Update: I received a few comments from readers who who report having trouble getting good quality still photos with the GH5. I have added some screen shots from Lightroom with a still image at ISO3200 as an example of the still image quality. This shot was made with the Leica 12-60mm f2.8-4 lens, and I have included the jpeg out of the camera and the processed raw file. I have also updated the images in the post so you can click on them to see the full-size image.
The first LUMIX camera I bought was the GH3. I was using cute little retro-styled m4/3 cameras at the time, but when I felt that familiar DSLR-like shape in my hand I was reminded why cameras had evolved into that shape in the first place. It was comfortable to hang onto all day and I didn’t feel like I was going to drop it. The other thing I love about the GH cameras is the abundance of external controls. I rarely have to go into the menu to change settings while I’m shooting, and I can make most adjustments without taking the viewfinder away from my eye. The GH5 definitely builds on the ergonomics of its predecessors. It’s a bit larger than the GH4, and I’m so glad! The grip is fantastic. I have a place for my pinky finger, even without the battery grip!
By the time the GH5 came out I had all but abandoned my GH4 in favor of the LUMIX GX8 with its higher resolution, stabilized sensor. The GX8 has been my daily driver since it was released and I think it is a great camera. However, the range-finder-style camera body has limitations for some of the photography that I like to shoot. Mainly for long lenses and wildlife. Shooting the LUMIX/Leica 100-400mm f4-6.3 on the GX8 is not fun for long. The small grip on the GX8 is great with most lenses, but on the 100-400mm it’s just not enough. The external controls on the GH8 are great, but not quite as extensive as the GH bodies. Needless to say I’ve been looking forward to the next GH camera for a while.
I’ll cut to the chase and tell you that I haven’t been disappointed at all with the GH5. It has been a pleasure to shoot with in every situation, and my other camera bodies haven’t seen the light of day since I pulled the GH5 out of the box. Here are some of my favorite features of the GH5… besides the unbelievable 4K video quality.
First and foremost the LUMIX GH5 is a camera, right?! It has a 20.3mp sensor with no anti-aliasing filter. That means there is nothing in the optical path to reduce the sharpness or resolution of the sensor. I shoot a lot of different nature subjects that require all the resolution and sharpness I can get. Leaves, feathers and fur all benefit from the extra sharpness the GH5 has to offer.
Stabilized sensor/ dual is
Also important for nature photography (and lots of other subjects) is the built-in image stabilization. The GH5 employs the latest generation of what Panasonic calls Dual IS. The sensor is stabilized in the camera, and it works in conjunction with the stabilizer in most LUMIX lenses. This combination gives you 5-axis stabilization that is tuned for the focal length of the lens you’re using. In my experience this system works remarkably well to reduce camera shake and allow much longer shutter speeds without a tripod.
This is the first seemingly tiny addition to the GH5 that I want to mention. Just to the left of your right thumb as you hold the camera is a small joystick you can use to move the focus point or focus area. I have used the touch screen to adjust the focus point for years, but the joystick allows me to do so without taking my eye away from the viewfinder. They also added the sweet little joystick to the battery grip! LUMIX cameras allow you to change the focus point on the touch screen while using the viewfinder, but I use my left eye sometimes and that basically makes that feature unusable. Hooray for the joystick!
Front Fn button
Another small thing I love is the programmable Fn (function) button on the front of the camera next to the lens mount. Lots of cameras have buttons like this already, but this is the first GH camera to have one. I use this Fn button on my GX8 more than any other programmable button. I was really glad to see it on the front of the GH5.
Dual SD slots
This feature is pretty much a given on a professional level camera in 2017. The GH5 has lots of options for using both slots. I generally use one for photo and the other for video, or one for RAW and the other for jpeg, depending on what I’m shooting at the time. You can also use one for overflow, or record to both cards at the same time for backup.
The auto focus tracking in the GH5 is unbelievable. The 225 point AF and the AF-C mode give you up to 9 frames per second with predictive auto focus. I’ve been using the custom area mode to select the exact AF are I want when I’m shooting moving subjects. Once you set the area you can use the joystick to make adjustments on the fly. For wildlife, sports, or anything else that moves, the GH5 is no joke.
