While perhaps not quite on the same legacy name-brand recognition level as Canon or Sony, it’s hard to think of a more popular (or influential on the market) camera than the Panasonic LUMIX GH4 over the past few years.
Following up on its success, the GH5 and GH5s were both robust and quality 4K digital video cameras that helped to push the industry into this now-golden age of affordable 4K cameras well below the $3,000 price point.
When the GH6 was first announced, we heralded it as the camera to bring new life to the micro four thirds format with its high-speed sensor and new processing engine. That was, of course, until reviews started to come in.
Or, more specifically, haven’t quite started to come in.
The "Problem" with the Panasonic GH6
As you can see in the video above from The DP Journey, even before the camera was officially released, there were some reported issues with the test cameras Panasonic was sending out to trusted YouTube reviewers.
For many content creators, these streaking issues were such a problem that they felt it was unjust to even attempt to review the camera in the first place.
The issue as outlined by The DP Journey and other creators below has to do with a very noticeable light streaking effect which can be seen quite clearly in certain uses and situations. To make matters worse, as the reviewer points out, even when you adjust your settings and it appears that the streaking issue isn’t there—when you really push your footage in the grade, you can almost always find it.
Issues with Firmware Update 1.0
As further discussed in Gerald Undone‘s review, this streaking issue has certainly been known by Panasonic, since it has attempted to address and fix it before soliciting reviews from these YouTubers. And, in some ways, the company was successful.
It’s also fair to say that often when cameras are sent out for early reviews, it is with an understanding that you’re reviewing a beta version of a camera. The hardware should obviously be up-to-date, but it’s routine to be working with beta software that might have a few issues or glitches.
That being said, as pointed out in the videos above, the cameras we’re seeing reviewed do indeed have the Firmware Update 1.0 which is the same firmware sent out with at least the very initial first cameras to regular consumers.
Along with the light streaking issues that Gerald Undone explores quite a bit, he also reports some other (perhaps more minor) issues with the zebra controls and focus peaking.
But How Big a Deal Are These Issues, Really?
Perhaps the best review of the GH6 has to be the above video by CVP. While the streaking issues are not ignored, I do think it’s wise to review the camera based on the majority of the features or functions, because it is quite hopeful (and probably likely) that these streaking issues will be resolved in future firmware updates.
The Panasonic GH6 is indeed a “petite beast,” as its PR calls it. With internal recording capability up to 5.7K at 3p in Apple ProRes 422 HQ, it’s undeniable that one can do great things with this micro four thirds camera that very much rivals its full-frame counterparts.
CVP does a good job of taking the camera through the paces in terms of its dynamic range, latitude, low light capabilities, and noise reduction, and it does admirably well for a camera that currently retails for under $2,200.
Ultimately, if you are looking to make a new camera purchase right now, you certainly have options. Not only do you have other mainstream brands to consider, with options like the Canon EOS R or the Sony a7 III. You also have other options from Panasonic itself, as the S5 and the S1H are both great cameras as well.
CVP of course also shouts out the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro as perhaps the best true cinema option, but if for any reason you prefer Panasonic (perhaps as a previous Gh4 or GH5 user) then hopefully these issues will be quickly resolved, so you can rest in peace that the GH6 will be everything you hope for it.
How do you feel about this streaking issue? Do you think it will be quickly resolved, or is it something that might push you away toward another camera option? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!