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Could The Rumors Of A 6K Lumix GH5 Be True? And What It Could Mean For Panasonic

Photokina 2016 is happening in September, and rumors of new camera releases are already flying around. The most interesting rumor so far is that a 6K-capable GH5 will be released at the show.

I don’t often post rumors on this site, but after hearing about the rumored GH5 from multiple sources including EOSHD, I thought I would share my two cents here.

Before I jump into my thoughts, here is a short list of some of the rumored details:

  • 20MP sensor
  • 6K recording format
  • Ability to pull 18MP stills from 6K footage
  • 4K 60p capabilities (possibly with a cropped window)

There was no mention of sensor size yet, but I would have to assume that the GH5 will still utilize a standard MFT-sized sensor. Many users have been clamoring for a Super 35mm sensor inside of a GHx body, but I’m just not certain that’s going to happen. After all, the MFT sensor in the previous GH cameras didn’t seem to deter countless filmmakers from flocking to the lineup, and Panasonic have invested massively in the MFT format – both in terms of cameras and lenses – and likely won’t be moving on any time soon.

But back to the specs –

If the rumors are accurate and the GH5 can actually shoot 6K video, that would be a huge selling point and would certainly help Panasonic gain a stronger foothold in the mirrorless market. Personally, I normally don’t care about 6K video and any time I’ve shot in 6K on a RED Dragon I’ve always felt it was overkill. But a 6K DSLR would still make a huge splash in the industry as it would be the first of it’s kind, provided we don’t see anything similar from the competitors at NAB in April.

Canon is definitely not going to be releasing any 6K DSLRs in the near future (we’re lucky if they give us 4K), and Sony has recently refreshed their A7-lineup, so it’s doubtful we would see 6K from them in the immediate future either… Then there is Nikon, who have slowly been upping their game in the video-department, but are still seemingly far off from offering something as monumental as 6K video in one of their DSLRs.

So if Lumix can actually pull this off, they just might be able to gain some new customers, and win back some of their previous users that have since moved on to Sony… And I hope they do.

I really like Panasonic as a company and always root for them to knock it out of the park with new product releases. As great as some of their products have been over the last few years, none of them have been as groundbreaking as some of their older offerings, such as the Lumix GH2, which was truly revolutionary in it’s time.

With that in mind, for the GH5 to really make a dent in the industry, it’s going to need to offer more than just 6K recording capabilities. To most filmmakers 6K is simply seen as a bonus, and not a necessity by any stretch. Improved low-light performance, internal image stabilization, a better codec, and a higher dynamic range sensor are just a few of the other more relevant improvements Lumix will need to make in order to really compete in the 2016 market.

If the GH5 is simply a GH4 with the ability to record 6K, it won’t succeed the way that it should. It would be seen as a one-trick pony that might be used for aerial shots, or other speciality work, but probably wouldn’t get users to abandon their Sony or Canon products.

On the other hand, if Panasonic can deliver a 6K camera with amazing DR, ProRes recording, and internal stabilization, that will be a very different story. And if they do surprise us with a Super 35mm sensor – that would just be the icing on the cake.

So for now, we’ll just have to wait and see. With NAB just around the corner we are certainly going to see a slew of other exciting camera announcements very soon, and if we’re lucky we might even get a sneak preview of the GH5 at that point too.

What do you think? Would 6K be a big enough selling feature for you? Or are there other specs that are far more important to you as a shooter?

Leave a comment below.

 

About Author

Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

44 Comments

  • Richard Lackey
    February 23, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Interesting, I just don’t see the point of 6K unless its RAW, or at least the Varicam’s AVC-Intra, and lets face it, that’s far from where the GH range are positioned. That’s playing into RED’s territory… VFX and high end commercials, features, episodic TV, and that’s certainly not the intended market for something like a GH5. They’ve just released the Varicam LT in that space, and it’s 4K not 6K.

    Increasing resolution and maintaining a highly compressed, limited bit depth consumer codec makes no sense at all. By spec, a GH-range camera is still a consumer camera, not a professional digital cinema platform.

