Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II - Worth the Upgrade?
The LUMIX GH5 II | Courtesy of Panasonic

The Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II (or GH5M2) was announced last month, the second iteration of the popular LUMIX GH5. Available for pre-order now, it’s due to start shipping in the coming weeks. We’ve compiled everything we know so far below, including a side-by-side comparison of the LUMIX GH5 vs GH5 II. 

Panasonic also announced the development of another new camera last month. While not much is known about the LUMIX GH6, Panasonic did reveal it would replace the original GH5 as the flagship camera of the LUMIX G Series. It’s due to be released by the end of 2021.  

With a powerful predecessor to compare to, and a new flagship model expected by the end of the year, you might be wondering whether it’s worth upgrading to the GH5 II. However, before we dive in and find out, let’s review a little GH5 family history.  

Family History  

The original LUMIX GH5 was first announced in early 2017, itself succeeding the LUMIX GH4, the world’s first mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera capable of recording 4K video. As the next model up, the GH5 was the world’s first mirrorless camera to record 4K 30p 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally.  

Despite its impressive video specs, the GH5 is mostly known as a photography camera.  The 20.3MP Micro Four Thirds camera is capable of burst shooting stills with a whopping 6K resolution at 30fps, and a 4K resolution at up to 60fps.  

Panasonic promptly followed it up with the LUMIX GH5S in early 2018, which we called one of the four best cameras for videographers.  Equipped with a 10MP sensor, the lower resolution enables the GH5S to deliver a better video and low-light performance. Read our full review of the GH5S here.  

Following the GH5 and GH5S, the GH5 II has big shoes to fill. That’s especially true given that the next model up, the GH6, has already been announced. Let’s get into everything we know so far about the LUMIX GH5 II. 

LUMIX GH5 II – Everything We Know So Far 

The LUMIX GH5 II promises to be a powerful hybrid camera, offering photo and video capabilities that surpass both the GH5 and GH5S. 

The camera uses the same 20.3MP live MOS sensor as the original GH5, with a key enhancement: Anti-Reflective (AR) coating. The AR coating reduces the risk of lens flare, ultimately enhancing image clarity and color reproduction. Additionally, the GH5 II uses the latest Venus Engine image processor, the same used by the powerful LUMIX S1H.  

While the GH5 II offers the same, strong still image capabilities as the GH5, the new processor helps the camera reach new heights in terms of video recording. The GH5 II can record DCI 4K 60p 4:2:0 10-bit video internally, even while simultaneously recording DCI 4K 60p 4:2:2 10-bit video via HDMI output. 

Like the GH5, the new model supports unlimited recording on all settings. This is especially helpful given one of the other new features added for the GH5 II: wireless live streaming. Using the LUMIX Sync app, you’ll be able to livestream from the camera directly to Facebook, YouTube, or any other platform that is RTMP/RTMPS compatible. This is a huge upgrade for online content creators. 

While you could purchase and install the V-Log L gamma on the original GH5, it comes pre-installed on the GH5 II, providing the camera with 12 stops of dynamic range. Additionally, the camera offers four new gamma presets that allow you to experiment with different, stylish color profiles: Cinelike D2, Cinelike V2, L. Classic Neo, and L. Monochrome S.  

Other notable features of the GH5 II include upgraded and improved autofocus and image stabilization systems, battery charging via the USB-C port, and longer battery life when using Panasonic’s high-capacity DMW-BLK22 battery pack. The camera can also use the older DMW-BLF19 battery packs used by the original GH5, albeit without the improved battery life.  

In terms of build, not much has changed. The GH5 II has the same approximate size and weight as the GH5. However, while both cameras use a 3,680k-dot OLED viewfinder with 0.76x magnification, the GH5 II viewfinder offers an ultra-fast display speed of 120fps. Which will be quite helpful if you’re ever tracking a fast-moving subject. Similarly, the GH5 II has a slightly smaller 3.0’’ 1840k-dot LCD display (the GH5’s is 3.2’’), though it’s been upgraded to offer higher luminosity and better color reproduction.  

Ultimately, everything we know so far about the LUMIX GH5 II indicates it offers a wide range of upgrades and enhancements when compared to the previous model.  

LUMIX GH5 vs GH5 II – Spec Comparison  

Comparing the technical specifications of the LUMIX GH5 vs GH5 II side-by-side helps identify some of the core differences between the two cameras. 

