There is an aura over the Panasonic GH5s that has not been seen in a m43 camera possibly ever. It is mainly due to the outstanding low light quality in 4k 24, 30p and 60p that beats full frame cameras like the Canon 5D Mark IV and competes head to head until ISO 25,600 with the king of low light the Sony a7s Mark II. But as always, our focus is on the high frame rates which the camera also does quite good on.
The 4k 60fps quality is very close to the 30p quality which means excellent and you can shoot at 60p at night without worrying about noise. The 240fps mode which is a first for a Lumix camera in full HD means that the camera aims to compete with Sony RX series cameras that have stacked sensors. We believe the quality to be acceptable but not good enough to be broadcast quality as stair stepping jaggies are all over the frame with the occasional moire pattern on fine detail that can break a shot.
As expected based on early comments of the slow motion mode on the GH5s, the camera has pronounced aliasing “seen in this video by Max Yuryev” and softness the higher the frame rate goes. Even at 120p it is less detailed than the standard GH5. It may be a function of supersampling in the higher megapixel 20MP GH5 vs the 10.2MP GH5s which is creating the new artifacts.
While the GH5s can shoot up to 192fps without cropping the sensor, anything above that up to 240fps it has a slight sensor crop which further decreases quality. While the VFR mode on the camera is better than most cameras in the price range that attempt the feat, it is of note that the quality instead of increasing or remaining the same as the sister model takes a hit which may kill it as an option for slow motion needs. We still believe the standard GH5 is the best Lumix option even when compared to the G9 in VFR mode.
So the rumors proved to be accurate on the GH5s and now we have a low light version of the GH5 that can shoot cleanly up to ISO 12,800 with up to 100k ISO and by then a much noisier picture. It is claimed by Panasonic that there was a 1.5 stop improvement in noise performance. Judging by the initial video samples it is clear that the new 10.28MP sensor along with dual native ISO circuitry for each photosite “one at ISO 400” and “one at ISO 2400” make a huge performance leap if low light is desired in a m43 camera.
All is not rosy in Lumix land however as the camera now lacks IBIS or In Built Image Stabilization on the sensor which was a main selling point of both the GH5 and the G9. Panasonic claims that it was a decision made to cater to filmmakers that need no wobble or vibrations in a shot that can be produced when the stabilizer fails. But why not just add an On-Off switch? 1080p 240fps is also included in the camera but as initial samples show it reduces quality substantially.
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