Panasonic Lumix GH5: The King retains the Crown!

The GH5 body + the 12-60mm f/2.8-4 lens balanced perfectly and was easy to use. There are a lot of Function Buttons (5 in all) and it can take a while for a new-comer to get used to the various functions and settings. There are direct buttons on the top panel for White Balance, ISO and Exposure Compensation which makes the camera operation quick and easy. The swivelling high-resolution (1,620, 000 dots) touch-screen LCD monitor makes it very convenient to take very low-level/ high-level shots. Other plus points of the GH5, as far as ergonomics goes, are as under:

Electronic viewfinder boasts 3680K dots

0.76 x magnification

21 mm eye-point

3.2” Touchscreen vari-angle OLED viewfinder has a resolution of 1.62 million dots

Dual axis IS II Anti Shake system

Built in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth

Performance – Still Images
We tested the GH5 using JPEG images. The following features were set on the camera:

JPEG quality: High

Long Shuter Noise Reduction: Off

Shading Compensation: On

Diffraction Compensation: Auto

As far as image quality is concerned, the GH-5 produced excellent pictures with good resolution, accurate colour reproduction and good contrast in sunlit situations and shades. With incandescent light, a slight cast was observed. Similar slight cast was also visible with the use of flash. We were impressed with the speed and accuracy of autofocus in shots taken by us. The metering of the GH-5 posed no issues.

The GH5’s native image size is 17.28 x 11.52 inches at 300 ppi. At 25% screen size, there was no visible noise upto ISO 3200. ISO 12,800 and 25,600 did show some noise but was in no way objectionable. At 50% screen size, images were okay upto ISO 1600. At 100% screen size, noise could be seen even at ISO 800 but could be used till ISO 1600. Images appeared a bit soft at ISO 3200 and beyond, but ISO 12,800 and 25,600 were unusable.

The Leica 12 – 60mm f/2.8-4 kit lens was a good performer. A slight darkening of corners was observed at the wide-angle end at f/2.8 and f/4. We observed no chromatic aberration. Some barrel distortion was observed at 12mm and 18mm. We observed no pin cushion distortion. Overall, the lens was a very impressive performer.

Performance – Video
The video specifications of the GH5 are indeed impressive. In actual use, the GH5 produced pictures with excellent brightness and color leaving a lot of the competition behind. A Log Gamma profile which compresses more of the GH5’s dynamic range into a relatively low bit depth file is available as a paid option. With its ability to capture footage both at 1080p and UHD 4K at speeds ranging from 60 fps to 180 fps, the GH5 also offers slow motion of high quality. For keener videographers, waveform and vectorscope displays are available. Both of these assist considerably in capturing video with correct exposure, saturation, hue and contrast. The GH5 takes video to a new level.

Value for Money
The Panasonic Lumix GH5 body is available at an MRP of Rs.143,990/-. The body + 12-60 mm f/2.8-4 Leica lens has an MRP of Rs.188,990/-. At this price, the camera is reasonable to good value. |SP


FINAL SCORE                                                        89%

Design and Build Quality                               19/20
Key Features                                                       19/20
Ergonomics                                                        17/20
Autofocus                                                                      4/5
Metering                                                                        4/5
Noise Control                                                                4/5
Sharpness                                                                      4/5
LCD/EVF                                                                     4.5/5
Auto WB                                                                        4/5
Sub-Total                                                        24.5/30
Value for Money                                             8.5/10

• Great still-image quality
• Approx. 18MP still images from 6K videos at 30fps
• 2 memory card slots
• Superb video quality

• Battery life
• AF issues during video*
• No built-in flash

* Panasonic has issued firmware to tackle autofocus issues during video capture.

The convergence between the still and video worlds is gathering pace. If you are serious about video, the GH5 is a no brainer. It does everything that the competition can do and more. If you are into still photography, the GH5 is a fine choice although there are other options around; some of which are indeed more expensive. If you want both, the choice is clear – the GH5 is currently the best video cum still camera around. Panasonic, take a bow!

H. S. Billimoria
Rohinton Mehta