PANA­SONIC LUMIX GH5

The Lumix GH5 is al­ready prov­ing a huge hit with video shoot­ers, drawn by its 4K/ 60 res­o­lu­tion, but is it any cop for stills pho­tog­ra­phers?

Digital SLR Photography - - Contents - Test: JOR­DAN BUT TERS

Is this 4K pow­er­house just for videog­ra­phers? Or can it hold its own as a cam­era for stills pho­tog­ra­phy too

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TIONS

Price: £ 1,700 ( body only) Im­age sen­sor: Live MOS Sen­sor ( 17.3 x 13.0mm) Res­o­lu­tion: 20.3- megapix­els Max­i­mum im­age res­o­lu­tion: 5184x3888 pix­els AF points: 225 con­trast ISO range: 200- 25600 ( ISO 100 ex­pand­able) Shut­ter speeds: 1/ 8000sec- 60 sec­onds & Bulb ( 1/ 12000sec elec­tronic shut­ter) Con­tin­u­ous frame rate: 12fps ( AFS), 9fps ( AFC), 30fps ( 6K Photo) Built- in flash: No LCD mon­i­tor: Tilt­ing 3.2in ( 1,620,000- dot) Stor­age: Dual SD ( SDHC/ SDXC) Size: 138.5x98.1x87.4mm Weight: 725g ( in­clud­ing bat­tery and card) Web­site: www. pana­sonic. co. uk

THE PANA­SONIC LUMIX DMC- GH5 is the lat­est in a long line of highly pop­u­lar Lumix mir­ror­less in­ter­change­able lens cam­eras. Since the launch of the Lumix G1 al­most ten years ago, at Pho­tok­ina 2008, the Lumix DMC- G line- up has been tempt­ing users away from larger DSLRS with their com­pact form fac­tor, com­fort­able er­gonomics and great im­age qual­ity. Thanks to Pana­sonic’s Mi­cro Four- Thirds ( MFT) stan­dard ( launched in con­junc­tion with Olym­pus), the Lumix DMC- G range boasts a form far smaller and lighter than its SLR coun­ter­parts – a ma­jor pull for pho­tog­ra­phers who don’t like to be weighed down.

While take- up of the Lumix G1 was great with ama­teurs and en­thu­si­asts, the model never re­ally gained the same amount of trac­tion with pro­fes­sional users. That was un­til the launch of the GH1 in 2009, and with it the ad­di­tion of a more video- fo­cused sys­tem – it was the first mir­ror­less MFT cam­era to of­fer AVCHD Full HD video record­ing ca­pa­bil­ity, nip­ping at the heels of the big­ger Canon EOS 5D Mk II . The GH line- up con­tin­ued to ap­peal to those more in­ter­ested in video than stills, and when the GH4 was launched in 2014 – com­plete with 4K record­ing – it was the era of the small cam­era revo­lu­tion for many videog­ra­phers. There­fore it’ll come as no sur­prise that the lat­est model in the DMC- G range, the Lumix GH5, al­ready has a big draw for those who want to record mo­tion.

How­ever, as we’re pri­mar­ily a still- im­age publi­ca­tion, I’m go­ing to fo­cus on how the GH5 han­dles in that re­gard. We can’t ig­nore the im­pres­sive na­ture of the video func­tions on of­fer how­ever – of course there’s 4K video, with in­ter­nal record­ing at 60/ 50p ( 4: 2: 0 8- bit) and 30/ 25p/ 24p ( 4: 2: 2 10- bit) and full- size HDMI and live out­put too. There’s also su­per- slow mo­tion at 180fps in Full HD too, as well as no record­ing time limit on all res­o­lu­tion set­tings, dual SD card slots, five- axis Dual Im­age Sta­bil­i­sa­tion II, a fo­cus tran­si­tion func­tion for smooth fo­cus rack­ing, 3.5mm mic and head­phone ter­mi­nals, and V-Logl and LUT Dis­play Func­tion. There’s Hy­brid Log Gamma for 4K HDR Video and a high- res­o­lu­tion Anamor­phic Video Mode com­ing later this sum­mer too. If much of that sounds like gib­ber­ish to you then you might not ap­pre­ci­ate just how im­pres­sive the GH5 is as a video- mak­ing tool, that be­ing – very. If it does make sense then you’re prob­a­bly al­ready pric­ing one up…

