Panasonic confirms 10-bit 4K GH5

4K cameras

GH5 cutout
10 bit 4K: the new GH5 offers recording up to 400Mbps
Panasonic has confirmed the specifications for its new GH5, mirrorless camera, at the CES show in Las Vegas.

As expected, the new model, first shown at Photokina, keeps the Micro Four Thirds system format and lens mount. But the GH5 is based around a new, 20.3 Live MOS chip. Unlike the GH4, the GH5 also ships without a low pass filter.

Panasonic claims the new sensor is better in low light, despite the higher pixel count, and should produce clean images up to ISO 6400. Panasonic have also adjusted the way the camera captures video in 4K, so it uses the full width of the chip. This reduces the crop factor in 4K video slightly, to 2x.

New body

The GH5 is weather and dust-sealed, and shares design elements with the company’s recently-released G80 camera. The camera weighs 0.725kg, body only. It uses the same batteries as the GH4 (and GH3), but now features two SD card slots – a feature that, on its own, could persuade professionals to upgrade. The GH5 also has a full-sized HDMI output, with cable lock.

Interior improvements include 5-axis in body stabilisation, and an improved autofocus system. There are now 225 AF points, and the GH5 uses Panasonic’s depth-to-defocus AF system. For video users, there’s also a virtual focus pull setting, via the touch screen.

The touch screen is also updated, compared with the GH4’s display, and the GH5’s EVF is now an OLED type. This is another big improvement.

For audio recording, Panasonic is also releasing a dual XLR interface, which connects to the camera’s smart shoe; the camera keeps its 3.5mm headphone and mic jacks. The GH5 will not, though, work with the YAGH unit designed for the GH4.

GH5 Video modes

The main appeal of the GH5 is likely to be the range of higher-quality video modes Panasonic is adding. Not all of these, though, will be available at launch.

Panasonic is marketing the GH5 as a 4K, 10-bit camera: a capability which rivals those of the Sony FS7, and Canon’s C300 Mk II.

The new camera will shoot at up to 60fps in UHD 4K. There is no recording limit on the new camera. It will also film 4:2:2 10 bit 4K internally and externally, and external recording is possible alongside recording to SD cards. However, 10-bit is not available at launch, but will need a firmware upgrade.

There will be a 400Mbps recording mode, also via a firmware upgrade, with the HD version coming in April, and the remaining updates, including a Hybrid Log Gamma for HDR, in the summer. Log recording will be offered for the GH5 but, as with the GH4, it will be a paid upgrade. The GH5 does not have a recording time limit.

Panasonic are also promoting the camera’s 6K photo mode – which allows photographers to take high resolution stills from 30fps video recordings – and the camera will support 4:3 video recording for anamorphic lenses. Slo-mo recording is up to 180fps in HD.

The GH5 goes on sale in March, and can be pre-ordered for £1,699 including VAT (or €1,999).