    Doesn’t make a lot of sense but I guess we’ll see.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 23, 2016 at 7:52 pm

      Great points Richard. It really doesn’t make all that much sense for the reasons you’ve outlined, but I imagine Panasonic might like the idea of 6K purely as a means to offer a flagship feature that differentiates the GH5 from the competitors… Even if it isn’t all that useful or practical in a real world scenario. I guess we will find out soon enough!

      Reply
      • B.Mac
        April 9, 2016 at 5:26 pm

        Hey Noam,

        Thanks Noam for all the info! You’re a great teacher!

        Personally, I love the GH4 because the sensor creates an image that I love. I BELIEVE IT IS A TOTALLY SUBJECTIVE CHOICE in the way that we used to pick film stocks. I just finished shooting a three DSLR camera commercial shoot, and with time and money both limited, I ended up with a Cannon 5D Mark 3, A Sony A7s, and my Lumix GH4, and it ended up being the perfect test (as I edited the footage of 14 spots over the past two weeks) In the past I have worked with all three cameras individually and achieved good results, but side by side, I will take the GH4 (with Leica 25mm) any day of the week because, personally, I love the look. It reminds me of the Kodak 5218 film stock I always used to love. Clean whites, black blacks, and fairly good range. All of this at a price point that is totally affordable. I have shot with the Alexa XT and Red Dragon for big commercials, and yes it looks fantastic, but to get the high quality image of the GH4 at such a low price point is really incredible. 6k for the GH5 would be fantastic for the big screen. (for the web, 4k is fine) I would love to have a couple of GH5’s to shoot with simultaneously for a movie shoot. Shoot with the RED Dragon (or Weapon) or the Alexa XT as A cameras and then get lots of coverage simultaneously with the GH5. I think it would cut well, and for low budget Indie filmmaking you can actually shoot a movie with a GH4 at 4k. I remember David Fincher once saying (when Red first introduced 4k) that 4k was the perfect Cinema format. Ultimately, it is not about data, files, ones and zeros — it is about composition, lighting and movement.

        Reply
        • Noam Kroll
          April 17, 2016 at 4:35 pm

          Many thanks Bruce! Great points here and I agree that choosing your camera is like choosing a film stock. There’s no right or wrong choice… It just comes down to the aesthetic you’re after, and for many people the GH4 is the way to go. Thanks for the note.

          Reply
    • Michael Scrip
      February 24, 2016 at 8:34 am

      — “By spec, a GH-range camera is still a consumer camera”

      By specs… maybe. But by price… no way.

      The GH4 was introduced at $1,700 for the body-only. And the GH5 could be over $2,000.

      Would that still be considered a “consumer” camera?

      We might need to come up with new categories.

      There’s gotta be something between a $600 FZ300 and an $55,000 Varicam.

      Anything approaching $2,000 shouldn’t be described as “consumer” 🙂

      Reply
      • Noam Kroll
        February 25, 2016 at 7:03 pm

        Good point Michael. Not to mention everyone has their own take on what is considered “pro”. Some DPs I work with don’t consider a $5000 Cp.2 lens a professional cinema lens, just to put things in perspective! It’s all relative I guess.

        Reply
  • Nick Josh Karean
    February 23, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    I am still using the GH4 and am quite happy with it even for low light use. A GH5 6K shoot capabilities is simply not going to be enough if it still can’t beat the Sony A7s II image / color quality and lowlight capabilities. If this is going to be the case, I may go with the Sony Alpha range of camera’s next. Basically, as what you’ve said, while useful, 6K isn’t everything. For me, nightshoots of clean beautiful blacks with excellent dynamic range on at least 4K or higher is everything. 😉

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 25, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      Well put, thanks for the comment Nick.

