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January 15, 2018

Panasonic GH5s Vs Sony A7sii

At CES Panasonic announced a new Micro 4/3rds mirrorless camera, the GH5s, replacing the GH5 as Panasonic’s top m4/3rds video offering. With the new GH5s, Panasonic have stopped trying to satisfy two audiences at once, and have focused purely on creating a camera with the best possible video quality in a small portable body. This has been made easier by the release of the Panasonic G9, a stills focused m4/3rds body.

The biggest change that Panasonic have made is a new 10.2 megapixel sensor, rather than an updated version of the GH5’s 20.3 megapixel sensor. This lower resolution sensor has much larger pixels on the chip, greatly increasing it’s light gathering abilities and hence low light performance. This change is shown in the new cameras ISO range of 160-51,200 (extendable to ISO 80-204,800). This makes it a truly impressive low light performer, which is especially impressive given the small physical size of the sensor.

As well as the impressive ISO range, the GH5s steals a trick from it’s bigger brothers in the panasonic varicam range, with Dual native ISO meant to enable higher frame rate capture with lower noise levels when ambient light is low.

Another large feature change is the removal of in body image stabilisation, which is potentially a nod to how this smaller camera is often used in productions mounted to rigs or taken aerial on drones, when IBIS cannot keep up.

The GH5s can record 4k at up to 60fps, along with high frame rates of up to 240fps. In addition at 4k up to 30p, the camera can record in 4:2:2 10 bit colour. For a full list of the recording options and bitrates, check below.

Other important features for videographers include a clean HDMI output, a preinstalled LOG shooting mode (rather than £80 as with the GH5), and ability to shoot with, and generate a timecode for shooting with multiple cameras.

The new GH5s will cost £2199 when it is released which, along with it’s feature set, places it squarely up against another heavyweight small body video camera the Sony A7Sii.

 

Sony A7sii Vs Panasonic GH5s

The Sony A7sii is the current king of low light videography, at least in small body sizes. It’s large full frame sensor allows it to pull in huge amounts of light, while being small and nimble. It’s currently one of our go too cameras, and lots of the shots in our showreel were done on this camera, especially those in tricky low light situations such as festivals.

We’ve listed the video related specs of the two cameras below for comparison, and have a conclusion underneath.

 

Specification Sony A7sii Panasonic GH5s
 Sensor Size  35mm full frame (35.6 x 23.8mm),3:2 Aspect Ratio  17.3 x 13.0 mm (in 4:3 aspect ratio)
 Image Sensor Pixels  Approx.12.4 MP  10.28 Megapixels
Image Stabilisation Image Sensor-Shift mechanism with 5-axis compensation (Compensation depends on lens specifications) None
 Recording file format XAVC S: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264; AVCHD: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264; MP4: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 MOV: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (Audio format: LPCM (2ch 48kHz/16-bit, 48kHz/24-bit*, 96kHz/24-bit*)) *When attaching DMW-XLR1 (sold separately)./MP4: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, H.265/HEVC (Audio format: LPCM (2ch 48kHz/16-bit), AAC (2ch))/AVCHD Progressive, AVCHD (Audio format: Dolby Audio 2ch)
 Image Size (movie) AVCHD: 1920 x 1080 (50p/28Mbps/PS, 50i/24Mbps/FX, 50i/17Mbps/FH,25p/24Mbps/FX, 25p/17Mbps/FH), MP4: 1920 x 1080 (50p/28Mbps, 25p/16Mbps), 1280 x 720 (25p/6Mbps), XAVC S 4K: 3840 x 2160 (25p/100Mbps, 25p/60Mbps), XAVC S HD: 1920 x 1080 (50p/50Mbps, 25p/50Mbps, 100p/100Mbps, 100p/60Mbps) <[C4K]4096×2160>59.94p, 150Mbps (4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio)/<[C4K]4096×2160>29.97p, 150Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio) / 100Mbps (4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio)/<[C4K]4096×2160>23.98p, 400Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit ALL-Intra) (LPCM, High-Res Audio)/<[C4K]4096×2160>23.98p, 150Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio) / 100Mbps (4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio)/<[4K] 3840×2160>59.94p, 150Mbps (4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio)/<[4K] 3840×2160>29.97p, 400Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit ALL-Intra) (LPCM, High-Res Audio)/<[4K] 3840×2160>29.97p, 150Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio) / 100Mbps (4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio)/<[4K] 3840×2160>23.98p, 400Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit ALL-Intra) (LPCM, High-Res Audio)/<[4K] 3840×2160>23.98p, 150Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio) / 100Mbps (4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio)/<[Full HD] 1920×1080>59.94p, 200Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit ALL-Intra) (LPCM, High-Res Audio)/<[Full HD] 1920×1080>59.94p, 100Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio) / 100Mbps (4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio)/<[Full HD] 1920×1080>29.97p, 200Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit ALL-Intra) (LPCM, High-Res Audio)/<[Full HD] 1920×1080>29.97p, 100Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio) / 100Mbps (4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio)/<[Full HD] 1920×1080>23.98p, 200Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit ALL-Intra) (LPCM, High-Res Audio)/<[Full HD] 1920×1080>23.98p, 100Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio) / 100Mbps (4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP) (LPCM, High-Res Audio)
Viewfinder Size XGA OLED, 1.3cm (0.5 type) electronic viewfinder (colour), 2,359,296 dots OLED Live View Finder (3,680k dots)
Screen Specs 7.5cm (3.0 type) TFT drive, 1,228,800 dots  1,620k dots, fully moveable, 8.0cm

 

You can check out the full specs for the GH5s here and A7sii here.

 

Conclusion

The Panasonic GH5s is a really impressive camera. It pushes the boundary of it’s small sensor size, especially in it’s low light capabilities, which are far closer to the full frame Sony A7Sii than anyone expected. It’s ability to record in high bitrates at 4:2:2 is also really impressive. In the ‘DSLR video’ area, panasonic have really put a marker down, even more so than with the GH5 in an area that has been dominated by Canon and Sony for the last few years. Canon have really not released anything big for videography recently that hasn’t been part of their cine line, the 5DIV was a bit of a disappointment in that respect. What remains to be seen though is what Sony responds with – they had a similar situation recently with the release of the Nikon D850 taking the crown of the A7Rii, and responded very quickly with the new Sony A7riii. I would expect to see a Sony A7Siii in the next few months, with the ability to record higher frame rates internally, plus support for higher video bit rates.

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