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Panasonic GH5 review: The ultimate hybrid video and stills camera

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1699
inc VAT

Packed with professional features, the Panasonic GH5 is the new standard bearer for indie filmmakers.


  • Outstanding video quality
  • Pro-level video features
  • Superb ergonomics for photos and video


  • New features will be beyond some users’ needs
  • Photo noise levels slightly higher than from direct competitors
  • More expensive than the GH4

Panasonic GH5 review: Photo quality

The move from 16 to 20 megapixels is welcome, closing the gap for detail levels compared with rivals such as the 24-megapixel Fujifilm X-T2 and 20-megapixel Nikon D500. This new sensor lacks an optical low-pass filter (OLPF) which in theory boosts detail levels at the expense of an increased risk of artefacts. Sharp diagonal lines did look a little pixelated at times but this is a minor point. The Fujifilm X-T2 resolved the sharpest details of the three cameras in our studio test scene but it was a close-run thing.

Noise levels at fast ISO speeds were more varied, with the GH5’s smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor putting it at a slight disadvantage compared with its APS-C rivals. APS-C sensors are 67% bigger by surface area, and this was borne out in noise levels, with the GH5’s ISO 6400 output being closer to the Fujifilm X-T2 at ISO 12800. The Panasonic GH5 exhibited slightly less noise than the GH4, though, despite the increased resolution.

Taken on its own terms, the GH5 delivered reliably attractive photos throughout the vast majority of our tests, only becoming unstuck when tackling subtle textures such as skin and hair at ISO 3200 and above.

Sample 1 - Panasonic GH5

^ Rich, clean colours and lots of crisp detail — just what we’d expect from a large-sensor camera. (1/500sec, f/6.3, ISO 200, 24mm equivalent)

Sample 2 - Panasonic GH5

^ Colours really pop on default settings. The 20-megapixel sensor has picked out the individual hairs on these strawberries. (1/160sec, f/3.5, ISO 200, 34mm equivalent)

Sample 3 - Panasonic GH5

^ Shooting indoors pushes the ISO speed up to 3200. There’s a bit of noise, especially in darker, out-of-focus areas. (1/80sec, f/3.9, ISO 3200, 80mm equivalent)

Sample 4 - Panasonic GH5

^ Subtle gradations of colour have been smudged at ISO 1600, most noticeably on the floor and chairs, but overall it’s a solid result. (1/50sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600, 40mm equivalent)

Sample 5 - Panasonic GH5

^ Higher-contrast details are less susceptible to smearing through noise reduction, even at ISO 3200. (1/60sec, f/2.9, ISO 3200, 26mm equivalent)

Sample 6 - Panasonic GH5

^ ISO 12800 is pushing JPEG quality to its limits. (1/20sec, f/3.8, ISO 12800, 68mm equivalent)

Sample 7 - Panasonic GH5

^ Clean, natural skin textures, although highlights on the girl’s hair are overexposed. Processing the RAW file allowed me to recover these highlights. (1/160sec, f/2.8, ISO 200, 90mm equivalent)

Sample 8 - Panasonic GH5

^ Skin textures are holding together well at ISO 1600 (1/125sec, f/3.9, ISO 1600, 96mm equivalent)

Sample 9 - Panasonic GH5

^ They’re looking a bit blotchy at ISO 3200, though (1/30sec, f/3.7, ISO 3200, 62mm equivalent)

Panasonic GH5 review: Buying decisions

At £1,699 for the body-only, the GH5 is the most expensive Lumix camera to date, up £400 compared with the GH4’s launch price and £700 more than what the GH4 cost when it was recently discontinued. This price hike will disappoint amateur filmmakers who’ll need to save up more of their hard-earned cash and who may not benefit from features such as 10-bit and V-Log L capture. After all, they’ll also need an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription and an extremely powerful PC to be able to work with these files. Working with V-LogL and LUTs gives greater flexibility over colour grading but it’s a skill I can’t say I mastered in the few weeks I spent testing the GH5.

Professional users should have no qualms about spending this much, though, and the Panasonic GH5 will suit them down to the ground. The improvements will probably justify an upgrade so amateur filmmakers can look forward to a healthy market of secondhand GH4s.

The GH5 raises the bar for photography, too, with its higher-resolution sensor, superb viewfinder and in-body stabilisation. The slightly higher noise levels compared with APS-C cameras is its one notable drawback but it doesn’t register as a significant issue in normal use. This camera is not worth the expense if your interest is only in photography, but as a hybrid stills and video camera it’s way ahead of the competition.

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Panasonic GH5 specifications
Sensor resolution20 megapixels
Sensor size17.3x13mm (Micro Four Thirds)
Focal length multiplier2x
Optical stabilisationSensor shift and available in lenses
ViewfinderElectronic (3,680,000 dots)
Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverage0.76x, 100%
LCD screen3.2in (1,620,000 dots)
Orientation sensorYes
Photo file formatsJPEG, RAW (RW2)
Maximum photo resolution5,184×3,888
Photo aspect ratios4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1
Video compression formatMP4 (AVC) at up to 150Mbit/s
Video resolutionsCinema 4K (4096×2160) at 24fps, 4K (3840×2160) at 24/25/30/50/60fps, 1080p at 24/25/30/50/60fps, 1080i at 25/30fps
Slow motion video modes4K at 2-60fps (playback at 24/25/30fps), 1080p at 2-180fps (playback at 24/25/30/50/60fps)
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)Unlimited
Exposure modesProgram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed range30 to 1/8,000 seconds (1/16,000s electronic shutter)
ISO speed range100 to 25600
Exposure compensationEV +/-5
White balanceAuto, 5 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
Auto-focus modesMulti, flexible spot, face detect, tracking, pinpoint, custom multi
Metering modesMulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash modesN/A
Drive modesSingle, continuous, self-timer, HDR, time lapse, stop motion animation, muiltiple exposure, 4K/6K photo, post focus with focus stacking
Kit lens
Kit lens model namen/a
Optical stabilisation
Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths)
Maximum aperture (wide-tele)
35mm-equivalent aperture
Manual focus
Closest macro focus (wide)
Closest macro focus (tele)
Lens mountMicro Four Thirds
Card slot2x SDXC
Memory suppliedNone
Battery typeLi-ion
ConnectivityUSB (Type C), HDMI, 3.5mm microphone and headphone, 2.5mm wired remote, PC sync
WirelessWi-Fi, Bluetooth v4.2
GPSVia smartphone app
HotshoePanasonic TTL
Body materialMagnesium alloy
AccessoriesUSB cable, neck strap
Weight (with kit lens)725g
Dimensions (HxWxD)98x146x88mm
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price including VAT£1,699
Part codeDC-GH5EB-K

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