The Panasonic GH5 (Amazon, B&H) has a multitude of features. It is a ground-breaking camera in every way because it’s the first time you have professional-level video features available in such form factor for less than $2,000.

Free Videos and Cheat Sheets: Watch the Videos and Download my free cheatsheets on exposing V-Log for the Panasonic GH5, grading V-log, reducing noise and banding, and my favorite photo styles and camera settings.

For video shooters, it will take quite a bit of time to test different settings to arrive at a comfortable workflow.

This article will look at some of the important quirks and features of the Panasonic GH5. For simplicity’s sake, I’ve divided it into three broad sections: Stills, Video and Relevant for Both. To get a detailed overview of the features of the GH5, check out this article I wrote.


Firmware roadmap

Estimated shipping date: 30th March 2017. Here is the firmware update roadmap:

Most of the good stuff is some way off, so don’t be in such a rush to purchase the camera!

Kits available at launch (Not in USA)

  • Body only – – $1,997 (Amazon, B&H)
  • L Kit – Body + LEICA DG VARIO-ELMARIT 12-60mm / F2.8-4.0 ASPH. – approx. $3,070
  • A Kit – Body + LUMIX G X VARIO 12-35mm / F2.8 II ASPH. – approx. $3,070
  • M Kit – Body + LUMIX G VARIO 12-60mm / F3.5-5.6 ASPH.

Which one should you get? Assuming you don’t have existing lenses and you are looking for a kit, I’d say go for Kit A. For video work a fixed aperture is the most useful. However, there is no ‘deal’ here. The two high end kit lenses are about $999 each so you’re really not getting any bargains.

Video Record Modes

There’s a lot of confusion about the video modes, here’s the complete table:

Tip: Start with the resolution you want. Then work your way to ‘Frame rates’ and choose the frame rate you want. Finally, select from one of the ‘Data Rates’. That’s it!

Internal Recording Only
Resolution System Frequency Frame rates Data Rate Color Codec^ Availability
4096 x 2160 24 Hz 24p 400 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 All-Intra MOV/MP4 Second half 2017*
150 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
100 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
59.94 Hz 23.976p 400 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 All-Intra MOV/MP4 Second half 2017*
150 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
100 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
3840 x 2160 24 Hz 24p 400 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 All-Intra MOV/MP4 Second half 2017*
150 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
100 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
50 Hz 25p 400 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 All-Intra MOV/MP4 Second half 2017*
150 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
100 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
59.94 Hz 23.976p, 29.97p 400 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 All-Intra MOV/MP4 Second half 2017*
150 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
100 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
59.94p 150 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
1920×1080 24 Hz 24p 200 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 All-Intra MOV/MP4 Second half 2017*
100 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 H.264 MOV/MP4 April 2017*
100 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
50 Hz 25p, 50p 200 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 All-Intra MOV/MP4 Second half 2017*
100 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 H.264 MOV/MP4 April 2017*
100 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
59.94 Hz 23.976p, 29.97p, 59.94p 200 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 All-Intra MOV/MP4 Second half 2017*
100 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 H.264 MOV/MP4 April 2017*
100 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
1920×1080 Various Various 17-28 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0 AVCHD Now
4K or 6K 4:3 Anamorphic TBD 24p, 25p, 30p TBD TBD HEVC/H.265 Second half 2017*
External Recording without Internal Recording
Resolution System Frequency Frame rates Data Rate Color Codec Availability
4096 x 2160 / 3840 x 2160 24 Hz 24p Uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2 Prores or DNxHD Now
50 Hz 25p, 50p Uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2 Prores or DNxHD April 2017*
59.94 Hz 23.976p, 59.94p Uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2 Prores or DNxHD April 2017*
Internal and External Recording At the Same Time
Resolution System Frequency Frame rates Data Rate Color Codec Availability
4096 x 2160 / 3840 x 2160 24 Hz 24p Uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2 Prores or DNxHD Now
50 Hz 25p, 50p Uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 Prores or DNxHD April 2017*
59.94 Hz 23.976p, 59.94p Uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 Prores or DNxHD April 2017*
  • *Check the firmware roadmap above
  • ^If recording MP4, the audio is AAC. You only get LPCM with MOV, so that’s the better codec no doubt. AVCHD would be the worst codec to use.

