Panasonic GH5S vs GH5 camera review. I purchased the Panasonic GH5 and here’s why.
On the outside, very little has changed between the Panasonic GH5 and GH5s. The two cameras have the same design and dimensions.
Many camera accessories will work seamlessly on both the GH5 and GH5s, including panasonic camera lenses. The only visual differences between the cameras are the red video recording button, red ring around the drive dial and red S on the name. The button layouts are the same on the GH5 and GH5s.
The Panasonic GH5 went on sale at the end of March 2017. There was a major firmware update in September 2017.
The GH5 features a 20MP Live Mos sensor which is currently the highest resolution you can find on a Micro Four Thirds camera. There is no low pass filter, which maximizes sharpness. This is standard on Panasonic micro four thirds mirror less cameras.
The GH5s has a newly designed chip with half the megapixel count of the GH5 (10.2MP). The larger the pixel, the more light is gathered, which reduces noise at high sensitivities like Sony’s A7s series.
The GH5 has a range of 200 to 25600 ISO and extended “pull” values down to 100. For video, the ISO range goes from 200 to 12800. This is MORE THAN ENOUGH, especially if you light your set, which you should always be doing anyway.
The GH5s takes the low light performance to a new level for Micro Four Thirds. It offers a range of 160 to 51200 ISO with extended values down to 80 and up to 204800 ISO. The entire range, including the extended settings, are available for stills and video.
Do you really need the insanely high ISO over 50,000 on the Panasonic GH5s? I don’t. I film between ISO 200 and 800, just like old school, back in the day. I might step it up to 1600 but that’s rare.
I make sure the area I’m filming is lit well. I don’t plan on filming anything in the street when the sun is gone. If that’s your thing, you will get some video noise even with the GH5s.
Panasonic GH5 LOW LIGHT Test Footage – LOOKS GREAT!
The high resolution sensor also gives the Panasonic GH5 an advantage concerning the maximum video resolution. The GH5 can record 6K in anamorphic mode up to 30p and has a 6K Photo mode that allows you to record at 30p and save any of the video frames into an 18MP JPG.
The GH5 has an excellent VFR mode with a maximum of 180fps which gives you a slow motion footage up to approximately 6x. The GH5S goes one step further at 240fps.
Panasonic GH5s LOW LIGHT Test Footage – LOOKS GREAT!
DID YOU SEE MUCH DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE GH5 and GH5s?
Another Panasonic GH5 Test Footage video
Both the GH5 and GH5s use Panasonic’s Depth from Defocus AF system which works with contrast detection but offers a faster speed that traditional contrast based systems. The GH5 uses a faster version with a locking speed of 0.05s. The GH5s is slightly slower with a locking speed of 0.07s but it has better sensitivity in low light (-5Ev vs -4Ev on the GH5).
The two cameras feature a full-sized HDMI port, USB Type C, mic in, headphone out, remote input, flash sync and two SD card slots with UHS-II compatibility.
The GH5s has time code in and out that works via the flash sync port (a cable is provided) which means you can genlock it with broadcast cameras. The Mic in port can also be used as a Line In for other audio sources.
But why is there another GH series camera, was there something fundamentally wrong with the GH5? NOPE! Far from it. The GH5 has built on the reputation of the GH4 as a solid hybrid for stills and video. It has a steadily increased in popularity for both enthusiasts and professional photographers.
The GH5s isn’t an entirely new camera, nor is it an upgrade in the traditional sense – although it does cost more – about $600 more!
Panasonic is not the first camera manufacturer to release an S version, or even two different versions of the same model.
Starting at the top of the specifications list, the GH5s sees a considerable drop in sensor resolution, from 20.3 million pixels on the GH5’s sensor down to 10.2 million pixels.
Does having more pixels on a camera sensor mean better image quality? It has been a long-running argument. Personally, I would rather have fewer, larger sensors instead of more, smaller sensors. The sensors are responsible for gathering light and the larger the sensors the better. I would rather rely on larger sensors to gather light instead of multiple smaller ones. That’s one reason I got the GH5.
You do lose some of the finer image detail you’d expect with more pixels (GH5s) and higher resolution, but when you draft in the moving image and the illusion of persistence of vision then that loss of clarity becomes less of an issue.
Underlining the low light improvement, the GH5s offers a Dual Native sensitivity range.
The new sensor on the GH5s should enable better low light performance.
The new maximum frame rates for the GH5s for Cinema are 4K and 60p, 4K is again 60p, and 1080p leaps to 240p compared with 180p on the GH5. That’s exciting news for slow motion lovers!
The GH5s doesn’t have built-in image stabilization. This was a deal breaker for me. Although I can keep the camera very still for photo and video work, Panasonic’s in-camera image stabilization is 2nd to none.
Saving $600 and gaining image stabilization steered me to the GH5. Check out this video filmed with my Panasonic GX85, utilizing in-camera image stabilization. The GX85 is another EXCELLENT micro four thirds mirror less camera by Panasonic. I highly recommended the GX85 and almost bought a 2nd one for dual camera shoots. If a 3rd camera is ever needed, I will make it a Panasonic GX85.
SPECS GH5s GH5
So will you buy the Panasonic GH5 or GH5s?
I’m not too concerned about ISO ratings or low light. As I said, I light my set and don’t plan on filming in dark alleys late at night, so the GH5 is more than perfect. I also love the in camera image stabilizer of the GH5 (not present on the GH5s.) I have never worked with a better in-camera image stabilizer than what is on the GX85 and and GH5! Truly amazing smoothness with little effort.
I highly recommend either the Panasonic GH5 or GH5s. The choice between GH5 or GH5s will depend on if you want in-camera image stabilizer and if filming in very low light is something you do. As I said, the GH5 also does a very nice job in low light. I also saved $600 going with the GH5 over the GH5s.
I hope this camera review between GH5 and GH5s helped you in making a decision.
My lens of choice is the Panasonic 25mm F1.7
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I’m a video editor of 25 years, audio engineer 20 years, photographer 25 years and guitarist 20 years. Visit my YouTube channel, Rotter, for videos on photography, camera gear, creativity in video editing, movie reviews and the gear I use in my studio.