Panasonic GH5 – First Footage & Initial Thoughts

First things first … Here’s some ungraded footage I shot today with my new Panasonic GH5. All this was shot in 4K 8-bit mode, using the Lumix 12-35 f/2/8.

It was downscaled to 1080p, and Vimeo adds the usual compression artifacts, but you can still see that this is a camera that captures excellent footage.

And, because I wanted to see how the GH5’s photo functionality compared to my venerable Canon 5D Mark II, here are a few side-by-side shots. In each pair, 5D2 is first, followed by GH5 (click on a photo to see a larger version).

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church-5D2-2812

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beach-5D2-2790

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Now, a few quick observations:

1) Highlights are not the problem I was expecting. I was worried about harsh, clipped highlights, but the rolloff looks natural and aesthetically appealing, even when shooting directly into the sun.

2) Dynamic range is better than expected. Maybe because I’ve been struggling with a Blackmagic 4K Production Camera for the last two years, but I was very pleasantly surprised at how high-contrast scenes retained detail in both brights and darks.

3) The manual seems to really push the “709 Like” setting for video. Indeed, that was what I used to shoot all this footage. However, after tweaking one of the Custom settings, I feel that I got a setting I actually prefer. I’ll write a blog post about this once I’ve done some more work on it.

4) Stills are a little weak, with visible artifacts in banding in the sky, and a little bit of an indescribable “small sensor” look. However, the RAW files are robust, and a little bit of grading makes it easy to simulate images from the Canon.

5) Overall, I’m very impressed!

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