Panasonic GH5S vs. GH5 Low-Light Shootout!

January 9th, 2018

As promised, after a lot of sweat and tears, here’s my low-light shootout of the Panasonic GH5S vs. GH5. Can the GH5S live up to its promise and finally give a Panasonic GH camera usable low-light capabilities? Let’s find out!

Panasonic touts their newly announced GH5S as the low-light king, and just like with the Sony a7S (and a7S II) the S stands for “sensitivity”. Low-light sensitivity, that is.

Panasonic GH5S and GH5 side-by-side

So I thought: before we put it up against the a7S II, I have to put it up against the original GH5. After all, the cameras have the same sensor size and share the same body. It’s mostly the sensor that’s new: with its 10.3 megapixels (vs. the 20.3 on the GH5) it supposedly produces less noise due to the larger – and therefore more light-sensitive – pixels.

Together with our writer Jakub Han I went out on Vienna’s cold winter streets and decided to film around the water of the Danube canal at night. A poorly-lit area which should make differences evident immediately.

If you want to skip from my talking straight to the side-by-side low light images of the two cameras, head to the 2:15 mark in the video.

Surprisingly clean high ISOs in the GH5S

I was surprised by how clear the low-light capabilities between the two cameras really are. Even at relatively low ISOs – such as the second native ISO of 2500 on the GH5S (the other one is 400) – the clarity of the image compared to the GH5 was absolutely astounding. This was most obvious in Hybrid Log Gamma, as V-Log is by nature more noisy as it needs more color grading, where the blacks usually get crushed again.

Nino Leitner out shooting the low-light comparison between the Panasonic GH5S and GH5

And it just went on and on… the higher you go, the more evident the difference is. The image on the GH5S is cleaner than the GH5 across the board. There is really not much more to say other than it’s by far the cleanest and most sensitive Micro Four-Thirds camera that I have ever seen. It will be very interesting to put it up against the Sony a7S II.

Mind you, the GH5 can only do 12,800 ISO max, while the GH5S can go all the way up to ISO 204,800. However, in V-Log mode it can “only” go up to ISO 25,600. The higher ISOs are available in all other picture profiles (e.g. Cinelike, HLG, etc.) after turning on the “extended ISO” settings in the menu.

Would you like to learn more about the new Panasonic GH5S? Head to our “Hands-on review”, or see the short documentary we shot with it. Oh, and don’t forget to look at the exclusive interview we made with the gentleman behind the new camera! 

What do you think about the low-light capabilities of the GH5S compared to the GH5? Comment below!

Advertisement

33
Leave a Reply

avatar
13 Comment threads
20 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
19 Comment authors
CineuavLuke McKay paolo baroniMatthew Hartman Recent comment authors
1
1
- 2
Filter:
all
Sort by:
most voted
Ignacio Fiallos
Ignacio Fiallos
GuestJanuary 9th, 2018

Can’t resist. ? https://t.co/ckO6mRdDZv

Sam
Sam
MemberJanuary 10th, 2018

Thanks for the nice objective comparison. Straight to the point with side-by-side comparisons. Cheers!

 Cinema Summit
Cinema Summit
MemberJanuary 10th, 2018

Great review Nino. I’m excited to get my hands on this one for sure.

Jamie LeJeune
Jamie LeJeune
MemberJanuary 10th, 2018

How about dynamic range? I’d the GH5S any better?

Hel Mut
Hel Mut
GuestJanuary 10th, 2018

she will definitely get a prize :)

 Markus Magnon
Markus Magnon
MemberJanuary 10th, 2018

Another GH5s posting. This time about low light? Why? I did not understand the focus of image stabilisation, 4K (or even 6K), slow motion, sensor size, 10bit, low light capability. What about skin tones and more important dynamic range. GH5 has a terrible dynamic range. Sites like Cinema5D want to push the usable dynamic range of a Sony A7S II to be 11.4 stops which is ridiculous. On the GH5 the dynamic range is around 10 or less. And even if you have better “sensitivity” and shoot at 6400 iso you will never get more dynamic range. So for a filmmaker I prefer a camera which are not “low light”. But so what. Dark is dark.. and with enough dynamic range the rolloff from pitch dark black to things that have enough light looks better than in thos “low light DSLR Cameras”. Sites like Cinema5D should tell their audiance what really is important. I more and more realise that it is still a site for manly amateur photographs that also want to get into filmmaking. And this audiacne don´t want to deal with raw. They prefer, log, but please in 10bit. And IS, and low light and 4K and slow motion.