But what about stills? In­side its dust, splash and freeze- proof body, the GH5 packs a 20.3- megapixel Live MOS sen­sor ca­pa­ble of cap­tur­ing 12fps stills in AFS mode, or 9fps in AFC mode, pow­ered by Pana­sonic’s Venus En­gine 10 pro­ces­sor. There’s no anti- alias­ing fil­ter, for max­i­mum sharp­ness, and the re­sult­ing im­age qual­ity is mighty im­pres­sive. For­giv­ing the smaller Live MOS sen­sor, the GH5’ s abil­ity to record a wide dy­namic range, and the la­tency to re­cover shadow and highlight de­tail dur­ing pro­cess­ing is very good. Ob­vi­ously im­age qual­ity isn’t quite as high as you might ex­pect from say, a full- frame sen­sor, but there’s not much in it un­less you’re the pixel- peep­ing type.

The GH5 boasts a new 6K Photo mode which, when se­lected, records bursts of images at a blis­ter­ing 30fps. These images are ac­tu­ally pulled from video, and are lim­ited to JPEG only, recorded at an 18- megapixel equiv­a­lent. This mode is aimed at those who want to record a cru­cial split- sec­ond mo­ment, but don’t nec­es­sar­ily need a huge- res­o­lu­tion Raw file as a re­sult – think par­ents at sport­ing events, ama­teur wildlife snap­pers and so forth.

As cov­ered be­fore, the GH5’ s in- body five- axis sta­bil­i­sa­tion is a head­line fea­ture. There are two lev­els of sta­bil­i­sa­tion – a hy­brid sys­tem that uses both the in- body five- axis IS and in- lens dual- axis IS to­gether ( with com­pat­i­ble lenses), or the stand­alone five- axis in- body sys­tem, which works with lit­er­ally any other lens. It works very well, and I was able to shoot at much slower

shut­ter speeds hand­held than usual – this is am­pli­fied at longer fo­cal lengths.

Aut­o­fo­cus per­for­mance is re­spectable too – there’s a new and im­proved Depth From De­fo­cus tech­nol­ogy that cranks the GH5’ s fo­cus speed down to a nippy 0.05 sec­onds. There are a plen­ti­ful 225 aut­o­fo­cus points spread across the en­tire sen­sor, and pick­ing one is as sim­ple as tap­ping your fin­ger on the GH5’ s large 3.2in ar­tic­u­lated touch screen – a zoomed pic­ture-in­pic­ture dis­play aids you when do­ing this us­ing sin­gle- point AF mode, which is fast and in­tu­itive to use.

Speak­ing of which, the 1,620,000- dot res­o­lu­tion touch­screen is bright and de­tailed, with the con­trols be­ing rea­son­ably easy to fol­low. The menu sys­tem is vast but sim­ple to nav­i­gate, once you learn where the im­por­tant func­tions are hid­ing. There are plenty of con­fig­urable Fn but­tons too ( four, in fact) so you can al­ways move your most oft- used con­trols to within easy reach. The 0.76x mag­ni­fi­ca­tion 3,680,000- dot OLED viewfinder is very good too – it’s re­ally nice to use and I didn’t find my­self miss­ing an op­ti­cal viewfinder.

In terms of han­dling, the GH5 of­fers plenty of phys­i­cal con­trols – some­thing that is of­ten lack­ing on smaller cam­eras, which can be­come too re­liant on touch­screen con­trols. A plethora of tac­tile but­tons, di­als and a new rear joy­stick pro­vide the key in­puts, and ev­ery­thing is well- laid out and er­gonom­i­cally pleas­ing. Pana­sonic have clearly spent a lot of time mak­ing sure the GH5 feels good in the hand.

All things con­sid­ered, the Lumix GH5 is a very ca­pa­ble cam­era. As a stills- only shooter, it doesn’t quite of­fer the wow- fac­tor to sway me away from my beloved DSLR, how­ever if I was a dual video and stills pho­tog­ra­pher, or think­ing that video was due to play a big­ger part in my work in years to come, then the Lumix GH5 poses an at­trac­tive propo­si­tion.

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Above & left: It's not the most stylish cam­era in the world, but what the GH5 lacks in looks, it makes up for in fea­tures.

Top: Im­age qual­ity and dy­namic range can't be faulted. Above: The ar­tic­u­lated touch­screen and tac­tile con­trols make it re­ally easy to ad­just to the GH5' s lay­out and func­tions.

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