Best of CES 2017: Panasonic LUMIX GH5 Takes Home Best Camera of CES 2017 Award

Panasonic GH5 with award trophy
Congrats to Panasonic and the GH5 — Videomaker's Best Camera of CES 2017!
Panasonic this week officially announced the LUMIX GH5, the much-anticipated follow up to the popular GH4 and the new flagship for Panasonic’s LUMIX G DSLM line of cameras. The new Micro Four Thirds camera caters to both photographers and professional videographers and is able to capture 4K video at up to 60p. 
Building on the legacy of the GH4, the GH5 promises the best image quality in the history of the LUMIX line. A new Digital LIVE MOS sensor increases pixel count by 25 percent to 20.3 megapixels over the GH4’s 16.05 and removes the low-pass filter, while the Venus Engine image processor promises additional improvements to image quality. The power of the new sensor and processor combine to allow for 4K video recording at up to 60p, and the GH5 can record 4:2:2/10-bit video internally in MOV, MP4 and AVCHD formats. There is no record limit in either 4K or 1080p and no cropping when shooting video versus photos. 

To improve the reproduction of detail, the GH5 adds Multi-pixel Luminance Generation, which references a larger area of pixel information during the de-mosaic process. Intelligent Detail Processing analyzes the characteristic of each pixel and applies optimum processing to provide even more detail while also suppressing false colors.
Complementing the camera’s enhanced ability to capture precise yet natural detail, Three Dimensional Color Control can detect brightness as well as hue and saturation to optimize color control and provide rich color reproduction within a greater dynamic range. High Precision Multi Process Noise Reduction adds more accurate noise identification for clearer images at higher ISOs. 

Along with Cinelike D and Cinelike V picture styles, the GH5 adds the Like 709, and for cinema shooters, V-LogL is also available as a paid software upgrade. The GH5 also provides a built-in Waveform Monitor and Vector Scope for more precise monitoring. 

The Panasonic GH5 also features faster autofocus using improved Depth from Defocus and Contrast AF technology, achieving focus in around 0.05 seconds and allowing for up to 12 fps burst shooting. Further improving AF capabilities, the GH5 increases the number of focus areas from 49 to 225. The new Post Focus Function and Focus Stacking allow for even more focus control and manipulation in post.
Panasonic accepts Best Camera award
Along with an upgraded 4K PHOTO function, the GH5 also features the new 6K PHOTO function capable of extracting a 18-megapixel frame from a 6K burst file captured at up to 30 fps.
Panasonic LUMIX GH5 chassis
Panasonic LUMIX GH5 rear display
Built for the field, the GH5 features a die-cast magnesium alloy frame with extensive sealing to make the camera splash-proof, dust-proof and freeze-proof down to -10 degrees Celsius or 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The camera supports recording to two SD cards and features a 3.2-inch free-angle rear touch screen.
The Panasonic LUMIX GH5 will be available in late March for around $2,000.

