January 8, 2018
ces 2018

Say Hello to the New, Even More Filmmaker-Focused GH5S

Here's how Panasonic has made a great camera even better.

Panasonic wasted no time making a splash on the first day of CES 2018 today with the announcement of its new Lumix DC-GH5S. Budget filmmakers who love the GH5 now have even more to get excited about, as this iteration of the micro 4/3 camera is said to be even more centered around capturing video.

While both the GH5 and its closest competitor the Sony a7S II are billed as still photography cameras much like the Canons of the DSLR days, Panasonic is finally admitting that the GH5S is a camera that has been designed specifically with filmmakers in mind. For the most part, this means that Panasonic has improved the camera's low-light sensitivity, a major area where many users have agreed that the Sony Alpha Series had it beat. 

A press release today highlighted the three major focuses of this upgrade:

  • A newly developed 10.2MP High Sensitivity MOS sensor for enhanced image quality in low light, allowing up to 51,200 ISO recording without extended ISO
  • Timecode IN/OUT for easy synchronization of multiple cameras and Dual Native ISO, providing low range (400) and high range (2,500) ISO environments
  • True “Multi-Aspect Ratio” function in both photo and video
Courtesy of Panasonic

To achieve this improved sensitivity, the GH5S uses a slightly larger, but lower resolution sensor. The new sensor features the Dual Native ISO, a technology that uses two separate sensor read-out circuits—one that maximizes dynamic range at lower sensitivities, and one that prioritizes noise reduction at a dynamic range cost.

When shooting in dark environments, videographers can now focus on filming that perfect shot as they no longer need to worry about noise which often results from having to use higher ISOs. The Dual Native ISO Technology suppresses noise to produce cleaner footage when taken in all light. 

The sensor's  'multi-aspect ratio' function offers a series of 10.2MP crops with the same angle of view. This feature means you can easily swap between different aspect ratios giving you the accuracy you want from your lenses, and making the process easier for both producing and editing in post-production. Both the GH5 and the GH5S can shoot UHD 4K at up to 60p, but the GH5S can also shoot the wider-angle DCI 4K format at up to 60p, whereas the GH5 tops out at 24p.

Other notable features include the removal of image stabilization as we move forward in the age of dollies and gimbals and, while consumers needed to purchase VLog-L as a paid upgrade on the GH5, it is now included as standard in the GH5s.

Key Tech Specs

  • Oversized 'Multi Aspect' sensor with dual gain design
  • 10.2MP maximum usable area from at around 12.5MP total
  • DCI or UHD 4K at up to 60p
  • 10-bit 4:2:2 internal capture at up to 30p
  • 8-bit 4:2:0 internal 60p or 10-bit 4:2:2 output over HDMI
  • 1080 footage at up to 240p (with additional crop above 200p)
  • Hybrid Log Gamma mode
  • ISO 160 - 51,200 (80 - 204,800 extended)
  • AF rated down to –5EV (with F2 lens)
  • 3.68M-dot (1280 x 960 pixel) OLED viewfinder with 0.76x magnification
  • 1.62M-dot (900 x 600 pixel) fully articulated LCD
  • 14-bit Raw stills
  • 11 fps (7 with AFC) or 1 fps faster in 12-bit mode
  • USB 3.1 with Type C connector

The good people at DP Review have already gotten their hands on one of these bad boys and delve much further into detail on the camera in their early review. They also conducted a low-light test and listed the key differences between the GH5 family. They note that the list of differences also includes up to 240fps framerate in 1080p "Variable Frame Rate" mode, a 120fps refresh rate in the electronic viewfinder, 14-bit Raw stills shooting, time code in/out functionality, and LUT-corrected display in playback as well as capture. 

Differences vs. GH5

  • "10.2" megapixel oversized sensor (vs 20.2MP Four Thirds sized sensor)
  • Dual-gain sensor design with two read-out circuits
  • Fixed sensor (no internal stabilization) for use with pro stabilization systems
  • DCI 4K available in 59.94, 50, 29.97 and 25p (GH5 is 23.98 / 24p only)
  • 1080 mode
  • AF rated to work in lower light (–5EV vs –4EV)
  • 14-bit Raw available
  • VLog-L enabled out-of-the-box
  • Timecode in/out
  • 'Like709' and 'V-LogL' color profiles available in stills shooting
  • Mic socket offers Phantom Power and Line-level In options
  • LUT-corrected display available in playback as well as capture
  • 120fps viewfinder mode

The Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S can be pre-ordered now and will be available February 2nd for $2499 body-only.     

