Panasonic GH5 Mark II In-depth Review

Let’s take a closer look at Panasonic’s latest release, the LUMIX GH5 Mark II.


The Back Story

The GH5 has been around for a few years since its release and has become the go-to camera for indie filmmakers, vloggers and content creators. However, while the updated GH5 Mark II may seem incremental, it clearly shows that Panasonic has been listening to their customers when they released the Mark II.


Similarities

While the camera looks identical to its predecessor, Panasonic has made some changes under the hood. The AF system has been improved dramatically, along with the addition of live streaming straight from the camera with no computer required.

Certain features have also been included from Panasonic's S1H and S5 cameras, such as built-in V-Log. This new update is no longer a paid update but is included in the camera from the start, much like the GH5S.


4K Video and Live Streaming

With the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II, you now have the ability to record at 4K 10-bit 4:2:0 in-camera. Live streaming has also been included and can be used in a number of ways. The simplest of which is tethering the camera straight to your phone and streaming directly to YouTube. You can read more on the live streaming feature here >

Another great addition is the luminance spot meter, which indicated exposure by means of a small block on the rear LCD. The waveform monitor can now also be scaled in size, making it much easier to read on the fly. 

As I mentioned before, V-log is now included along with a few new cine-style presets, such as Cinelike V2 (for straight to video), Cinelike D2 (for maximum dynamic range), which were both included on the S1H and S5. We also have L Monochrome S and L Classic Neo, which gives a film look in-camera.


A Tweaked Sensor

The sensor is the same 20.3 megapixels CMOS micro-four-thirds sensor as can be seen in the previous GH5, however, it's now coated with a new anti-reflective coating to help reduce flare regardless of the lens you're using.

The optical low pass filter has also been removed to increase sharpness and detail. If you're worried about moire, it's certainly a thing of the past thanks to the new Venus processor which has the ability to suppress any artefacts. The GH5 II can still shoot in DCI 4K or cinema 4K, but you're now able to shoot up to 30 fps 4:2:2 10-bit. You can also shoot at 60fps, however, this mode is only available as 4:2:0 10-bit in-camera. 


An Improved LCD Screen

The LCD screen has also been improved. You may notice it's slightly smaller than the original GH5 by .2 inches, however, Panasonic has increased the brightness significantly, which means viewing this monitor in bright daylight is much easier now.


Familiar Design and Layout

The GH5 Mark II has the same body and button placement, which makes it great if you've invested in a cage for your older GH5. This means you'll be able to fit your cage onto the new GH5 Mark II as well. The only difference with the new body is the recording button being a red colour, making it easier to spot when you're out in the field and brings the aesthetics in line with the newer Lumix range of cameras. 

The custom function 1 button has also changed to a dedicated colour profile button. Other than that, you still have your dual SD card slots and the same physical connections, such as mic, headphone jacks, full-size HDMI and USB-C on the side. The USB-C also supports power delivery, which means you are able to charge the camera via USB. 


Battery Upgrades

Speaking of charging, the battery has now been improved with the DMW-BLK22e battery, which are the same batteries used in the S5. The GH5 is also backward compatible with the older GH5 batteries, so if you have any of those lying around, you can still use them. It's important to note that only the newer charger can charge both types of batteries. 


Never Miss Focus Again

Most of the mirrorless lenses today are focus-by-wire lenses, which means that the focus isn't always as smooth and precise as one would expect to see on the more expensive cine lenses. 

However, Panasonic has taken another great feature from the S5, which is the ability to change the linearity of the focus from a fully linear to a completely non-linear response. Changing the settings in the menu to a fully linear response means the lens will act more like a mechanical lens and increase the throw of the focus ring. This gives you the ability for more precise and accurate manual focus, as well as the ability to use this in conjunction with follow focus mechanisms. 

While staying on the subject of focusing, Panasonic has dramatically improved the speed and subject tracking from the older GH5, thanks to the new Venus engine. The same processor, in fact, can be seen on the S1H. This enables the GH5 Mark II to have the same 225 area DFD points as the older GH5, but vastly improve the speed and accuracy of its autofocus system. 


Animal, Head and Body AF Detection

Due to the smaller micro-four-thirds sensor, speeds are also dramatically increased thanks to the smaller sensor readout area, which is similar when using the cropped feature on the S5. You also have the new focus features such as Animal, head and body autofocus detection, which helps a lot when locking on to any moving subjects. 

Unfortunately, no AF functionality is available when using the slow-motion VFR modes, however, you can use AF before you hit record and lock your focus in that way.


Live Streaming

Heading over now to the biggest feature of the GH5 Mark II, the live streaming functionality. This will make many content creators happy to know that you no longer require any form of additional streaming setup to use the built-in live streaming features. 

As I briefly mentioned earlier, the live streaming can be done straight by either tethering your phone to the camera and streaming directly to YouTube, Facebook or custom RTMPS setup, or by using a Wi-Fi hotspot such as your home router. The good news is that streaming can also be done in 1080p at 60fps, 16Megabits per second. You can also use the Lumix Streaming software on either Windows or Mac to tether your GH5 II via USB-C to your computer, however, this will limit the output to 1080p at 30fps.


What about the LUMIX GH6?

The good news doesn't stop there. Along with the GH5 Mark II announcement made earlier this year, Panasonic also announced the GH6. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of information on this new camera just yet, however, the specs have been released and look incredible!

It's important to note this is not an iteration of the GH5 as it features a completely new sensor, processor and the ability to record at 4K 120fps in 10-bit. It will also have 5.7K 60p at 10-bit and will be released towards the end of 2021. 

It's great to see Panasonic rolling out the new GH5 along with the GH6 later this year, meaning you'll have an up to date GH5 to act as a secondary camera along with the GH6, both featuring the latest specs available on the market.

As soon as we know more, we'll be sure to release more info on this very promising camera from Panasonic, so be sure to subscribe to our channel and keep an eye on our website for any of the latest updates. Thank you for reading!


Thank you!

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog, we really do hope they help you out and answer some of your questions. If you still have some unanswered, then please feel free to get in touch with our team of experts.

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  • By Fred van Leeuwen
  • 26 Aug 2021

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