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Sat, 01/07/2017 - 12:32pm

Press Release

Panasonic has today announced the LUMIX GH5, the latest flagship model of LUMIX G DSLM cameras based on the Micro Four Thirds system standard. The new camera delivers a high-end, hybrid performance to photo enthusiasts and professional videographers looking to capture moments in 4K 60p/50p video and 6K PHOTO. Defying all the general concepts of what a mirrorless camera can do, the LUMIX GH Series has reached a number of milestones with this introduction. Packing a host of innovative advancements in picture quality, response and performance into an unimaginably small-sized body, the new LUMIX GH5 opens the door to a new stage of photographic and cinematographic culture. Unprecedented Picture Quality in the History of LUMIX Cameras The LUMIX GH5 is able to achieve high-quality images with real-life details through excellent resolution, image rendering and color reproduction. Its new Digital LIVE MOS Sensor increases the pixel count by 25% compared to the GH4, from 16.05 to 20.3 megapixels, while also removing the low-pass filter. The camera also comes with a new image processor Venus Engine, which achieves improvement especially in natural texture expression. The engine’s Multi-pixel Luminance Generation renders clear, sharp images by referring to a 9x larger area of pixel information during the de-mosaic process for precise detail reproduction. With Intelligent Detail Processing, the characteristic of every single pixel is analyzed to detect whether the pixel is located at a flat, detail or edge part of the picture. Optimum processing according to the characteristic of each pixel is then applied. This results in high-precision yet natural images with stunning detail suppressing false colors at its edges. Also, Three Dimensional Color Control detects not only hue and saturation, but also brightness, and applies optimum control according to the value of each factor. This achieves rich color reproduction from shadows to highlights of the image. The conventional Multi Process NR (Noise Reduction) is upgraded to High Precision Multi Process NR. It boasts 4x the noise identification accuracy compared to the previous engine and preserves details even after the noise reduction process. As a result, photos can be clearly shot even at high sensitivity ISO values of up to 25,600. The LUMIX GH5 also incorporates the 5-axis Dual I.S. (Image Stabilizer) 23, which suppresses blurring in more powerful and advanced ways for both photo and video recording, including 4K video. Combining an O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer, 2-axis) and B.I.S. (Body Image Stabilizer, 5-axis), it compensates for larger movements which were conventionally uncontrollable. The LUMIX GH5’s high-precision gyro sensor controls both the O.I.S. and B.I.S. compensation by studying the focal length and shooting conditions, making it possible to use a max. 5-stop slower shutter speed4. This is highly beneficial not only for wide-angle and telephoto shots, but also in adverse situations, such as at night-time or when shooting with one hand. The world’s first DSLM camera that meets professional quality standards The LUMIX GH Series created an epoch-making industry sensation by achieving outstanding video recording performance with advanced features that meet the needs of professional quality levels and standards. With the LUMIX GH5, the signal readout speed has been accelerated by max 1.7x in the new Digital Live MOS Sensor, and the new Venus Engine processes signals at max 1.3x higher speed. This synergy realizes 4K 60p/50p ultra high-definition, smooth, video recording for the first time in a DSLM camera. It is also capable of internal 4:2:2 / 10-bit video recording, which is the color subsampling commonly used for film production, for even more faithful color reproduction5. The high-sensitivity MOS Sensor and Venus Engine effectively suppress rolling shutter distortion and realize high-speed readout of full digital signals. This ensures an outstandingly high image quality for every single frame. In addition, the focal length in video recording is kept the same as that in photo shooting (no cropping). Users can freely choose between MOV, MP4, AVCHD Progressive and AVCHD formats at a variety of frame rates, and there is no recording time limit for both FHD and 4K video. Professional users working globally can set the system frequency to 59.94Hz, 50.00Hz or 24.00Hz. While ‘Cinelike D’ and ‘Cinelike V’, which have similar gamma setting characteristics for film production, are available in Photo Style for video recording, the LUMIX GH5 also provides ‘Like 709’ for compatibility with HDTV. A paid software upgrade to support V-LogL video recording is also available. In response to requests from professional users, the LUMIX GH5 comes with a Waveform Monitor and Vector Scope. It also embeds SMPTE-compliant Time Code either in Rec Run or Free Run count-up methods, which makes it easy to synchronize multiple video footage or sound sources in the post production workflow. Luminance levels can be selected between 64-1023 / 64-940 / 0-1023 (10-bit). Synchro Scan mode suppresses flicker and Color Bars (SMPTE / EBU / ARIB Standard) are also available. New AF system with advanced DFD Technology never misses a once-in-a-lifetime moment The LUMIX GH5 comes with a newly improved Depth from Defocus6 and Contrast AF technology, which not only calculates the distance to the subject by evaluating two images with different sharpness levels, but also analyzes the form, size and even motion of the subject comprehensively. Thanks to the new Venus Engine, the time for measuring the distance to the subject is 6x faster, while factoring the distance into in-plane or in-depth is 2x faster. The speed of sensor drive during auto focusing in photo shooting mode has been increased to 480 fps, which is 2x faster than that of the GH4. Consequently, the LUMIX GH5 realizes ultra-high-speed AF of approximately 0.05 sec7 and 12 (AFS) / 9 (AFC) fps high-speed burst shooting using a mechanical shutter in full resolution. By analyzing every single frame precisely, it achieves a maximum 200% higher precision frame detection with minimum motion detection error for higher tracking tolerance against moving subjects. For even more precise focusing, the number of focus areas has been increased from 49 to 225. Users can create a group of focus