Key takeaways

  • You can only record 4K 50/60p with an external recorder
  • If you want to simultaneously record 4K 50/60p with both an external recorder and internally, you can only opt for 8-bit 4:2:2
  • 150 Mbps for 10-bit 4:2:2 is okay for straight to the web or finish. If you’re doing any kind of color grading stick to 400 Mbps, no doubt.
  • Unless you’re in a catastrophic space crunch, I’d avoid 4:2:0 at this point. Better get a GH4 if that’s all you’re planning to shoot anyway.
  • The anamorphic mode will not output 6K due to the limitation of HDMI 2.0 (the standard used by the GH5). It should be able to output 4K in 4:3 mode though.
  • You need cables that support 4K. Many HDMI cables do not. HDMI 1.4 cables that support 4K should work as well, as HDMI 2.0 is backward compatible.
  • You can control the recording on an external monitor through HDMI Rec Control, and you can also output Time code (so far only compatible with Atomos recorders.

What is the best recorder for the GH5 right now?

The Atomos Shogun Inferno, it’s the only one so far that can record 4K 50/60P:

Is 6K and 4K photo modes for video?

No. Lots of wrong info out there. Check next for details.

By the way, if you shoot 6K in 4:3 you only get 4992 x 3744, or 4.9K. If you shoot 6K in 3:2 you only get 5185 x 3456 or 5K. Where’s the 6K? Go ask Panasonic.

Can the camera really shoot 6K?

No. The maximum horizontal resolution of the sensor is 5184 pixels, or 5K.

In 6K and 4K photo modes the camera records at 30 fps in HEVC (H.265), and 4K is recorded at 60 fps in H.264.

There are two gotchas to note:

  1. Both these modes are heavily compressed. So even though you can take a still frame from this it will be heavily compressed and not as malleable as a RAW file or even a high-quality JPEG file. But still useful for some purposes like weddings, ENG, etc.
  2. Because you have to maintain the shutter speed in multiples of the frame rate (to avoid flickering), you are limited by the exposure possibilities of your camera. E.g., for 30 fps you’ll keep your shutter at 1/60 fps minimum but this only gives you cinematic motion blur – not a good thing for stills. For stills you’ll need to go to 1/125 or higher. This means you’ll be using a more expensive lens wide open, or raising the ISO to introduce noise.

Bottom line is, this feature is only useful in some areas like weddings, ENG, etc. And even then only under some situations when the ISO does not have to be bumped up too high.

What about anamorphic video?

The 6K or 4K video mode will output 4:3 video, which is the natural aspect ratio of the sensor. You need anamorphic lenses with a factor of 2x, and an external recorder that will do an anamorphic desqueeze so you can see the footage correctly.

You get a lower resolution when shooting anamorphic (so it’s only 3.3K, not 4K), and these are the modes currently supported:

Anamorphic Mode
Resolution System Frequency Frame rates Data Rate Color Codec Availability
3328 x 2496 24 Hz 24p 400 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 All-Intra MOV/MP4 Second half 2017*
150 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 H.264 MOV/MP4 April 2017*
100 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
50 Hz 25p 400 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 All-Intra MOV/MP4 Second half 2017*
150 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 H.264 MOV/MP4 April 2017*
100 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
50p 150 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
59.94 Hz 23.976p. 29.97p 400 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 All-Intra MOV/MP4 Second half 2017*
150 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 H.264 MOV/MP4 April 2017*
100 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now
59.94p 150 Mbps 8-bit 4:2:0 H.264 MOV/MP4 Now

The resolution is 3328 x 2496, with an aspect ratio of 4:3. True anamorphic is 2.39:1, but the anamorphic lenses or adapters you’d typically use is 2x. In that case, you’ll end up with an aspect ratio of 8:3 or 2.66:1, and the sides will need to be cropped. One advantage is you don’t have to worry about any slight vignetting. On the other hand, you do lose some resolution.