The GH5 has a menu that will be familiar to LUMIX users, but it feels easier to get around than previous models to me. The ubiquitous “custom wrench” menu now contains 5 sub menus so you can go directly to the item you want. There are now tabs on the right side of the screen so you can directly select the tab you want. I always liked the page-up/down feature of previous models, but the tabs work even faster.
Another great addition to the menu is the “My Menu” tab. Here you can save you most used menu items for easy access without scrolling. It’s about time the already excellent LUMIX menu got this upgrade.
Like the GH4 before it, the GH5 has given me seemingly endless battery life. I put one full battery in the camera and one full battery in the battery grip and shot for 4 days. Now, I was not shooting all day each day, but I was out of town with my kids for spring break, and you can bet I made quite a few photos! I was worried that the stabilized sensor would drain the battery faster than the GH4, but in practice it still seems to go on forever.
6k photo/ post focus/ stacking
These features are blowing my mind a little bit. I made a 13″x19″ print of a 6k photo at a camera club event in February, and I could hardly believe my eyes. The GH5 will record 30 frames per second and then let you choose a frame to save as an 18mp jpeg! You can also shoot with the same resolution and choose the focus point after the shot, or do your focus stacking in the camera! I have only scratched the surface of these features, but I’m excited to see what I can do.
Last but not least is my favorite photo style. If you’re a die-hard RAW shooter you can skip this part. For the record I shoot RAW+jpeg, and I frequently end up using the excellent jpegs I get out of the LUMIX cameras. Especially when they are beautiful black and white images as rendered with the l.monochrome photo style. There’s just something about the look of the images I get using this style and the LUMIX/Leica lenses that I can’t get over. For some reason the l.monochrome style never made it into the GX8 and I was delighted to see it in the GH5.
See there! I didn’t mention 4K, waveforms, vector scopes, or any other video stuff. Don’t get me wrong, all of the video features in the LUMIX GH5 are unbelievable. But the fact is I’m mostly a still shooter and this camera is a really great still photography camera. If you have any questions about the GH5 please feel free to email me, and check out the work of my colleagues on the LUMIX Luminary team. I know we are all excited about this new machine!
The following are screen shots with the original image zoomed to 100% in Lightroom Classic CC. These were captured at ISO3200,
Hi Rob—thanks for your input and review of the still capabilities of the GH5. I know we’re social media acquaintances but wanted to give you feedback here. I am looking forward to getting one for my pro work on my college campus. Myself and my two photo colleagues will be getting them as soon as they come back from backorder in mid-May. There’s a lot of reviews and feedback on the video side, but not much in the way for stills so it’s great to hear your take on it. We’ve also been using the GX8 and I love it too, but agree that it’s not an easy transition from the Nikon DSLR’s we’ve been using for decades. So we’ll now have GX8 and GH5 bodies with lenses that range from 7mm to 100mm–essentially everything we need. I liked how you brought up that joystick and the fact that it’s also on the battery grip, which we’ve also ordered. Thanks again for this review!
Thanks for the kind words, Glen! I think you’ll be stoked with the GH5
Hi, I appreciate the photography focused review! I have been looking high and low, and this is hard to come by. I actually now own a GH5. I switched from a long time Nikon owner, d90, d7000 and d750, with the trinity of lenses.
To be honest, I am having a world of trouble getting tack sharp images with the GH5. I have been trying in several lighting conditions, and with several lenses but something just seems a miss. I am hoping it is a user error issue. How are you getting excellent photos? Settings?
I don’t have any unusual settings for getting good results. What lenses are you using on your GH5? I find that sharpness issues often relate to glass and not the camera.
completely agree, coming from a “proper” camera the gh5 just don’t cut. I don’t see any details and i used the best pana/leica lenses with it. also the look is closer to the iphone. video is great. And the handling is really nice. So sad sbout the photo output. 42.5 1.2 comes best but even a fuji aps-c is far better i. detail, resolution, dynamic and color.
Wow, I could not disagree more. I’m curious as to what conditions (lighting, etc) you are using the GH5 in to not see any details
I have to agree with the other commenters who are disappointed in the photo capabilities of this camera. Comparing it to the iPhone is not an exaggeration, especially in less optimal lighting conditions (but still enough light to get decent pics out of my Nikon 3400). The GH5 is a superb video camera, but I must use my Nikon to get decent stills. I don’t even find the example images you posted in this review to be acceptably sharp or detailed. I appreciate the review, though, and respect your opinion – I just have a different one.
