Does the Panasonic GH5 Improve on ISO Performance? From What I See.. YES!

January 6, 20172 Comments

The GH4 is a great camera. I shot the heck out of it. For the most part the smaller MFT sensor didn’t bother me. Use a fast lens and you can get nice separation from the background with shallow depth of field when needed. I Love the size of the camera and the battery life is awesome, but the one thing that always bothered me was the ISO performance. I just disliked the look of the noise and it was pretty bad at and over 800 ISO. Everyone is different in their tolerance for noise and I’m not overly picky. I think it adds a little filmic quality to the image if the noise is well. filmic. The GH4 on the other hand wasn’t. The noise had a lot of dancing RGB color in it. Very digital. Sony and Canon is much nicer and cleans up easier too.

So what will the GH5 ISO performance be? Since the announcement on January 5th at CES lots of videos are starting to come out. Here is one I think looks really great. Steven Clarey only had the Lumix GH5 for a very short time and pulled some really nice shots from it. Another impressive feat is he edited it on a Microsoft Surface Book. I want to know more about that!

Published on Jan 4, 2017

During a trip to Japan with Panasonic back in November/December of last year I was lucky enough to get a hands on with a pre production model of the new Lumix GH5. After leaving Panasonic in Osaka I travelled around Japan with Ross Grieve and Jacob James and we took the GH5 along with us on a road trip up to Fukushima via mount Fuji and Tokyo.

I wish I had filmed a lot more during the trip, spending more time setting up shots, testing out all the shooting functions of the GH5, however I was super excited to be in Japan and also wanted to take in as much as possible without having a camera glued to me 24/7.

This video was shot entirely on the GH5 mostly in 50/60p, I think there’s two shots in 25p, all the 60p footage was shot in the variable framerate mode and conformed to 25p in camera and the 50p footage slowed down by 50% in post.

I didn’t have a variable ND with me on the trip so I was having to control the light by using the shutter and aperture, sometimes having to bump the shutter speed up way to high causing some of the footage to look a little jerky.

Mostly shot hand held but I did use a glidecam for some of the sweeping shots. The 5 axis stabilisation in this camera is incredible.

The low light footage shot in Tokyo was shot at ISO 3200 and 6400.

All footage shot by myself, Jacob James & Ross Grieve

Edited and graded in Adobe Premiere on Microsoft Surface Book

Here is a low light ISO test of the GH5 by Luke Neumann I shows the noise pattern and color. Looks much better than the GH4 does. Much less color in the noise and seems to clean up very well. He shot this in V Log L which is noisier on the GH4. I do wish I could see ISO 1600 in full frame as opposed to a 400% crop but I think I get the idea enough.

This footage is just plain beautiful! I don’t know if Luke used any Denoiser on the darker shots. Some of these images look 3D. Very impressive.

With these samples I think it’s safe to say that Panasonic has improved the GH5 a lot in ISO noise and the levels of usable ISO as well. Nice job Panasonic!

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About the Author ()

I'm a broadcast DP In San Diego. I enjoy sharing what I'm working on and testing new equipment. This blog is also part of giving back. I've learned so much from so many people.

Comments (2)

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  1. Any Surface Book questions you have, fire them over, happy to help.

  2. Iván Otero says:

    It is pretty amazing. If I don’t have news about the 6D mk2 by Summer, I think I’ll go for this. I wanted some hybrid for photo+video, but Canon is disappointing a lot and maybe I focus more on video if they don’t release anything interesting…

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