LUMIX GH5LUMIX GH5 II
Price$1,597.99$1,697.99
Sensor size17.3 x 13.0 mm (Micro Four Thirds)17.3 x 13.0 mm (Micro Four Thirds)
Sensor typeLive MOS sensorLive MOS sensor
Total Pixels21.77 Megapixels21.77 Megapixels
Effective Pixels20.33 Megapixels20.33 Megapixels
Anti-Reflection Coating on SensorNoYes
Aspect Ratio4:34:3
Color FilterPrimary color filterPrimary color filter
Dust and Splash ResistantYesYes
Maximum Still Image Resolution (per Aspect Ratio)4:3: 4992x3744 (6K PHOTO)
3:2: 5184x3456 (6K PHOTO)
16:9: 3840x2160 (4K PHOTO)
1:1: 2880x2880 (4K PHOTO)
4:3: 4992x3744 (6K PHOTO)
3:2: 5184x3456 (6K PHOTO)
16:9: 3840x2160 (4K PHOTO)
1:1: 2880x2880 (4K PHOTO)
4K VideoYes
records up to UHD 4K 30p 4:2:2 10-bit internally and UHD 4K 60p 4:2:2 10-bit via HDMI output
Yes
records up to DCI 4K 60p 4:2:0 10-bit internally and can simultaneously record DCI 4K 60p 4:2: 2 10-bit via HDMI output
Unlimited Video RecordingYesYes
Wireless Live StreamingNoYes
V-Log L GammaNo
Can be purchased separately and installed)
Yes
In-Body Image Stabilization5-stop, 5-Axis Dual I.S. 26.5-stop, 5-Axis Dual I.S. 2
AutofocusContrast AF System
Face/Eye Detection / Tracking / 225-Area / Custom Multi / 1-Area / Pinpoint
(Full area touch is available)
(Scalable AF frame size and flexible AF position)
Auto Detection (Face, Eye, Body, Animal) / Tracking / 225-Area / Zone (Vertical/Horizontal) / Zone (Square) / Zone (Oval) / 1-Area+ / 1-Area / Pinpoint / Custom 1, 2, 3
(Full area touch is available)
(Scalable AF frame size and flexible AF position)
Viewfinder3,680k-dot OLED Live View Finder with 0.76x magnification3,680k-dot OLED Live View Finder with 0.76x magnification with display speed of 60fps or 120fps
Rear Monitor1,620k-dot free-angle, 3.2-inch TFT LCD monitor with static touch control1,840k-dot free-angle, 3.0-inch TFT LCD monitor with static touch control
Memory slots22
Recording MediaSD/SDHC/SDXC (Compatible with UHS-I/UHS-II UHS Speed Class 3 standard SDHC/SDXC cards)SD/SDHC/SDXC (Compatible with UHS-I/UHS-II UHS Speed Class 3 standard SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards and UHS-II Video Speed Class 90 standard SDXC Memory Cards)
USB-C ChargingNoYes
BatteryDMW-BLF19DMW-BLK22 (can also use DMW-BLF19)
Battery LifeApprox. 400 images (rear monitor), 380 images (LVF), 1,000 images (Power Save LVF mode*) with H-ES12060/DMW-BLF19 battery
Approx. 410 images (rear monitor), 400 images (LVF), 1,000 images (Power Save LVF mode*) with H-FS12060
*Under the test conditions specified by Panasonic based on CIPA standard. When the time to get in the sleep mode is set to 3 sec.
Approx. 400 images, 1200 images (Power Save LVF mode*) with H-ES12060 / DMW-BLK22 battery
Approx. 410 images, 1200 images (Power Save LVF mode*) with H-FS12060 / DMW-BLK22
*Under the test conditions specified by Panasonic based on CIPA standard. When the time to get in the sleep mode is set to 1 sec.
Dimensions (W X H X D)5.45 x 3.86 x 3.44 inches (138.5 x 98.1 x 87.4 mm)5.45 x 3.86 x 3.44 inches (138.5 x 98.1 x 87.4 mm)
Weight (SD Card, Battery, Body)1.60 lb (725g)1.60 lb (727g)

LUMIX GH6 – Everything We Know So Far 

While less is known about the LUMIX GH6, Panasonic have released a few key pieces of information about the new LUMIX G flagship.  

The GH6 will use a new, high-speed Micro Four Thirds sensor and image processor. The camera will be capable of recording 4:2:2 10-bit DCI 4K/60p video internally, as well as 10-bit 5.7K 60p video. The GH6 will also support a 10-bit 4K 120p High-Frame Rate (HFR) and Variable Frame (VFR) for high-resolution slow-motion video. Like the GH5 and GH5 II, the camera will support unlimited video recording when used under the certified operating temperature. Panasonic estimates the retail price of the LUMIX GH6 will be close to $2,500. 

Given the announcement focused on the video capabilities of the GH6, it seems the new flagship model will primarily be targeted towards prosumer content creators and professional videographers. 

LUMIX GH5 II – The Verdict 

LUMIX GH5 II
The LUMIX GH5 II | Courtesy of Panasonic

If you already own a LUMIX GH5, there’s plenty to entice you to upgrade to GH5 II. Namely, the ability to internally record higher grade video, wireless live streaming, improved autofocus and image stabilization, longer battery life, and more color profiles.  

While some pro videographers may prefer to wait for the GH6 and its slightly better video capabilities, they’ll likely be waiting at least a few more months. That’s not to mention the sizable price difference, nor the fact we don’t really know much else about the GH6.  

At $1,697.99, the LUMIX GH5 II is only a little more expensive than the original GH5. So, if you’re in the market now for new hybrid camera, it’s the obvious choice. We know you won’t regret it. 

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