Tim Naylor
MemberJanuary 12th, 2018

Relax. They’re not killing babies. I’m sure in due course, there will be commentary on all those ommissions. My guess, is they wanted to comment on the aspect that distinguishes it most from the GH5 – low light. It’s like their reviews on the Ursa mini pro. They commented primarily on the differences from the original Ursa mini. If there was a big difference in IQ, that would’ve been mentioned.

And yes, for professionals, this site has a useful perspective. They comment primarily on affordable cameras that aspire to have professional grade specs. I’ve over 20 years in the business and always find things here that never get reported on or tech’d at my unions special tech meetings.

 paolo baroni
paolo baroni
GuestJanuary 13th, 2018

markus why are you talking about ferrari details when we are driving a ford focus??it’s a toy that for 2000dollarz gives u 240 slomo, 60p at 4k,422codec and no rec limit, and of course a mini sensor with lack of latitude :)
everybody wants a red helium in a 3000k mirrorless :)

Clayton Moore
MemberJanuary 14th, 2018

What are you driving ?

 paolo baroni
paolo baroni
GuestJanuary 14th, 2018

a ferrari whenever i want

Le Nico Schrenk
Le Nico Schrenk
GuestJanuary 10th, 2018

I’d be interested in the difference of dynamic range between the two. In theory less noise should also introduce a greater latitude.

 Markus Magnon
Markus Magnon
MemberJanuary 10th, 2018

No. Dynamic Range is exactly the same. The dynamic range is pretty low on the GH5 and GH5s is the same.

 Ezi Seel
Ezi Seel
MemberJanuary 11th, 2018

The marketing blurb explicitly states the extended sensitivity of the sensor translates to increased effective DR in VLog-L.

Clayton Moore
MemberJanuary 10th, 2018

Great job Nino short and to the point.

Im not that much of a low light shooter so my GH5 will be just fine for now. I would like to see a blind side by side test in full light (same lens and exposure and picture profile) and see how they compare.

Also in Johnnies interview with the head of Panasonics camera division he said that (if needed) they would release a firmware update for the GH5. Of course It would not be able to compensate for a new sensor, but would it address an improvement in highlight roll-off or auto focus or something else that could be improved within he GH5 hardware limitations ? Of course we don’t know about that yet, but I think its all good news and demonstrates that Panasonic is being very responsive to it customers.

 Keith Mullin
Keith Mullin
MemberJanuary 11th, 2018

Not to be pedantic, but a Full Frame sensor is actually 4x the size of a micro4/3 sensor, not 2x.

 Bernard Shaw
Bernard Shaw
MemberJanuary 12th, 2018

Dynamic range AND low noise BOTH matter. The Human eye and brain sees contrast on a log scale not linear. So large dynamic range matters allot. The lower the noise the more apparent the lack of dynamic range becomes more important.

I agree we need both. In scenes of narrow dynamic range it matters little. But in pro lit scenes and outdoor videography it is crucial to have both.

I found that renting a 4k best model of BV lack magic camera in these condition was massively dramatic.

Why must we still pay so much for cameras with both poor low light and narrow dynamic range.

Matthew Hartman
Matthew Hartman
MemberJanuary 14th, 2018

$2,000 – $3,000 is the new “entry-level” or “cheap”, which of course is ludicrous if you’re not putting these purchases on a CC, and the fact that the average American makes less than $32k/year and has about $500 in savings and is massively in debt. Obviously, Americans aren’t the only ppl on the Earth, but it illustrates a good point I think.

