articles for photographers

Panasonic Lumix GH5 test and review for photos

To begin with, the Panasonic GH5 is positioned primarily as a camera capable of recording excellent 4K video at 60fps or 4K with 422 compression and 10bit color space. However, the GH5 is still a mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera. Therefore, it's a sin not to test it in the photo mode.

Panasonic GH5 - camera with sensor 4:3... I'll take a quote from Wikipedia:

This standard is intended to reduce the size and weight of digital cameras and camcorders with interchangeable lenses by reducing the thickness of the body without losing the quality of the resulting images.

Alas, as tests have shown, the quality of the resulting photos is significantly inferior to the full frame. I compare with full frame DSLRs, as they are in the same price range as this camera. The same as the optics for these cameras.

I had a GH5 complete with lenses at my disposal:

  • Panasonic LUMIX G Leica DG Summilux 15mm f / 1.7 ASPH (550 $)
  • Panasonic Lumix GX Vario 35-100mm f / 2.8 ASPH. POWER OIS (900 $)

panas gh5 set

These are the top lenses in the Panasonic lineup. Therefore, I will compare to the fullest extent.

I compare the photos with the pictures taken on Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 6D with optics:

  • Canon EF 35mm f / 2 IS USM ($ 550)
  • Canon EF 135mm f / 2L USM ($ 900)

That is, in fact, the two sets cost exactly the same. With Canon 6D the second set is cheaper for the same quality.

I tested the Panasonic Lumix GH5 camera for 3 days. On the first day, my wedding photographer and I tested Panasonic on the street. Then I organized an indoor photo shoot.

First impressions of the pictures were rave... Focuses quickly and accurately. The screen is very clear, bright and contrasting. Photos look great. I don't like the electronic viewfinder in the camera, but it has nothing to do with the quality of the photo.

Panasonic GH5 produces photos with a resolution of 5184 by 3888 pixels (20MP). Canon 5D Mark III shoots 5760 x 3840 pixels (22MP). The resolution is pretty similar. The only “but” is that Panasonic has a standard aspect ratio of 4 * 3, Canon has 3 * 2. To get 3 * 2 on Panasonic, you have to crop a frame up to 18MP.

Before we move on to the tests, I want to remind you that the crop factor of the GH5 is x2. That is, the sensor of this camera is half that of the full-frame 5D and 6D.

panasonic gh5 photo without lensFrom this it follows that the pixel size of this device is significantly smaller than that of full-frame competitors at a similar resolution. Such a technique, purely theoretically, based on these parameters alone, will work worse in poor light, will have a smaller dynamic range and blur the background less.

But lenses of the micro 4: 3 format are much smaller than their full-frame counterparts.

lenses from Panasonic and Kenon

If i had Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L, the difference would be even more striking.

lenses from Panasonic and KenonThis pair is very similar in terms of the angle of view they give when shooting (35mm and 30mm equivalent). Apertures f2 and f1.7 also seem to be similar. But it's not that simple. Apertures f1.7 and f2 on different matrices - completely different things.

Test photos on the GH5

We shot children in jpeg at standard settings.

test photo on gh5

In this photo, you can see a lot of stocks typical of Panasonic. Panasonic 35-100mm f / 2.8 lens (analogue of Canon 70-200).

test photo on gh5

It was a cloudy day, and yet we can already see overexposures on the helmets and children's faces. The bokeh is unpleasant. The overall contrast is low. The picture does not look three-dimensional. A good lens from the Panasonic lineup gives an unpleasant glow in contrasting areas:

test photo on gh5

Notice the halos around the Canon lettering and the white lining on my hood. I immediately had a question: and this is a nearly $ 1000 lens ?? By the way, the Leica Summilux 15mm f / 1.7 had no problems with ghosting, sharpness and detail were at the level. The lens is very good and gives the maximum that can be squeezed out of such a small sensor.

test photo on gh5

Background blur is present on the Panasonic 35-100mm f / 2.8, but not quite comparable to what the Canon EF 135mm f / 2L gives in full frame for less money (you can buy the 5d mark II, the result will be the same):

test photo on canon 135mm

135mm f2 lens washes the background in the trash. A GH5 camera with a sensor that is 2 times smaller gives a correspondingly worse result. Initially we were misled by the excellent screen of this camera. But viewing the pictures on the computer put everything in its place.

Video review of the Panasonic GH5 camera:

Let's move on to indoor photography. The shooting was carried out in raw format, ISO 200-1600.

test gh5 vs canon 5d mk3

Again we see how much nicer bokeh is at 135mm f2 than on the Panasonic 35-100mm f / 2.8. These lenses are slightly different from different areas of application, but they are united by focal lengths and cost.

Above in the photo in web resolution, after imposing noise reduction and adding sharpness, it is not visible that Panasonic has problems with ISO. This is a crop from full resolution without overlapping noise:

gh5 crop iso 1600

If you want quality photos, you shouldn't shoot at ISO 1600. Working ISO in photo mode up to 800.

Let's compare the wide angle. Panasonic's f / 1.7 aperture seems to be steeper than Canon f / 2, doesn't it?

panasonic 15mm f1.7 vs canon 35mm f2

No, no. For more details, watch the video for this photo shoot: (soon)

  • Original photos on the first day of the test you can see here.
  • Original photos in the room with the model see here.

Above, I spoke exclusively about the quality of photos on the Panasonic GH5. But this the camera boasts great functionality... She can:

  • take pictures up to 30 or 60 frames per second depending on the resolution
  • make time-lapses and video in motion picture mode (the principle of animation for cartoons)
  • shoot in multiple exposure mode
  • do bracketing not only for exposure, white balance, but also by focus

The last feature is really noteworthy. It is called post focus (by the way, the updated firmware v2.5 for the GH4 also allows this feature). The essence of post-focus is that the camera automatically takes a sequence of frames with different focusing points in the form of a short video file. It looks like this:

Filmed from a distance of several centimeters with a 15mm f1.7 lens. The depth of field is very shallow. Then the camera offers to select any of the focus points and save the file in this form, or combine all the focus points into one file. Here's what happened:

focus stacking test

The GH5 produces such a file with a resolution of 4992 by 3744 pixels. A very interesting function for subject photography... Saves tons of manual focus stacking time. The quality is inferior to a DSLR, but if you shoot for the Internet (which is most cases), then this will be enough.

Detailed analysis of functions and menus in the video:


The camera is interesting. It can be seen that the engineers tried their best to squeeze the maximum out of such a small matrix. The camera boasts unique features and average image quality. This will be enough for amateur purposes. You can easily take it on trips, shoot some scenes for yourself, etc. For professional purposes in photography mode, it cannot be viewed, in my opinion. Especially considering that for this money you can buy an order of magnitude better equipment. However, I had a top-end model from Panasonic's micro 4: 3 line of cameras on my test. You can look at the Panasonic G80, which has slightly fewer functions, but shoots just as well, and costs almost 2 times cheaper.

I compare it with the Canon system. I have been photographing it for a long time and have a large park of optics. Full-frame Nikon or Pentax cameras are no worse, and in some moments even better.

The review turned out to be negative. I look at this technique from a price / quality perspective. The ratio is losing. But that's when it comes to photography. In video mode, this is a completely different matter. About opportunities video on GH5 can be read in next article.

Video review of Viltrox EF-1, Viltrox EF-2 adapters with tips for choosing lenses for micro 4/3:

PS Thank you representatives of the Kiev office Panasonic for the opportunity to test their technique, despite the criticism from me :) Judging by the communication with these guys, the service and attitude towards their customers are at the highest level.