Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S is the younger cousin of the GH5 model. Is it worth buying? Will it be a more interesting choice than an older bezłusterkowiec? Read about it in our review of GH5S.
Panasonic Lumix GH5 made its debut in January last year, becoming a hit. The long-awaited successor of GH4 turned out to have everything we expected, and even more. A year later, the next version of this model debuts. Panasonic GH5S does not have many changes in relation to its predecessor, but one of the main features is the new design of the matrix, which ensures better image quality at high sensitivities. This is important because – let me remind you – it was one of the biggest ills of GH5. What else does a new camera have to offer? We check it in our Panasonic Lumix GH5S review .
Large size, sealed housing
When describing the construction of the new GH5S, I could properly copy the description from the Lumix GH5 review. The camera looks almost the same as its predecessor and there is nothing strange in it, because the construction of that model was well thought out. The body is so large, but it weighs "only" 660 grams with a battery. This makes us simultaneously have a large, professional-looking camera, "armed" with a large number of buttons and knobs, and the equipment does not weigh too much in the hand , although of course with the lens is not the lightest models on the market.The camera's operation is convenient due to the fact that almost every important function can be set from the level of the housing , without having to go deeper into the menu. On the top of the body there is a mode dial, including P, A, S, M, Auto, and movie modes, as well as three Custom modes, allowing you to save the parameters you use most often. The next knob was designed to set the image mode, and thus single, serial, 4K Photo mode, or self-timer. On the top and near the thumb rest we find a few more knobs designed to set the aperture or shutter. In the upper part of the housing, there is space for buttons that allow you to set the white balance, ISO, or exposure compensation. There is also one function button and the REC button, red. The front of the camera is dominated by the screen and the viewfinder with a large shell. You will also find further function buttons placed in different places – there are four of them. There was also an autofocus mode switch and joystick that allows you to set the focus point that will be useful when you use the viewfinder instead of the display. There is space for useful inputs on the left side of the camera: USB type c in version 3.1, HDMI in the Micro version, microphone input 3.5 mm, headphone input or input of the cable release for the flash. The camera also has a built-in WiFi network card, and the communication takes place in the latest 5 GHz ac standard. By installing a special application, we can control the camera wirelessly via a smartphone or lose materials without using a cable. Thanks to the latest standard, file transfer can take place at a very high speed, which is important in the case of materials recorded with a bitrate of the order of 200 Mbps. Also Bluetooth 4.2 is responsible for wireless connectivity. On the right side we find space for two memory cards , which is an important solution. In the case of films that take a dozen or so gigabytes, it's good to have two cards, because we can quickly fill one, and removing the old one and inserting a new one takes some time. Such a solution is missing in Sony A7S II or Sony A6500. In the lower part of the body we will find a battery whose size is large and the capacity is 1860 mAh. This makes the camera with energy consumption performs much better than the competition; this is also positively influenced by the lack of stabilization of the matrix. As a result, we can take 450 photos on a single charge , and film for a large part of the day without having to replace the battery.
Standard display and a great viewfinder
The display is really big, and its resolution is sufficient to ensure a good image quality also when filming in 4K. The screen size 3.2 inches boasts an above average resolution of 1.620 million pixels. Additionally, it has been equipped with a touch, with which we can adjust the focus with your finger, as well as without any major problems we handle the entire menu. Similarly to previous models, the screen is tilted to the side . It is worth noting that the manufacturer has set the display's high brightness to maximum, which makes it comfortable even in the sun. The viewfinder in the model is the highest shelf. It is characterized by a high resolution of 3.680 million points, a 100% field of view and a magnification of 0.76. Such parameters ensure high-quality image preview, and it should be added that the refresh rate is also high, and blackouts are practically non-existent . Comfort is also ensured by a large and well profiled eyecup.Words should be devoted to the menu of the camera, which, as you can guess, is very complex. GH5S is a model addressed to professionals , and this means that the capabilities of the camera are huge. The individual items on the menu have been well-sorted, but they still make it difficult for us to find each other at first. It may take a lot of time to look for a specific function (such as the possibility of including an extended ISO). For less demanding users there is a shortened menu, and we adjust the exposure parameters using the buttons and knobs on the housing.
