3 Things the Panasonic GH5 Needs to Beat Sony

Here we are, after months of waiting we finally know the specs of the new Panasonic GH5. And while it looks impressive on paper, we know it's often not enough.

While the price was always a very attractive point, the GH4 has been losing badly to the A7SII (although it already slowly started with the A7S) for a few simple reasons.  

Photographer Daniel Berehulak (from the official Panasonic GH5 page)

Photographer Daniel Berehulak (from the official Panasonic GH5 page)

1. Low light capability

Reproducing the feat of the A7S in low light will be pretty much impossible on an M43 sensor, but most of us don't really need to be able to shoot at ISO 100,000. At least not that often.

Yet for the first time, a semi-professional camera (not even a fully dedicated video camera) was beating the most advanced ones in low-light performance. It could see better than the human eye and we loved it! So many people love to shoot at night or in dark environments and having the flexibility to choose the amount of depth of field or what type of lens to use was a whole new joy.

We know from the new Panasonic G85 that they have been working on that and hopefully we can expect a very clean image at ISO 6,400. That would really be a minimum requirement in my opinion. Personally I'd be happy with that. It'd be a fair compromise with all the high bitrate 10bit 422 goodness that the new specs offer. 

A photograph from Ross Grieve (from the official Panasonic GH5 page)

A photograph from Ross Grieve (from the official Panasonic GH5 page)

2. Image quality

The G85 also shows the improvements that have been made in image quality and it's fair to assume the GH5 will be at least as good. However from the promo footage we've seen, it all still looks very TV/digital video rather than an image that's closer to cinema cameras.

The texture of the image isn't all that pleasing. Sure we can use LUTs and EOSHD's new ProColor is an interesting development but it'd be great to see Panasonic's line of GH cameras offer a better image quality. Especially when we know how many filmmakers are into this line of cameras.

While some people may complain about it, most do prefer the image that comes out of the sony A7S series. 

A photograph by Daniel Berehulak (from the official Panasonic GH5 page)

A photograph by Daniel Berehulak (from the official Panasonic GH5 page)

3. Colour science

A similar issue to the image quality and one that would help it differentiate the GH5 from the Sony cameras which suffer from slightly worse colour science in my opinion.  

With Nikon and Canon offering a better colour science but unfortunately outdated systems it's a tough choice. If Panasonic's high end devices offer better colour rendition, then why not do like the other two giants and make it benefit their lower end products too?

But maybe it is a problem of engineer vs designer (or artist). Laptops have suffered from this for many years and it's only recently that Microsoft and other Windows-based laptop manufacturers have understood the importance of craftsmanship and design statements.

It is possible for us to create a relationship with objects, but this is more easily achieved when there is passion, quality and a certain vision. An excessive scientific approach to colour science, as very well explained in EOSHD recently, won't create this kind of warmth we'll get not only from seeing beautiful images but also the warmth we get from falling in love with our cameras.