I find it amazing that all these online camera reviewers and the like seem to have this endless flow of product acquisition. “Hey guys, I just bought the new X”. Then 2 weeks later, “Hey guys, I just bought the new Y”. And, this gem, “Not a bad little camera for only $2,999”.

Shit, I’m still with the same camera I purchased 3 years ago and I’m on a six figure income. Then again, I avoid my CC’s like the plague so I’m guessing a lot of these guys are getting free gear or are massively in debt.

Personally, I think the GH5s is a total ripoff. To try and create a “low light” camera with a MFT sensor is absolutely dumb on top of dumber.

Panasonic should have instead released a GH5s with a bigger sensor and kept it’s mp count of the GH5, and increased DR at least a stop. Then to charge more than the GH5 is fuzzy math to me.

I’m so glad I rejected the temptation to jump to the GH5. Not a huge fan of the image or MFT tbh.

As soon as someone else releases all the buzzword features of the day with a bigger sensor and better AF, you’re going to see a great many used GH5/GH5s being sold on eBay. “Hey guys, I just sold my GH5, because I actually didn’t like MFT, bad AF, and low DR, basically all the things I tried to talk myself and others into of why buying this camera was a good purchase. I’m a smart consumer”.

MEH.

 Luke McKay
Luke McKay
MemberJanuary 19th, 2018

$2,000 isn’t low budget for 4K at 60fps? How about 400mbps codecs or 10bit color and syncro scan?… Do you make six figures doing video work?… Anyways having used everything from Kodak 35mm Vision 3, to the RED ONE and GoPros I can tell you that the GH5 is one heck of a deal… Everyone who is whining about a “noisy sensor” is just trying to use the camera in a way it was never meant to be used. I don’t throw in ASA 100 film stock and expect it to perform in low light… Nor do I expect an MFT sensor to perform like a full frame or even an APS-C sensor. So as I would expect from your comments, you’ve never tried or tested this camera… This camera (GH5 not GH5s) is an amazing balance between powerful features and a small and light design… If you had used the camera you would know that this camera has almost canon like color science, a robust FPS and codec selection and a FIXED AF system since the last firmware update… For $2,000 you can’t find a better camera for MOST uses.

 Luke McKay
Luke McKay
MemberJanuary 13th, 2018

Nino do you find yourself using Vlog less on the GH5 vs the GH5s given its tendency to expose a lot of noise that seems to be hidden in the other profiles? Great job in the review :)

 D E
D E
MemberJanuary 14th, 2018

It would have been more comparative if the shots were looking at exactly the same view, not either sides of one another. Half of the frame are not identical, so there’s no “exact” side by side comparison. Next time.

 Funky Punky Monkey Junk
Funky Punky Monkey Junk
MemberJanuary 14th, 2018

There really should be more analyses like this, because low-light situations are of primary interest to indie shooters.

However, the compositions here could be much better for side-by-side comparison purposes. In the first shot, all the interesting light sources are on the right side, and thus only captured by the S.

More-symmetrical compositions would have provided us a much better comparison. For example, straight down the middle of an urban street, with similarly lit buildings on each side.

Matthew Hartman
Matthew Hartman
MemberJanuary 14th, 2018

These guys know how to do a proper test. They didnt do it that way because they need to push sales of these cameras and know the differences don’t justify the cost of the upgrade.

MEH.

 paolo baroni
paolo baroni
GuestJanuary 14th, 2018

for me too it looks like just a better in camera denoiser from the video, but with this tests u never know…..this is why you have rentals…even if i understand renting 60k lenses not 2k cameras….

Clayton Moore
MemberJanuary 15th, 2018

Good point Paolo! I tell people I know if your thinking about making some purchase but are a bit shy about it, see about renting ____ whatever for a week or so and see if its good fit. For some reason “renting” is something people seem to over look.

1
1
- 2
Filter:
all
Sort by:
most voted

Take part in the CineD community experience

mode_comment33