Panasonic Lumix GH5s Mirrorless Camera Review (2020 Update)

Gear Aug 11, 2020

Following the outstanding Panasonic Lumix GH5, the brand has introduced the Lumix GH5s mirrorless camera which is reaching new heights in recordings low-light and high-quality images that are expanding the possibilities for video makers.

Let’s take a closer look at the Panasonic Lumix GH5s:

  • Panasonic Lumix GH5s Features
  • GH5s vs. GH5 vs. GH9
  • Reviews
  • Update: Is it still a good idea to purchase a Panasonic GH5s in 2020?
  • Specs Overview
  • FAQs

Panasonic Lumix GH5s Features

Compared to GH5, the Lumix GH5s has a newly designed chip with half of the megapixels count, which is now at 10.2 MP. Panasonic is the only brand to go for a hybrid camera in the other direction. With GH5s, Panasonic decided to prioritise the video instead of photography which targets a smaller customer group but is also very unique on the market.

Image quality

It has a Digital Live MOS Sensor with newly developed Dual Native ISO Technologies which are combined with high-performance Venus Engine. With this combination, the Lumix GH5s has achieved the highest sensitivity and therefore, the best image quality in Lumix history.

Dual Native ISO is a radical technology that offers the advantage of having very high sensitivity while keeping the noise levels down. This extremely high sensitivity allows GH5s display subjects hidden in the dark and low-lit environments.

With a combination of an internal recording of video in 4:2:2 10-bit, 10.2 megapixels, and Digital Live MOS Sensor which is backed by a Venus Engine, the camera produces images with highly improved faithful colour reproduction and grading.

The new Lumix GH5s sensor can handle multiple aspect ratios: 4:3,17:9, and 3:2. Due to the broad margins of effective pixels, the focal length doesn’t change in these aspect ratios. GH5s can capture up to almost 14 stops of dynamic range, which is comparable to advanced cinema cameras from RED or Arri.

Panasonic Lumix GH5 and GH5s Camera Equipment and Accessories

Performance

The first Lumix GH5 was able to record 4K/60p and 4K/50p videos on a DLSM camera. The GH5s allows expanding your creative possibilities even further and now includes 4,096×2,160 Cinema 4K 60p/50p video recordings.

Moreover, there is no limit to the recording time, even when shooting full HD or 4K videos (of course, subjective to the size of the SD card and battery life).

The GH5S includes an option of a 4K HDR video, but not the 6k as it simply doesn’t have the megapixel capacity. The HDR is a mode, where both bright parts and dark parts of an image can be reproduced, by that making the subject appear as the human eyes perceive it.

There are also both 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks included, as well as an onboard stereo mic with a third, hidden noise cancellation mic.

Anamorphic Mode

The Lumix GH5s has a built-in 4:3 anamorphic mode, which makes it possible to create videos in the cinemascope format using an anamorphic lens. These stunning cinemascope videos are created in post-production using specific software, but the de-squeezed cinemascope images can be previewed while recording. Read more about how to shoot anamorphic here.

Connectivity

For more flexible shooting, faster image sharing, and smoother remote control, the Lumix GH5s has Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi connectivity. It is allowing your GH5s to connect to a smartphone, tablet, or computer and shoot, browse and share images remotely. Moreover, on a multiple GH5s camera shoot, the main camera settings can be transmitted wirelessly to other GH5s units.

GH5s vs. GH5 vs. GH9

V-Log is now built-in, instead of having it to purchase separately as with GH5. GH5s supports anamorphic as well as GH5.

GH5s’ AF speed is slightly slower than that of GH5 and lacks the in-body stabilisation but compensates in a very high-quality video and many other features.

Image Quality

Native ISO ranges from 160 to 51,200 and Extended ISO from 80 to unbelievable 204,800. With this camera, you can really reach the high ISO with less noise and create stunning results. Video is very crisp and noise levels are well controlled up to ISO 6400. Higher ISO still has usable results but looks unnatural.

As mentioned earlier, ISO performance is amazing, and the video quality is excellent. Additionally, it includes cinema 4K & UHD video up to 60p, Full HD up to 240p, and 10-bit internal video recording.

Design

The design of the hardware is almost completely the same as its predecessor GH5. If you know how to use GH5 then GH5s is a piece of cake. You can read about the GH5 in our blog review.

