A GH4 Owners Thoughts on the GH5

Just my opinion...

Hey, that GH5 sure looks like a winner. I've seen at least two videos shot with the GH5 that look pretty great. I'm not here to call anyone out, but while one video (shot in NYC) looked impressive, the other (shot in Oregon) looked flat out gorgeous. That's part of the trick of marketing of course. These camera manufacturers put the cameras in hands of different filmmakers of varying skill to create "test" films for people to ogle and pixel peep before making their declaration of how good or shit the camera is before ever using it themselves.

If you step back, however, and check these early GH5 users body of work, you'll see that one is miles better at post production coloring than the other guy (and now with 10-bit internal he has more room to play).

So if you're new to the game, you see that Oregonian's test footage, and think your footage will look just like that, straight from camera, no muss no fuss... really think again. There's no camera in the world that does all the work for you; some just do more work than others.

With that said, I've only owned cameras by two brands - Canon and Panasonic. That's not to say I haven't used cameras by Sony, Red, Nikon, Fuji, and Blackmagic. I have. I just choose not to own any of them. Some because they are simply too expensive and others because they don't fit with the type of work I do. 

My good 'ol XL-1. I wonder if it still works.

My good 'ol XL-1. I wonder if it still works.

I think Canon and Panasonic understand the needs of both aspiring and professional filmmakers and I think they are two camera manufacturers who have put the time and money into the R&D behind their color science. Sony is trying to hard to meet the needs of a variety of people who want to own and shoot with cameras. They went with an approach of producing far too many cameras that all suffer from the exact same problem - shit skin tones. (Just my opinion but pretty much a fact - no seriously, it's a fact - Sony color is shit)

The DVX100-B - a fucking champ. I shot two features on this bad boy. I wonder if it still works.

The DVX100-B - a fucking champ. I shot two features on this bad boy. I wonder if it still works.

Blackmagic wants to be the cheap high end solution to Red and Arri but they have also stumbled in the way of over-promises, delayed production runs, and the dreaded magenta cast.

So back to the GH5 - it clearly has some great features that will make it comfortable to use for many types of filmmakers and Panasonic has certainly addressed some of the issues with the GH4.

4:2:2 10-bit internal recording is a great addition. It negates the necessity to record externally and means that you'll be able to push your colors, shadows, and highlights farther in post. Sony started to introduce IBIS (in body image stabilization) into many of their cameras and Panasonic have now pushed this into the GH5 which is certainly welcome. 

4K/60p at 8bit is also an interesting addition as well as dual SD cards slots. Unknowns at this time is low light performance and battery life and what higher frame rates this camera is capable of. The GH4 did 96fps at 1080p. Is 4K/60fps it? Will the GH5 also suffer from the same limited dynamic range of the GH4? Will it still have that "video" look due to it's tiny micro 4/3 sensor? 

The body of this camera is unfortunately the same as the GH4. A small, lightweight micro four thirds body that will need a bunch of rigging to get professional audio input and make your clients wonder if they made the right choice when they see how small it is. (When I use to work with my GH4 a client asked me when the real camera guy was going to show up) Some folks like small camera bodies and like to film discreetly, but as I mentioned in previous posts, the small form factor and lack of certain pro features (XLR inputs, ND) made working with my GH4 a pain in the ass at times.

Lastly, V-log will come as an optional purchase which I guess is Panasonic's way of saying: Here's a pretty cool camera. Hey kid, go make your Youtube videos with it. Wait, oh sorry, you make professional videos?Just give us $100 more and you can have this nice V-log for that. Fuck you very much, Panasonic.

So, is this camera worth the price tag of $2000/2100 with V-log? Well, it certainly has better features than the GH4 which I believe originally sold for $1700? If you're just getting started in video than you can probably pick up a used or even new GH4 in March for a very cheap price. I'm definitely still trying to sell my GH4 (hint - buy my GH4) Otherwise, this looks like a solid camera for a certain type of user but as always, try before you buy. Try before you buy. Try before you fucking buy!

Care to share your thoughts on the GH5? Leave a comment below.