Panasonic is off to a strong start in 2017 with today’s announcement of complete GH5 specifications, a super-compact GX850 Micro Four Thirds mirrorless, the FZ80 super-zoom point-and-shoot, and a collection of five Micro Four Thirds zoom lenses.
The New Flagship GH5
Panasonic has finally released the full specifications for its new Micro Four Thirds mirrorless flagship, the DC-GH5, and they definitely do not disappoint. This hybrid stills/video camera offers some outsized specs for its size, including UHD 4K at 60 fps, DCI/UHD 4K at 24/30 fps with internal 10-bit 4:2:2 recording, 12 fps continuous shooting, 4K and 6K PHOTO, 5-axis in-body stabilization, and more. It also features a newly developed 20.3MP Digital Live MOS sensor without a low-pass filter with 1.66x faster processing and a new Venus Engine that is 1.3x faster to help produce and process the imagery.
A major selling point of the GH series has always been its video capabilities. The GH5 steps things up a notch with 4K recording at up to 60 fps, as well as the ability to record 4K video without any cropping on the sensor. It also can record internally at 10-bit 4:2:2 for 4K at up to 30 fps and can output 10-bit 4:2:2 at all settings via a full-sized HDMI port. Full HD gets a speed boost, with maximum frame rates up to 180 fps. Those looking for picture profiles will find various settings, including multiple Cinelike options built in, while the advanced V-Log L is available by picking up an optional activation code along with a V-Log L View Assist Function for easier viewing during shooting. Finally, as with early models, the GH5 does not have any recording time limits.
One of the huge advantages of the GH5 is its expandability, including live monitoring and recording over HDMI while simultaneously recording internally to an SD card. It also comes with an HDMI Cable Lock Holder accessory. Shooters will have access to a 4K 4:3 anamorphic video mode at up to 60 fps, with firmware updates promised to upgrade this feature in the future. Other benefits include a dedicated GUI for videographers, which includes access to settings such as Gain and Shutter Angles, a waveform or vectorscope monitor display, and luminance level settings for 10-bit video. Finally, not to forget about audio, Panasonic has implemented a redesigned microphone with enhanced noise suppression and created a DMW-XLR1 XLR Microphone Adapter that connects via the camera’s hot shoe and adds physical audio controls and two XLR inputs to the GH5.
These video capabilities are in addition to an extremely capable set of still-imaging features, including 4K PHOTO and 6K PHOTO modes with rolling shutter distortion correction for ensuring you don’t miss a shot. These record either 18MP stills at 30 fps using HEVC or 8MP stills at 60 fps using H.264 to provide a series of high-res stills for users to choose from. Also, it has a customizable 225-area Advanced Depth-From-Defocus AF system that is faster and more accurate, able to lock on in less than 0.05 second and, with the addition of a joystick to the camera, choosing an AF point is much faster and more intuitive. Speed is definitely a theme in the GH5, with 12 fps continuous shooting with AF-S and 9 fps with AF-C for up to 100 raw frames at full resolution.
A major change is the implementation of two SD card slots, both of which are UHS-II compatible, for auto switching, creating an automatic backup, or selecting which files are saved to which card for organization. Also, five-axis Dual I.S. 2.0 makes its appearance on the flagship GH series, here using a five-axis in-body stabilization system and a two-axis lens stabilizer. This system can provide about five stops of compensation for camera movement and shake, ensuring sharp, blur-free imagery.
In addition to this, the magnesium-alloy body has received numerous improvements, including the addition of freeze-proofing down to 14°F to the splash- and dustproofing. The rear 3.2" RGBW free-angle touchscreen LCD receives a resolution bump to 1.62m-dots while the OLED viewfinder is almost entirely revised, featuring much improved 3.68m-dot resolution, a large 0.76x equivalent magnification, and an eyepoint of 21mm. The physical controls have been optimized and now include a rear joystick and the placement of the video Record button on the top of the camera. Additionally, the GH5 now offers a USB 3.1 port for fast image transfer and tethering. A new DMW-BGGH5 Battery Grip is available for extending battery life and improving ergonomics during vertical shooting.
