While packing up my GH5 to be sent in for service (more on that in a minute) I was thinking about why I like the camera so much and recommend it a lot to people. The Panasonic GH5 is a great camera with a solid codec and video features. For the reviews I do for Newsshooter I use one pretty much all the time. At my day job, I have a C300 MKI and MKII at my disposal but I do use the GH5 as well when a small camera comes in handy. I sure would love to have a cinema camera but the kid needs to go to college so no budget for dad’s cinema camera.
While I like using the GH5 as a video camera more than any other hybrid I’ve used in the past having a proper video camera is so much better. Yes. I use the GH5 about 90% of the time for video. Stills are very good too! Plus with native lenses, you have a really nice portable camera system that you can carry around all day.
The key features that I like on the GH5 are the codec. It’s 10 bit 4:2:2 holds up well in post. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also a broadcast accepted codec. I like that I can choose two flavors of 10-bit, All-I to long-GOP. Both work great but you probably will have to transcode the latter if your computer can’t handle the 4K long-GOP 10-bit compression.
The color is so much better than previous models. Skin tone looks more natural and the detail is very good. Speaking of color I’ve successfully matched the GH5 with the Canon C300 MKI fairly easily, and if you are an EVA 1 user the GH5 will be a great B-cam to it.
I love the full-size HDMI. Those pesky Micro-HDMI connectors are scary! Plus the little things like the photography and video settings being unique when changing them. No more having to put the shutter back to 180 degrees or changing the color profile from V-Log L to Natural when in photography mode. They are separate. Sony needs to do this.
I like to capture audio in camera. Yes, I can get better quality with an external audio recorder but convenience trumps perceived better quality. I say perceived because nobody has ever complained about my audio 😀
The external DMW-XLR adapter works great. I had the YAGH unit for the GH4 mainly for the audio inputs and that thing was a hot mess. The DMW-XLR is so much better and works like a proper video camera’s audio inputs with a +48V for phantom power, line audio inputs, and volume dials. The best part is no battery or cords to plug into the camera since it uses the hot shoe to power as well as pass through the audio.
The viewfinder is great. Very easy to get focus and check exposure with onboard tools like Zebra and Waveform. It really is an impressive, crisp & detailed image. Battery life is very good and that dual card slot is nice if you want to have a backup or separate stills from your video files. I roll like that. Great to not have any pictures on the card. Top it off with a very nice image and good frame rate options, the GH5 is a very capable camera that I enjoy using. Oh yeah lenses!
Lens options are one of the strengths of the whole MFT line of cameras. Have a lens you want to use? I’m sure an adapter for it is easy to find including PL cinema glass. I generally stick to Canon EF mount but also have a few Contax Zeiss primes. Yep. Going down that rabbit hole now.
Heres the bad part
Lately, I noticed the shutter dial was a little stiff and the click was gone. Oh no. Here we go again. I had this happen to a GH4 as well. The camera was still usable so I somewhat ignored it and it was out of warranty. This time the GH5’s shutter dial got very stiff and eventually locked up to the point I couldn’t rotate the dial anymore. I think I could remap the dial but I didn’t get around to doing that.
Then a few weeks later I noticed the rubber coating on the grip area peeling a little. Right where your index finger goes under the iris dial. Okay, what’s going on here? Since my camera is still under warranty I went to the support site and filled out the form to get the camera fixed.
I started checking around and found the rubber coating to be a common problem for GH5 owners and Panasonic is repairing the cameras. I don’t know how the repairs are performed but they are taking care of the issues. As for the shutter dial? Yep, this is also becoming an issue. This is kind of a bummer. The build on the GH5 is the best so far but to have the dial break on this model as well means Panasonic hasn’t addressed this from the former model. Not good. The dial and the rubberized coating both failed before a year of use and that has me concerned about how long the repair will last and how much it will cost to fix once out of warranty.
V-LOG L ISSUE
Another potential issue is with V-log L installed and how it’s attached to the serial number of the camera. If Panasonic decides to replace my camera as opposed to repairing my V-log L license won’t work on the new camera. I learned about this potential issue from a user that had this happen. It took a few calls and emails to get this worked out. If you have V-log L installed, make sure to include that information when filling out the online form and include a written note as well.
The camera is off for repair and we shall see what happens with V-log L. It’s disappointing but Panasonic is good with repairs and hopefully, they will last. I highly recommend to get the extended warranty if you can. You never know if you will need it. Have you experienced any issue with your GH5? Let’s talk in the comments section below.