Panasonic GH5S review

Panasonic’s new mirrorless camera is designed for video first and stills second, so what does this mean for photographers?

TODO alt text

Panasonic GH5S verdict

As a 4K video camera, the GH5S is extremely powerful and extremely good value. Our real-world tests indicate its high-ISO performance still lags slightly behind its bigger-sensor rivals, but professionals will love its high frame rates, 10-bit 4:2:2 recording and high bitrates. It’s not all good, though. The lack of in-body-stabilisation will put many people off, and the 10MP resolution is just too low for it to be a convincing stills camera.

If what you really want is a balanced hybrid stills and video camera, the regular GH5 is a better choice. The GH5S only makes sense if video is the top priority and stills are secondary – or you’re not going to use it for stills at all. There’s a strong argument for pro Panasonic stills and video shooters to keep two camera bodies – a GH5S for video and a G9 for stills. It’s a more expensive solution, but if you need to shoot video at this level then some expense is inevitable. 

Panasonic GH5S competition

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

The EOS 5D Mark IV has a 30.4MP sensor, but its 4K video comes with a heavy crop factor and it can’t match the GH5S’s frame rates and recording specs.

Panasonic GH5

The GH5 loses out slightly to the GH5S for video features, but it’s a far better stills camera and closer to the ideal stills/video crossover camera.

Sony A7S II

Now almost two-and-a-half years old, the A7S II is losing the competitive advantage it once had, and it now looks very expensive compared to the GH5S.

Panasonic GH5S specifications

Sensor: 10.2MP Micro Four Thirds Live MOS, 17.3 × 13.0mm
Image processor: Venus
AF points: 225-point DFD contrast AF
ISO range: 160-51,200 (expandable to 80-204,800)
Max image size: 3,680 x 2,760
Metering zones: 1,728
Video: C4K/4K UHD at up to 60/50fps, Full HD at up to 240fps
Viewfinder: OLED, 3,680,000 dots
Memory card: 2x SD/SDHC/SDXC (both UHS-II)
LCD: 3.2in vari-angle touchscreen, 1,620,000 dots
Max burst: 11fps (with AF-S), 7fps (with AF-C)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Size: 138.5 x 98.1 x 87.4mm
Weight: 660g (with battery and memory card)