The Panasonic Lumix GH5S is a mirrorless Micro Four Thirds camera designed for movie recording and low-light performance, demonstrating that they can take the GH-series even further into the video world. With a 10.28MP Digital Live MOS sensor at its core, DCI and UHD 4K video recording is possible at up to 60p, and thanks to the large individual pixel size and Dual Native ISO technology at ISO 400 and ISO 2500, the camera also offers impressive low-light performance to an extended ISO 204800. The sensor and processor combination, when combined with an updated Venus Engine, also enables faster readout speeds and 1.3x less rolling shutter distortion than previous GH-series cameras. In addition, a full-size HDMI A connector can be used to simultaneously output to an optional external monitor or recorder. Internal DCI 4K30p recording is available with 4:2:2 10-bit sampling. Additionally, working with V-Log L and Hybrid Log Gamma HDR modes has been encouraged because they effectively increase your dynamic range and give you more flexibility when colour grading in post-production.
Beyond its abilities in video, the GH5S is also a capable stills photographer. With a maximum continuous shooting rate of 12 fps with single-shot autofocus or up to 8 fps with continuous autofocus, the sensor and Venus Engine combination enable the recording of 14-bit raw files. 4K PHOTO modes are also available for taking 8MP stills at up to 60 frames per second, borrowing from the video side. The Depth-From-Defocus AF system, which is advantageous for stills, operates quickly and precisely using 225 specific AF areas and is sensitive to -5 EV luminance for operation in extremely low light conditions.
Beyond imaging specifications, the GH5S maintains the GH-series' renowned professional build quality. The magnesium alloy body has been enhanced for improved tactile control and is completely weather-sealed for use in inclement weather. Along with a rear 3.2" 1.62m-dot LCD touchscreen with free-angle movement to accommodate working from high and low angles, a large 3.68m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with high-resolution eye-level monitoring is also included. For flexible file recording, there are two UHS-II SD memory card slots available. Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth wireless connectivity allow for easy image sharing and remote camera control from a mobile device.
10.28MP Digital Live MOS Sensor and Venus Engine
A 10.28MP Digital Live MOS sensor is included, along with an optimised Venus Engine for clean colour detail and texture and quick readout speeds. These features were specifically designed for low-light shooting and high-resolution video recording. It will increase sharpness, detail, and accuracy in a range of lighting conditions by utilising Multipixel Luminance Generation and Intelligent Detail Processing.
The sensor has a multi aspect ratio design that allows for the use of 4:3, 17:9, 16:9, and 3:2 ratios for still photography, DCI and UHD 4K recording, and working in anamorphic mode. This innovative design enables you to change the image format while preserving the native angle of view of a lens. When recording video or using the electronic shutter, the sensor and processor combination also offers quick readout times and reduces rolling shutter distortion by roughly 1.3 times when compared to the GH5.
The sensor's purposefully low resolution design, which results in larger pixels, also enhances its low-light performance and allows for the capture of a wider dynamic range. Dual Native ISO technology, which establishes ISO 400 and ISO 2500 as base sensitivities for low noise levels, is borrowed from Panasonic's broadcast line of video cameras. The overall native sensitivity range can be expanded to ISO 80-204800 and is between ISO 160 and 51200.
DCI and UHD 4K Video Recording
Specifically geared for video shooting, the GH5S features a versatile and capable range of video specs, including the ability to internally record DCI 4K at up to 60 fps and 150 Mbps with 4:2:0 8-bit Long GOP; 30 fps and 150 Mbps with 4:2:2 10-bit Long GOP; and 24 fps and 400 Mbps with 4:2:2 10-bit ALL-I. UHD 4K recording is also supported along with Full HD at up to 240 fps for slow-motion playback. The camera has a full-size HDMI port that allows for high-quality 4:2:2 10-bit output in all modes for use with external monitors and recorders.
The GH5S offers two gamma settings that are suitable for capturing a wide dynamic range, optimising your recording for colour grading in post-production. This camera comes with V-Log L pre-installed, which is used to record a neutral, flat gamma curve ideal for grading. Hybrid Log Gamma and High Dynamic Range modes can also be used to record more detail in a scene's shadow and highlight areas. In order to provide a more gradable image, additional picture styles are available. These include CINELIKE V and CINELIKE D, as well as an in-camera LUT to facilitate monitoring. Additionally, users can choose between overcranking and undercranking Variable Frame Rate settings, which can result in speeds that are up to 2.5 times slower in 4K (60 fps) and 7.5 times slower in Full HD (240 fps). Additionally, a 4K Anamorphic mode is offered, allowing you to record in the correct 4:3 ratio for later adjustment.
There is no maximum recording time for any setting, and the recording system frequency can be changed to 59.94 Hz (NTSC), 50.00 Hz (PAL), or 24.00 Hz (Cine) for greater recording versatility. Shutter duration/ISO, shutter angle/ISO, or shutter duration/dB are three additional video control panels that can be used to accommodate various global production requirements.