Good image quality, few megapixels
Matryca Live Mos size Micro Four Thirds provides a resolution of … 10.2 Mpix. At such a resolution it is difficult to talk about the camera that photographers could use. Where did the idea for such a megapixel limit come from? Panasonic has applied a similar patent here, like Sony in the A7S model. The special design of the matrix, depriving it of stabilization and limiting the pixels, is supposed to result in the camera coping better with high ISO sensitivities. The sensitivity range itself has been significantly extended to 80-204800 . Is there any progress towards the predecessor? Below is a summary of the sections for individual values.As you can see, the camera can not deal so badly with higher values compared to the competition. If I was to compare it to GH5, then if I was able to risk using ISO 3200, knowing that the noise will be noticeable, but acceptable, this is the case here in the case of ISO below 6,400. At 3200 we see an improvement over GH5 , we can risk using 6400, but it's still not as clear as the Sony A7S will give us with ISO 12 800. So, bending over the main change – yes, the image at higher sensitivities is better than in the predecessor, but to be honest, I expected something more. This improvement in quality is not as noticeable as all press releases have suggested. At the same time, wanting to extract more from the matrix, the manufacturer deprived it of stabilization . Of course, in the era of gimbal and the growing number of lenses equipped with OS, this does not seem to be a huge problem. However, 5-axis stabilization, which in addition works with the stabilization of the lens, gives great results. Filming by hand is not a problem, vlogging becomes incomparably easier, and taking a tripod with you loses meaning. That's why I feel the lack of stability here, which is available in GH5. As for the image quality itself, it is similar to GH5. Fewer pixels do not make photos look worse. They still have a wide tonal range, are well saturated, and white balance works well in most situations. So we can take nice pictures, but let's face it – you do not buy GH5S for it. However, it is worth mentioning about the photographic possibilities of the camera. Certainly, serial modes will be useful, and these allow you to take pictures at up to 60 frames / in 8 Mpix resolution in 4K Photo mode. In turn, RAWs in full resolution, so … not much bigger, we will do with the speed of 12 frames per second, or 11 fps for 14-bit RAWs. A useful function also turns out to be Post focus – using it we can choose what we want to be sharp in the picture after we do it. A few examples of photos below, and in the gallery you will find photographs in full resolution . Interesting information is also how autofocus works. In GH5 it was quite good and equipped with 225 focus points. Many high-platen models can boast of a much better system, and such models as the Sony A6300 and A6500 hit AF Panasonic, although they cost less. Anyone who has had the opportunity to use the Sony A6300 will be disappointed with the possibilities of GH5. And how is the new model? Unfortunately, the same. The AF system is one of the elements that should be improved, but the manufacturer has left exactly the same layout that we find in GH5. So it is not bad, but it is far from ideal.
Movie mode Cinema 4K 50p
The Panasonic GH5 in terms of film modes offers virtually everything you can expect from a typical camera for filming. However, in order for the new version to enter the market, it made sense, the producer had to go a little bit to give more. That's why GH5 offers, among other things, the possibility of filming in Cinema 4K cinema format. This differs slightly in resolution and quality from ordinary 4K and is a widely used format in the cinema. Therefore, you can already film big screen productions with this camera. Cinema 4K is also a format that, for example, accepts Netflix, you will also shoot fully professional materials with this equipment. The difference with the previous model is that the materials will be recorded at 50 frames per second instead of 25. In the "normal" 4K we still have 50 fps, which is still not so obvious. Although I think it's only a matter of time before Panasonic offers us the first slow-motion 4K mode in the new model. Unless Sony overtakes him by showing the new A7S III. In turn, in Full HD quality we will record a movie at up to 180 frames per second, with the number of frames we can freely choose. As for the quality of the films, we will not diminish the big changes with GH5 – the films are simply very nice, and if we do not use higher ISO values, the difference is practically imperceptible. We are still dealing with 10-bit depth of field and color range 4.2.2 , which gives us a really good image, but of course with strong gradation, for example when we put an intense FEW, we lose some detail of the image, especially in its bright parts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8gkZj76pYo Also new is the 4K HDR mode , which provides increased tonal dynamics between the light and dark parts of the image. However, in order to play the film recorded with this technology, you must have a TV set or a monitor that supports it. For now, devices that allow to play the material recorded in this way are relatively expensive, so it is in a sense the technology of the future. The question is whether it will turn out to be a really useful solution, or whether we will have to deal with the technology of a 3D habit, which has almost been forgotten. The film quality of the image guarantees us high bitrates, as well as the record in a wider range of colors. We can use all the benefits that film profiles give us. There is also a V-Log profile , although I think that the nice and easy-to-later profile is Cinelike D – using it I made some sample films, which I did not process to show what the tonal range of raw files looks like. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baCp4fyPv9o When it comes to the same color of the image, here we have the biggest field to show off, because with the help of curves we can freely set the image, or decide on the level of white and black. A user who explores the details of image processing will be able to squeeze in a lot with GH5S.
Summary and evaluation
Panasonic GH5S is another successful model from a Japanese producer that has redefined the concept of "camera for filming". This is the highest market shelf, and we will not find many competitors. However, let's answer the more important question: is this camera better than GH5? In my opinion – not necessarily. The most-advertised improvement of image quality at higher sensitivities is noticeable, but not as much as one would expect. On the other hand, the increase in the situation in Cinema 4K and the 4K HDR function are not so important to me that I would like to buy this camera especially for them. What's more, in the case of people shooting on the principle of "run and gun", doing a lot of shots from the hand, the lack of stabilization of the matrix can be a sign. To sum up, GH5S is a very successful model, but when costs more than 2,000 more than currently GH5 I see no reason to pay extra. For the price difference it is better to buy one bright lens. [Show_rating]