Proving that they can push the GH-series even farther into the video realm, the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S is a mirrorless Micro Four Thirds camera optimized for movie recording and low-light performance. Revolving around a 10.28MP Digital Live MOS sensor, DCI and UHD 4K video recording is possible at up to 60p and the large individual pixel size also affords impressive low-light performance to an extended ISO 204800, along with Dual Native ISO technology at ISO 400 and ISO 2500. Coupled with an updated Venus Engine, the sensor and processor combination also enables faster readout speeds along with 1.3x less rolling shutter distortion compared to previous GH-series cameras. Internal DCI 4K30p recording is available with 4:2:2 10-bit sampling and a full-size HDMI A connector can be used to simultaneously output to an optional external monitor or recorder. The sensor’s extended sensitivity range has also been used to promote working with V-Log L and Hybrid Log Gamma HDR modes for effectively increasing your dynamic range and affording more flexibility when color grading during post-production.
Beyond its video prowess, the GH5S is no slouch when it comes to stills shooting, either. The sensor and Venus Engine combination enable recording 14-bit raw files with a top continuous shooting rate of 12 fps with single-shot AF, or up to 8 fps with continuous autofocus. Borrowing from the video side, 4K PHOTO modes are also available for shooting 8MP stills at up to 60 fps. Benefitting stills, the Depth-From-Defocus AF system works quickly and accurately using 225 dedicated AF areas, and is sensitive to -5 EV luminance for working in extreme low-light conditions.
Beyond imaging specs, the GH5S retains its professional build quality the GH-series is known for. The magnesium alloy body is fully weather-sealed for working in inclement conditions, and physical controls have been enhanced for easier tactile control. A large 3.68m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder is featured, for high-resolution eye-level monitoring, as well as a rear 3.2″ 1.62m-dot LCD touchscreen with free-angle movement to suit working from high and low angles. Dual UHS-II SD memory card slots are available for flexible file recording and built-in Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth wireless connectivity enable seamless image sharing and remote camera control from a mobile device.
10.28MP Digital Live MOS Sensor and Venus Engine
Engineered specifically for low-light shooting and high-resolution video recording, a 10.28MP Digital Live MOS sensor is featured, along with an optimized Venus Engine for clean color detail and texture along with fast readout speeds. Using Multipixel Luminance Generation and Intelligent Detail Processing, it will maximize sharpness and detail as well as accuracy in a variety of lighting conditions.
The sensor features a multi aspect ratio design, which enables the use of 4:3, 17:9, 16:9, and 3:2 ratios for shooting stills, recording DCI and UHD 4K, and for working in Anamorphic mode. This unique design allows you to maintain a lens’s native angle of view despite changing the image format. Additionally, the sensor and processor combination avails high readout speeds and suppresses rolling shutter distortion by approximately 1.3x compared to the GH5 when recording video or working with the electronic shutter.
The sensor’s deliberately low-resolution design, and subsequently larger pixel size, also optimizes it for low-light performance and enables recording a greater dynamic range. Borrowing from Panasonic’s broadcast line of video cameras, Dual Native ISO technology is used that sets ISO 400 and ISO 2500 as base sensitivities for low noise levels. The overall native sensitivity range runs from ISO 160-51200, and can be extended to ISO 80-204800.
DCI and UHD 4K Video Recording
Specifically geared for video shooting, the GH5S features a versatile and capable range of video specs, including the ability to internally record DCI 4K at up to 60 fps and 150 Mbps with 4:2:0 8-bit Long GOP; 30 fps and 150 Mbps with 4:2:2 10-bit Long GOP; and 24 fps and 400 Mbps with 4:2:2 10-bit ALL-I. UHD 4K recording is also supported along with Full HD at up to 240 fps for slow-motion playback. A full-size HDMI port is present on the camera for high-quality output at 4:2:2 10-bit in all settings for use with external monitors and recorders.
Optimizing your recording for post-production color adjustment, the GH5S features a pair of gamma settings suited to capturing a wide dynamic range. V-Log L has been pre-installed on this camera and is used to capture a flat, neutral gamma curve well-suited for grading. Additionally, a High Dynamic Range mode, and Hybrid Log Gamma, can be used to record greater detail in both the shadow and highlight regions of a scene. Additional picture styles are available to provide a more gradable image, such as CINELIKE V and CINELIKE D, as well as an in-camera LUT to make monitoring easier. Also, users will have access to overcranking and undercranking Variable Frame Rate settings which provide speeds up to 2.5x slower in 4K (60 fps) and 7.5x slower in Full HD (240 fps). Also, a 4K Anamorphic mode is available, which will let you record in a proper 4:3 ratio for adjustment in post-production.
For greater recording versatility, the recording system frequency can be changed between 59.94 Hz (NTSC), 50.00 Hz (PAL), or 24.00 Hz (Cine) for worldwide use, and there is no recording duration limit for all settings. Three separate video control panels can also be used—shutter duration/ISO, shutter angle/ISO, or shutter duration/dB—to match various worldwide production needs.
