivity range of any LUMIX camera and inherits the dual native ISO from Panasonic’s professional line of video cameras.
Essentially, the GH5S should demonstrate the best image quality of any LUMIX camera when the shooting conditions are tough.
You’ll have to fork out an extra $500 for the GH5S over the GH5, it has an RRP of $2,499. Shipping begins at the end of January and there are more details about the GH5S on the Panasonic website.
Let’s go through the key changes now.
Panasonic Lumix GH5S: Sensor
• 10.2MP Micro Four Thirds sensor
• 1.96x larger photosites
• Dual native ISO: ISO 400 and ISO 2,500, sensitivity range of ISO 200-51,200 (expanded to ISO 80-204,800)
• Multi-aspect ratio
• 14-bit RAW burst shooting
The biggest difference between the GH5S and the GH5 is that the latest version has a sensor with approximately half the pixel count. That’s 10.2MP. Comparisons are quickly being drawn to the full-frame Sony a7S II, which has less pixels than other a7 models.
What’s the benefit of less pixels? Generally you’ll see better dynamic range, improved ISO sensitivity and less noise. Essentially, a superior low light performance – which is no bad thing for the smaller micro four thirds format.
Of course the downside is that still images have less pixels, which means less detail. Certainly, if you want to print big, detail will not be as sharp. The eagle-eyed among you will also notice that 10.2MP does not cover 6K video, so there is no 6K anamorphic modes in the GH5S.
The other significant change is that the GH5S sensor features two gains; low and high. When shooting, the camera chooses which gain to use in order to keep noise levels to a minimum. ISO 400 and ISO 2,500 will give the cleanest image quality.
Panasonic Lumix GH5S: Video
• 4K cinema recording at 60fps
• Internal 4:2:2 10-bit recording
• 4K up to 30fps at 400Mbps
• V-Log pre-installed
• No time limit for video clips
• Up to 240fps slow motion recording in full HD
• Timecode in/ out via flash sync socket
Panasonic has been quite the trailblazer for video features in the LUMIX GH range. In the GH5S things continue to improve. You get an impressive 4:2:2 10-bit recording at 400Mbps (yes, 400Mbps).
A slight improvement in the GH5S is that it can shoot cinema 4K (4096×2160) at 60fps, whereas the GH5 shoots standard 4K at 60fps. Slow motion recording has been improved too. It is now possible to shoot full HD slow motion videos at up to 240fps.
V-Log profile is now pre-installed, whereas it had to be purchased separately for the GH5, for around $100.
Panasonic Lumix GH5S: Features
• No in-body-image-stabilisation
• Dual SD card slots, both UHS-II compatible
• Weather-sealed body (same dimensions as the GH5)
• AF sensitivity down to -5EV
• Up to 8FPS with continuous AF
• 4K PHOTO mode for 60fps
Now perhaps the biggest surprise in the GH5S is that it does not feature in-body-image-stabilisation (IBIS).
It’s not a total deal breaker because a number of Panasonic lenses feature optical stabilisation. But it sure is a downside if the lens in use does not have stabilisation, like many third-party lenses.
Of course most filmmakers serious enough to consider a GH5S will have a gimbal and a tripod in their kit bag anyway. Yet for those quick handheld run-and-gun moments, we think IBIS will be missed.
Panasonic says that AF has been improved for low light conditions. The GH5S has an AF sensitivity down to -5EV, which is staggering really.
To handle all those large volumes of video data, the GH5S has two SD cards slots, both of which are UHS-II compatible. Also, at the same time as launching the camera, Panasonic announced a new SDXC UHS-II V90 memory card.
Panasonic Lumix GH5S: Quick Impression
Our initial impression is that the Panasonic Lumix GH5S goes one step further than the GH5 to provide the best features and image quality for filmmakers.