Bring out the pro in you

Bring out the pro in you

Panasonic's Lumix GH5S brings cinema-calibre videos to your hands

By Alvin R Cabral

Published: Fri 8 Jun 2018, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 8 Jun 2018, 2:00 AM

The world of cameras can be quite confusing - especially if we talk about those in the upper tiers. You know, those with several buttons on them and geeky stuff on the screen that could be intimidating especially for those who aren't really 'professionals', so to speak.
Panasonic will try to keep it straightforward for us with its latest Lumix GH5S camera. While it too has all those controls, the Japanese firm has one promise: it's apparently their best offering in the popular Lumix line - especially when it comes to video. This mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera - a lighter, more compact shooter compared to a DSLR - is something built for professional filmmakers.
If you're familiar with its predecessor, the GH5, you'll barely make out any differences - except for those added shades of red. As it is compact, it's easy to handle - even for those with small hands. The controls are well within grasp, no matter what position you'll be taking.
The GH5S has a 10.28MP sensor, way down from the GH5's 20.3MP. But as we know by now, more pixels don't necessarily mean better quality: the sensor is oversized and multi-aspect, meaning it can get the same angle of view at the same focal length in 4:3, 17:9, 16:9 and 3:2 aspect ratios. And the camera makes up for lower pixels by combining a Digital Live MOS sensor with Dual Native ISO. Too technical? Well, to put it in simpler terms, the GH5S has the highest-ever sensitivity and image quality on any Lumix device. Period.
When I took the GH5S out for a trial, let's just say it didn't disappoint. There are no issues whatsoever when it comes to good lighting conditions; the resulting shots are clear and crisp, and I like the fact that the colours are as natural as they can be (if you have certain smartphones that boast of more light-capturing, you'll know what I mean). Even in low-light and when the sun goes down, you would have no problems with your snaps.
Its biggest selling point, as mentioned earlier, is its video capabilities. Technically, it's the world's first 4K 60p/50p video recording in Cinematic 4K. In layman's terms, its videos are on par with the colour subsampling normally used in filmmaking. Now that's a big deal, and you'll be able to see it in your recordings: the videos are clear as day. Even if you adjust certain elements like contrast, the colours still come up naturally, and I particularly like how it retains the skin tone of subjects. Props as well for its microphone, which captures sound clearly during recording.
'Beef of the Review' alert: the GH5S shoots slow-motion video at 240fps in full HD (yep, not as slow as those 960fps on Sony and Samsung's gizmos), but there's a concern here: I noticed some noise on the results, specifically in the background. This is something they should look at.
One more thing that may not sit well with some: built-in image stabilisation has been removed, which is a head-scratcher given the fact that this is video-focused device. I'm thinking that since it is indeed intended for video, users may just mount the GH5S on a tripod or other steady surface. But when using it otherwise, the lack of image stabilisation can be largely ignored (could it be because I have steady hands?) and it shows in the results. This may, however, not work for everyone.
Panasonic stuck to the basics - no fancy stuff here - with the Lumix GH5S. By that, I mean you don't have to be an actual professional to begin shooting cinema-grade video. The technology offered here is a boon for budding videographers - plus it's a chance to switch from a bulky DSLR, yet enjoy all the good stuff.
Camera type: Digital single-lens mirrorless
Sensor: 10.28MP, Live MOS, Dual Native ISO, Venus Engine
Aspect ratio: 1:1, 4:3, 17:9, 16:9, 3:2
Image quality: RAW, RAW+fine, RAW+standard, fine, standard; JPEG, 4K photo
Video: Cinematic 4K; MOV, MP4, AVCHD
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 LE; USB Type-C, 3.5mm audio; SD card
Viewfinder: OLED live with eye sensor
Screen: 3.2" TFT LCD touch
Price: Dh9,329 (body only)
Pros: Great results; compact and solid build; powerful sensor
Cons: Noise in slo-mo videos; lack of image stabilisation; touchscreen takes time to respond
Author's rating: 8.5/10

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