2018-01-08

Panasonic Lumix GH5S vs Lumix GH5 Review

Today, 8th January 2018, Panasonic have announced an exciting addition to their mirrorless camera lineup, introducing the Panasonic Lumix GH5S - a low light capable, video-centric version of last year's hugely popular Lumix GH5.

Compare the new Panasonic Lumix GH5S with the original Lumix GH5 - Panasonic GH5S vs GH5 Review

The Panasonic GH5S is an addition to their high end line-up and will sit alongside the existing Lumix GH5 and Lumix G9 as a built-for-video mirrorless camera. There will obviously be many questions about what makes this new GH5S different from the current GH5 and where it sits in the lineup.

In this review, we're comparing the latest Panasonic Lumix GH5S with its sibling, the Lumix GH5 so you can make an informed buying decision about which camera best suits your needs.


Panasonic Lumix GH5S vs Lumix GH5 At-a-Glance


Feature

Panasonic Lumix GH5

Panasonic Lumix GH5S

Resolution &
Sensor
20.3 Megapixels
Micro Four Thirds
Live MOS Sensor
10.2 Megapixels
Multi-Aspect
Micro Four Thirds
Live MOS Sensor
Focusing
Contrast AF
Depth from Defocus
Contrast AF
Depth from Defocus
ISO ISO 200-25,600
Extended to ISO 100
ISO 160-51,200
Extended to ISO 80- 204,800
Dual Native ISO
Burst Shooting 12-Bit: 12fps (AF-S), 9fps (AF-C)
14-Bit: 11fps (AF-S), 7fps (AF-C)
12-Bit: 12fps (AF-S), 8fps (AF-C)
Image Stabilisation 5-Axis Image Sensor-Shift
Dual I.S. Compatible
5 Stops of compensation
None
Video Recording Rate Cinema 4K: 24p (4:2:2 10-bit)
4K: 60p/50p (4:2:0 8-bit)
30p/25p/24p (4:2:2 10-bit)
Cinema 4K: 60p/50p (4:2:0 8-bit),
30p/25p/24p (4:2:2 10-bit)
4K: 60p/50p (4:2:0 8-bit),
30p/25p/24p (4:2:2 10-bit)
Video Variable Frame Rate 4K: Max. 60fps
FHD: Max. 180fps
Cinema 4K & 4K: Max. 60fps
FHD: Max. 240fps
V-Log Optional Pre-Installed
LCD Screen 3.2 inch, 1,620k-dot 
Free-angle LCD Touchscreen
3.2 inch, 1,620k-dot 
Free-angle LCD Touchscreen
Viewfinder OLED 3,680k-dot EVF
Approx 0.76x Magnification
OLED 3,680k-dot EVF
Approx 0.76x Magnification
Connectivity
Synchro Terminal
3.5mm Mic & Headphone Jacks
2.5mm Remote Socket
Wi-Fi, USB-C, Bluetooth Low Energy
Time Code (TC) Input/Output /
Synchro Terminal
3.5mm Mic Jack (LINE input)
3.5mm Headphone Jack
2.5mm Remote Socket
Wi-Fi, USB-C, Bluetooth Low Energy
Storage Dual UHS-II SD Card Slots Dual UHS-II SD Card Slots
Weight 725g (with battery & memory card) 660g (with battery & memory card)



Image Sensor & Resolution


Probably the most dramatic and most noticeable difference between the Panasonic Lumix GH5S and its sibling the Lumix GH5 is the difference in megapixel count.

The new Lumix GH5S utilises an all-new 10.2 megapixel micro four thirds Live MOS sensor, this is nearly half the 20.3 megapixels found in the Lumix GH5.

If you were to believe any photographer in the 2000's, more megapixels equals better images. However, these days that's not necessarily true, particularly if the main focus of the camera is not stills photography.

The Panasonic Lumix GH5S alongside the Lumix GH5 mirrorless digital camera comparing the two

The Lumix GH5S is heavily geared towards professional videography and film-making, aimed at anyone from solo filmmakers to large production houses. As such, the sensor in the GH5S is more than capable of recording full Cinema 4K resolution video (with pixels to spare), and because these pixels are nearly twice the size of those on the sensor in the original GH5, the capacity of this new sensor to record in low light conditions is massively improved.

Not only are the pixels large on this 10.2 megapixel sensor in the GH5S, but the sensor is also built to be a multi-aspect ratio sensor, which means there will be no cropping or and the focal length won't change whether you're filming in 4:3, 17:9, 16:9, or 3:2.


Low Light Sensitivity


In the new Lumix GH5S, Panasonic have integrated Dual Native ISO technology into the imaging sensor, a technology borrowed from their high-end, professional broadcast camcorders.

