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Canon 5D Mark II Challenged by Panasonic GH2 in Comparison Videos

A month ago I wondered if the Panasonic GH2 is the next great HDSLR (despite the fact that it’s not technically a DSLR, due to its lack of viewfinder). Now shooter Mike Kobal has posted a pair of comparison videos comparing the GH2 with the 5D Mark II. These are 720P videos and you won’t be able to discern every difference; however, the GH2 is looking pretty good…

More on Mike’s blog (comparison, rolling shutter). From looking at these clips, I get the feeling the GH2 resolves more detail and would hold up on the big screen better than the 5D. What’d you think?


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  • GH2 is indeed looking good. If they have 25p, i’ll definitely buy it.

  • @marthin, unfortunately it does not have 25p. Maybe it will in a future firmware update.

  • on my eyes, the GH2 looks great, but some people say the panasonic color is not as good as the canon one

    I am no expert, but in any case the GH2 + 25mm f/0.95 is, hands down, the king of low-light right now: with clean ISO 3200 and DoF equivalent to f/1.15 on 1.6x and to f/1.8 on full frame, it takes in 8 times more light than a 5Dmk2, and 5 times more light than a 7D/60D/550D, for an image with the same field of view and depth of field; perfect for things like the “going in the tunnels” documentary you posted a few days back

    • oh, and I forgot: there’s no moire/aliasing on the GH2 (or, more acurately, it’s not a problem, as there’s much, much less of it than on any canon)

    • How come it get 8 times more light than the 5D and only 5 times more light than the other Canon’s… You’re saying than a 7D gets more light than a 5D2?!?!? I doesn’t get it…

    • How come it get 8 times more light than the 5D and only 5 times more light than the other Canon’s… You’re saying than a 7D gets more light than a 5D2?!?!? I don’t get it…

      • I said “for the same DoF”

        off the top of my head, I understand:
        * the 5D gets clean(ish) iso 1250, and has a 1x sensor
        * the 550D gets clean(ish) iso 800, and has a 1x sensor
        * the GH2 gets clean(ish) iso 3200, and has a 1x sensor

        in terms of field of view and depth of field, you’d get an equivalent image with:
        * a 5D with a 50mm set at f/1.8
        * a 550D with a 30mm set at f/1.1
        * a GH2 with a 25mm set at f/0.95

        so compared with the 550D the GH2 gets 4 times more light in because of higher clean iso, and 1.4 times more light because you can set a bigger apperture and your DoF doesn’t get too shallow, hence 5.6x

        and compared with the 5D the GH2 gets 2.5 times more light because of higher clean iso, and 3.5x more light because you can get a bigger aperture and your DoF doesn’t get too shallow, hence around 9x

        I’m not saying you can’t go f/1.2 on a 5D, just that you generally don’t want that

        the beauty of the GH2 is not only that it gets clean iso 3200, but also that it can be coupled with a 25mm f/0.95 that’s not too expensive and will get you more-than-shallow-enough DoF and exceptional low light performance

        • sorry, copy-paste screw-up, that should be:

          * the 5D gets clean(ish) iso 1250, and has a 1x sensor
          * the 550D gets clean(ish) iso 800, and has a 1.6x sensor
          * the GH2 gets clean(ish) iso 3200, and has a 1.9x sensor


          * a 5D with a 50mm set at f/1.9
          * a 550D with a 30mm set at f/1.1
          * a GH2 with a 25mm set at f/0.95

  • lol its Arnold Swarchenegger doing a camera test :P

  • It looks pretty good but I already have a 5d and 7d and wouldnt bother getting a panasonic on top of that….even considering the quality. It would be a hassle.

  • The GH2 is not a full frame camera and the test was not shot with the same fov, I would have liked to see the tops of the buildings on the GH2. GH2 does look good, for me though Full frame, canon 50 is a 50.

    • it’s a 50mm against a 47.5mm equivalent…

    • Actually, it was shot with the same fov (or near enough), the difference in ‘view’ is because, as is obvious from the image of the rig used, one camera was lower than the other. DOF is not such an issue, due to the smaller sensor and the need for a shorter focal length the DOF is quite large even at the largest aperture, provided you arent close focusing.

  • 1) “Full frame” is a misnomer anywhere except the still photography world. In film, the 5D is more like a “double frame,” which is not necessarily a plus when you find yourself fighting too little DOF all the time.

    2) At $800, the hacked GH1 (aka GH13) was already superior to the 5D in virtually every regard, so it’s always baffled me when people wanted to drop an extra $1200-1300 on the body instead of into nice glass.

    3) Above the picture quality issues, the articulating screen, waveform monitor, and massively larger selection of lenses makes it a no-brainer.

    4) It’s the perfect step prior to getting an AF100.