The GH5S is designed to be an expandable system, with multiple options available to help improve video recording capabilities. Examples of this are the included BNC conversion cable for syncing time code settings with an external device for multi-camera setups; LINE input support via the 3.5mm mic input for using an external audio device; and the optional XLR Microphone Adapter that provides XLR inputs and physical controls through a hot shoe connection. Users can also use standard microphones and headphones via the 3.5mm input and output jacks.
Stills Recording and Depth-From-Defocus AF System
Beyond just a video camera, the GH5S is also adept at recording stills. Using the unique sensor architecture, the low-light capabilities and fast readout speeds make it ideal for working in difficult lighting conditions and for photographing fast-moving subjects. For 12-bit raw shooting, and when working with AF-S, continuous shooting up to 12 fps is possible, along with a top 8 fps shooting rate with AF-C. For greater color information, a 14-bit raw recording setting can also be used, and 11 fps and 7 fps continuous shooting rates are available.
For accelerated autofocus performance, and Advanced DFD (Depth-From-Defocus) technology is employed to quickly calculate the distance to subjects and adjust the focusing position in as little as 0.05 seconds. This contrast-detection type focus method benefits both still and video recording modes, as well as subject tracking applications where subject color, size, and motion vectors are used to intelligently lock-onto the moving subjects and ensure precise focus. The sensitivity and speed can be adjusted to further improve performance with certain subjects. It also features 225 AF areas which provide excellent control over where the camera will focus. Additionally, supporting working in low-light conditions, a Starlight AF feature enables accurate AF performance down to -5 EV.
Benefitting manual focus operation, focus peaking is available that highlights bright edges of contrast with a colored outline for quickly recognizing your focus point, as well as Touch MF Assist for touch-to-focus operation.
4K PHOTO Modes
Utilizing the GH5S’s video recording capabilities, a trio of still shooting modes are available for recording continuous 8MP stills at a 60 or 30 fps shooting rate:
- Burst: This mode will allow you to continuously record, making it ideal for instances where you need a fast frame rate in order to capture the best moment.
- Pre-Burst: This mode is ideal for times when you’re unsure of the critical moment to press the shutter button and will record images one second prior to and one second after pressing the shutter button in order to give you 60 frames to choose from.
- Burst (S/S): This mode most closely follows the video recording process, and allows you to playback your video, pause at the chosen moment, and use the shutter button to mark a chosen frame from the video and save it as a single 8MP frame.
Body Design and Built-In Wi-Fi
- A large OLED Live View Finder has an impressive 3.68m-dot resolution and 0.76x magnification for eye-level composition.
- A larger means for image composition and playback, the 3.2″ 1.62m-dot rear RGBW LCD monitor has a free angle, tilt and swivel design to support viewing from a variety of angles. It is also a touchscreen, which permits intuitive menu navigation and settings control.
- Optimized for nighttime shooting, the viewfinder and rear screen can be tuned to benefit working in low-light conditions. A Night Mode allows you to separately reduce the brightness of the screen and finder in order to maintain your night-adjusted vision. Alternatively, brightness can be boosted by lowering the frame rate and increasing the gain in live view for working in extremely dark situation. And, for manual focusing, an MF Assist feature lets you zoom into the scene by 20x for focusing on small subjects.
- Dual UHS-II SD card slots are present which provides settings such as Relay Recording to automatically switch cards when one is full; Backup Recording, which recording the same data to both cards simultaneously; and Allocation Recording, which lets you save certain files to each card for easier organization.
- Constructed from magnesium alloy with die-cast front and rear frames, the GH5S features a durable design that also incorporates extensive sealing at each joint, dial, and button to render it both splash- and dust-proof as well as freezeproof to 14°F.
- A joystick is available on the rear of the camera to make changing many settings easier and more intuitive, such as changing a focus point.
- The sleek flat-body profile incorporates both front and rear dials for intuitive control over aperture and shutter speed settings. Multiple assignable function buttons are also available, as well as a dedicated exposure compensation dial.
- Built-in 5 GHz Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC and Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy allows for wireless image sharing and remote camera control from linked smartphones and tablets. Bluetooth LE also enables a constant connection to your mobile device, allowing for functions such as geolocation and automatic image transfer.
Other Camera Features
- Lumix Tether software allows you to shoot tethered to a computer via USB connection. This software enables full camera control and shooting from the computer, along with video and 4K PHOTO modes support, with the added benefit of previewing and reviewing your imagery from a larger computer monitor.
- A mechanical focal plane shutter enables a fast maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 sec., as well as a top flash sync speed of 1/250 sec. An electronic shutter function also avails a top shutter speed of 1/16,000 sec. to better enable working in bright conditions and with wider aperture settings.
- Raw image files can be processed in-camera for a more streamlined post-production workflow.
- Depending on the lens in use, the included DMW-BLF19 battery provides approximately 440 shots per charge when using the rear monitor, or 410 with the electronic viewfinder.
- Photo Style modes: Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait, Custom, Cinelike D, and Cinelike V.
- Creative Control modes: Expressive, Retro, Old Days, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Monochrome, Dynamic Monochrome, Rough Monochrome, Silky Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic, Cross Process, Toy Effect, Toy Pop, Bleach Bypass, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, Fantasy, Star Filter, One Point Color, and Sunshine.