Panasonic Is Keeping Micro Four Thirds Cameras Alive With the New Lumix GH5 II

Panasonic Is Keeping Micro Four Thirds Cameras Alive With the New Lumix GH5 II
Image: Panasonic

Full-frame mirrorless cameras may get all the attention, but with the new Lumix GH5 II and the forthcoming GH6, Panasonic is giving its Micro Four Thirds cameras some love, too.

By announcing two new Micro Four Thirds cameras for 2021, Panasonic is hoping to demonstrate its commitment to the category as a whole. The new GH5 II arrives first this winter, while the even more powerful GH6 is slated to land sometime before the end of the year. The big benefit of announcing the GH5 II and GH6 in tandem today is so that Panasonic can avoid confusion and prevent potential buyer’s remorse, because the GH5 II and GH6 are aimed at different types of buyers.

Image: Panasonic Image: Panasonic

Starting at $US1,700 ($2,180) (body only) or $US2,300 ($2,950) as part of a kit with a 12-60mm lens, the GH5 II is looking to appeal to YouTubers and other content streamers looking for a hybrid camera for capturing both stills and video, while the GH6 is targeted squarely at high-end professionals.

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for local Australian pricing and availability.

As the follow-up to the original GH5 from 2017, the GH5 II features the same 20.3-MP sensor and weatherproof body as before, but now comes with a bunch of major upgrades for autofocus, video recording modes, and more.

Panasonic did make a few small changes to the GH5 II’s design, including a new anti-reflective coating on its 20.3-MP sensor to help cut down on flare and ghosting, a slightly higher-res and brighter 1.84-million dot rear display, and a new EVF with a faster 120Hz refresh rate.

Image: Panasonic Image: Panasonic

Panasonic also upgraded the GH5 II’s video-recording modes with new support for Cinema 4K capture at up to 60 fps with 10-bit colour. The company even threw in support for its V-Log L recording mode for free (which normally costs $US100 ($128) to unlock on the GH5 and GH5S). And unlike its predecessors, the GH5 II can record 4K video internally with 10-bit colour while simultaneously sending 10-bit 4:2:2 out video HDMI to an external recorder.

On top of that, thanks to a more powerful Venus Engine image processor, the GH5 II now has much better machine learning performance, which unlocks automatic head and body recognition (along with animal detection) in addition to the face and eye detection that was already available on the GH5 and GH5S. And with Panasonic leaning even more heavily on DFD autofocus, the company claims the GH5 II suffers from less focus pulsing when trying to lock onto a subject.

Image: Panasonic Image: Panasonic

For streamers and content creators, the GH5 II features more powerful live-streaming capabilities that allow you to stream video directly from the camera to the internet over wifi, either with or without the assistance of a nearby smartphone or laptop. Panasonic has even added new options for video quality and bitrate to better match the big live-streaming platforms (YouTube, Twitch, Facebook).

And to round out the GH5 II, Panasonic made a new battery pack and included support for charging via USB-PD, though Panasonic still includes a dedicated external battery charger as well.

The GH5 II looks like a really great addition to Panasonic’s ever growing line of Micro Four Thirds cameras. And for those still looking for an even more powerful professional-grade camera, here’s your heads up to stay tuned for more details on the Lumix GH6 as we get closer to its official debut sometime later this year.