With a variety of add-ons available, the GH5S is built to be an expandable system with better video recording capabilities. For multi-camera setups, examples of this include the included BNC conversion cable for syncing time code settings with an external device, the 3.5mm microphone input for LINE input support, and the optional XLR Microphone Adapter for XLR inputs and physical controls via a hot shoe connection. The 3.5mm input and output jacks allow users to connect standard microphones and headphones.
Stills Recording and Depth-From-Defocus AF System
The GH5S is more than just a video camera; it can also capture still images with ease. The low-light capabilities and quick readout speeds using the distinctive sensor architecture make it perfect for working in challenging lighting conditions and for taking pictures of moving subjects. Continuous shooting up to 12 fps is possible for 12-bit raw shooting when using AF-S, and a top 8 fps shooting rate is possible when using AF-C. There are continuous shooting rates of 11 frames per second and 7 frames per second, as well as a 14-bit raw recording setting for capturing more detailed colour information.
Advanced DFD (Depth-From-Defocus) technology is used for accelerated autofocus performance to quickly determine the distance to subjects and adjust the focusing position in as little as 0.05 seconds. The use of subject colour, size, and motion vectors to intelligently lock-on to moving subjects and ensure precise focus is advantageous for both still and video recording modes as well as subject tracking applications. It is possible to change the sensitivity and speed to further enhance performance with particular subjects. Additionally, it has 225 AF zones, giving the user excellent control over the camera's focusing. A Starlight AF feature also supports working in low-light situations and allows accurate AF performance down to -5 EV.
Focus peaking, which highlights sharp contrast edges with a coloured outline to help you quickly identify your focus point, and Touch MF Assist, which enables touch-to-focus operation, are features that benefit manual focus operation.
4K PHOTO Modes
Utilizing the GH5S's video recording capabilities, a trio of still shooting modes are available for recording continuous 8MP stills at a 60 or 30 fps shooting rate:
- Burst: This mode will allow you to continuously record, making it ideal for instances where you need a fast frame rate in order to capture the best moment.
- Pre-Burst: This mode is ideal for times when you're unsure of the critical moment to press the shutter button and will record images one second prior to and one second after pressing the shutter button in order to give you 60 frames to choose from.
- Burst (S/S): This mode most closely follows the video recording process, and allows you to playback your video, pause at the chosen moment, and use the shutter button to mark a chosen frame from the video and save it as a single 8MP frame.
Body Design and Built-In Wi-Fi
- A large OLED Live View Finder has an impressive 3.68m-dot resolution and 0.76x magnification for eye-level composition.
- A larger means for image composition and playback, the 3.2" 1.62m-dot rear RGBW LCD monitor has a free angle, tilt and swivel design to support viewing from a variety of angles. It is also a touchscreen, which permits intuitive menu navigation and settings control.
- Optimized for nighttime shooting, the viewfinder and rear screen can be tuned to benefit working in low-light conditions. A Night Mode allows you to separately reduce the brightness of the screen and finder in order to maintain your night-adjusted vision. Alternatively, brightness can be boosted by lowering the frame rate and increasing the gain in live view for working in extremely dark situation. And, for manual focusing, an MF Assist feature lets you zoom into the scene by 20x for focusing on small subjects.
- Dual UHS-II SD card slots are present which provides settings such as Relay Recording to automatically switch cards when one is full; Backup Recording, which recording the same data to both cards simultaneously; and Allocation Recording, which lets you save certain files to each card for easier organization.
- Constructed from magnesium alloy with die-cast front and rear frames, the GH5S features a durable design that also incorporates extensive sealing at each joint, dial, and button to render it both splash- and dust-proof as well as freezeproof to 14°F.
- A joystick is available on the rear of the camera to make changing many settings easier and more intuitive, such as changing a focus point.
- The sleek flat-body profile incorporates both front and rear dials for intuitive control over aperture and shutter speed settings. Multiple assignable function buttons are also available, as well as a dedicated exposure compensation dial.
- Built-in 5 GHz Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC and Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy allows for wireless image sharing and remote camera control from linked smartphones and tablets. Bluetooth LE also enables a constant connection to your mobile device, allowing for functions such as geolocation and automatic image transfer.
Other Camera Features
- Lumix Tether software allows you to shoot tethered to a computer via USB connection. This software enables full camera control and shooting from the computer, along with video and 4K PHOTO modes support, with the added benefit of previewing and reviewing your imagery from a larger computer monitor.
- A mechanical focal plane shutter enables a fast maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 sec., as well as a top flash sync speed of 1/250 sec. An electronic shutter function also avails a top shutter speed of 1/16,000 sec. to better enable working in bright conditions and with wider aperture settings.
- Raw image files can be processed in-camera for a more streamlined post-production workflow.
- Depending on the lens in use, the included DMW-BLF19 battery provides approximately 440 shots per charge when using the rear monitor, or 410 with the electronic viewfinder.
- Photo Style modes: Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait, Custom, Cinelike D, and Cinelike V.
- Creative Control modes: Expressive, Retro, Old Days, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Monochrome, Dynamic Monochrome, Rough Monochrome, Silky Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Toy Pop, Bleach Bypass, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, Fantasy, Star Filter, One Point Color, and Sunshine.