As a 4K video camera, the GH5S is extremely powerful and extremely good value. Our real-world tests indicate its high ISO performance still lags slightly behind its bigger-sensor rivals, but professionals will love its high frame rates, 10-bit 4:2:2 recording and high bitrates. It’s not all good, though; the lack of sensor-based stabilisation will put many people off, and the 10MP resolution is just too low for it to be a convincing stills camera.
As you would expect top-end cameras tend to get powerful video features, but this is a case of Panasonic putting video first. You can shoot perfectly good still images with the , but its 10.2MP sensor is designed with its full focus on video. In other words, it’s aimed squarely at videographers who might also need to shoot stills, instead of the other way around.
If the GH5S was solely a video camera, we wouldn’t be reviewing it. In fact, it’s a fascinating crossover camera of a type that could become increasingly common as the boundaries between the stills and video markets continue to blur, though its video-first approach at the expense of stills makes it hard to recommend as one of the best 4K cameras.
For videographers, the GH5S specs are sensational, though it’s only when you drill down into the technical details that the difference between this and regular cameras that shoot 4K video start to become apparent.
For stills photographers, it’s a different story – and the biggest turn-off for stills shooters will be the 10.2MP resolution. That’s about half the resolution of what most photographers today would consider a working minimum, though it’s still enough for a top-quality A4 print, or a full page in a magazine.
- Sensor: 10.2MP MFT Live MOS, 17.3×13.0mm
- Image processor: Venus
- AF points: 225-point DFD contrast AF
- ISO range: 160-51,200 (expandable to 80-204,800)
- Max image size: 3,680 x 2,760
- Metering zones: 1,728
- Video: C4K/4K UHD at up to 60/50fps, full HD at up to 240fps
- Viewfinder: OLED EVF, 3,68m dots
- Memory card: 2x SD/SDHC/SDXC (both UHS-II)
- LCD: 3.2in vari-angle touchscreen, 1,62m dots
- Max burst: 11fps (with AF-S), 7fps (with AF-C)
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
- Size: 138.5 x 98.1 x 87.4mm
- Weight: 660g (with battery and memory card)
The GH5S can also shoot continuously at 12fps in AF-S mode (with the focus locked to that of the first frame), or 8fps with continuous autofocus. That’s if you’re happy with 12-bit Raw files, though. If you want the extra tonal depth of 14-bit Raw files, which is generally what high-end stills cameras shoot, the frame rate drops to 11fps with single-shot AF, or 7fps with continuous autofocus.
Given the camera’s formidable 4K processing power (which we’ll come to shortly), that’s mildly disappointing. However, Panasonic does leverage this processing power in its 4K PHOTO mode, where the GH5S can capture 4K stills at an impressive 60fps. These stills are around 8MP in size, and while that’s a big drop on one of Panasonic’s 20MP models, like the Lumix G9, the drop from 10MP to 8MP on the GH5S is pretty small, which makes this 4K PHOTO mode a very interesting proposition for action photography.
USB Power Supply
USB power supply compatibility. Shoot while connected to the battery charger and eliminate worry about remaining battery power. A useful feature for nature photography when you need to wait patiently for the shot to happen.
Optional Vertical / Battery Grip
By using two batteries — one in the camera and the other in the grip* — the optional DMW-BGG9 doubles battery life. Exclusively designed for the LUMIX G9, it perfectly matches its rugged design, yet provides familiar controls and a comfortable grip during vertical shooting.