Note there is a crop factor here, as the entire sensor isn’t being used in 3.3K mode. From spherical, you have to factor in 1.23x.

Whether or not the GH5 will have a desqueeze function internally needs to be confirmed by Panasonic. Make it happen!

A higher resolution anamorphic mode is promised in the future, probably 6K (5K, hopefully). Let’s see how that works out. That would be interesting. This single feature would make the GH5 a unique camera.

What is V-Log L and how’s it different from V-Log?

V-Log L is supposedly the light version of V-Log, the log format found in the Panasonic Varicam. Log provides you a flatter image with the most dynamic range possible. You get a maximum of 12 stops in V-Log L, and this is the mode you choose for highest dynamic range for video.

Both V-Log L and V-Log have the same gamma curve and you use the same LUTs designed for the Varicam.

To get V-Log you need to purchase an additional license for $97 or so. This is how you install it:

Can I use LUTs in the camera?

Yes, but only those with the VLT (Varicam) extension, specially designed for the Varicam. The specific LUT available right now is the Varicam V-Log to Rec. 709 LUT.

You need to load the LUTs (up to four) on an SD card (Folder 1). These luts will have a file extension of *.vlt.

No *.cube, those won’t work.

Wait a minute. If both V-Log L and V-Log are the same, why have an “L”?

The Varicam has an extended color gamut (V-Gamut) that the GH5 cannot match. If the color gamuts don’t match the output results from V-Log LUTs will not be similar, especially in the case of third-party LUTs created for the Varicam. However, with the VLT LUTs, Panasonic’s engineers would have tried to mimic the color science so you can match the GH5 with the Varicam (which means Alexa as well) and use the former as a B-cam, drone cam or crash cam.

What format should I choose for the best image quality on the GH5?

If you’re shooting 4K spherical, then choose 4096 x 2160 with a 24 Hz base at 24p at 400 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2, in the V-Log L gamma. Use one of the Panasonic LUTs to shoot, and then later color grade in post (you’ll need a decent computer to tackle 4K). You can get the *.cube version of the VLT LUT here. You also have a V-Log IDT for ACES, if that’s the route you are taking.

If you’re shooting anamorphic, wait for the high resolution 6K anamorphic (which might be about 4.5 to 5K). The rest of the settings are the same.

Should I use third-party LUTs?

No. If you’re looking for shortcuts, do as you please. But don’t be under the mistaken impression a LUT somebody created in his basement is the real deal. LUTs are a lot more complicated (and limited) than what people think.

Should I be excited about the HDR feature?

Not really. The HDR feature is only available in the HLG format, whereas most devices support HDR10 or Dolby Vision (the PQ format, as explained here). You need an HLG TV, and that’s a deal breaker.

What about slow motion and high speed?

In all frame rates, you get the following speeds:

  • Up to 180 fps in 1080p – in increments
  • Up to 60 fps in 4K – in increments
  • These options are available in 24 Hz, 50 Hz and 59.94 Hz.

You can also go the other way, to up to 2 fps for fast motion.

Rolling Shutter

The GH5 has a faster sensor readout as compared to the GH4 (slow sensor readout = worse rolling shutter artifacts):

  • For stills: GH5 – 24ms; GH4 – 40ms
  • For 4K video: GH4 – 22ms; GH5 – 15ms

That’s a 50% increase in speed for video, so the rolling shutter performance should be 1.5 times as good!