  • Since we are talking about still cameras, the term, full frame is appropriately used.
    You don’t have to fight too little DOF if you’re not wide open on your f/stop but it’s a nice creative option if one chooses to do so.
    I like both cameras and people should make informed choices before spending the money. I had three old and fast Nikon AIS lenses that I easily adapted to my 5D and they work perfectly and are sharp. If you don’t have the $$, the Panasonic is still a good alternative but I don’t believe the 5D is overrated.

  • “Full frame” doesn’t have any meaning.
    For these two cameras, the goal is 1920×1080. So, each have to downsize the picture frame to fill that.

    It means that the power of the camera is in the software which make this and not in the size of the frame !
    But this software must deal with other problems like “shutter roller”, “moiring”, “managing low lights”, “image dynamic” and so on…and other challenge like 25p, 50p or more…

    There is also a special mode for the GH2 : there is a mode where there is no downsize, it only crops the center of the image at the 1920×1080. As I know, this is the first camera to do that… but i am not sure there is a real quality improvement.

    • No, there’s no quality improvement, but there is no light loss or quality degradation, either. This feature (called Electronic Tele Conversion or ETC), essentially doubles the focal length of your zoom lens with no loss in image quality. Video image quality, and other filmmaker-friendly features (e.g., user selectable audio gain levels without a hack, unlimited shot time (outside of Europe), silent autofocus, touchscreen focus on the swing-out LCD) convinced me that my investment in Canon glass was less important than creative flexibility.

    • full frame does have a meaning; it means a sensor with a size of 36x24mm; it has nothing to do with resolution: it could be 1080p or 16K, and it would still be full frame

      what other people are complaining about is that 35mm movie film is much smaller than 36x24mm, much closer to APS-C in fact

      rolling shutter, low light, dynamic range, etc., actually depend much more on sensor technology than on software

  • @Samuel =>
    I think that computing data coming from a 16K sensor needs more hardware capabilities than computing data from a 1080 sensor. But, software are also made to manage and optimize hardware. Therefore, for me, the software is also an important thing.
    Sensor (how to get data) + Hardware (how to compress/transmit only useful data) + Software (how to show data + how to drive the hardware + how to interact with human)

    I read somewhere that the downsizing algorithm is not the same for the 5D and the GH2, and this explain that the moirage is different in these two cameras. There is other differences that explain how these camera respond to extreme condition pictures (as low light, high light, …)

  • Aren’t we forgetting the main reason we put up with the “clumsiness” of using HDSLRs for shooting video is the depth of field factor from larger chips. The Panasonic is way out of the Canon 5D league in this area.

  • when you put the 25mm voigtlander on the gh2, the DOF advantage of the 5D goes out the window.

    Nobody will be able to tell (realistically) which is shallower just from looking at the shot.

    And in effect you gain low light advantage with the gh2 since it’s easier to operate at such a fast aperture in comparison to the 5D.

    Fast wide glass is more of an advantage for the 5D than shallow DOF at this point.

  • I hate to say this but the footage on the 5D looks a lot more filmic compared to the GH2 which is one of the reasons why a lot of cinema people jumped on this camera. The GH2 is a lot sharper but that said with the side by side comparison it looks like a pricier camcorder against the footage from the 5D. I like the GH2 especially the price range and the nice options built into it I think it would be a better comparison if it was compared to the 60D instead. Majic Lantern has firmware hacks that takes care of the auto gain AGC issue, camera over sharpening (morie), Zebra stripes, ect plus technacolor has their color style (LUT) available for the 5D making this closer the the RED1 than the GH2. I am all for the GH2 but if I can afford the 5D or the 1D MK4 getting it to have the film look is what it’s all about when you shoot with a DSLR

  • So what was the point? 5d still blows it away end of story. if the G was so good hollywood would not be using the 5d and 7d they would be using the gh. nice try.

    • Seaquake GOP1 on the GH2 now reigns king over the Canon 5DMK2 by a HUGE margin. And since the GH2 is only $600 vs the Canon 5DMK2′s $2,000…..and the GH2 takes almost every lens in the world…..

      GH2 all the way.

    • Hollywood use 5DMII. Of course. But they just use it because it’s Canon. I just read the comments. I always used 5DmII for my documentary because all the productions have only 5DmII. They have not GH2 in Paris. So when I need camera, I must take a 5DmII. No others solutions since 3 years. In september 2011, I decided to buy GH2 with Voigtlander 25mm, and Canon FD lenses. I made my first 52′ film with it. I will never take again the 5DmII. It’s clear : GH2 (I use hack 66mbs) is more cinematographic than the 5D. The pictures are incredibles.

  • Reading these posts, I find so many arrogant, uninformed people arguing that they are correct, that I am never returning to this site if I can help it. Jeesh.

  • I have 2 GH2s and I love them. But my only argument is the post that said it shoots “clean-ish” at iso 3200. I rarely go past 1200. I can’t even imagine going to 3200. It would get too noisy in my opinion.