Panasonic Lumix Officially Announces GH5

Posted Jan. 13th, 2017 by Daniel J. Cox

The Consumer and Electronics Trade show (CES) has come and gone, and as the dust settles, Panasonic’s newest flagship camera, the GH5, rises above it all. Below is a short video of my conversation with Sean Robinson about what this camera offers to those of us who are most interested in still photography. More about the details written below.

New 20 Megapixel Sensor

The GH5 has a new Digital LIVE MOS Sensor with an increased pixel count of 25% compared to the GH4, going from 16.05 on the GH4 to 20.3 megapixels on the new GH5. Additionally the new sensor is missing the low pass filter of the GH4.

The collection of 9 awards the Lumix GH5 took home at the recent 2017 CES show in Las Vegas.

Part of the 9 awards the Lumix GH5 took home at the recent 2017 CES show in Las Vegas.

New Venus Engine. Think Computing Power

We all know that our digital cameras today are all about the technology, and technology runs on micro processors. The GH5 has a huge update in computing horse power Panasonic has christened “Venus Engine.” The Venus Engine has been turbo charged and according to the press release includes “Multi-pixel Luminance Generation which renders clear, sharp images by referring to a 9x larger area of pixel information during the de-mosaic process for precise detail reproduction. With Intelligent Detail Processing, the characteristic of every single pixel is analyzed to detect whether the pixel is located at a flat, detail or edge part of the picture. Optimum processing according to the characteristic of each pixel is then applied. This results in high-precision yet natural images with stunning detail suppressing false colors at its referring to a 9x larger area of pixel information during the de-mosaic process for precise detail reproduction. With Intelligent Detail Processing, the characteristic of every single pixel is analyzed to detect whether the pixel is located at a flat, detail or edge part of the picture. Optimum processing according to the characteristic of each pixel is then applied. This results in high-precision yet natural images with stunning detail suppressing false colors at its edges. “


Better Color, Less Noise

Higher quality images with more accurate color and less noise are just a couple of specific improvements the press release also promises. “Three Dimensional Color Control detects not only hue and saturation, but also brightness, and applies optimum control according to the value of each factor. This achieves rich color reproduction from shadows to highlights of the image. The conventional Multi Process NR (Noise Reduction) is upgraded to High Precision Multi Process NR. It boasts 4x the noise identification accuracy compared to the previous engine and preserves details even after the noise reduction process. As a result, photos can be clearly shot even at high sensitivity ISO values of up to 25,600.”

5 Stops of Blur Resistant Image Stability

In-body 5-axis image stabilization combined with Panasonic’s lens IS provide us the what is now legendary IS capabilities known as Dual IS. This is just one more reason not to bring a tripod any longer. Some unique photo opportunities like Northern Lights, silky water, and long exposure via neutral density filters will still require a tripod, but general shooting with a tripod is dead.

Dual SDHC Card Slots (UHS-II)

Having a second SDHC card slot is a great addition to the GH5. Many photographers want that extra slot to make certain they never run out of space for capturing images. Both slots take the highest speed cards possible.

Improved AF With Even Better DFD Technology

Fast and accurate autofocus has been one technologies the Micro Four Thirds cameras have had a hard time replicating when compared to the traditional DSLR’s. But Panasonic’s DFD system proved they were making huge progress in getting up to speed with both Nikon and Canon AF systems. Once again the press release suggests the AF advances are going to be a very big deal. Here are the details based on Panasonic’s press release. “The speed of sensor drive during auto focusing in photo shooting mode has been increased to 480 fps, which is 2x faster than that of the GH4. Consequently, the LUMIX GH5 realizes ultra-high-speed AF of approximately 0.05 sec7 and 12 (AFS) / 9 (AFC) fps high-speed burst shooting using a mechanical shutter in full resolution. By analyzing every single frame precisely, it achieves a maximum 200% higher precision frame detection with minimum motion detection error for higher tracking tolerance against moving subjects.

For even more precise focusing, the number of focus areas has been increased from 49 to 225. Users can create a group of focus areas depending on the composition and can control it easily with a new joystick located on the thumb position, without taking your eyes off the subject. This is possible even when using the LVF or releasing the finger off the shutter button.”

4K Photo Mode Gets a Boost to 6K Photo Mode

With 4K Photo Mode we had the ability to pull 8 megapixel stills from a video clip shot in 4K. With the GH5 that 8 megapixel clip gets pushed up to 18 megapixels. One of the downsides in the GH4’s 4K Photo Mode was the AF did not work well when shooting in video. Panasonic has promised AF in video mode is vastly improved, possibly allowing us to shoot action in 6K Photo Mode.