      Reply
  • Gary
    February 24, 2016 at 12:38 am

    Better low light results can be achieved on a GH4 with a Meta Bones speed booster. Other sites have compared GH4 to a Super 35 cam with that adapter. V-log increases DR to 12 stops. Panasonic color science is generally better than Sony in my experience… if they really make it 6k, it will crush this market, except for the A7Sii – my favorite new tool. But Vericam will likely still beat GH5 in DR, and a few other key features. But at $20,000, Vericam LT is a lot more expensive. Cost benefit analysis time.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 25, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      Interesting take on it Gary – thanks a lot for sharing. Can’t wait to test out the Varicam LT as well…

      Reply
  • Jason
    February 24, 2016 at 6:50 am

    I really think it will be 6k down scaled to 4K like on the a6300 and nx1. The gh5 really needs to improve low light and DR because the a6300 has 14 stops w slog 3. So we know it’s at least needing to improve in those two areas to compete. Also if they just added internal 10 bit with vlog that would be awesome. Just hope it’s a great upgrade !!! I love my two gh4s but getting really close to jumping over to Sony.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 25, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      That could certainly be the case and in many ways would make sense more than actually recording to 6K internally… But at this point, who knows! I think many people are in the same boat as you, deciding whether or not to jump ship to Sony. Hopefully after NAB this year things will be clearer.

      Reply
    • Jayson
      March 25, 2016 at 12:56 am

      I came from a sony a7s and jumped ship to a GH4. Granted I’m tempted back to full frame now and again but I don’t have a speedbooster. Which is really a magical tool more light, sharper image and more DOF. I had one with my BMCC but sold before buying the GH4. And it’s work enough keeping moving faces in focus with an m43 Sensor so why I want to be a masochist and get a narrower depth of field when most of my jobs are run and gun, I don’t know. It’s the grass is always greener problem of gear lust.
      Also, I love the panasonic 42.5 f1.2 lens. If you have a gh4 and think you want a sony for the DOF try renting this lens first. I keep it on as often as possible, it’s warm and dreamy. It’s not clinical looking like the Sony lenses. (if you want that clinical look on a GH4 use the 35-100, it has a nice crisp clean image.)
      Sony a7s’s seem great on a spec sheet but the image doesn’t add up to match all the wonderful numbers on paper. Where I’m really happy with the image of the GH4.
      And when I think about it, I’d rather be able to add a speedbooster when I want DOF field than be stuck in Full Frame or APS-C on a Sony.
      Either way compared to digital cameras in 2004 it’s kind of a miracle what you get to play with for $1500 today.
      As for 6k I don’t like the idea of smaller pixels, but maybe it’ll give a more organic grain so I’ll have to wait and see.

      Reply
      • Noam Kroll
        March 29, 2016 at 10:31 pm

        Have to agree with you Jayson that in today’s day and age we are very fortunate to have the camera choices that we do. Can’t wait to see what actually comes of this rumor later in the year.

        Reply
  • Markus Stark
    February 24, 2016 at 8:00 am

    4K – 60fps and minimum 5K, but 6K better! (for post production = true 8MP Res. , Zooming in and IS) .
    Must be larger sensor!! = lager pixel, better low light, better DR and to shoot with FF-lenses and Speedbooster. In camera IS for manual lenses. Internal 10 bit VLog. High quality slow motion options.
    Sept 2016?, very late! Tells me: Big step forward!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 25, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      Could be! It’s still all speculative at this point but the GHx line is certainly due for a big upgrade.

      Reply
  • Robert
    February 24, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    I would say this seem to make a bit of sense. The new m43 sensors are all 20mp, and Panasonic really likes to push the “4k Photo” mode. 6K Photo would be a genuine selling point for people that use the camera for stills.

    What I’d really like to see is some version of the dual native ISO that was just introduced in the new Varicam. That would seem to address the main problem people have with the GH4. Something like a second native IS0 of 3200.

    As you mentioned image stabilization would make sense as well. They’ve got it working in the latest Panasonic M43 cams, but making it work with video would be the up-sell feature for the GH4. That feature alone working in 4k would be great.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 25, 2016 at 7:04 pm

      I agree that if Panny is really pushing the video/stills hybrid functionality of the GH5, then 6K internal makes sense. I too would love too see dual native ISOs, but I doubt we’ll see that unfortunately. Who knows though, they might just surprise us.

      Reply
  • Steve
    February 28, 2016 at 10:42 am

    I’d be happy with internal 4:2:2 10bit prores in the GH5 and they’d sell a bucket load, who wants 6K … what a joke

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 6, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      It seems crazy, I agree… But I have a feeling it just might be true.

