The Panasonic GH5 II Is Basically Daring You to Drink More Coffee

Today, Panasonic is announcing the new Panasonic GH6 development and the Panasonic GH5 II.

Most of my briefing on the new Panasonic GH5 II and the Pansonic GH6 had to do with many video features. Indeed, Panasonic has always leaned more towards video with Micro Four Thirds. OM Digital Solutions always leaned more towards photos and stills. So rumors started to circulate about the Panasonic GH6 and the Panasonic GH5 II. Well, they’re both coming, and they’re both going to do different things. More importantly, they’re both going to be flagship cameras.

Why the Panasonic GH5 II?

The Panasonic GH5 II is totally real. The biggest issues for Panasonic are regarding the processor and the sensor. So, the Panasonic GH5 II is getting a slightly upgraded sensor and the same processor in the Panasonic S1H. That means it’s going to be a lot more capable. The Panasonic GH5 II is also getting Live streaming capabilities. That’s all going to be best managed through Panasonic’s app. You’ll be able to stream live to YouTube and Facebook. A future firmware update will also let you use RTP and RTSP streaming codes. They’re really trying to make it work for stuff like Twitch. With that in mind, it’s targeted to video content creators who earn money from streaming videos. 

This site is mostly targeted at photographers, so you’re probably then wondering what benefit you’ll see. The most significant thing is that this is a new Live MOS 20.3MP Four Thirds sensor. It’s got an anti-reflective coating on it that will suppress flare that hits the sensor. That doesn’t mean that the lenses you buy will lose their flare, but it was a big problem with the GH5. Couple this with the engine in the S1H, and you’ve got a camera that should perform very well. 

That new processor promises an autofocus performance boost. Plus, it boasts deep learning for animals and humans. They’re claiming the camera will keep tracking a person who moves behind a tree in focus after they reappear. Other camera systems have demonstrated this already. But this is the first time we’re seeing it in Micro Four Thirds, to my knowledge.

The Panasonic GH5 II will also have 6.5 stops of image stabilization on the sensor. That’s quite impressive. We’ve known way too many photographers who drink excessive amounts of coffee: many of them don’t know how to hold cameras properly or stabilize their breath. This should help them. It’ll also hopefully help you when you’re shivering in the cold. 

Other big upgrades:

  • 3 inch LCD screen with a 1.840K dot display
  • Moisture and dust resistance
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • 5GHz Wifi. Perfect for those of us vaccinated and that have 5G in us (kidding!)
  • Live Composite is coming in a future firmware update. This is the biggest head-scratcher. I really think it should be ready at launch for photographers, but Panasonic says it’s not ready yet.

We’re going to see the Panasonic GH5 II launch this month. And it’ll launch for $1,699.99 for the body alone. If you want the 12-60mm kit, you’ll pay $2,299.99. This is a pretty steep price point for a Micro Four Thirds camera. But Panasonic mentioned that they’re going after the Fujifilm XT4, the Canon EOS R5, and the Sony a1 with video.

As a tester, I really hope this sensor is capable for still photographers. With that said, I also hope Panasonic starts working closer with Capture One. It’s by far the more superior photo editing software to Lightroom. And I’m sure it would render things like L Monochrome, Cinelike D2, Cinelike V2, etc., so much better.

The Panasonic GH6: Is It for Photographers?

The GH6 is coming before the end of 2021. In my mind, that means we’re probably going to see it in September or October. Most of what we knew is centered around using it for video and that it will cost $2,500. We also know it’s going to have a new Micro Four Thirds sensor. So what do I hope from this?

  • I really hope this isn’t a Sony sensor. We’ve seen patents for a Micro Four Thirds sensor in the 32MP range, and those patents are with Sony. As reviewers, we’re pretty sick of seeing the same sensor in every camera over and over again. Couple that with not enough effort from the manufacturers to differentiate their image quality, and it becomes a dangerous powderkeg.
  • Panasonic should really lean into their cinematic heritage here. We’ve interviewed tons of photographers who’ve said they are influenced by the movies. So why not try to get the look of Kodak film stock in both your stills and videos? Cinelike D2 and V2 sort of do that, but why can’t we have the look of a Tarantino movie in stills? Or why not do something more to embrace the look of Blade Runner besides shooting at 3200K tungsten?

These are just two things that I wonder. We’d love to hear from you. What do you want in the Panasonic GH6?

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.