Super Mobile, Extremely Durable

The GH5’s front and rear body is made of all magnesium alloy, full die-cast. Every button and dial is sealed from dust and moisture and rated to be freeze-proof down to -10 degrees Celsius.

Class Leading EVF

Getting a good, clear and crip view through an electronic viewfinder has never been a strong point for all mirrorless cameras, but I had a chance to take a look at the GH5’s new EVF and it’s superb. The press release gives the details as “The LUMIX GH5 has a large LVF (Live View Finder) with a stunningly high magnification ratio of approximately 1.52x / 0.76x (35mm camera equivalent). The high-precision, high-speed OLED display features 3,680K-dot high resolution and 100% field of view. Adopting a static-type touch control system, the 3.2-inch free-angle rear screen in 3:2 aspect with 1,620K-dot high resolution achieves approximately 100% field of view.”

Expandability, Optional Accessories, Other Features

  • The LUMIX GH5 integrates Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi® 5GHz (IEEE 802.11ac) connectivity to offer a more flexible shooting experience and instant image sharing with easy operation.
  • The LUMIX GH5 is compatible with the new Battery Grip DMW-BGGH5. By using two batteries, one in the camera and the other in the grip, the DMW-BGGH5 extends the battery life for longer time shooting.
  • The optionally available microphone adaptor DMW-XLR1 is a plug-in type adaptor for XLR microphone to record high quality stereo sound.
  • To save power, the camera automatically enters sleep mode after detecting the eye is off the LVF sensor. Various shutter systems are available with the LUMIX GH5: A mechanical shutter with maximum 1/8000 sec, an electronic-first curtain shutter with maximum 1/2000 sec which can be used with flash while suppressing the shutter shock, and an electronic shutter without shutter shock with maximum 1/6000 sec. Firmware updates will add: Full HD 4:2:2 10bit video recording capability (scheduled for April 2017); 400Mbps 4:2:2 10bit All-Intra video recording in 4K 30p/25p/24p; Full HD, high resolution video recording in Anamorphic mode; Hybrid Log Gamma in Photo Style mode which enables popular 4K HDR video recording and USB tethering (all scheduled for second half of 2017).

GH5 Takes Home Nine Awards at CES 2017

Digital Trends Photography – Top Tech of CES 2017 CES Editor’s Choice

Best of CES 2017 – Top 10 Aving News Global Network Editor’s Choice

HD Guru – Top Pick CES 2017

Videomaker – Best of CES 2017

TechRadar Awards 2017 – Best Digital Camera

Mashable – CES Top Picks 2017

PC Mag – Best of CES 2017

CES Innovation Awards 2017 Digital Imaging – Honoree

The new GH5 is an exciting addition to our world of Micro Four Thirds cameras and I’m really excited to give it a try. It’s going to be interesting since I’m writing this at the airport, on my way home from a shoot at Bosque del Apache where I was using the new Lumix G85 as well as the new Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark ll. I plan on writing a review on both in the next two weeks but I can tell you now, the GH5 is going to have a very difficult time beating the new Olympus when it comes to still photography. I truly hope to be pleasantly surprised with the GH5. To say the Olympus surprised me would be an extreme understatement.

Updated lenses announced

Along with the GH5, Panasonic also announced updates to three of their current lenses. The lenses are the 12-35mm F/2.8, 35-100mm F/2.8 and the 100-300mm F/4-5.6. From what I’m told the optical design in all lenses will be the same. However, the cosmetics will change slightly on the 12-35 and the 35-100mm, both will have a solid black, metal housing and be Dual IS compatible right out of the box. The 100-300mm will also be Dual IS compatible, have improved, much faster AF capabilities and be upgraded with weather sealing.

Add Your Voice!
There are 18 comments on this post…
  1. Dave GlatzOn Jan. 21st, 2017

    Dan it also looks like the GH5 shoots 4K video with NO CROP. I don’t think any other DSLR or M4/3 does this – although I’m not sure about Sony offerings. That is a HUGE advantage for serious video shooters (or aspiring video shooters like Shiela). I understand the Nikon D500 has a 1.5 or so crop factor and even the Panasonic GH4 has a 2.0 or so crop factor when shooting 4K. The GH5 shooting 4K with NO CROP is one of the reasons we ordered one. Very excited to take it through its paces for video. Looks like the latest greatest video technology in this form factor.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 21st, 2017

      You’re right Dave. The GH5 is shooting the full sensor. Not sure about the Sony products but they aren’t an option in my mind due to the necessity of Full Frame lenses that are the same size, weight and cost as what I used to shoot with Nikon. The Lumix MFT system is so much fun to haul around compared to what I used to do with traditional DSLRs. The other benefit I think Shiela is going to like is quality of the stills from this new camera. Like the GH4 before it, the GH5 is getting fabulous reviews for it’s video but it’s not just a video camera. I’ll be using it mostly for stills but will enjoy the video capabilities when I need them.