Photographer holding Panasonic Lumix GH5S camera in smoke

However, the biggest difference between these two products is that with its image sensor, these cameras are supposed to serve completely different segments. GH5 is for someone who needs everything – shooting stills and recording great videos too. GH5s is meant for low-light specialists and rather professional video makers.

It is not all about the megapixels!

Even though GH5s is a newer model, the megapixels dropped by half in comparison to GH5. However, 10-megapixel resolution means much better low-light and video capture.

Differences between Panasonic Lumix GH9 and GH5s

GH9 and GH5s are also targeted to very different segments - GH9 was designed with action and wildlife photographers in mind, while GH5s is aimed at videographers. With GH9, there is a record limit when in comparison, GH5s does not have any, except battery life or memory cards. With GH5s you can use the dual memory cards and save your video continuously which you cannot do with the GH9.

Image Quality

GH9 has 20 MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor, which is almost double of the GH5s and comparable to GH5. ISO ranges from 200 – 25600 and has 20.0 fps continuous shooting. However, in movie mode ISO range narrows down to 12800.

Autofocus

The G9 is faster with a 0.04s focus acquisition time instead of the 0.07s speed of the GH5s. GH9 has 20/60fps continuous shooting, 4K UHD video with 10-bit capture, and fast and effective autofocus.

Conclusion

The con is that it includes a smaller sensor than most rivals, lacks DSLR battery life but it is still a cheaper choice with a release price of only $1699.

All three cameras are light but have a deep comfortable grip and fine design, weather-sealed body, and 4k video recording. GH9 is a bit smaller, has lower video resolution, a lower battery life by 40 shots, but can shoot in 6k, which extracts 18MP images.

The choice should now be simple.

If you are a photographer rather than a videographer, you should go with GH5 or GH9. If you want the best-stabilised images, you'll want to stick with the GH5. But if you choose the GH5s instead, you will find that its much broader sensitivity range and lower noise levels allow you to use a higher sensitivity to achieve a faster shutter speed, so stabilisation might not be even needed.

After-all, GH5s is definitely a camera for video making rather than photographing stills.

Reviews of the Panasonic Lumix GH5s

Update: Is it still a good idea to purchase a Panasonic GH5s in 2020?

The GH5S was released at the end of January 2018 with a starting price of $2500, which was higher than for its predecessor Lumix GH5. Nowadays, you can easily grab it for $1797.99 from Amazon. In 2020, it is still a couple of hundreds more expensive than the GH5.

The reason why GH5S is still one of the best cameras in 2020, is great colours, the slow-motion at 4k 60fps, and the incredibly low-light capability that you will not find in a similar price range.

Sure, the camera lacks the aforementioned in-built body image stabilisation, but it makes up for it with its 10.2 MP sensor, which allows the extremely wide range of ISO. It can also record externally with HDMI, but it is appreciated that video can be recorded and saved straight to an SD card with such a high quality.

No other company has attempted to make this kind of camera as GH5S doesn’t bring value to as many people as let’s say GH5. With GH5S, you can do more in less time, while still delivering high-quality results for a cheap price.

Person holding Panasonic Lumix GH5S camera smoking

Specs Overview

Sensor: 10.2MP oversized Micro Four Thirds CMOS

ISO sensitivity: 160 – 51200 ISO (Pull 80, Push up to 204800)

Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds

Screen: 3.2-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1,620,000 dots

Burst shooting: 12fps

Autofocus: 225-area AF

Video: 4K

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth

Battery life: 440 shots

Camera weight: 660 g (includes batteries)

Built-in flash: None

Sensor shift image stabilisation: No

FAQs

Does the GH5s has a recording time limit?
There are no record time limits. It has an unlimited continuous recording time at all resolutions, unless there is no more battery life or the memory card is full.

What is the crop factor, when shooting 240 fps?
There is no crop factor. It is just consistent.

Where is the image stabilization?
The Panasonic GH5s has a relevantly bigger sensor and therefore it is lacking stabilization. This camera is mostly focusing on filmmaking, where the creator has the complete control over the sensor.

Places for you to purchase and rent the Panasonic GH5s

If you are considering getting started shooting with the Panasonic GH5s, you can rent daily, weekly or monthly from Wedio (Available in Denmark, Berlin, Amsterdam, and London), a camera-sharing community, or buy from your local retailer.