Tuesday, 10 January 2017

N&R: Panasonic launches us into 2017

So, the end of 2017 as quiet, but Panasonic brought out the first major release of 2017 with the GH5 and extra goodies. Is it a worthy successor to the GH4?

The first thing to note about the GH5 is that it is larger than the GH4. Not only 5% taller and wider than the GH4, but a significant 30% heavier. This, interestingly enough, makes it even bigger and heavier than the full-frame Sony A7SII, and not far off the smaller full-frame DSLRs.

There may still be advantages in the lenses used, but this is not a camera for those going to micro 43s for the smaller size.

I'm onyl going to touch on a few things that stand out about the GH5. The first is the increased colour (4:2:2) that is now captured internally to file. However, if you want to grade from a flat v-log file, you'll still have to part cash for the V-Log profile. As what DPReview said:
Panasonic suggests that VLogL is a paid upgrade to insure that only users who know that they need it, and how to use it, have access to the feature...if there's any camera that should include Log gamma out of the box, this is the one. We fear that the pay-to upgrade approach will have the effect of discouraging curious, but less experienced, filmmakers from experimenting with and learning to use this valuable tool.
It might be easier to believe Panasonic's intentions, if they weren't including the VLogL profile as pre-order incentive.

It's as if they don't case users might not get optimal results!
Another interesting feature is the dual cards, that actually support hot-swapping while recording video. Kudos to Panasonic for releasing their flagship with dual card support, joining Fuji and Olympus and leaving Sony sadly lacking in the premium mirrorless market.

However, if I was looking for a new video camera, there is one feature that the GH5 lacks comapred to its rivals. That is, phase detect auto-focus. Now, the camera uses Panasonic's reportedly excellent Depth from Defocus for capturing photos of moving subjects, but my understanding is this is for stills only.

Now, admittedly most professionals would use manual focus for video work, but excellent video autofocus surely also has its place.

New Lenses

As well as the GH5, a new Leica branded 12-60mm f2.8-4 was announced. As well as refreshes of:

LUMIX G VARIO 45-200mm F4.0-5.6 II POWER O.I.S.
LUMIX G VARIO 100-300mm F4.0-5.6 II POWER O.I.S.

If you have the old 12-35mm or 35-100mm in purple, and wanted them in black - now's your chance. Reportedly now with better stabilisation and autofocus.

The other new camera

Depending on your location, the GX850/GX800/GF9 is also coming to town.

Sadly, this is reportedly merging the GF and GM lines, meaning we won't see a true successor to the GM5. This means you're losing the hot shoe and view finder (compared with a GM5), and at a larger size and weight.

On the plus side, you'll get a swivel screen and 4K video. It's impressive just how much tech they've crammed into a camera this small, but I do wish they'd continue with the higher end GM in this range. This is something I'd like to write more about another day. Stil, for me personally, as much as I admire the GH5, this is the camera that shows to me what Micro43s is capable of.

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