Your Comment

29 Comments

Before anyone gets too excited that 14-bit RAW is for stills only. Also, the 1/8" mic jack is mic level or line level, no phantom power and I assume "1080 mode" should read something about the new 240fps 1080P mode.

January 8, 2018 at 5:09PM

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Shame about dropping internal stabilization.. also hope auto-focus is improved. Any word on that?
Insane lowlight though. Especially for m43. Every time something like this comes out I find myself thinking "What will be in the GH_(insert next number here)/A7_?"

January 8, 2018 at 5:22PM

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Kent Broadbent
VFX, Editor, DP
131

It's a total shame......and the logic is a little strange to me. They're saying because of current gimbal tech the I.S. isn't needed? If this camera had internal I.S. AND the improved lowlight, it would be a hands-down winner for doc/travel/event filmmaking. They take away the low-light assuming we'd have it on a gimbal on set, but in that case the low-light is not as critical because most people would be lighting their scenes accordingly. I'm sure I'm missing something?? Is the hardware for the I.S. there? Future firmware upgrade maybe? In one review the I.S. option is grayed out in the menu.

Kent - According to the first reviews I've read, the auto-focus is the same as the GH5 :(

January 8, 2018 at 8:01PM, Edited January 8, 8:02PM

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Ian Mora
Writer, Director, Editor, Camera Operator
294

Not saying I'm not disappointed, too, but the logic is sound. IBIS sensors can't ever really be "off" and lock in place...the magnets simply hold them steady. There are situations where this can fail (car mounting is one such scenario.) The other factor is heat dissipation. A floating sensor can't void heat the way a fixed sensor can, and if you want to attack sensor noise, dealing with heat is one of the keys.

January 9, 2018 at 9:45AM

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Makes sense. That would be an interesting problem, see if you could truly "lock down" a stabilized sensor, develop that tech. And heat was something I hadn't considered..

Ian - too bad. Can't have everything though i guess.
I'm not complaining, I'm a blackmagic fanboy, just works for my style, and they don't put half that tech. I have huge respect for Panasonic and what they do.

January 9, 2018 at 12:39PM, Edited January 9, 12:39PM

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Kent Broadbent
VFX, Editor, DP
131

Ya, that makes sense. I guess we c an't have everything! Lol. At least that makes me feel a little better that this can't replace my GH5. I need to be able to whip it out of my bag and start shooting. Lol

January 10, 2018 at 11:53AM

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Ian Mora
Writer, Director, Editor, Camera Operator
294

No IBIS, no thanks.

January 8, 2018 at 9:09PM, Edited January 8, 9:09PM

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Isaac Alonzo
Photographer / Cinematographer
300

Per Andrew Reid over at EOSHD:

"Richard Payne of the big UK distributor Holdan made an interesting point – the GH4 and GH5 were being used regularly on a big budget TV shows like The Grand Tour (Amazon Prime) rigged inside supercars and racing cars and here the vibration was playing havoc with the sprung IBIS sensor in the GH5. TV DoPs can now sign a breathe of relief as the sensor in the GH5S stays-put and you can still rely on optical stabilisation from the lens."

Seems like this camera is really focused on professionals, to the point where gimbal stabilization is a given....

January 8, 2018 at 11:14PM

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Joseph Arant
Writer
276

Ya, that makes sense.

January 8, 2018 at 11:36PM

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Ian Mora
Writer, Director, Editor, Camera Operator
294

But can't you just turn off the ibis on the gh5 already?

January 8, 2018 at 11:46PM

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J Robbins
617

No. There is no "off" in the sense that the sensor is always floating on springs with magnets holding it "off." IBIS sensors can't be physically locked in place.

January 9, 2018 at 9:47AM

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I'm glad to see that somebody finally got it. Of course IBIS is not useful! When was the last time you watch a movie, sorry a film, shot with a system that had IBIS. Why do you think the pro still use steadicams?
I don't understand why so many people are pissed off at the lack of IBIS, just don't get it.
On the same note, I'm not sure why anybody interested in film making care about autofocus?

January 10, 2018 at 12:17PM, Edited January 10, 12:19PM

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Because there a lot of doc/event people that would love the lowlight and IBIS. I understand why it was omitted, but it's still a little disappointing for us.

