Panasonic GH5S Footage – Shooting a Mini Documentary

The Panasonic GH5S is finally here. Check out the hands-on video we just published containing the highlights of the new camera over the original GH5

Over the course of the last few months we had a chance to test and record with the new camera. In general, my observation is positive and there is no doubt that this new camera will find a warm place in the heart of aspiring filmmakers.

General shooting experience:

The new camera is in a way similar (yet very different) from the original GH5. As such, a quick word about its low-light capabilities and autofocus function. (Tomorrow, my colleague Nino will be posting his full lowlight review and his autofocus observation at the end of this week).

25,600 and still usable, on the GH5S. More on that in a separate video.

Low-light capabilities:

I’m a documentary filmmaker, and as much as I like filming and working with the original GH5, its low-light capabilities were always an obstacle for me, especially if I compare my shooting experience against one of the new Sony a7XX cameras, particularly the a7SII). The smaller sensor size and higher pixel count were always the reason behind this inferior performance, but now, with the introduction of the new camera, Panasonic proves that it can be done right even with an MFT sensor by reducing the amount of sensor pixels and tweak the electronics and software inside. The results are truly amazing. I now feel that I can trust shooting with the new camera even in very poorly-lit situations. Yes, when shooting documentaries, you never know where you will end up and if you will have the time to properly light a scene.

Autofocus function:

For me, the new autofocus system did an OK job most of the time, but I do feel that I need to further explore it in order to get even better results. Working with the Panasonic Lumix Leica 12-60mm lens left me with mixed impressions, but to my surprise the Olympus 12mm f/2 lens worked very well. In the video above I used it quite a lot, also in order to compensate for the missing in-body stabilization. Using a wide angle lens for run-and-gun is always my preferred option. It makes following a subject much easier and interesting to look at.

Nino will come up with more concrete observation regarding autofocus in another post soon.

Noise in picture: 

While being in Japan at the end of last year, I had a chance to run-and-gun with a pre-production model of the GH5S and the results were smooth and beautiful in most lighting conditions. Now that the production model is in-house I must admit that the video does get noisy in some conditions BUT I cannot rule out user error here, despite the fact that I set everything in the camera to the best of my knowledge (V-Log with Sharpness and NR at 0, the standard setting for V-Log). In all honesty, I haven’t found out why (yet)… The video above demonstrates my concerns well. Some shots are noisy even during daylight and under low ISO settings.

This camera incorporates Panasonic’s own Dual Native ISO functionality previously found only in their higher-end models. The native settings are ISO 400 and ISO 2500, though at the point of shooting this documentary, Panasonic couldn’t confirm the exact native ISO values to us yet, so I didn’t know which they were. I will keep updating this post according to my future findings.

The removal of in-body stabilization (IBIS) system:

For some reason, Panasonic chose not to include the in-body stabilization system found on the original GH5. It’s also funny because they use exactly the same camera body. In a way, after getting a useful feature, it is hard to to give it up, but I guess we will have to accept it for now and choose between a camera that has an IBIS (GH5) and one that has a better lowlight capabilities (GH5S).

Summary:

In my opinion, the new Panasonic GH5S is a very capable camera and a more versatile shooting tool than the original GH5 – unless you are a photographer. The lacking IBIS is a let-down.

Settings for the video above: C4K, 25p, 422, 10bit/LongGOP, 150Mbps. Shot on V-Log with standard setting.

Music: https://artlist.io The Isle of Skye by The Highlands and Arisaig by The Highlands

A special thanks to Alba Fortuny, who used to be an intern in my colleague Nino’s production company, for participating in this video. If you want to support Alba in finishing her documentary, please contact her via Facebook. She needs €2,000 to finish her documentary. We will support her with the small sponsorship income we make from this video. 

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Reply
Ted Ramasola January 8, 2018

Nice Berlin doc, Johnnie. -as usual! Question, looking at the opening and later shots of trains, I noticed less “slanted” verticals. Especially that opening train pov. Have you tested or noticed an improvement in rolling shutter jello?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri January 8, 2018

Thank you Ted!.

The rolling shutter is being maintained very well with this camera!

BrunoSlam Compte A Rebours Reply
BrunoSlam Compte A Rebours January 8, 2018

How would you compare the low light capabilities to the A7SII ?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri January 8, 2018

Hi BrunoSlam Compte A Rebours.

We are currently compering both cameras and hope to come up with the finished review later this week. (Tomorrow we will publish the compression we did between the original GH5 and the new GH5S).

Johnnie

Tim Naylor Reply
Tim Naylor January 8, 2018

Excellent images. Could you comment on rolling shutter? I didn’t see any on video. It’s always been the worst aspect of my A7s II. Also, how well did the images grade? I like how you took the highlights to the limit. Was the latitude in V Log decent?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri January 8, 2018

Hi Tim.
As always, good to hear from you again! (And thanks for your thumbs up).

The Panasonic GH5S is a very nice camera to work with. The rolling shutter is minimal and the image grades very well. The latitude in V log was decent indeed. (In the article body there is a link to the ungraded video).

Thank you again.

Johnnie

Reply
John Wilson January 9, 2018

No ibis….if had i would consider this…

Angus Khan Reply
Angus Khan January 9, 2018

Dynamic range sucks.

Reply
Kevin Almodovar January 9, 2018

Nicely done. Some great shots in there. Panasonic is alway making strides and listening to consumers.

Reply
Ak ns reddy January 9, 2018

Hello sir, Does it get ALL-I codec like gh5? higher bitrate? 180fps in full sensor readout?

Reply
Johnnie Behiri January 9, 2018

Hi Ak ns reddy.

The new camera have zillion of frame rates (Some are new), and like with the GH5, different types of codecs to go along with them. Most if not all the high frame rate are using the sensor in a cropped mode.

Thank you.
Johnnie

Vladislav Kurashov Reply
Vladislav Kurashov January 9, 2018

5d mk2?

Reply
manuel de teffe January 9, 2018

Johnnie: happy new year! Am I the only one who is noticing a better dynamic range, and more organic look in the GH5s if compared to the gh5?

Reply
RG Kissoon January 13, 2018

Can you tell me anything about the busker?

Reply
Brian Arnold February 15, 2018

Thanks for the video and article, Johnnie. I have had the GH5s for about a week now, testing it at higher ISOs in different picture profiles. All the videos I’ve been seeing online have very clean images, and so I can’t help but notice there is a certain graininess in the shadows and even midtones of some of these test shots that I’ve been taking. Have you figured out anymore about why that might be? I’m also very new to shooting with this caliber of video camera and so I suspect I don’t know the tricks to cleaning up the image yet.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri February 15, 2018

Hi Brian, sorry for my late response. Was caught making the FUJIFILM X-H1 review…

You are absolutely right about seeing graininess in the shadows. (I also mentioned it in my article).

All I can say for now is that we brought this issue to the attention of Panasonic.

In regards to “tricks for cleaning the image”….Where to start….

Thank you.

Johnnie

Reply
Brian Arnold February 16, 2018

Thanks Johnnie.

So you think it might be a firmware issue and not the unit itself?

I’ve been struggling to understand the discrepancy between all the low light rave reviews on the Internet and the images I’ve actually been pulling from the camera.

Thanks.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri February 17, 2018

Hi Brian.

Self working technic and knowledge can improve the results coming out of the GH5S but to my taste there is definitely camera issue with noise in the shadows and not necessary only in low light.

Thank you!

Johnnie