Panasonic GH5 promo shoot: a worthy successor to the GH4?

GH5 promo shoot

After getting familiar with the new Panasonic GH5 I was ready to take it on a promo shoot. This isn’t a review, just my thoughts on how it worked for me. We have an in-depth GH5 review in the works for you soon so stay tuned for that.

Erik with GH5 and Inferno

Panasonic Lumix 12-35 II

I used the Lumix 12-35 exclusively with the GH5 on this promo. I like the lens but the electronic focus by wire has a strange feel to it. I just don’t like them much – it feels inconsistent at times. Us video guys are used to true manual lenses for video I think. And when shooting in manual focus mode the punch in feature works a treat but it doesn’t engage when recording. Ugh.

The lens is sharp and has a pleasing look. The 12-35 range is very nice and the constant f/2.8 aperture makes getting quick shots easy. As for image stabilization I didn’t notice it to be overly good or bad. It’s hard to tell if the GH5 is using the lens and body IBIS together or not. I can say the IS does work well from the shots I was getting.

Erik working it with GH5

Shooting in 60p

I planned to shoot all the footage for the spot in UHD 60p but for some stupid reason I had the camera set to HD not UHD. I was really disappointed, but when I looked at the footage I was impressed with how nice the detail was and the smooth HD 60p image looked great. I did set my shutter using the 180° rule at 1/120 of a second.

60p is a sweet spot for me. I really don’t need 120 fps very often. I can see using 60p a lot for nice smooth 24p playback.

The reporter on camera was in 24p UHD recorded externally to the Atomos Ninja Inferno. One thing I’ve noticed when recording this way is the latency is really bad when using HDMI out on the GH5.


I tested this at 200 milliseconds on the SmallHD 502, but didn’t test audio with a recorder until this shoot. The audio delay was very hard to work with and I couldn’t find a way to fix it or at least make it work better. The latency only kicks in when I plug in a microphone – there’s no issue with the on-board mic. I did find the setting for “Realtime or Recorded” audio playback in the menu, however it didn’t make a difference – and when you’re using HDMI the feature is grayed out. I need to dig deeper and try to figure this out because it’s very difficult to monitor the audio.

As for audio quality I used the Sony UWP Wireless and Sanken COS11 lav mic for the talent’s audio. I do wish I had the new DMW-XLR1 audio module, but even without it I think the audio sounds good and have no issue recording audio direct into the GH5.

GH5: Dealing with 60p footage in post

Premiere Pro Modify Clip setting for GH5

In Premiere Pro 2017 I was able to edit the spot without issues. For all the 60p footage I used “Modify Clip” in the Modify option under “Clip” and changed the frame rate to 24.00 fps from 59.94.

Quick tip: If you have several clips you can highlight all of them and batch this process. Done! All the B-roll was shot handheld with no stabilizers. I like to move around when shooting higher frame rates. It just looks cool. I pulled some focus to keep them sharp but the lack of shallow depth at 12mm helps a lot.

Erik with GH5 in server room

GH5: Color and ISO

I used the “Natural” setting with Saturation set to -2 and Sharpness at -5. That’s it. Very little color grading. I Only fixed the white balance really as I like the color I’m getting straight from the GH5. Skin tone looks nice and overall has a natural look to it. I have V Log but decided to not shoot Log for this spot. It really wasn’t necessary since all the scenes didn’t have much contrast. Hey, why work harder if you end up in REC709 anyway? I’ll save it for when the 400mbps All-I mode comes this summer.

Let’s chat about noise. The GH4 wasn’t my favorite for this reason. I felt keeping it under 800 ISO was best. I’m not anti-noise but I care about the look of the noise the camera creates. The GH5 has a much better looking noise. Less RGB flicker and a more natural grain look. I think I can get away with 1600 ISO much easier and that is usually my max for 90% of the shooting I do. I feel it’s a huge improvement on the noise front over the GH4.

GH5: Final thoughts (for now)

I like the GH5. If you have a GH4 I think it’s a worthy upgrade. It’s a tougher call if you are a Sony alpha shooter with native lenses in your bag.

Unfortunately the battery doesn’t last as long as it does with the GH4. I feel it gets about half the life. I’m going to assume the IBIS has a lot to do with this since the sensor has to be stabilized even when IBIS is turned off. The color is very nice and the noise seems better too. Plus this summer when the 400Mbps All-I codec is released the GH5 is going to be one heck of a camera.

My time with the loaner is coming close to the end and when it’s gone I’ll have to make that decision like the rest of us. Will you be adding the GH5 to your kit? Let us know in the comments. Okay. It’s off to NAB! Make sure and check back all next week because we have a ton of content coming from the NAB show floor.

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