areas depending on the composition and can control it easily with a new joystick located on the thumb position, without taking your eyes off the subject. This is possible even when using the LVF or releasing the finger off the shutter button. If focus is not exactly as the user intended when the shutter is pressed, the LUMIX GH5’s Post Focus function8 enables users to select the specific focus point even after shooting – particularly helpful in situations like macro shooting where severe focusing is required. In addition, the camera also features a Focus Stacking function. Taking a single macro photo with specific areas in focus can sometimes be difficult, Focus Stacking enables users to take multiple images of the same frame with different focus points. You can then combine them into one image with the defocus as you like. The LUMIX GH5’s new 6K PHOTO9 function makes it possible to capture unmissable moments at 30 fps by extracting the frame with the best timing out of the 6K burst file (in 3:2 or 4:3 aspect) to save as an approximately 18-megapixel equivalent high resolution photo. 4K PHOTO has also been upgraded enabling 60 fps high speed capture in approximately 8-megapixel equivalent resolution. In 6K/4K PHOTO, three exclusive modes are available to choose from depending on the situation; 6K/4K Burst, 6K/4K Burst (Start/Stop) and 6K/4K Pre-burst. By compensating the signal information between the frames, the Venus Engine makes it possible to apply Post Recording Refinement over the pictures to correct distortion and reduce noise when playing back or cutting images out of the 6K/4K burst file. As a result, the picture quality of 6K/4K PHOTO shot at high shutter speed in high sensitivity or those shot in panning are dramatically improved. High mobility in rugged design for heavy field use To be tough enough to withstand even heavy field use, the LUMIX GH5’s main structure is composed of a magnesium alloy, full die-cast front/rear frame. Secure construction and the sealing of every joint, dial, and button makes the camera not only splash/dust-proof, but also freeze-proof down to -10 degrees Celsius. The LUMIX GH5 is equipped with a double SD Memory Card slot compatible with high-speed, high capacity UHS-II for the first time in the LUMIX digital cameras. Users can flexibly choose the recording method either in Relay Rec, Backup Rec or Allocation Rec. The LUMIX GH5 has a large LVF (Live View Finder) with a stunningly high magnification ratio of approximately 1.52x / 0.76x (35mm camera equivalent). The high-precision, high-speed OLED display features 3,680K-dot high resolution and 100% field of view. Adopting a static-type touch control system, the 3.2-inch free-angle rear screen in 3:2 aspect with 1,620K-dot high resolution achieves approximately 100% field of view. Finally, the shutter unit is durable for approximately 200,000 releases. Expandability, optional accessories, other features • The LUMIX GH5 integrates Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi® 5GHz (IEEE 802.11ac) connectivity to offer a more flexible shooting experience and instant image sharing with easy operation. • The LUMIX GH5 is compatible with the new Battery Grip DMW-BGGH5. By using two batteries, one in the camera and the other in the grip, the DMW-BGGH5 extends the battery life for longer time shooting. • The optionally available microphone adaptor DMW-XLR1 is a plug-in type adaptor for XLR microphone to record high quality stereo sound. • To save power, the camera automatically enters sleep mode after detecting the eye is off the LVF sensor. Various shutter systems are available with the LUMIX GH5: A mechanical shutter with maximum 1/8000 sec, an electronic-first curtain shutter with maximum 1/2000 sec which can be used with flash while suppressing the shutter shock, and an electronic shutter without shutter shock with maximum 1/6000 sec. Firmware updates will add: Full HD 4:2:2 10bit video recording capability (scheduled for April 2017); 400Mbps 4:2:2 10bit All-Intra video recording in 4K 30p/25p/24p; Full HD, high resolution video recording in Anamorphic mode; Hybrid Log Gamma in Photo Style mode which enables popular 4K HDR video recording and USB tethering (all scheduled for second half of 2017). The Lumix GH5 will be available (body only) in late March for $1999.99. For more information please visit Panasonic is proud to share that the GH5 is a CES 2017 Innovation Award Honoree. [1] As a Digital Single Lens Mirrorless camera as of 4 January, 2017 [2] As an interchangeable lens system camera as of 4 January, 2017 [3] 5-axis Dual I.S. 2 can be used with the H-FS12060 and H-FS14140 (requires firmware update) lenses as of January 4, 2017. The firmware for the use of 5-Axis Dual I.S. 2 with H-RS100400 will be released in February 2017. The newly introduced lenses H-ES12060, H-HSA12035, H-HSA35100, H-FSA45200 and H-FSA100300 are all compatible with 5-axis Dual I.S. 2. [4] Based on the CIPA standard [Yaw/Pitch direction: focusing distance f=50-140mm (35mm film camera equivalent f=100-280mm), when H-FS14140 is used. [5] 4:2:0 8-bit in 4K60p/50p recording on SD Memory Card [6] Contrast AF with DFD Technology works only with Panasonic Micro Four Thirds lenses. [7] In AFS, at wide-end with H-ES12060 (CIPA). [8] The Post Focus function needs to be activated manually in the camera menu. [9] 6K PHOTO’ is a high speed burst shooting function that cuts a still image out of a 4:3 or 3:2 video footage with approx.18-megapixel (approx. 6000 x 3000 effective pixel count) that the 6K image manages. About Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company Based in Newark, NJ, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company is a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation. The company offers a wide range of consumer solutions in the U.S. including products from VIERA Life+ Screens, Blu-ray players, LUMIX Digital Cameras, Camcorders, Home Audio, Cordless Phones, Home Appliances, Beauty, Grooming, Wellness and Personal Care products and more. Panasonic was featured in Fortune Magazine’s 2016 ranking of 50 companies that are changing the world and doing well by doing good. Specifically cited were its smart and sustainable technologies, including its contributions to smart cities and the electric vehicle revolution. To learn more about our products, visit Follow Panasonic on Twitter @panasonicUSA; additional company information for journalists is also available at


