Panasonic GH5 Rumor Round-Up
In February 2014 Panasonic announced their flagship mirrorless micro four thirds camera, the Panasonic Lumix GH4. The GH4 was an extremely important product for Panasonic, being the first camera released by the band capable of shooting 4K video. The previous iteration of the camera, the Lumix GH3 was widely regarded as the goto mirrorless for video shooter looking for a capable compact solution for shooting full HD video, whilst remaining an extremely capable stills camera. The GH4 had to not only live up to its predecessor’s performance capabilities, but surpass them and it’s competitors in the newly emerging consumer 4K segment; Needless to say the GH4 was a great success, gaining positive reviews and praise across the board for both its video and stills shooting capabilities, and setting a new standard for affordable and accessible broadcast quality video performance.
Two years later however, and Panasonic is yet to release a successor to the GH4. The turnaround between the GH3 and Its successor was remarkably rapid, a mere 18 months. 27 months after the release of the GH4 however and unofficial rumors are all we have heard of the illusive Panasonic Lumix GH5.
So what do we know about the next generation of Panasonic’s flagship micro four thirds mirrorless camera? Unfortunately not much, when it comes to the GH5 the irrepressible internet rumor mill has remained remarkably quiet. One piece of information that has received repeated coverage is the inclusion of 6K video capture; In a move that would make sense, given Panasonic’s history of constantly raising the bar in terms of their cameras video capture capabilities, the GH5 may be the first consumer level camera to be able to capture 6K video. The inclusion of 6k video also has implications on the sensor that the GH5 will have to use, 20 megapixels plus would be required for a four thirds sensor to record 6K video, so perhaps we will see the 20.3 megapixel Digital Live MOS Sensor from the GX8 employed here. Using this configuration could allow frame grabs of upwards of 18 megapixels, bringing huge flexibility to videographers and stills shooter alike. Perhaps we can expect 6K at 30 frames per second, and therefore 4K at 120 frames per second for the GH5.
The increase in sensor resolution to allow 6K video may impact the camera’s shooting speed for full-sized still images however, The GH4 was capable of 12 frames per second at 16 megapixels, the bump to 20 megapixels plus for the GH5 means we may not see a huge leap in performance in this area (the GX8 manages 10 frames per second at 20.3 megapixels) unless Panasonic are planning to support Cfast or XQD memory cards.
Physical sensor size itself has also been the subject of speculation when it comes to the GH5, with some claiming that the camera may move to a larger super 35mm sensor to produce a boost in dynamic range and noise performance over its predecessor. This would however make any currently compatible micro four thirds lenses supported by the GH series redundant, a move that would surely not be looked upon favourably by current GH users looking to upgrade, or those who enjoy the portability of small micro four thirds lenses.
The very latest rumor to surface regarding the GH5 actually suggests that the camera may use the same sensor as the GX85, a 16 megapixel Sony sensor, this seems highly unlikely however as it would absolutely rule out 6k video capture. It is worth noting that the 20 megapixel plus micro four thirds sensor required for 6K, given the inevitable increase in pixel density and decrease in pixel size may (as is the case in the GX8) exhibit increased noise, therefore limiting ISO performance.
Further details of the GH5 are a mixed bag of unverifiable spec predictions and web forum speculation, and therefore the conclusion here, unfortunately, is that we know very little about what Panasonic has in store for us with the GH5. We can only hope the new camera lives up to the reputation of its forbearers, maintaining that classic GH blend of Video capability, stills performance and consumer friendly price tag. As for an announcement date, we can only guess, but it would make sense that if the GH5 is coming this year at all that it will be announced in time for Photokina in September. We will of course keep you updated as soon as we hear anymore news.
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