I have had the GH4 for three years, the GH5 for three days – Here are my early thoughts on the GH5

Summary Review: 

  • The GH5 offers 4k at 60fps and it looks gorgeous or shoot 4:2:2 10bit 4k for better color grading
  • The sensor is stabilized providing extremely smooth handheld footage with IS enabled lenses
  • Slow mo options are better and higher quality
  • Low light performance has improved – noticeably better but not OMG amazing difference
  • Autofocus seems to be similar, no real improvements over GH4
  • Additional Pro level tools- Focus Transition, Waveform and Vector Scopes

SAMPLE GH5 Photos

The GH4 pushed the envelope with a full featured video camera and became an extremely popular camera for videographers of all levels. I personally enjoy how beautiful the footage looks and how user friendly the camera is, well suited to casual vlogging or more serious work.   The GH5 continues to be a class leader with frame rates and/or bit rate recording offerings not seen in any other cameras at this price range.  The stabilized sensor now makes it possible to shoot gorgeously smooth handheld video and the sensor upgrade does better in low light(noticeably better but not dramatically better). Autofocus does still seem to be the achilles heel. Not sure I see any noticeable improvement in AF abilities over the GH4 but I plan to test more and make use of several new AF settings in the menu system.    Follow me on Instagram or twitter for updates
Buy the GH4 from B&H Photo
Buy the GH5 from B&H Photo

Buy the Rode Video Mic

 

Full Review:

The Gh5 form and button placement is very similar to the GH4 – though we do have a little joystick nub – useful for menu navigation, focus point selection, the record button has moved up top and the whole camera is slightly bigger and about a 1/2 lb heavier. I am a little bummed that they went bigger heavier, I really like the size of the GH4 but it did allow them to upgrade the viewfinder -which is noticeably bigger and add dual card slots – in the years of hard use and abuse the Gh4 has seen – including shooting days worth of footage in hot Tanzania – I have never had a card or camera write error but having two slots gives you backup, or split video and stills OR just have a massive amount of storage. We also have a full HDMI port and a USB C connection, I am so glad, I hate those fiddly usb3 connections. The USB-C allows for fast image download but does NOT support charging over USB. if you want to charge on the go you need to pick up one of these – And while the Gh5 uses the same battery it does seem like battery life is marginally shorter -likely do to the slightly higher resolution LCD AND the stabilized sensor.

A stabilized sensor! And like the G85 I just reviewed and the Olympus OMD em1 Mark II – when paired with certain lenses you get dual stabilization – useful for longer exposures , though so far I can’t can’t seem to hand hold reliably past a 1/2 second –

0.5 seconds handheld with GH5
4 seconds handheld with the Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II

with the olympus I could get 4 seconds and that was without the dual IS lens. But for video you now have silky smooth footage and can throw on small primes and still get decently smooth footage.

Let’s take a look at the rest of the features

4K at 60fps, nothing else close to this price offers 4k at 60FPS and full sensor use for 4k, no additional crop at 4k like you had with the GH4 – wide lenses stay wide and this provides slight low light improvements. You also have 10 bit recording internally- this means the files respond better to grading and improved slowmo with 180fps at 1080 vs just 120 fps in the Gh4. And with 60 fps at 4k you can do the kind of cinematic slow mo at 30fps and stay at 4K

You now have AUTO ISO available when shooting in Manual Video mode – something I personally appreciate.

And while this isn’t a difference from the Gh4 – it’s important to mention as I get asked often – there is NO recording limit on the GH4 – as long as you have space on the cards and power, the camera will continue to record. It will NOT stop at 29:59 seconds!

And also important for me to mention that you can continue to record 4k even when using the very capable wifi remote – something that sets this camera apart from Olympus and fuji.

It’s not just on the video side, this is a more capable stills camera – with a 20MP sensor ,improved low light handling

DOWNLOAD FULL RESOLUTION FILES FROM BOTH CAMERAS

And you have the 6K photo feature – this is where the camera will take 18MP at 30fps and you can pull out individual still images – they are jpegs so it isn’t terribly exciting BUT certainly lets you nail important moments with basically 30fps!

You also have the post focus feature and in camera 4k timelapse that I mentioned in the G85 review

GH4/GH5 Autofocus

The Gh4 AF I have found to be adequate for my uses – I mostly get focus before starting my videos and it always is fast and responsive when you force focus, half press shutter or back button. When I leave AF on during my videos and record my face – it usually does good job, if you watch some of my videos you can see it hunt some when it really shouldn’t in my opinion and those times I want to have a slightly more dynamic video – walking toward or away from the camera – it’s just OK- I’d give it a 6/10 for reliability with tracking, maybe 6.5. The canon 80D or a sony a6500 gets an 8/10 in my opinion. The GH5 seems very similar to the GH4 in regards to focusing. This is something I don’t want to talk in depth about yet because I haven’t tested enough, I will be back with more as soon as I feel I can definitely say if it is the same or better – but for now it seems very similar so if you were really hoping to get a noticeably better AF system with the GH5 – hold off.

They have added a sweet focus transition tool – basically let’s you rack focus – setting 3 positions and jumping between them during recording. A great way to use AF during video but with the reassurance it is going to land exactly where you want.   They have also added waveform and vector scopes, pro level features no one else offers.

Summary Review: 

The GH4 pushed the envelope with a full featured video camera and became an extremely popular camera for videographers of all levels. I personally enjoy how beautiful the footage looks and how user friendly the camera is, well suited to casual vlogging or more serious work.   The GH5 continues to be a class leader with frame rates and/or bit rate recording offerings not seen in any other cameras at this price range.  The stabilized sensor now makes it possible to shoot gorgeously smooth handheld video and the sensor upgrade does better in low light(noticeably better but not dramatically better). Autofocus does still seem to be the achilles heel. Not sure I see any noticeable improvement in AF abilities over the GH4 but I plan to test more and make use of several new AF settings in the menu system.    Follow me on Instagram or twitter for updates

Buy the GH4 from B&H Photo
Buy the GH5 from B&H Photo

Buy the Rode Video Mic

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