Panasonic’s flagship Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera is a force to be reckoned with, says Audley Jarvis
Panasonic Lumix GH5 review: Performance
Using a 16GB SanDisk Extreme Pro Class 10/U3 SDHC card, we were able to reach the claimed 12fps maximum continuous shooting speed with AF-S, and 9fps with the camera set to AF-C. Furthermore, the GH5’s burst depth has been much improved from the GH4, and during testing we were able to record around 62 consecutive Raw + Fine images at 12fps before the buffer filled.
Switching to raw only, the figure rose slightly to around 65 images, while in Fine JPEG capture, the GH5 recorded approximately 130 consecutive images at 12fps before slowdown. While the GH5 is not really positioned as an action or sports camera, its continuous shooting performance easily falls within the top tier.
Alongside its 4K video recording enhancements, 6K Photo Mode and new sensor/image processor, the other major addition is built-in five-axis image stabilisation. This arrives in the guise of Panasonic’s Dual IS 2 and can compensate for pitch, yaw and roll, as well as movement on the vertical Y and horizontal X axis.
The system is compatible with both stabilised and unstabilised lenses to deliver up to five stops of shutter speed compensation. In testing, we found the overall performance of Dual IS 2 to be excellent. Indeed, with the 100-400mm f4-f/6.3 Vario-Elmar lens set to a focal length of 300mm, we were able to shoot a stationary test subject handheld at shutter speeds down to 1/125sec with consistently sharp results. We also managed to get good results at speeds of 1/80sec and even 1/60sec, albeit not with quite the same consistency.
Image quality from JPEGs processed in-camera is very good, with the camera delivering pleasing results in a range of conditions. When faced with even lighting, the GH5 delivers excellent results, with true-to-life colour that is rich but not overly saturated, and with good levels of contrast, too.
When used to photograph high-contrast scenes, however, we found that the GH5 had a tendency to slightly underexpose images. As such, we often found ourselves reaching for the exposure-compensation button. Automatic White Balance was consistently accurate, though, even in mixed lighting conditions.
As expected the GH5 produces neutral-looking raw files that offer much greater processing flexibility than their JPEG counterparts. While out shooting a sunset over Bodmin Moor we deliberately underexposed a number of images to preserve highlights in the setting sun and pink clouds with the intention of reclaiming shadow detail at the post-production stage. Here the GH5’s raw files provided a good degree of flexibility, and although some luminance noise is clearly visible in boosted shadow areas we were able to to produce an image we were broadly satisfied with.