Those looking for wireless connectivity will be pleased with the introduction of 5GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy that will make pairing with a smartphone much easier. The full-time Bluetooth connection can communicate with the phone to switch to Wi-Fi to transfer images to the smartphone—all automatically, as well as to auto geotag phones with the smartphone GPS, remotely wake up the camera, and copy and set settings from one camera to another.
Super Compact GX850 Mirrorless Camera
We’ve seen small mirrorless cameras before, but Panasonic’s DC-GX850 is trying to step things up a notch with a super-compact design that rivals that of some pocketable point-and-shoots. The major advantage of the GX850 over point-and-shoots is the ability to work with any Micro Four Thirds lens, such as the retractable 12-32mm lens included with the camera, depending on your current shooting needs. Also, the 16MP Live MOS sensor is capable of quite a lot, including UHD 4K video, 4K PHOTO modes, sensitivities up to ISO 25600, and 10 fps shooting. This model even offers a 180° tilting 3.0" 1.04m-dot touchscreen for intuitive control and easier selfies and a 49-point Depth-From-Defocus AF system for fast, accurate focusing. Benefitting those who want to use this as an everyday option, it features built-in Wi-Fi for connecting to a mobile device, a built-in flash, 22 creative filters, and multiple auto shutter modes. The GX850 is available in black or silver.
The FZ80 with 60x Optical Zoom
The latest entry into Panasonic’s growing series of long-zoom point-and-shoots is the Lumix DC-FZ80, with an impressive 60x 20-1200mm equivalent lens with POWER O.I.S. The camera sports an 18.1MP High-Sensitivity MOS sensor, allowing photographers to enjoy sensitivities up to ISO 6400 and continuous shooting at 10 fps, while videographers can record UHD 4K/30p video at bitrates up to 100 Mbps. Other features have found their way into this model, including 4K PHOTO and Post Focus modes. Not to forget about the camera’s design, we need to mention the inclusion of a 1.166m-dot electronic viewfinder along with a 3.0" 1.04m-dot touchscreen for natural and intuitive controls. Finally, the FZ80 does offer built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.
A Revamped MFT Zoom Lens Lineup
The only completely new lens to be released today is the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. Aiming to be the go-to option for shooters looking for a one-lens setup, this high-quality optic offers a versatile 24-120mm equivalent zoom range and a Leica design. Also, it has a fast maximum aperture range of f/2.8-4 and utilizes four aspherical elements, two ED elements, and a Nano Surface Coating to minimize aberrations and maximize image quality.
For the updates, we have the “pro” Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 II ASPH. POWER O.I.S. and Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 II POWER O.I.S. zoom lenses, which offer equivalent zoom ranges of 24-70mm and 70-200mm, respectively. These are must-haves for many shooters, due to their extremely useful focal-length ranges and constant f/2.8 apertures. Both X Series lenses feature Nano Surface Coatings to minimize flare and reflections, as well as an assortment of specialized elements to combat aberrations.
Along with these more modest zooms, we have some super-telephoto options, with the Lumix G Vario 45-200mm f/4-5.6 II POWER O.I.S. and Lumix G Vario 100-300mm f/4-5.6 II POWER O.I.S. Featuring equivalent focal lengths of 90-400mm and 200-600mm, these lenses will help users capture distant subjects. Also, relatively fast f/4-5.6 apertures will permit working in a variety of shooting conditions. Both lenses utilize ED elements in their designs to minimize aberrations.
Shared features between all the lenses include a linear AF motor that provides fast, accurate focusing for stills and video, a POWER O.I.S. system that is compatible with the latest Dual I.S. 2.0 for even greater stabilization with compatible cameras, and splash-, dust-, and freeze-proof construction for working confidently in inclement weather.