Of Panasonic GH5 An iconic vlogging camera that Panasonic unveiled Two Micro Fourths successors will replace it. The $ 2,500 GH6, Due to come later this year, there are big upgrades like 4K 120p and even 5.7K video Another model I’m reviewing today, $ 1,700 GH5 II.
As the name suggests, GH5 II It is a refresh with the same 20-megapixel micro four thirds sensor. However, it has a completely new processor that provides significant improvements in speed, video quality and AI smarts. After all, it’s $ 300 less than the GH5 at launch.
- 4K 10-bit 60p video
- Improved stability
- Video streaming
- Excellent video quality
- Moderate autofocus
- There are no external RAW videos
The big question is whether to get this model, wait for the GH6, or even buy an older GH5 now Vertically discounted. To find out, I’ve tested the GH5 II’s new features, video quality, autofocus and more – here’s what I found.
Body and handling
If you are already familiar with GH5, you will feel very comfortable with GH5 II – the bodies are almost identical. This is a good thing, as it still out-handles many new cameras, thanks to the excellent grip and logical control position.
There are a few key changes though. Although the rear display is a little smaller at 3 inches instead of 3.2 inches, its resolution is slightly higher and significantly brighter. This solves the biggest problem with the GH5: its relatively dim display.
The Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) carries the same 3.68 million dot resolution and .76x magnification, but doubles the refresh rate at 120Hz. This makes a noticeable difference in image quality; In my opinion the resolution is higher than the bump. However, it drains the battery quickly at a touch.
Another nice improvement is the addition of USB-C PD compatibility that can charge the battery faster. And it comes with a more powerful DMW-BLK22 battery, the same one found in the company’s full-frame S5 camera. Although it is still CIPA-rated for 410 shots like the GH5, it provides a few more minutes of video recording.
GH5 II has a better menu than GH5, which has been introduced in GH5s. It’s a colorful coded, tabbed menu system with hints to find the option you’re looking for. It has an information panel of Panasonic’s Pro Varicam models (also available in GH5), which shows important settings at a glance. Another feature for Pro Shooters is the dual zebra control that lets you test two layers at once, like highlight and skin tone.
Like the GH5, the new model has dual UHS II card slots, but they now support a maximum V90 (300 MB / s) speed. This will ensure stable capture if you use the new All-I 4K video settings up to 400 Mbps, or let the buffer clear quickly if you’re taking pictures.
There are several subtle, but significant changes to the GH5’s video capabilities. A key issue is the update of the image stabilization system. It now provides shake protection up to 6.5 EV, up to 1.5 EV compared to GH5. When working with compatible lenses and using IS Boost mode, it is designed to give you more steady shots even when you are walking or moving.
No in-camera stability system is ever going to beat Gimbal. However, the GH5 II works better than most mirrorless cameras that I’ve tried to smooth out when walking or running, if you’re reasonably careful. More importantly, it makes the handheld camera pan and other speeds smoother than the GH5. If you need some extra stability there is an electronic mode that helps, although it crops up a bit.
Another key change is with the autofocus system. In general, uninterrupted autofocus for video is faster and smoother than before, although you’ll still see a small prey or jolt that is only inevitable with a contrast-detect-only AF system. As before, the system works better at higher frame rates when it has more information to work with.
The GH5 II brings some AI autofocus smarts that could not be added to the GH5 via firmware due to the relatively old processor. It offers double-face and eye-tracking speeds and can pick up focus when the face is tilted from the camera. It can recognize the head and the human body, making tracking more possible if a person is moving or moving away from the camera. It adds new animal tracking features that can handle most pets and even some types of wildlife.
Enabling these features makes it easy to keep someone or you in focus when you move. Again, this works best at higher frame-rates, but overall, the improved focus hit rate makes the camera more practical for vlogging or run-and-run work, especially for single operators. Animal tracking is also quite useful, especially if pets and / or kids are running around.
Is GH5’s subject tracking as good as Canon’s or Sony’s latest mirrorless camera in particular? No, because these two brands use phase-detect systems that can focus directly without any shaking. Sony’s latest model, in particular A1 And A7S III, Also has unusually fast tracking capabilities which Panasonic has yet to match. Still, the new model is a big step up from the GH5 and certainly good enough for many kinds of projects.
The video made the GH5 popular because it was far ahead of the price competition when it first arrived. Five years later, it is getting quite old, though, so a new processor has helped Panasonic enhance the features of the GH5 II that it has done in full-frame models. S5.
To that end, the new model now offers 10-bit 4: 2: 0 4K and C4K (4,096 x 2,160) videos up to 60 fps, instead of just 8-bit video at 60p as before. This makes it even better for slow-mo or high-frame-rate video if you want to use log or HDR video settings. Like the GH5, it can handle 6K 30p anamorphic (4,992 x 3,774) with 10-bit, 4: 2: 0 color settings. And where All-I capture was limited to 24/25 fps on GH5, GH II can now do up to 30 fps.
Although the GH5 II comes with VLog-L shooting out of the box, it is limited to 12 stops in the dynamic range instead of 13 like the Panasonic. BGH1 box camera And other recent models. Panasonic has also introduced two new video modes, Cinelike D2 and Cinelike V2, which allow you to shoot log-like videos with less hassle. These provide slightly more saturated color and improved skin tone than the original Cinelic D and V modes.
Like other newer models, the GH5 II shows a red frame around the screen when recording, along with an aspect ratio guide and a TikTok-style portrait video mode. With the same sensor, the GH5 II has almost the same readout speed, so as before, the rolling shutter is present but well controlled.
The GH5 II can now capture video simultaneously to an external recorder on the HDMI port as opposed to the GH5. However, it cannot capture RAW video like the S5, for example. Hopefully, this and the limited VLog-L dynamic range will be addressed in future firmware updates.
With all these changes, the GH5 II provides sharp video with a high level of color accuracy for work needs. It handles skin tones well and the colors are natural and accurate. Due to the small sensor size is not a strong point of low light shooting. For that, you’ll be better off with one of GH5s or Panasonic’s new full-frame models.
New video quality changes are subtle, but can be helpful for certain types of work Overall, it delivers everyone’s favorite video quality from GH5, and more.
A key new feature of the GH5 II is the ability to broadcast live on the web using WiFi or USB-C. The latter will require a firmware update that basically allows the GH5 II’s USB-C port to be used as a wired LAN connection.
You can stream via WiFi to a smartphone using the Lumix Sync app, or stream directly via WiFi without the need for a PC or phone. For the latter you need to use Lumix network software for PC or Mac to write your streaming settings to an SD card. Because it uses the RTMP / RTMPS standard, it supports YouTube, Facebook and other services. Even better, it supports camera audio as well as video.
Live streaming requires a strong connection, though, I have struggled to maintain a livestream in the countryside with a 16 Mbps connection. You do not want to use the maximum 1080p 60 fps settings unless your internet speed is above 16 Mbps.