Thanks for sharing your opinion. Judging a camera’s sharpness based on small images on the web is not exactly fair for the camera. I’m still waiting for some of you commenters to send me a raw file so I can try to figure out why you’re not getting good results with this camera. firstname.lastname@example.org
Totally agree, i just bought a GH5 and i’m totally disappointed. There is almost no detail but a lot of noise even with ISO 400. And this is definitely not because of the lens. I use a Lumix 25mm 1.7 which i used before on a 6 years old Olympus PE-N. And on this old camera it is really sharp with a lot of details.
Would one of you please send me a raw file to have a look at? Send the file or a dropbox link to email@example.com. I have a hard time understanding why you would be getting “no detail” unless there is a problem with your camera. I know LOTS of professional photographers who use the GH5 every day, and they certainly wouldn’t do so if there was an inherent problem with that model.
I played around with the settings and now finally i get quite better results. So with the Lumix 25mm 1.8 i need to close the shutter to 2.8 and the images are really sharp but at 1.8 it’s curious. Sometimes it’s sharp, sometimes it’s not. Will do some new testshots and send it to your dropbox.
Yes, please send me some test shots. Also please keep in mind that you’re judging a $2k camera based on the performance of a $250 lens. That’s a pretty important part of the equation.
I also migrated from Nikon D750 and fast zooms to the GH5. The lens I am most often using is the Nocticron 42.5 F1.2. I am extremely pleased with the lens. I have trouble getting good low light images. While the D750 was perfectly fine at ISO3200, the upper limit on the GH5 seems to be 1600 as the grain is much worse. Smaller sensor, okay. I guess I can try to work around it unless someone has some useful tips. Even on lower ISO images, digging out the shadows is producing less useful results. Does the V-Log expanded dynamic range help with stills? Or is it only for video. Please do not take this wrong, the GH5 is a fantastic camera, and the ergonomics are solid down to little things like the little bumps on the ISO button so (as you might have read in the article), you never have to take your eye off the viewfinder. I love the smaller lenses and one camera that does great video and great stills. I just need help with this one little hurdle.
Thank you for sharing your specific experience. If you find yourself “digging out the shadows” a lot, you might want to consider exposing more “to the right”. That is to say, get your exposure as bright as possible (to the right side of the histogram) without clipping the highlights. The grain at higher ISO settings shows up first in the underexposed areas of the image. If you are bringing up the shadows in post you are effectively bringing up the grainiest part of the image. If you start brighter and bring down the exposure in post you will not have the same trouble. That said, I have regularly shot the GH5 at ISO3200 for wildlife and indoor events with great results. I expose so that I don’t have to bring up the shadows in post. The correctly exposed areas of the images are killer.
Oh, and V-log can only be used in the video mode
How are things going with the GH5? Found any limitation or dislike yet?
I am asking because I am considering getting one to replace my sometimes frustrating E-M1 and PEN-F. Not interested in video, just in stills.
As a still photographer I haven’t found anything to complain about with the GH5. I find that it just gets out of the way and lets me shoot!
Hi Rob, I just got a GH5 and it seems that the liveview preview is not what the actual exposure is. Is it a screen setting that could be changed or does it just come this way?
Sometimes the exposure doesn’t look quite right on the LCD if you have the LCD brightness set to automatic. Try choosing a particular screen brightness and see if that helps.
you want to enable Live Preview, or something like that.
Do you extend to ISO 100 ?
Hi john, I usually stick to ISO 200. Honestly I haven’t found a reason to extend to ISO100
Hey Rob, I am currently operating a Canon 60D. I am looking to upgrade to a new hybrid camera. Currently exploring the GH5 for it’s amazing video features. However, with your experience with the camera, can in handle event photography relative to something like the 5dii? (banquets, weddings, etc). Prior to purchasing the camera, I will most likely rent it. However, any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Hi Anthony, The GH5 works great for what I shoot. I would definitely recommend trying one in your real-world situations to make sure it works for you.
What settings do you use for photography? I’m a filmmaker wth a gh5 and I’m starting to do photography and have been playing around with different settings but can’t seem to settle on one. TThanks in advance.
Hi David, That’s a pretty broad question. What settings are you asking about?
Hi Rob, perhaps David is talking about the photo style?
What photo style do you normally use?