Essentially, Dual Native ISO uses two analogue circuits that sit in front of the gain amplifier on each pixel and allow the camera to switch between a 'low' and 'high' ISO setting. This means that when shooting in low light situations, the camera will use a high native ISO, low noise circuit to provide the best possible image quality without any added noise.

Panasonic Dual Native ISO technology explained

In real terms, this means that the Panasonic GH5S has an extended ISO range from ISO 80 to 204,800, a huge boost when compared to the original GH5's extended ISO 100 to 25,600.


Burst Shooting


Although the Panasonic GH5S is predominantly built to be a professional video mirrorless camera, it does still have excellent still image capabilities, including burst shooting in 14-bit images.

This is an improvement over the original GH5 which only shot in 12-bit. However, the GH5 wins out with speed as it will shoot at 12fps in AF-S and 9fps in AF-C in 12-bit.


Image Stabilisation


The elephant in the room - the Panasonic Lumix GH5S doesn't have image stabilisation in-body, however it will still benefit from image stabilised lenses.

One reason why Panasonic haven't included image stabilisation in the GH5S is that there simply wasn't room in the camera to include the mechanisms needed for the 5-axis image sensor-shift stabilisation we find in the original GH5.

By making the 10.2 megapixel sensor in the GH5S a multi-aspect sensor which allows the full sensor to be used for multiple aspect ratios without cropping, it made the sensor unit larger and didn't leave any room for image stabilisation mechanisms.


There are other reasons as well, including that the Panasonic GH5S is aimed at a professional film-maker, production houses, or solo film-makers using it as an A or B camera, many of whom will use the GH5S in some kind of rig or gimbal, therefore negating the need for image stabilisation.

According to Panasonic, many of their original GH5 customers would turn the image stabilisation off during filming as it conflicted with the stabilisation provided by their gimbals or other rigs.


Video Recording Features


Alongside the new sensor and Dual Native ISO technology, the Panasonic GH5S has received a noticeable improvement to the quality of video it is able to record over the original Lumix GH5.

While last year's Lumix GH5 is able to shoot Cinema 4K (4096 x 2160) at 24p in 4:2:2 10-bit, the new Lumix GH5S is now able to record Cinema 4K at 60p/50p in 4:2:0 8-bit, and importantly it does this with no sensor cropping.

Additionally, the VFR (Variable Frame Rate) has been improved, with the Lumix GH5S now boasting a maximum of 60fps VFR in Cinema 4K and 4K, and up to a maximum of 240fps in Full HD, compared to max. 60fps only in 4K and of only max. 180fps in Full HD in the original Lumix GH5.

Another key feature of the Lumix GH5S is that it comes pre-installed with V-LogL.


Physical Differences of the Lumix GH5S vs GH5


The good news is that for the most part, the new Panasonic GH5S and original GH5 are almost identical physically. This means that accessories built for the GH5, such as the DMW-BGGH5 battery grip can also be used with the new GH5S.

Cosmetic physical changes include a bright red 'S' under the GH5 logo, a bright red ring on the left side control dial, and a nice big shiny red 'REC' button on the right hand side.

Comparison of the Panasonic Lumix Gh5S and Lumix Gh5 mirrorless digital cameras showing the back of both cameras

A new addition to the Lumix GH5S is that the Synchro Terminal on the front of the camera now supports a Time Code (TC) input or output, which allows time synchronisation in a multi-camera setup. Additionally, the 3.5mm Microphone jack now supports LINE input.

Otherwise, the latest Panasonic GH5S and original GH5 are physically identical, sharing the same 3.2 inch 1,620k-dot free-angle LCD touchscreen, 0.76x magnification 3,680k-dot OLED Live View Finder, and Dual UHS-II SD card slots. However, the GH5S weighs only 660g, whereas the GH5 weighs in at 725g.


Panasonic Lumix GH5S vs Lumix GH5 Conclusion


The advancements in video features, low light image quality, and overall video quality in the Lumix GH5S are undeniable - it's an absolutely outstanding mirrorless camera for shooting video.

If you're looking at shooting video professionally, whether as part of a multiple camera setup or as a solo film-maker, the Lumix GH5S will provide incredible image quality and has the robustness, build quality, and feature set to meet even the most demanding producers' needs.

However, if you're primarily a stills photographer, then the GH5S might not be the best camera for you - for that you should be looking at the Lumix G9.

Additionally, Panasonic aren't discontinuing the original Lumix GH5, the three cameras will sit together as a trio meeting the needs of stills photographers (Lumix G9), photographer & videographer hybrids (Lumix GH5), and film-makers/videographers (Lumix GH5S).

The Lumix GH5 represents the best blend of stills photography quality and video image quality, while the Lumix GH5S is dedicated as primarily a video-centric mirrorless camera.


Panasonic Lumix GH5S - Hands On First Look



Pre-order the Panasonic Lumix GH5S today or Buy the Lumix GH5 today - both are available at Park Cameras in store and online.



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