      Reply
  • Joonas
    March 8, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    My wish list for GH5 is simple:

    2x Crop factor 4k 50fps proress 422 10bit v-log 14 f-stops of dynamic range and one or two stops better low light performance.

    Anything else is just decoration. I understand that they need to make a splash, and for that 6K is like a marketing tool. The issue is that more resolution they cram on the sensor the lower the low light capability will be. And if they are going to code the 6K info to something like the current codec, It’s not going to be 6K when there is any major movement in the frame. It’s just mess of pixels.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 10, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      Thanks for sharing Joonas – I have to agree, ProRes recording would be amazing. That in itself would be a much bigger selling feature to me than 6k.

      Reply
  • Jesse Yules
    March 10, 2016 at 1:50 am

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the GH4 offers another paid firmware for prores and raw raw recording (akin to Blackmagic) at NAB in April. The GH5 will likely have the same specs with a S35 sensor IBS and better low light.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 10, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      That would be awesome, although I would bet any new bells and whistles we see will be reserved for the GH5… Just a guess of course.

      Reply
  • Mike
    March 11, 2016 at 3:37 am

    The only thing additional I want from the gh4 is 4:2:2 10bit 14 stops DR internally.

    Other than that it’s perfect for my use (live events coverage. The battery life alone sold me on the gh4)
    Would love to see it record some form of compressed raw 1080p though. That would be something. Global shutter would also be awesome.

    Lowlight on it is good enough for me. I’ve shot a wedding inside a wine cellar with hardly any light and it still looked pretty good (f 1.8 and 1.2 lenses with speedbooster!)

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 19, 2016 at 12:11 am

      The battery has to be hands down one of the best on any camera I’ve used. Agreed that the 14 stops would be amazing too… Thanks for the note.

      Reply
  • Rick Idak
    March 13, 2016 at 8:33 am

    The Gh4 has 16 megapixels so can easily cover 6K with a better recording program. My wish list is internal stabilising, Apple Pro Res as I edit with mac.
    I have heard many others wish for a bigger sensored Gh5 like a Super 35. I don’t mind Panasonic making a larger bodied DSLR that will do Super 35 or even full frame. That would then take on and I believe defeat the outdated Canon 1DC. The larger body camera can have CF cards too.
    Cannot find any news about the Gh5 from Panasonic. Just some people claiming that Panasonic has issued them with a test model to upload to Youtube. I dis believe them as they all (NOT) show the camera at hand. But so called footage that they have shot. Which could be a Gh4 only . Don’t know the purpose of this sham only to get paid views.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 19, 2016 at 12:16 am

      Yes you’re right – any GH5 footage online is surely not real at this point. Either way, I agree that it would be fantastic to see a S35 GH5 that could rival some of the more expensive DSLRs. Thanks for the note!

      Reply
  • Eric Strand
    March 24, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    I actually would not like to see 6K, as sensors usually provide the sharpest image when you shoot the highest resolution, and to shoot 6K would undoubtedly be a pain in the butt and overkill for us.

    I would love to see ProRes recording, but I would be very surprised. It seems like a stretch to go from 4K 100 4:2:0 to ProRes 10 bit…one of the benefits of the GH4 is 1.5 hour record times with a 64GB card.

    You outlined my wish list perfectly with ” Improved low-light performance, internal image stabilization, a better codec, and a higher dynamic range sensor,” improved low light performance being the top wish.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 29, 2016 at 10:30 pm

      Thanks for sharing this Eric. Agreed that low light performance needs to be at the top of the priority list!

      Reply
  • Todd belonio
    April 2, 2016 at 4:45 am

    Improved Dynamic range. Image stabilization (fz1000 and gx8) work great! Maybe even revamp that brick to have a battery…idk. Maybe they’ll tease us at phtokina for a soft release in 2017… I hope they do…so I can get a gh4… Under 900 bucks. How great would that be.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 17, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      Haha that would be good – although I’d also like to see the new GH5 released already! It’s going to start feeling like it’s overdue if they don’t release it soon…

      Reply
  • Ron Saunders Jr
    April 4, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    I’ve been a user of the GH Series since 2012 and I feel that with each new release they redefine the landscape of DSLR / Mirrorless cameras.