Do you change any settings at all? Contrast, sharpness and so on
Hi Melissa, I generally use either the Natural Photo Style or the Vivid style depending on the subject. I usually turn the noise reduction all the way down on the styles I use the most.
Thanks for a very informative article. I am new to photography at the tender age of 62 and want to buy a camera and a couple of lenses which are not heavy to carry. I have been looking at the G80 with the kit lens. I am hearing different roumers about the future of micro 4/3 saying it may not have a future? Can you let me know what you think.
Hi Tom, in my experience at trade shows and events, the micro 4/3 format is going stronger than ever.
Thanks for the review. How well do you think the Gh5 will fare for a wedding photographer?
Hi Lasse, I know several wedding photographers who use the GH5 as their main cameras.
Thanks for your reply. I’m also shooting events, so would love to hear your thoughts from using the GH5 at the Photo Plus Expo
I’m actually a bit disappointed in the way the GH5 takes photos. I’m find my shots are quite noisy and can’t really make them look any better by trying the fix them in Lightroom. Any tips to how you got that great shot of the owl. Thanks for your review
Hi Matt, I’d be interested to see your problem images. The hawk photo on this page was shot at ISO3200, and you’re looking at the jpeg straight out of the camera.
Hi, I am a beginner in photography but I also found the stills to be very noisy, any tips. I know it all depends on the settings and you can’t answer really without looking at an actual photo and the settings it has been taken with. But maybe just some general tips? Also, can anyone suggest a flash for GH5 that won’t cost me an arm and a leg?
Hi Nadia, I regularly shoot the GH5 up to ISO3200 (event photography) with excellent results. In my experience the GH5 is on par with APS-C sensors. The GH5 captures lots of detail, and the raw files have plenty of room to edit the highlights and shadows. I’ve used LUMIX and Metz speedlights with the GH5. They both work very well.
I’m considering purchasing a GH5 instead of Canon because I run a video company but often times I have to do photography and I wanted to know if you tried using your GH5 for event photography specially at low light conditions? If so, do you have any samples to show? I’m asking because a few of my contractors use GH5 and they said they don’t recommend events that are in low light conditions but most VIP event we do are lit dark for the mood. Let me know, thank you!
I don’t shoot events very often. I will be shooting on the floor of the Photo Plus Expo in NYC this week and I can let you know how it goes when I’m done. Email me next week and I’ll fill you in!
Hi Rob. Any chance you could email me your pictures too? I’m also in need of a video and photography camera. Kind regards, Frankie.
Hi Frankie, I can’t send you images that I shot for a client. I was very happy with the still photography results from the GH5. I will say that I am generally happier with the shooting experience I’ve had with the G9 so far.
I hate to admit it but im with all the other commenters. I found my way onto your blog because ive desperately been looking for a way to get better stills out of the GH5.
Great on video, but I’ve considered selling and getting a camera that is good at both video and stills 🙁
I prefer thew G9 for stills because of the frame rate, high res mode, etc, but as I’ve mentioned I get great results with the GH5 as well.
I am new to the GH5 & am puzzled with some of my shots. At times, the camera snaps once & the picture is good. At other times, the camera makes multiple snaps & produces a composite photo. This is especially troubling when the subject is moving & I end up with a frankenstein-type image. Can you enlighten me a bit about what is happening & how I might cope with this?
Sounds like you’re shooting in-camera HDR images. Make sure HDR is turned off
Hi Rob! One of the items Ive noticed, in almost all the threads regarding the lens type and the GH5, is that nobody is talking about lens calibration. Can you let us know how to calibrate a lens on a GH5 (ie…the settings to adjust back and or front focus).
Thank you for your efforts!!
Since the Lumix cameras use contrast-detect focus, there is no need for calibrating lenses.
Bought the GH5 with the metabones adapter for my Canon lenses. For the most part they work great. I’ve been looking at the Panasonic 100 x 400 lens you referred to. I’m a little concerned which the reviews. Many people say the mount is very easily broken. When that happens the lens is trash. I hate to spend $1500 on a lens that is easily broken. Any comments or feelings on that lens?
I dragged the LUMIX 100-400mm all over the world for 3 1/2 years, and I never had a problem with the mount. I know lot’s of photographers who use this lens, and I don’t know of any broken mounts. I can’t speak to how the internet “experts” might use or abuse their equipment, but I can attest to the fact that the 100-400 is most certainly not “easily broken” 🙂
What lenses are best and most economical to cover full range of focal lengths? What would you recommend?