But what about the signal quality

Here's what I need help with. How good is the camera in an absolute sense? Where is it in the hierarchy of video quality? Will the video get out of this be as good as what you get out of an 880mbps, 3-chip 2/3-inch broadcast camera like a Sony SRW-9000PL? How about an Alexa?

No Comparison

In response to the two questions above, let me explain why we can't give a good answer. As mentioned in the article, the GH5 won't be available until March. Panasonic only unveiled it the day that we got to play with it. And though we were allowed to hold it, shoot with it (Panasonic set up a subway car scene for that purpose), hold it in our hands, etc... we weren't going to keep the SD card so that we could take it home and edit the video. On that note, one of the main reasons why Panasonic hasn't released the camera is because they need to wait for the new protocols for the V60 and V90 to be announced. At that point, as I was told be Matt Frazer, Manager of Retail Services at Panasonic, they will be able to complete testing and make it available.

I assume that the reasons why Videomaker named it a "Best of CES" is because of all the wonderful goodies that go on the camera and at the awesome price point of only $2,000! Along with the 4k @ 60 fps and 1080p @ 180 fps, this camera can take 6k photos **while you're recording video**! For a photographer / videographer like me, that is a great feature (one that I can't even do on my Canon 1D because it stops filming for the moment that the picture is being taken). Another cool aspect is that the photos will record on one SD card and the video on the other. Actually, there are tons of cool things on here, many of them mentioned in the article above. Of course, all these features in the hands of some generic company could fail miserably... but this is Panasonic; they know a few things about making cameras.

During the demo that Matt gave me at CES, I felt like I was using an amazing piece of equipment and I'm sure that the final product will prove to all of those who purchase it that it is exactly that. Will it be as good as the aforementioned Sonys and RED? Probably, possibly even better, but at the moment, we can't say with any degree of certainty.