    With the introduction of the a7s II, there is no way Panasonic can ignore the benefits Sony has brought to our world. They simply must address low light sensitivity and dynamic range with this go around.

    It seems logical to me that they would push the limits so that they not just meet the new standard but surpass it. If you have looked at what the GH Line has provided historically they are undoubtedly trying to fill the technology gaps for budget friendly filmmakers.

    I have worked with 6K footage and it can be gorgeous but there is no way that the Gh5 is going to thrive unless it can meet the deliverables of the a7s II and go further.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 17, 2016 at 4:23 pm

      Let’s hope so! I agree that we need to see many other features before we see 6K… but who knows what Panny has up their sleeves. Can’t wait to see if there is any hint of what’s to come tomorrow at NAB.

      Reply
  • Dan Preston
    April 7, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    I’d still love to see an actual interchangeable lens micro 4/3 *video* camera with 4K … in other words, an AF200 (update to the neglected AF100 line). Give me a GH4 in an AF100 body and I’d be good to go. But meanwhile, taking a close look at the all-in-one DVX-200.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 17, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      Exactly – I want to see an AF-200. Maybe tomorrow at NAB!

      Reply
  • Nick Jensen
    April 9, 2016 at 3:26 am

    I enjoyed reading the comments and in total agreement with all of them. I have two gh4’s, metabones speedbooster .64 for canon ef and my 2.8 L’s are lovely on it at 1.8’s, even the nifty 50 1.8 (coming in at a .8) is great on it. I also have a canon B4 lens 8-128 which with the 2x crop and 2x built in extender is 32-512. I’ve updated both to vlog and haven’t shot anything else since. So easy to drop on the lut in premiere lumetri and tweak. I will often shoot events that I let them fill up my 64gb cards in 4k at about 1 hour, 20 minutes. Never had an overheat or stopped camera. That and the battery life (oh, and the amazing wifi control via android app) are what are keeping me from migration to Sony. Those overheating issues scare me for long event shooting in 4k or live cameras.

    Hoping Panny sees these posts. 6k would be great, but I’d rather internal 4:2:2 10bit in 4K and better low light. I also shot a lot of 96fps on the gh4 and have found it to be a little soft. Would love better 96 or 120fps in 1080. Even higher frame rates would be great. 240fps in 1080 would be lovely. Internal image stabilization wouldn’t matter too much to me, since my run and gun is on a cametv single gimbal.

    I also think that if they don’t meet some or most of these, a lot of people are going to jump ship to Sony. I hope I don’t have to, but it does look pretty darn sweet over at Sony right now…

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 17, 2016 at 4:34 pm

      Thanks for sharing Nick – it’s an extremely competitive time right now, which is a good thing. Hopefully we see lots of innovation tomorrow at NAB.

      Reply
  • Chad Johnson
    April 12, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Just make the dang camera better in low light. We don’t need a 6K DSLM.

    Reply
  • Brian
    May 5, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    There is alleged info that the. GH5 sensor will be made by Sony. Could that be true? And if so, I would imagine that Sony would not want a more advanced sensor in a competitors camera.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      May 16, 2016 at 7:19 pm

      If it is made by Sony, the look of the image may still be very different from Sony’s cameras… The color science, codec, and other variables play a big role in how that sensor data is interpreted, but nonetheless it’s a great point and a good question to ask. Thanks for visiting the site.

      Reply
  • Tom
    June 10, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    What are your thoughts on the G7 (AKA the baby GH4)?

    I’m looking to get a 4k capable dslr, and the G7 seems to be great, especially for the price. You can get the body only for $500, and it records 4k the same way as the GH4 at 100mbps. It has cinelike D and V picture profiles too.

    There are small differences between the GH4 and G7, but for me I don’t think they are that important.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      June 13, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      I think the G7 is a steal, and a really excellent alternative to the GH4. As you mentioned, there are some differences and the GH4 will give you some added functionality, but ultimately if the G7 serves your needs, I would say go for it. The more money you can save and put into your production, lenses, actors, or whatever else you need to get your projects done, the better!

      Reply

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