Panasonic Lumix GH6 vs GH5 Review : A Videographer's Dream | 5.7K Apple ProRes!

Well I can attest to how overwhelming this camera was when I first picked it up because there's just so much that's packed into this GH6 while seemingly coming off as another regular micro-four-thirds camera at first glance - While at the same time still being very user friendly I must add. Kinda like the underdog of a world filled with the likes of other camera brands like Sony or Canon. And honestly for that reason alone, I think I might just switch to Panasonic from Sony.

But before I get into all of that and before you start judging my taste comparing a micro-four-thirds to full-frame cameras, I must say that Panasonic doesn't get enough credit about how they've made some really great video-focused cameras - from its predecessor the GH5, back in 2017 which already came with 10-bit 4:2:2, 4K60, unlimited recording, 6K anamorphic external recording and anamorphic desqueeze display functions, 5-stop in-body-stabilisation and not to mention their Full-frame line that Panasonic also makes from their S1 to the S5. Which is on a whole other level of video features and something that I hope we'll get into in the future.


Contrastingly to most cameras I've tried, I love how the GH6 is a video-first camera. While it still does photo captures up-to 75fps with the electronic shutter, just from the interface itself you can tell it's mainly made for video camera enthusiasts.


Okay, so specs of the GH6.. you might want to hold your breath on this because it's a lot. And not confuse any of the specs I will be mentioning, I am using the PAL settings being in a Southeast Asian region. So just to note, it's 25fps for me and not 24.


With that out of the way, there's 3 different file formats available - MP4, MOV, and ProRes. MP4 formats will only get you up to 4K50 at 100Mbps and doesn't allow you to record at higher-frame rates. This codec will definitely be the easiest on your PC or machine as it deals with relatively small file sizes and most likely the best format if you're trying to manage hard-drive space.


But where things get really interesting is when you switch it to MOV or ProRes, which will unlock a plethora of codecs, aspect ratios, compression rates and resolution options all the way up to 5.8K 4:2:0 10-bit Anamorphic.


I don't own any anamorphic lenses, so we won't be able to get into much of that but I'll leave a link below to some lenses I've come across that's relatively affordable and could be quite the pairing for this GH6.


There's of course 4K25 4:2:2 10-bit and up to 4K100fps and Cinema 4K with a slightly wider aspect ratio at 17:9 ranging from 25fps 10-bit 4:2:0 up to 100fps at 300Mbps. I think for the sake of this review, I'll be shooting mostly in regular 4K25 4:2:0 just to make the post production of this video a little easier.


Apple ProRes will give you 2 setting options of 5.7K 25fps between 4:2:2 and 4:2:2 HQ. Bearing in mind that this codec will set you back by about 1GB every 4 seconds. So definitely something to be mindful of when it shoots in 1.6Gbps in 4:2:2 HQ.


Compared to the GH5, this GH6 now accepts CF-Express Type-B cards but there's still a slot for normal SD cards as well and you will still be able to use all of the frame rates and resolutions available, even in 5.7K 10-bit 4:2:0. Which in my experience is already a big plus, considering how some cameras like the A7IV wont accept V90 cards and above to shoot in high frame rates.


Design wise, there's a secondary record button on the bottom left side of the body and two extra custom functions in between the hand-grip and lens mount, which can be assigned to any setting of your choice. Overall look ties in quite nicely too with Panasonic's other full-frame cameras, with the signature Lumix red accents and a very nice grippy texture covering the body.


Further functionality you'll find in the GH6 is the very much appreciated waveforms for all your exposure monitoring needs, audio record limiters that can also be set to either 1 or 2 channels, and not to mention a very helpful display function which explains what each setting does, as well as some little details for displaying an estimated battery life time instead of the usual percentage you get.


While micro-four-thirds sensors aren't exactly known for low-light performance, the GH6 still performed impressively, showing little to no noise in the footage despite it having a dual native ISO of only 400-2500. Pushing the ISO above 3200 will ultimately result in noisy footage and probably the weakest link in this camera. Either way, I think I might just be too spoiled with Sony's low light performance with a dual native ISO of 800-12800.


Nonetheless, in comparison to most cameras I've tried, I appreciate how video focused wise the GH6 is. Noting some initial regrets for not taking interest in Lumix cameras when I bought my Sony A7iii when it first came out. Considering how Panasonic caters to video enthusiasts as opposed to the other hybrid cameras available in this price range, I'm glad the GH6 flexes its video performance above its stills photography for users such as myself looking to get more value in a body that's worth investing in.


The Panasonic Lumix GH6 is priced at USD$2,199 (Body only) and USD$2,799 with the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm F2.8-4 O.I.S. kit lens.

 

Written by Fitri Aiyub

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