The rumors were true! Panasonic today revealed the LUMIX GH5S, throwing down the 2018 gauntlet for pro-quality video mirrorless ILC cameras.
As Panasonic's flagship Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera system, the GH5S takes the speed, resolution, and variable frame rates that made the original GH5 one of the most sought-after cameras of 2017, and swaps in a new 10.2MP Digital MOS Sensor Dual Native ISO Technology and the Venus Engine 10 image processor with should put it on par with the Sony a7S II and Canon 1D X Mark II.
How is a Micro Four Thirds camera capable of ISO 51,200, you ask? Simple. Where the original GH5 and G9 feature a 20MP sensor, the GH5S cuts the megapixel count in half, which means all of its pixels are larger and, therefore, better at capturing light even when there is little of it.
Diving into the VIDEO capabilities -- and let's be clear, this is a professional quality video camera that also shoots stills -- the GH5S lacks the GH5's 6K anamorphic video recording mode, but otherwise, the GH5S does everything the GH5 already does while adding in a few new exclusives.
The GH5S is the world's first camera capable of recording in Cinema 4K (4096 x 2160) at 60p. In that mode, you can either shoot 4:2:0 8-bit C4K/60p internally or use an external recorder to bump up to 10bit 4:2:2. You can also shoot up to Cinema40K/30p 4:2:2 10-bit internally. Like the GH5, you can also shoot Ultra HD 4K (3820 x 2160) at up to 60p 4:2:2 10-bit internally. By shooting in 10-bit, you're going to get more accurate colors. Speaking of which, for those who manually color grade their footage, Panasonic has pre-installed a V-LogL and Rec.709 LUTs (Look Up Table) so you don't have to pay for an upgrade. And, you can install up to four additional LUTs using the Panasonic Varicam (.VLT) file format.
Further, the GH5S includes built-in time-lapse and slow-motion modes, allowing you to shoot up to 240fps in Full HD (1920 x 1080), a bump from 180fps on the GH5 and G9. The GH5S also shoots in-camera HDR video using Hybrid-Log Gamma (HLG) and the HEVC codec, which means you can playback your footage on any consumer 4K TV that supports HLG (many Panasonic and LG TVs feature HLG already). In addition to the HEVC codec, the GH5S records 4:2:2 10-bit 400-Mbps All-Intra in 4K 30p/25p/24p and 200-Mbps All-Intra in Full-HD.
If you need to shoot with Time Code, you can utilize the GH5S' flash sync terminal (and included conversion cable) to sync with Time Code IN and OUT. Or, the GH5S can act as the Time Code for other cameras in a multi-cam setup.
While everyone is (rightfully) geeking out over the GH5S' video performance, Panasonic wants everyone to know this camera is no photography slouch. Sure, you're not getting a lot of pixels (like a Sony a7R III or Nikon D850), but 14-bit RAW shooting capability is something you mostly see in full frame sensor cameras. With Panasonic's 225-point DFD (Depth From Defocus) AF system, you can shoot up to 7fps with continuous AF in 14-bit RAW (10fps with AF locked), and up to 8fps with continuous AF in 12-bit RAW (12fps with AF locked). If you don't need full res 10MP images, Panasonic includes a 4K PHOTO mode (8MP) at up to 60fps.
Now, the DFD AF system isn't as good as the Canon or Sony phase-detection AF systems, but with this new high sensitivity sensor, Panasonic claims a -5EV luminance detection for better low light AF performance, along with Live Boost (for helping you compose shots in the dark), 20x Manual Focus assist, and Night Mode (removes the color blue from the 3,680K-dot OLED Live View Finder to reduce eye strain).
The GH5S body is tough too -- splashproof, dustproof, and freezeproof down to 14 degrees F (-10 degrees C). Plus you get dual UHS-II high-speed card slots as well as an HDMI Type A terminal and USB-C Gen1 port. Last, but not least, the GH5S includes built-in Wi-Fi (5 & 2.4 GHz) as well a Bluetooth 4.2
If there's a tradeoff to the new S model, it's the missing 5-axis in-body image stabilization, which works wonders on the GH5 (and other systems like the OM-D E-M1 Mark II and Sony A7R III). Also, while the variable frame rate for Full HD has been bumped up to an ultra-slow 240fps, this comes with a "reduced field of view" (we're not sure if this affects the 180fps).
- 10.2-megapixel Digital MOS Sensor
- Dual Native ISO Technology (51,200 ISO)
- Venus Engine 10
- 14-bit RAW still images
- 4:3, 17:9, 16:9, 3:2 Aspect Ratios
- Variable Frame Rate Video Recording
- Cinema 4K @ 60p
- Ultra HD 4K @ 60p
- Full HD @ 240fps
- Hybrid Log Gamma HDR
- Time Codes IN and OUT (use flash sync terminal)
- 225-point DFD AF
- Face/Eye Recognition
- Tracking AF
- 1-area AF
- 7fps (AFC, 14bit RAW) to 12fps (AFS, 12bit RAW) burst shooting
- 3,680K-dot OLED LVF
- -5EV Low Light AF
- Live Boost
- MF Assist
- AF Point Scope
- Night Mode
- Freezeproof down to 14-degrees F (-10 C)
- Dual UHS-II SD Card Slots
- HDMI Type A
PRICING & AVAILABILITY
The Panasonic LUMIX GH5S will be available in February (2018) for $2499 (body-only). For those keeping track, the GH5S is $500 more expensive than the GH5. $900 pricer than the G9, and about $100 more than the Sony A7S II. But it's also $3,000 cheaper than the 1D X Mark II, the only other ILC/DSLR camera on the market to offer similar framerates and resolutions.
- Battery Grip DMW-BGGH5
- XLR Microphone Adaptor DMW-XLR1