January 12, 2018 at 7:33PM

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Ian Mora
Writer, Director, Editor, Camera Operator
294

yeah...no stabilization? the IBIS was 98% of the reason why I finally "upgraded" from the GH4. Interested choice. Especially since the logic mentioned in this article of "Panasonic assumes professionals will already be using gimbals and dollies etc" should also include "Panasonic assumes professionals will already be using proper lighting and set design etc" so therefore, improved lowlight is not needed. hah. But, I'm just a simple wedding/interview video guy, I don't do real video work, so I'm probably missing something.

January 8, 2018 at 11:40PM

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The GH5 is the camera for you. Panny had to make some trade-offs. By jettisoning IBIS the GH5s can work in scenarios the GH5 cannot.

January 9, 2018 at 9:49AM, Edited January 9, 9:49AM

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Not really, because that's an example where someone of limited means needs a low light camera. In a way, it would have made more sense for a gh5 sensor to come without IBIS for big budget crews needing b cams on car mounts--and put IBIS in the gh5s for indie filmmakers and event videographers who need both a great low light camera and IBIS. Remember also, that since both flavors of gh5 have woeful AF the camera op has to be hands on the entire time, often negating the external rig option.

January 9, 2018 at 3:14PM

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J Robbins
617

Any word on the dynamic range? That is my only real issue with the GH5

January 9, 2018 at 2:23AM

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Stu Mannion
writer/dir/dp
731

There is a more indepth review on the DP Review site (see link in the article).

January 9, 2018 at 3:42AM

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Panasonic is always loath to comment on DR. Several video reviews from early users state 14 stops, but that seems unlikely. Others have said "improved highlight roll-off" which seems more likely.

January 9, 2018 at 9:50AM

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So in my initial testing, the dynamic range is around 2 stops better at ISO-2500. But at lower ISO ranges it's maybe a half stop. I hope to get some time to do a formal test where I will take some ND film and actually record the dynamic range at various ISO levels, and compare it with the old GH4 while I'm at it.

March 25, 2018 at 10:35PM

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Great, but the most anoying thing about gh5 the autofocus is not fixed!

January 9, 2018 at 3:58AM, Edited January 9, 3:58AM

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Autofucus?????

January 9, 2018 at 3:59AM

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A U T O F O C U S. WHERE ARE YOU???

January 9, 2018 at 4:01AM

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I am a GH5 user and I couldn't be anymore excited that the color red is now included with the camera. I'm sick of having to paint the record button myself.

January 9, 2018 at 12:48PM

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Alex Alva
903

Hum...lots of people critisizing the new GH5s for lack of IBIS and not so much improvement...Maybe we didn't see the same test but from what i have seen on the reviews it seems that there isn't only the high iso which is better. The dynamic range seems better, the colors, the image quality overall, the noise performance is incredible and the autofocus seems also better on the test i saw, so lot of improvements over the GH5. The argument from Panasonic for lack of IBIS, that lots of pro user told them that IBIS wasn't so good with the use of gimbals seems legit and maybe we could wait on tests with a GH5s on a gimbal with OIS lenses and the new AF to critize it. And the GH5 has better resolution for stills and the IBIS so it's not buried right now so maybe there are also commercial considerations which is not so bad for GH5 owners !

January 9, 2018 at 2:21PM, Edited January 9, 2:21PM

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hippase
90

The low light performance, reduced crop and introduction of time code are enough reason to justify this update, even with it's tradeoffs. The GH5s is complementary to the GH5 for use in newsgathering and documentary settings. You no longer need to leave the Panasonic M43 ecosystem for low light performance, and that's a big deal, even if the Sony A7S III will be able to double as a night vision scope.

January 9, 2018 at 5:08PM, Edited January 9, 5:10PM

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Marc B
Shooter & Editor
510

I wish it would do 10 bit 4:2:2 recording all the way through 4K60p. I guess I'll have to wait for the GH6S.

January 12, 2018 at 2:48PM

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Is everyone seriously complaining about the lack of IBIS? How is no one talking about the dual native ISO? The DCI 4K? The timecode in/out???? The GH5S is literally the best DSLR/mirrorless camera on the market!

I've literally never had to use in body stabilization for any camera on any shoot, ever. If you can't live without IBIS, then you're not a true professional.

February 9, 2018 at 2:17PM, Edited February 9, 2:17PM

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Exactly! On paper this things looks great, but I just can't explain how fantastic the footage is compared to my old GH4; it's really incredible! I slap the GH5S on the Ronin-M and I am ready for the feature film circuit!

March 25, 2018 at 10:42PM

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