Image Stabilization

Most people probably know about the Dual IS 2 image stabilization that combines both the 2-axis OIS from the lens and 5-axis BIS from the body, though for video mode the camera uses a Hybrid stabilization, that utilizes the 5-axes from the body as well as electronic data from the lens. So:

  • Photography – 5-axis Optical
  • Video – 5-axis Hybrid (Optical + Electronic)

Either way the GH5 is said to offer a total of 5-stops of advantage when using LUMIX lenses, up to a focal length of 140mm (35mm equivalent would be 280mm). Obviously wider angles would offer more stabilization than telephoto lenses.

What if you don’t use an OIS or Panasonic lens?

You can use a third-party lens with an adapter. In this case, you still get the 5-axis image stabilization from the camera body. However, Panasonic says it might not work well with telephoto lenses. So OIS helps with telephoto lenses for video, while only BIS isn’t as good.

How do you know if the lens is compatible?

The simple rule of thumb is to look for a LUMIX in the name. Panasonic has published an official list, and most of the lenses will require a firmware update to get working. A few Leica DG lenses are supported as well.

AA Filter and Moire

The GH5 (Amazon, B&H) does not have an AA filter, so is prone to more moire. However, Panasonic have used algorithms to reduce these artifacts while getting a 5% benefit in resolution as compared to the GX8.

The GH4 was prone to unnatural edge detail, and Panasonic claims to have eliminated (or at least mitigated) that problem so it shouldn’t be a problem. The benefit would trickle down to video as well.

Noise Reduction

Panasonic is well aware they don’t have a low light camera, so must use noise reduction to squeeze the best possible image quality from the sensor. However, this might introduce artifacts (though Panasonic claims to have algorithms to mitigate it) so it might be a good idea to set noise reduction levels to its least setting, and then use software like Neat Video to clean up.

Manual Focusing

The camera does have a focus peaking function for manual focus.

It also has something called Focus Transition:

  • In this you can select up to 3 focus points in the scene. The camera is in auto focus mode.
  • You tap the screen to focus on an object. This should be the end position. Once you’re satisfied click ‘Set’.
  • Then you tap the object that needs to be in focus first, and repeat.
  • Once you hit record, the camera will focus from one point to the next (maximum of three), in these ways:
    • Transition speed: You get five selectable speeds, but you can’t go beyond that.
    • Waiting time: You can specify immediately, 5 seconds or 10 seconds for the transition to start – but you can’t trigger it manually.

Because of this last issue, I don’t see how relevant or useful this feature is. It’s so complicated, and far easier to just manually focus!

What about auto focus?

It’s hit and miss, so I won’t recommend it. Still, for vloggers and interviews you could try the Face/Eye Detect feature. It still won’t help you if the person moves too quickly.

Luminance Levels

You can decide if you want to shoot in studio swing or full swing. The options are (in IRE):

  • 64-940 / 64-1023
  • 0-1023

Which should you pick? Pick 0-1023 always! You can change things later in post.

Synchro Scan

The camera has a cool feature to help you eliminate flicker when working with lights beyond your control. The first step is something you should be doing yourself, which is to match your frame rate/shutter speed to a multiple of the electrical frequency in your area (50 Hz or 60 Hz), but if you still have flickering, you can toggle this feature and hope it works. It needs to be tested of course, but it’s good to have.

No frame guide markers??

Like the GH4, the GH5 also seems to not have frame guides. I could be wrong here, but we do need 2.39:1, 1.85:1 and I need 2:1! Please make it happen. Let us select the marker we want, just like in your professional monitors.

Can you record 400 Mbps with the same U3 SD cards?

No. To record 400 Mbps video you need V60 class cards, as explained in my previous article.

Rear LCD

Actually it’s an LED, and Panasonic claims it’s twice as bright as the one on the GH4. So that’s an increase of one stop. Not bad!

People say the EVF is great too, though for video shooters that’s not so useful.

Better Menus

You can click the greyed-out menu options for a simple explanation on why it’s not available. Not bad. This is one area Panasonic has improved.