  2. RikardOn Jan. 19th, 2017

    Hi Daniel
    The GH5 is more expensive than the Nikon D750 and Nikon D500. Both are great cameras with great image qualities, but bigger and heavier.

    With a higher price can we assume that the GH5 will have the same or better image quality compared to them? The same or better low light performance (ISO/noise reduction) compared to them? The same or better autofocus compared to the D500?

    If not why is the GH5 so expensive?

    For me I am considering moving to Nikon from using the Panasonic GH3/GH4 for many years if not the GH5 takes a giant step forward in these areas I wrote above.

    Best regards

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 19th, 2017

      Rikard, I have my doubts the GH5 is going to equal the image quality, AF capabilities and High ISO performance of the Nikon D500. Why then would you want to use a GH5 over a D500? I can suggest many reasons. First the GH5 will give you the ability to use smaller and generally less costly telephoto, zoom lenses. Nikon’s 80-400mm is currently selling for $2296.00US on the B&H Photo web site. The Leica 100-400mm is selling for $1798.00US. The Leica will give you a full frame equivalent of 800mm where as the Nikon will give you a FF equivalent of 600mm. Let’s do a comparison of Nikon’s 600mm F/4 and the equivalent Olympus 300mm F/4 (600mm full frame equivalent). I shot a Nikon 600mm f/4 for almost 30+ years. Today if I bought that lens it would set me back a little over $12,000US. The Olympus I use which is a 300mm F/4 (600mm Full Frame equivalent) is only $2500.00US. The Nikon weighs 8.40lbs. The Olympus weighs 3.25lbs.

      If you shoot video, there will be no comparison between the Nikon D500 and the GH5. Video quality will be much superior in the GH5. When it comes to ergonomics and ease of use, the GH5 is going to have an advantage with Touch Screen capabilities, wireless transfer and much smaller form factor than the D500. Smaller form factor means much easier system to schlep from point A to point B and it was this advantage that made me start looking at the Lumix system.

      Admittedly, Nikon is giving MFT a run for their money when it comes to price but the D500 is pretty much the same old technology with the exception of an updated image sensor and advanced AF system. I see the MFT mirrorless cameras as the future. Nikon has the ability to really make the price of their cameras competitive with the newer MFT cameras because Olympus and Lumix won’t be selling nearly as many. Nikon has the entrenched advantage of name and brand recognition but the MFT companies are chipping away with great new tools.

      I shot Nikon cameras almost 40 years and as far as I’m concerned they’ve let me down in bringing new technology in a smaller package. I’m tired of waiting for them to catch up. Lumix and Olympus are producing quality new products in months compared to Nikon and Canon taking years. It’s all moving at lightning speed and I got tired of Nikon moving at a snails pace.

    • Mike GOn Jan. 21st, 2017

      One other thing to add on Nikon APS-C vs micro four thirds regarding lenses. Due to lack of investment by Nikon (and Canon) many of the lenses you must use to get a full system are designed for full frame cameras. This leaves you with larger and heavier lenses than you need, and sometimes not the range you want (eg 70-200mm on APS-C becomes an effective 105-300mm, which can be a problem if the lens on your second camera tops out at an effective 35mm, there are a few third party options to fill in the gap – but to me it speaks volumes about how Nikon and Canon neglect their crop sensor systems).

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 21st, 2017

      My theory on why they neglect their crop censored systems has to do with the fact they’re not excited about you buying those systems. They do just what they have to and when you are no longer happy with the smaller system they’re happy to sell you the more expensive full frame cameras. MFT, Lumix and Panasonic, have committed to one sized sensor so they continue to work hard to make the MFT the best it can be. Nikon and Canon don’t put as much effort into their cropped sensor cameras since they know you will buy the full frame if you really want ultimate quality. It’s why I believe MFT will just keep getting better and all at smaller sizes, less cost and more bang for our buck.

