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

Lumixgh5s-1Courtesy 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.