Hello everyone! It’s been a while since I wrote a single word on this blog as these past 6 months have been hectic- editing away for A Lion’s Tale, doing work experience on the One Show, BBC Wildcats, attending Wildscreen – and recently my own film premiere at the Everyman theatre! I’m officially a graduate MA Wildlife Filmmaker; time has flown and can’t actually believe the course is over now. I also managed to get some very exciting work at the BBC as a researcher for NHU digital, on Planet Earth II digital and now the Oceans projects – a dream come true (!) So much can happen in the space of a few weeks, Bristol is such an incredible city full of passionate creatives…
More of that later, but today I’m here to share my experience with the greatly anticipated Panasonic GH5, which has been released TODAY...
At the beggning of February I had an amazing opportunity to try out the pre production GH5 model, which I was especially excited about. I had been reading different hybrid mirrorless camera specs, including the GH4 and A7S II; but then came across the GH5. If I could write a specs list as a wildlife photographer and filmmaker – this camera would tick them all! And whilst there are many of you out there shooting incredible films with FS7’s or RED One’s, this article is targeted towards those with much smaller budgets and the need to travelling light. I principally wanted my choice of camera to provide me with all the features that allow me to have stabilized, sharp images, 4K at 10 bit, variable frame rates to shoot in high speed and capture high quality, blue-chip style footage… and here it is! Not to mention the improved low light performance and compact body…
Here’s the tech specs for you to drool over:
- 20.3MP Digital Live MOS Sensor
- Venus Engine Image Processor
- UHD 4K 60p Video with No Crop!
- Internal 4:2:2 10-Bit 4K Video at 24/30p
- 4:2:2 10-bit (DCI and UHD up to 30p + HD 60p) Firmware update summer/April
- 400mbps All-intra (DCI and UHD up to 30p) Firmware update summer/April
- Variable frame rate (up to 180fps in 1080p HD: )
- 5-Axis Sensor Stabilization; Dual I.S. 2
- 0.76x 3.68m-Dot OLED Viewfinder
- 3.2″ 1.62m-Dot Free-Angle Touchscreen
- Advanced DFD AF System; 6K & 4K PHOTO
- ISO 25600 and 12 fps Continuous Shooting
- Dual UHS-II SD card Slots;
- Wi-Fi & Bluetooth
- Improved low light
- Hybrid Log Gamma (for HDR video)
- Waveform and Vector monitors (for all you graders out there!)
- Price: £1699.00 (body only, UK)
So enough of me gabbling on; here are some stills I took at Bristol Zoo and around the city, using the 100-400mm f/4-6.3 and the 15mm Summilux f1.7 Leica lenses:
Ducks galore. 1/650 sec, f/6.3 with the 400mm Leica lens. 6K stills mode.
Lions lair. Shot handheld through a fence 1/650 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1600 with the 400mm Leica lens. Cloudy/dark conditions so had to increase the ISO as the min aperture was 4.
Look into my eyes. 400mm Leica lens at 1/400 sec, f/6.3, 1600 ISO, manual
Sleeping beauty. 400mm Leica lens at 1/320 sec, f/4, 400 ISO, 6K stills mode.
400mm Leica lens at 1/320 sec, f/6.3, 400 ISO, manual
400mm Leica lens at 1/1000 sec, f/4.2, 1600 ISO, 6K stills
400mm Leica lens at 1/1000 sec, f/4.0, 1600 ISO, 6K stills
15mm Leica lens at 1/500 sec, f/1.8, 200 ISO, manual
400mm Leica lens at 1/1000 sec, f/4.2, 1600 ISO, 6K stills
And now for cities!
15mm Leica lens at 1/1020 sec, f/1.8, 200 ISO, manual
15mm Leica lens at 1/3200 sec, f/1.7, 200 ISO, manual
15mm Leica lens at 0.6 sec, f/1.7, 200 ISO, manual15mm Leica lens at 0.65sec, f/1.7, 200 ISO, manual15mm Leica lens at 0.6 sec, f/1.7, 200 ISO, manual15mm Leica lens at 0.5 sec, f/1.7, 200 ISO, manual15mm Leica lens at 0.5 sec, f/1.7, 200 ISO, manual
So here’s my short little summary breakdown of the pros and cons (so far):
- Incredible image quality. Both stills and video
- Fast focus, cont focus very good with fast moving subjects (with a whopping 225 autofocus points compared to the GH4 which had just 49 of them!)
- Dual IS was brilliant; everything was shot handheld!
- Colours were vivid and realistic
- Variety of functions and control
- Viewfinder superb contrast and easy to use in combination with the screen
- Screen: incredible quality and sensitive to touch screen capabilities
- Solid feel, nice grip
- Sound stereo actually good
- 6K photo function
- Ability to stabilise on a drone and shoot 4k 60fps
- Price: Nearly $1500 cheaper than the A7S Ii, you can afford to splash out on a decent lens and not struggle
- Compact: You get through customs without questions, as a ‘tourist’ and not draw attention with a large FS7 or FS700 without compromising on quality…
- You can use this on a Movi for additional stabilisation
- Ability to attach mics – interface with Panasonic’s optional hot-shoe powered DMW-XLR1 microphone adapter (for amazing sounding interviews!)
- High speed grain. Quite noisy at 180fps, better at 120 when light conditions were good. An try and avoid using 1080 120 100mbps with a telephoto lens (if you’re using the 15mm 1.7 you’ll be fine as this is a nice wide, fast lens that gives you plenty of light).
- 100-400mm manual focus not as smooth or intuitive as some of the Canon L glass (but you can get a speedbooster and mount for your Canon lenses)
- Battery life; constant 4K shooting 3 hours and 15 minutes. Not mega efficient! But can get 2 and lasts longer than A7S.
- Poorer performance at 3200 in low light, not good in darker conditions with telephoto, but superb with the 15mm
Well, there’s a few things that I personally want to film with this revelatory new piece of camera technology. Exquisitely designed in terms of ergonomics and with the operator in mind – this is certainly one to watch for indie wildlife filmmakers who not only want to shoot stunning stills, but also enter film festivals with high quality films – all within budget. (Then you’ve got more to cash to splash on going out on location to exciting places!)
More soon with video footage samples in 4K and variable frame rates, as well as a more extensive guide on what each of the features allows you to do – but in the meantime, get down to your local camera store and try it out!
ps: Me playing with a DJI Ronin! And soon the GH5…..