  3. Portrait of Ray Hirsch

    Ray HirschOn Jan. 18th, 2017

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for your comments on GH5. Looks like a real threat to the Oly EM1-II. I was originally going to upgrade to the EM-1 II, but the GH5 was announced so soon after the new EM-1, that I decided to wait. I will be very interested in your comparison of the GH5 vs. EM-1 II. Also, at CES did you hear much about what could be the next advance in sensor technology called RGBW sensors which adds a white pixel to improve performance in sensitivity while reducing noise at the same time. Also said to improve contrast even at high ISO’s. Some suggest that Nikon is moving in this direction.

    All the best,

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 19th, 2017

      I think both cameras will once again be very competitive with each other. The Olympus has it’s advantages with the incredibly high frame rates it has the potential to crank out but at 60FPS and a buffer that tops out at 77 photos, that doest allow you to shoot much at 60FPS so that feature is a bit odd frankly. Panasonic will once again lead the way with video and most likely be criticized for it’s stills, even though I’ve not sen an Olympus body yet that is any better at stills than the top off the line Lumix bodies. I did get a chance to see the GH5 and the EVF is spectacular as well as the rear LCD. The High ISO looked extremely impressive but admittedly I could only view it on the rear of the camera.

  4. Dave GlatzOn Jan. 15th, 2017

    Nice interview and solid post, Daniel. Lots of information here. Shiela is absorbing it all!!

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 15th, 2017

      That’s why I consider Shiela one of my top students

  5. Portrait of Jane Scott Norris

    Jane Scott NorrisOn Jan. 14th, 2017

    Thanks Dan for the first impressions. Look forward to your review of the Olympus and a comparison of the 2 cameras. In the interim, could you please comment on the new versions of the 12-35 and 35-100? What’s new in those lenses? Will we need to upgrade in order to maximize use of the new cameras? Thanks.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 15th, 2017

      Hi Jane, I’ll be shooting the Olympus in Kenya this next week. I recently shot the OM-D EM-1 Mark ll in Bosque del Apache and was very, very impressed. Still not fond of the Olympus menus system but I’ve been able to navigate the Custom menus and have it setup as close to my Lumix cameras as possible. My initials impression of the Olympus is very positive but I can’t wait to give the new GH5 a serious test as well. Will let you know how it goes.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 19th, 2017

      Hi Jane, from what I know the new 12-35 and 35-100 is pretty much all cosmetic. The older version work with the Dual IS. I did hear that the new versions of these lenses “may” have better coatings to reduce flare which would be a big deal since I’ve not been happy about flair in the 12-35mm. Will tray and find out more for sure and report back here.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 19th, 2017

      Jane, I received direct info form my Panasonic contacts and here’s what are the differences between old and new 12-35 and 35-100mm lenses.

      Lots of rumors flying around.
      1. Cosmetic makeover
      2. Out of box “Dual IS” compatibility
      3. For those that were not weather sealed, the new versions will be.
      4. ABSOLUTELY no optic / quality / coating differences.
      5. In some cases, older versions will get Dual IS updates. 45-200 and 100-300 will not. These were some of the first lens we released and their internal design will not be capable of responding to the faster frame sampling.

  6. Paul RossOn Jan. 13th, 2017

    Last year you gave good advice concerning the Panasonic 100-400mm lens and bought one and use it as my main lens for outdoor wildlife shooting. Now that you have had a chance to use th eOlympus EM1 mk2, I wonder if you have used it with the Pana 100-400mm lens and can offer any observations. I use the Pana lens with the GX8 and find it rather good, but there are several issues with the GX8 that make me thing the Olympus EM1mk2 that might be an inprovement. I am thinking of focus accuracy and speed particularly with moving targets like BIF. And if I can anticipate an increase in Image quality with the new Olympus m2?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 19th, 2017

      Paul, I just finished a short report after a few days shooting with the new Olympus OM-D EM-1 Mark ll and the 100-400mm lens. It looks quite positive for both. You can check it out at

  7. Glen A. FoxOn Jan. 13th, 2017

    This looks very exciting, even as a still shooter’s camera, but as you said in your final comment, its got some tough competition in the form of the new Olympus EM-1 Mk ii. We are fortunate to have two fantastic bodies to choose from. It may all come down to IQ, noise, and ISO performance. From what I’ve read and heard, the new GH5 may be the winner there. I’ll be anxious to read your thoughts after using the EM-1ii at Bosque. As you know, bird photography is particularly challenging, and rendering of feather detail is critical. We have a great arsenal of lenses available to us, so lets hope the new bodies can make optimal use of the light they resolve.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 19th, 2017

      Just finished a short report on the new Olympus and the 100-400mm lens. You can read it here Thanks for stopping by and offering your input.

Add your voice to this conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In an effort to combat spam, your comment may be held for a brief moderation period.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.