CES 2018 is about to start but a few companies wasted no time in announcing some products ahead of the show which starts tomorrow January 8 and runs until the 12. Although they were not the first, the most innovative announcement so far is the GH5s from Panasonic.
Looking nearly identical to the video-centric GH5, this new Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless is a completely unique offering in the industry. The new GH5s succeeds its predecessor by taking nearly all its features and replacing the imaging pipeline with one aimed to maximize low-light performance and video quality.
The Panasonic Lumix GH5s is built around a unique larger-than-four-thirds multi-aspect-ration sensor. When shooting, the 12 megapixels sensor in this digital camera gets cropped to 10 megapixels with a 2X crop-factor at the usual 4:3 aspect-ratio, plus 3:2, 16:9 and 17:9 to maintain a consistent diagonal angle-of-view whether shooting stills or video, even at 4K Ultra-HD and Cinema 4K resolutions, delivering unprecedented versatility.
While the 10 megapixels of resolution is just half of its predecessor, each pixel is twice as large and much more sensitive to light. The unique BSI CMOS sensor in the Panasonic GH5s features Dual-Gain circuitry that gives it a standard ISO 160 to 51200 range, expandable to 80-204,800, the highest ever achieved by a Micro Four-Thirds digital camera. Since AF is performed via Contrast-Detection on-sensor, this pushed the autofocus sensitivity to -5 EV, the lowest of any camera regardless of type.
Having fewer pixels gives it much more throughput. The GH5s can shoot continuous at 12 FPS in JPEG and 12-bit RAW or 11 FPS in 14-bit RAW, with AF locked on the first frame. Using AF-C takes away 4 FPS from these numbers. With support for Dual SDXC UHS-III memory-cards, continuou shooting can capture an incredible 600 JPEG images or 80 RAW files per burst. Video speed is stellar as well with 60 FPS available in Cinema 4K for the first time on a mirrorless. Full 1080p HD can get recorded at up to a blazing 240 FPS.
A hybrid shutter gives the Panasonic GH5s a maximum shutter-speed of 1/8000s in mechanical mode or 1/16000s in electronic mode. The new shutter is rated for 200K actuations. The entire camera has been rebuilt around a closed magnesium chassis to make it incredibly robust. This camera is weatherproof and freezeproof to -10C. Like it predecessor, the GH5s is highly mechanical and offers a high number of controls, including rare triple control-dials.
The built-in EVF with Eye-Start sensor on the GH5s is large and extremely sharp, offering 100% coverage at 0.76X magnification with a class-leading 3.6 megapixels. The rear LCD is also large at 3.2″ and impressively sharp given its 1.6 megapixels. Both the EVF and LCD have special modes to assist with low-light photography and videography, a Live-View Boost and Night View modes.
The only omission compared to the GH5 is that the newer GH5s lacks built-in image-stabilization which is rather new on Panasonic cameras, so the majority of their lenses are stabilized. Unfortunately, this means using Micro Four-Thirds lenses from Olympus would result in no stabilization at all.
The Panasonic GH5s is scheduled to ship next month for $2500 USD or $3400 CAD. Both Adorama and B&H Photo are already accepting pre-orders. Pre-order yours from these to ensure to get one quickly and, remember, your credit-card will not get charged until the camera actually ships.