Big news from Panasonic recently with the official release of the GH5 II and a development announcement for the GH6. It changes the game for their Micro Four Thirds lineup. If you are a current Panasonic shooter, perhaps with a GH5, you are likely checking out these next-generation offerings to determine your best path forward.
CVP has taken a closer look at the GH5 II and put it into context with the bigger picture of 2021 options and with the GH6 on the way. You’ll definitely want to understand why the GH5 II exists and why for some it might actually be the better option for now.
Kicking off the conversation are the early specs for the GH6.
- New Image Sensor and Engine
- DCI 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 w/ unlimited recording
- 4K 120p HFR & VFR
- 5.7K 60p 10-bit
- Coming later in 2021
- Price is approximately $2500
That’s some good stuff. Still, there’s a question of whether it is enough. A lot of competing cameras have been released and offer many similar specs at similar price points. Here’s hoping Panasonic kills it.
Anyway, onto the GH5 II. It will look quite similar to the original GH5 though it brings on some of the tweaks made with the GH5S. It does have a slightly smaller 3” touchscreen, though the resolution has gone up.
It also takes the new DMW-BLK22 Battery Pack, which should provide longer runtimes. If you need more juice the USB port supports Power Delivery. And, the SD card slots are slightly faster and will support V90 speeds.
The sensor design is slightly tweaked. It’s still the same 20MP, but a new AR coating helps capture about 1/3 stop more dynamic range. IS got a boost to 6.5 stops with compatible lenses. Anamorphic even got some more options.
A nice addition is V-Log L coming standard on the GH5 II – no optional purchase required. There are some new profiles to go along with it, though these aren’t game-changers.
New formats are a good improvement. We have DCI 4K in 4:2:2 10-bit up to 30p. For faster speeds, 50p and 60p are available for DCI and UHD 4K in 4:2:0 10-bit. Plus, you can output the same format while recording 10-bit 4:2:0 internally.
Big for the GH5 II are the upgraded connectivity features with a focus on live streaming. It’s timely. Direct USB connectivity and Lumix Tether software will give you a clean image for streaming. Or, you can use Wi-Fi to a smartphone to easily connect with various streaming services in up to Full HD. You can also connect directly to a network. Upcoming firmware should further improve performance.
As for autofocus, there are some improvements. Still, its limited tech leaves it as just okay. Helpful, but not perfectly reliable.
Some quality of life updates include a record frame indicator, a frame marker, vertical orientation metadata, filtering to clean up menus, luminance spot meters, waveforms, etc. All of these are very customizable.
You can also take better control over Panasonic lenses, setting an exact number for the focus throw.
In the end, the GH5 II is a nice upgrade over the original GH5. Pricing puts it well below the upcoming GH6, so that might help guide your choice. Still, if you can nab an original GH5 for a good deal it’s a pretty decent camera. I would say if you are looking for streaming functions the GH5 II makes a very compelling argument.
What are your thoughts on the GH5 II? Or are you holding out for the GH6?