Following the reveal of the OM System Olympus OM-1, Panasonic steps up to the plate with its official announcement of the LUMIX GH6, the successor to the popular GH5 mirrorless camera.

Featuring a new Micro Four Thirds sensor and the hearty new Venus Engine, Panasonic claims to have combined the best of the GH5 and the GH5s

Let’s take a look at what the GH6 has under the hood. 

Panasonic LUMIX GH6 Specs

By taking a higher resolution sensor and adding some interesting new features that increase dynamic range and reduce noise, the LUMIX GH6 aims to be the perfect fit for large productions, single-operator digital creatives, and photographers alike.

The new Live MOS Micro Four Thirds sensor is 17.3mm by 13.0mm at 25 megapixels. Because of the relatively small sensor size and the new processing engine, Panasonic claims to have achieved a solid combination of high-resolution recording and high frame rates. 

Filmmakers will have the ability to capture up to 5.7K 60p in video and 300fps in FHD with the Variable Frame Rate mode. In the 4:3 Anamorphic Mode, the new Venus Engine will help the GH6 reach a respectable resolution of 5.8K up to 29.97p.

Panasonic LUMIX GH6 RearLUMIX GH6 RearCredit: Panasonic

Those are some impressive numbers. Especially when you consider that it’s all in 10-bit 4:2:0 or 4:2:2. Panasonic also states an unlimited recording time and achieves this with an internal heatsink and fan much like the Canon's EOS R5 C. 

The new engine doesn’t just stop at resolution. It provides professional recording formats, such as internal Apple ProRes, a reworked image processing pipeline to increase dynamic range, higher precision autofocus at higher speeds, and a production-ready external video output via HDMI. 

There is a lot of information to cover, so here’s a handy list of the important things:

  • Live MOS MFT Sensor 4:3 Aspect Ratio
  • Effective Pixels 25.21 megapixels (Total Pixels 26.52 megapixels)
  • 13+ Stops of Dynamic Range
  • Contrast-based autofocus
  • 7.5 stops of I.S. (depending on focal length either internal or with compatible lens)
  • Built-in .vlt and .cube LUT support 
  • VLOG Included
  • Wave Form Monitor, Vector Scope, and Luma Spot Meter
  • In-camera Anamorphic Desqueeze and Image Stabilization
  • High-quality 4-channel audio
  • Timecode IN/OUT
  • Dual Card Slots for SD and CFexpress Type B
  • H.264, H.265, and ProRes Recording formats. 
  • 10-bit 4:2:0 5.7K in 17:9 up to 59.94p
  • 10-bit 4:2:0 Cinema 4K up to 119.88p or 59.94p in 10-bit 4:2:2
  • 10-bit 4:2:2 FHD up to 239.76p
  • Size: 5.45 x 3.95 x 3.92 inch (excluding protrusions)
  • Price: $2,199.99
  • Available March 2022

Externally, the GH6 offers a tilt and free angle 3.0-inch LCD monitor with a 3:2 aspect ratio and static touch control. 

The steely-eyed among you will notice a higher resolution sensor much like the GH5. But even with a high-density sensor, Panasonic has done away with the optical low-pass filter or OLPF, opting for some software solutions to combat moire and aliasing. 

This software solution is what Panasonic is using to increase dynamic range, called Dynamic Range Boost.

Panasonic LUMIX GH6 SlantLUMIX GH6 Rear ScreenCredit: Panasonic

HDR by Any Other Name

Dynamic Range Boost is a feature similar to how HDR photos are created. The GH6 takes a single exposure of a video and splits it along two analog circuits. One at a low ISO with high saturation and the other with high ISO but low noise. 

The new processor then combines these frames using what Panasonic calls a pixel-by-pixel composting, creating an image with increased dynamic range and low noise.

This is done for every frame, and while it might have been an impossibility only a few years ago, modern processors are able to keep up with the demanding workflow.

For this feature to work best, operators will only be able to use ISO 800 when in a standard picture profile and ISO 1200 when working in Vlog/HLG. Because of this, Dynamic Range Boost also reduces noise and improves image quality even at high resolutions and high ISO settings.

Handheld Mirrorless CameraCredit: Joppe Spaa

Going Steady

For single-operator creatives, the LUMIX GH6 will have 7.5 stops of 5-Axis image stabilization, an improvement over the GH5II and its predecessors.

Thanks to new gyros and an updated algorithm, focal length under 60mm will be stabilized using the camera's stabilization only, but anything over that will require a stabilized lens to achieve the 7.5 stops.

Expanding ProRes

Out of the box, the Panasonic LUMIX GH6 will be able to internally record ProRes 422 and 422 HQ in 5.7K up to 29.97fps. Unfortunately, users will have to rely on the CFexpress Type B cards as anything else won’t be able to handle the massive data rate. 

But the ProRes love doesn’t stop there. Panasonic plans to update ProRes options to include internal DCI4K and FHD, along with 4K 120P via HDMI out.

The LUMIX GH6 will also get ProRes RAW support via the Atomos Ninja V+ in a future update, and there are also plans to include recording direct to SSD via USB. 

However, there is no date for when these updates will become available.

Atomos Ninja V+Ninja V+Credit: Atomos

Contrast-Based Autofocus

Unfortunately, Panasonic has not changed its autofocus system with the GH6 and is still using the contrast-based method. According to statements made by a Panasonic representative, the development of the GH6 sensor began as the original GH5 was being released. 

In order to keep the new updates made to the sensor, such as the high-speed readout and increased dynamic range, Panasonic opted to continue with the contrast-based autofocus system. 

But there is a silver lining to all of this as the new Venus engine still improves the autofocus on the GH6. Filmmakers will also be able to autofocus while actively recording in high frame rates when using the HFR mode.

Panasonic Lumix GH6

  • 25MP Live MOS MFT Sensor 4:3 Aspect Ratio
  • 13+ Stops of Dynamic Range
  • Contrast-based autofocus
  • 7.5 stops of I.S.
  • .vlt and .cube LUT
  • VLOG Included
  • Anamorphic Desqueeze and Image Stabilization
  • 4-channel audio
  • Timecode IN/OUT
  • SD and CFexpress Type-B
  • H.264 and H.265 Recording Formats
  • ProRes 422 HQ in 5.7K
  • 10-bit 4:2:0 5.7K in 17:9 up to 59.94p
  • 10-bit 4:2:0 Cinema 4K up to 119.88p
  • 10-bit 4:2:2 FHD up to 239.76p
$Est. $2199.99

Should You Buy It?

Much like the GH5s and GH5II expanded on the video capabilities of the GH system, the GH6 attempts to cement itself in a high-end workflow. Panasonic specifically made this camera fit within its professional VariCam line, as well as the EVA-1 and S1H systems. Panasonic wants the GH6 to be the B-cam that complements its cinema line of products, most of which are Netflix-approved.

There is so much to cover about the GH6 that we simply glossed over. We’ll revisit the details when we can get our hands on a production model and do a deep dive. 

If you’re a creative that’s knee-deep in the Panasonic ecosystem, the GH6 might make it difficult to leave. Especially if you’re in the need of a solid B-cam. If you need a high-resolution camera with high frame rates and robust recording options, the GH6 should definitely be on your shortlist.

However, for creatives that need a bigger sensor, better low-light, or better dynamic range, there might be better options to suit your needs. It’ll be up to you to test and find the right tool for your workflow. 

But whatever your feelings about the GH6, it seems that the Micro Four Thirds sensor is alive and well.

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