When Panasonic asked me to try the GH5 on my last Mongolia trip, I jumped at the opportunity because of the reviews I have been reading, and the photo samples I have seen coming out of their Storytellers.
The camera didn’t disappoint either. The GH5 certainly doesn't fail to fulfil its role as a still camera. With the company's latest 20-megapixel sensor in this camera, it's got the resolution and capture ability I had yet to experience with previous Panasonic cameras… until now!
From the capability of shooting up to 4K at 60fps to high-speed 6K Photo (that's 18MP at 30fps) – its easy to see that this camera will please the hobbyist photographers.
But this is not the main reason I have a new love affair with the GH5… here is what sold me when I was using it in the real world
Improved Autofocus – the caviat here is I am referring to still photos. Not video. I have read enough differing opinions back and forth on the stability of the autofocus in video mode… “its improved”, “it sucks”, “it works”, “I struggle with it” … I’m beginning to think the people reviewing the cameras just want to get their opinion heard and take an opposed point of view to what was written before they did their own review.
Sure, some of the points these reviewers are making are valid… I have read many reviews as they put the AF to the test in video mode… and I would be looking for AF firmware updates that keeps getting rolled out if I just shot video.
But in my real world usage last month, I shot the GH5 to capture eagle hunters riding on horseback, birds in flight and portraits in extreme low light… and guess what, my keeper rate rivaled my Nikon D750 and D810.
Sure, for fast birds in flight or fast action sports, I’m still going to give the edge to my Nikon Pro bodies… but how many of you out there are pushing the limits of their AF to those extremes?
Every camera out there has its disadvantages and advantages… every photographer has their own favorite type of photography… and if I can depend on the GH5 when I travelled half way around the world because I was asked to take high quality images for publications and websites of tourism companies, magazines and a manufacturer, AND pull off great images I am proud of… Well, that should be enough of a selling feature for the average photographer that wants a camera capable of taking great images on their holiday or photo tour.
New colour pallets - For me, the GH5’s color science was head and shoulders above the GH4. I loved the GH4, but I could never quite get it’s colors to look perfect – even when using color charts and extensive grading. So I was glad to see an improvement on this front with the GH5, and from what I’ve seen so far, things are looking positive.
Low light capabilities – again, lets not listen to the pixel peepers… lets look at real world usage, in the field, with actual camera settings…
I shot the GH5 in very low light, at higher a ISO that I was comfortable with, at shutter speeds I would never hand hold with my other bodies… and GUESS WHAT? The camera performed admirably!
I mean, there I was, hand held at speeds as low as 1/30th of a second at 4000ISO of a person in a ger tent and pulling off images that are tack sharp… “Winner winner, Chicken Dinner” In my humble opinion.
Lets take a look at a few photos from the recent trip I took…
This one is of a Mongolian musician that I photographed inside a ger tent with natural lighting
Settings: Aperture was f4, Shutter Speed was 1/60th of a second, ISO was 3200, Focal distance was 48mm
Here is a young girl banging on a drum in the same low light as the previous photo.
Settings: Aperture was f4, Shutter Speed was 1/80th of a second, ISO was 4000, Focal distance was 35mm
Conclusions: I’m not going to be the guy that says this is the be all and end all camera for all applications. That’s why many of us carry multiple cameras in our bags when we do this for a living. We have the tools that make the job we are hired to do, easier.
What I am going to tell you is this… “if you are the average photographer that likes to take photos on vacation and you shoot moderate action, or you like to capture portraits, low light images and night sky images, this is a camera body you should consider.
Its light weight, the lens line up is becoming better all the time, and it wont break your back to have a wide range of lenses in your bag.
Case in point, my mind shift 26L back pack carried two camera bodies, a 100-400, a 35-100, a 12-35, a 7-14mm, a 12mm prime and a 12-60mm lens, 6 batteries, all my ND and polarizer filters, three battery chargers, my MacBook pro, all cables, two external hard drives, cleaning kit, rain sleeves for my camera, rain bag for my knapsack and an extra ball head for my tripod… and it was a joy to walk around with.
It was half the weight I would have carried with my Nikon gear and I had more gear in the bag, making me more productive.
But at the end of the day it was the quality of photos I produced, some of which accompany this post…
Im excited to take this camera on my next trip for grizzly bears in Canada, and I can’t wait to see what Panasonic comes out with next.
Here are a few links to the camera on the Panasonic website.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call me to discuss the camera.