I’ve been a huge fan of the Panasonic GH mirrorless camera series almost as long as I’ve been producing TCSTV. As someone who regularly jumps between stills and video capture, yet focuses on video professionally, the concept of a capable stills camera that is optimized for high-end video production has always appealed me. I’ve used the GH3 and GH4 to shoot TCSTV when I needed a small, weather-sealed body with great battery life, but limited their use to well-lit situations. For years, our main cameras have been larger cinema cameras (Panasonic AF100, Sony FS700, FS5 & FS7), but that changed with the arrival of the GH5.
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Hands-On With The Panasonic LUMIX GH5
I’ve been shooting with the GH5 as my primary camera for six months now, and it’s extremely rare that I miss shooting with a dedicated video camera. With the release of the new 2.0 (now 2.1) firmware, it seemed like the right time for a detailed review of the GH5. Nearing on a hundred hours of footage, I had a pretty solid idea of my impressions of the GH5, but producing this review required a huge amount of testing to confirm that my ‘professional impressions’ were legitimate, and not a personal bias based on how much I just loved shooting with the camera.
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Despite the excessive run time of this review (our longest ever!), there are still several subjects I didn’t touch on including the HDR display friendly ‘HLG’ profile, high-resolution ‘open gate’ 4X3 recording, timecode interface and full size HDMI port. I think this speaks less to how comprehensive this review is, and more to just how much useful stuff Panasonic crammed into this camera, even if a huge number of features will go unused by the majority of shooters.
This episode was shot by my good friend and talented director Levi Holwell. It speaks volumes that he was able to shoot such a nice looking episode when using a GH5 for the first time. It’s also impressive that he shot the V-Log L profile, yet thanks to the in-camera LUT monitor, the footage was perfectly exposed for grading.
I think the GH5 is a revolutionary camera, one that can handle a huge number of production scenarios with a small, relatively inexpensive package. While the video is autofocus still needs some work, and low light is still not comparable to the best mirrorless cameras from Sony, I stand by my statement that the GH5 is the most well rounded video camera for under $10 000, while costing only a quarter of that.
Using The GH5 To Shoot A Scene From Goodfellas
This is one of my favourite episodes of TCSTV ever. Before we even received a production model of the GH5, we put it to the test in a professional environment with award winning, insanely talented cinematographer Nick Thomas. Chris and I had to act, we had an issue with a smoke alarm, and the camera was still buggy. All the ingredients for a disaster were there, but things turned out pretty fantastic!
Sony a7S II
This is still the best low-light camera out there, and the streets of New York were a great place to test it. This is a great camera for low-light event work, but the battery life, record limit and lack of dual card slots hold it back slightly.
This fantastic camera is what we shot the show with before switching to the GH5. A wonderful design, inexpensive media and revolutionary electronic ND system kept me shooting with this for a long time. The sharper EVF, built in stabilizer, assist tools and smaller size made me switch to the GH5, but this is a supremely well rounded camera. This episode also features Chris doing an astounding impression of Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Connolly that should not be missed.
A look at specifications for the Panasonic LUMIX GH5.