You also have a ‘My Menu’ option where you can store up to 23 items of your choice for quick access. Nice!

USB 3.0!

It’s actually USB 3.1. Which is great. USB tethering is something they are promising, though it’s probably for still shooters. Let’s see. If you could transfer (I mean copy) video through this directly that would be great!

Double SD Card slot

The GH5 can record to two SD cards, in these three configurations:

  • Relay Rec – One card fills up, then it starts recording to the next card. Then you can hot swap the first card out with a fresh card. Nice!
  • Backup Rec – Same data is recorded to both cards. Love this!
  • Allocation Rec – Record photos to one card and video to the second.

This applies to 4K video as well, though I’m not sure how it will work with 400 Mbps video. Let’s wait and see.

One way to save battery life

The GH5 has 20% less battery life when compared to the GH4. Still, it’s way better than a Sony a7S II. To get 2.5 times the battery life, just turn off the viewfinder. Go to Economy > Power Saving LVF Shooting > Select ‘3 SEC’. That’s it!

Can the YAGH interface be attached to the GH5?

No. Sell it while you can.

That’s it for now. To pre-order or purchase the GH5 please use these links – (Amazon, B&H).

19 replies on “Important Quirks and Features of the Panasonic GH5 for Video Shooters”

  1. Not sure if this is the right place and time for this, but perhaps someone has experienced the same issue I described 9 months ago at the Adobe Lightroom forum (but have yet to receive a single reply.) It has to do with LR showing only a part of the frame when playing 10-bit files. The link is below. Sareesh, you came across this somewhere?

    Thanks!

    https://forums.adobe.com/thread/2403339

  2. What’s the highest bitrate for HFR FullHD? You didn’t mention HFR option in Video Record Modes, did you?

  3. You wrote: “The Atomos Shogun Inferno, it’s the only one so far that can record 4K 50/60P”.

    But my Ninja Inferno does it too. And both models where offered at the same time.

  4. Great article, many thanks. I’m new to video shooting, and am somewhat confused about frequency and frame rates. For the best quality you recommend 4096 x 2160 with a 24Hz cinema mode at 24p 400 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2. However, I live/shoot in the UK, so should I not be using 50Hz (PAL)? (Which doesn’t offer these optimum settings.) Does it matter if I shoot in cinema mode in the UK?

  5. When recording in 4k 60fps, why will it allow me to take the shutter speed down to 1/30th of a second? This doesn’t seem possible.

  6. Did I miss something or are the variable frame rates from 2-180 not listed in your charts, or is this the AVCHD lusted as ‘various’ – I hope not.

      1. The 1080 recording modes all have a major crop, as they are a center cut from the 4K. You get a much wider field of vision when recording 4K. (Which itself, of course, has a crop factor of its own as this isn’t a full frame camera – despite Panasonic’s confusing ads.)

        So I think Sareesh means that you don’t get any FURTHER crop from high speed modes.

  7. Hi,
    In your anamorphic video section you wrote: “Note there is a crop factor here, as the entire sensor isn’t being used in 3.3K mode. From spherical, you have to factor in 1.23x.”
    To my understanding, the crop factor on the GH5 is 2x, so does this mean by filming in anamorphic 4:3 without anamorphic lenses, the crop factor will become 1.23x?

    1. 2 x 1.23 = 2.46. But then, if you use a 2x anamorphic it becomes a 2.46/2 = 1.23x. Make sense? Horizontal crop factor only.

  8. In the article you said that you can only record 4K 60p with an external recorder, but as far as i know, you can record 4K 60p internally, in 8bit 4-2-0, is that correct? Also, in the answer above, you said that you can record 4K 60p… so, what would it be?

  9. Very informative article.
    When shooting in anamorphic mode (4:3) on the gh5, can i record 60fps? All internal recording.
    My reason for asking is cos one cannot shoot 60fps in anamorphic mode on the gh4.
    Thanks.

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