The Olympus 12-200mm lens is hard to beat for a wide range of subjects. It gives you a 24-400mm equivalent field of view and it’s weather sealed! If you find yourself shooting more wide-angle, telephoto, etc, then you should probably invest in a pro quality lens in that particular range.
To all of the folks here who can’t seem to get quality shots out of the GH5, YOU MUST BE HOLDING IT BACKWARDS! Learn how to use it & you will get very good results. It’s not a full frame camera so stop trying to handle it like one.
I am also one of those that are (very) disappointed with the stills from Panasonic GH5.
First of all, I do own camera’s from Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Sigma, Pentax, Panasonic, Samsung, and maybe some more. Nothing very expensive, just a collection that accumulated in time. As a part of the hobby I have also explored nearly all the raw converters, as they affect the quality of the photos as much as cameras and lenses itself. Therefore, I believe I am a little bit competent to judge and compare the quality of the camera outputs, with processing (i.e. using raw converter) or “without processing” (OOC jpegs).
In short, GH5 fails to deliver pleasant looking photos without the effort, and sometimes even with the effort. Photos are very sharp (as the camera has no AA filter and has in-body image stabilization) with rather nice Olympus 12-40 mm pro lens. White balance is OK but struggles in shadows if left on automatic. Number of megapixels is, in my humble opinion, too big for small sensor, and the pixel peeping leaves some flat looking expression (this is not just GH5). About high ISO I do not care and it seems to me quite OK, but I rarely go above ISO 800, except with my Fuji X-Pro1. However, the biggest problems are the colors (aside from acceptable, but still a bit limited dynamic range): it is nearly impossible to have the colors balanced and, I know it is subjective but anyway, colors that are pleasing. If saturation is missing, adding saturation does not help. If photos are saturated, still the sky or greens looks not convincing. And so on.
Nowadays cheap and slow Canon EOS-M (first one) produces stunning photos at nearly any occasion. Nikon D3400 the same, but with fantastic dynamic range. My Nikon D600 is absolutely amazing, and Sigma DP2 Merrill generates sharpness beyond this world. Even my ancient Panasonic G1, when there is lot of light, produces really nice looking photos, with lovely and vivid colors although with a limited dynamic range. Olympus E-5 is another camera that makes unique photographs, asking for being watched.
I do not have preference over any system (brand) and, in time, one gets anyway used to choose the camera and the lens that is best for the e.g seaside, for the summer, for the autumn colors, for the people (Sony A77 is my choice in that case, amazing with flash!) and so on.
Panasonic GH5 is one of the worst cameras I own considering the overall appearance of the photos (and one of the most expensive ones). It seemed nice that Silkiypix (great raw converter) is now free for use with Panasonic cameras. That fact alone would make me choose Panasonic camera (if not new, then a used one), but for the GH5 it doesn’t help. Photos can not settle down: always something is missing or is in “improper place”. And this goes also for other raw converters, including DNG conversion.
While I admire the effort of doing reviews and analysis on this site, and while I gladly accept slight bias toward Olympus and Panasonic, in the case of GH5 I am simply very disappointed and no review can alter my own experience – getting proper “look and feel” of still photography is a challenge with GH5 and I can not recommend this camera to anyone who can not control entire photo making process, and even then, that one would need patience to get satisfactory result.
I will continue to explore GH5 and will try to get most of it by switching my interest to its video making capabilities, that seems to be excellent (I am total beginner in video recording). But for the stills, I will not hope much.
With best regards,
p.s. I almost never write comments, but GH5 still photography experience was a bit shocking (if I may say so), so here it is.
Thanks for the extensive comment, Smiljko.
As you may have noticed I have moved on from the Lumix system all together. I find benefits in the micro 4/3 system, especially in regards to the long telephoto lenses, and I discovered last year just how much better the Olympus system is for still photography.
That does not change my experience in this article. I made good photos with the GH5. I switched to the G9 when it came out and I was a bit happier with that. But when I used the Olympus E-M1X I realized how much work I had to do to get good results from the Lumix cameras.
As you can see on this thread, many photographers had really bad luck with the GH5. I didn’t have terrible results with it, but I grew to expect that the files would need work to look like I want them.
I suppose I could delete this article, but this reflects my experience at the time.