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Panasonic explains why the new Lumix GH6 is missing a key feature

Five years is a long time. I asked my six year erstwhile and he agreed. That’southward how long it’s been since Panasonic released the GH5, which I would argue is one of the most important digital cameras ever released. It brought ten-bit video recording to the masses and, for me, it was the first mirrorless photographic camera that truly felt like a replacement for a professional person cinema camera.

Unlimited recording in well-nigh modes, waveforms, vector scopes, shutter angles… These were the conveniences many professional videographers and cinematographers would pay a huge premium to accept admission to. Now, suddenly, they were available in a relatively affordable, comparatively compact torso. I ditched the cinema cameras I was using and haven’t looked back.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with many cameras since and then. Everything from APS-C to full frame, and even medium format. But I’d always find myself going back to the Panasonic GH5. It was dependable, and I knew that information technology could handle near situations. However, technology marches on and I was starting to miss the higher resolution recording, loftier speed 4K and dynamic range offered past many recent cameras. I knew a GH6 was coming and I knew what I wanted from it.

A photographic camera and then intuitive fifty-fifty your host tin use it!

At present that the camera is in my hands, am I giddy with delight, ambivalent or enraged? Was my list of GH6 expectations unreasonable?

What I wanted:

A faster scanning sensor

The GH5’southward ability to record 4K/60p using the full width of the sensor was a rare capability, and many videographers accepted the limitations of Micro Four Thirds to have access to it. Now, in 2022 though, many (admittedly expensive) full-frame cameras are start to offering this capability, and fifty-fifty 4K/120p.

One of the major benefits of a smaller sensor is the ability to read out faster. I wanted the Four Thirds sensor advantage to shine with an extremely fast readout speed that would allow loftier frame rates and minimal rolling shutter artifacts.

More x-fleck/raw recording modes

The 10-flake recording of the GH5 was its main selling point at launch. But, that capability was missing from many record modes. 4K/60p and whatever high-frame rate 1080P would drop y’all dorsum into the viii-bit recording of yore. This was especially troublesome when I was recording in VLog-L, which requires a ten-flake color space to get usable results. If I needed to catch a ho-hum-motion clip, it meant switching my color profile to something more less decumbent to banding with 8-bit codecs.

I of the major benefits of a smaller sensor is the ability to read out faster

Likewise, while some Panasonic Micro Four Thirds offerings (BGH-ane, GH5s) have gained the ability to evangelize external raw video, the GH5 and even GH5 II never received that capability. I don’t record raw video often, simply some jobs require it. Whether internal or external, I hoped the GH6 would offer it.

Improved displays

The GH5’s 3.69M dot OLED EVF is still no slouch, but recently I’ve been spoiled by the higher resolution EVFs in cameras similar the Panasonic S1H and Sony a7S III. With these cameras, I found that I could pretty consistently pull focus manually without having to resort to an external monitor. I also adore the S1H’s hybrid tilt/fully articulating LCD. It keeps the LCD screen away from the ports on the side of the camera, and allows waist level shooting with the screen parallel to the lens. Finally, the countless tilt screen vs. articulating screen debates could cease!

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This is the best LCD design ever, and until now it only existed on the S1H.

Improved autofocus

I included the discussion ‘Panasonic’ in this article, so inevitably many are heading to the comments section to write ‘Bad autofocus!!!’. This reputation is less warranted for photography where Panasonic have recently made major strides, but their video autofocus has remained incredibly unpredictable.

I rarely rely on video autofocus, which is office of why Panasonic cameras appeal to me, just there are certainly times where it can be extremely useful, and many new video shooters will not want to dedicate the time to learning solid manual focus techniques. The interesting thing is that Panasonic’s DFD contrast detect autofocus functioning is largely dependent on sensor readout speed and processing power. If the GH6 made major strides forrard in those areas, autofocus should dramatically improve equally well.

(If this was a video, I’d do a snappy transition to today, holding a pre-product GH6 in my eager hands.)

It’due south finally here!

Were my burning desires answered? Keep reading to permit me to go through them one by one.

What I got:

A faster scanning sensor

The GH6 reads its total sensor at 17.8ms, and has modes nearly twice the speed of the GH5. This is particularly impressive because the sensor is not ane of the new stacked BSI CMOS sensors nosotros are starting to see, but a conventional single layer CMOS that happens to read out very snappily. This allows continuous 4K/120p recording, as well equally 1080/240p slow move in ten-bit 4:ii:2 and 1080/300p in x-bit four:2:0. Oh, and it can shoot full resolution Raw photos at 75fps!

While not as impressive equally the readout we’re seeing in some of the new flagship full frame stacked sensors, this still means that rolling shutter artifacts (wobble) will be greatly reduced and the slow motility capabilities are dramatically improved.

This sensor may non be the biggest, just it sure is speedy!

More 10-flake recording/raw modes

Checkmark! VFR high speed recording tin finally be captured in 10-bit, something even the full frame and much more expensive S1H cannot match. All of the more demanding recording modes at present offering at to the lowest degree x-scrap four:ii:0 recording, meaning you lot can comfortably leave the camera in VLog recording when switching to higher frame rates or 5.7K recording.

That’due south an impressive start, but Panasonic has also added the ability to record v.7K in the inefficient but eminently editable Apple tree ProRes 422 codec. This is an industry standard format, and it’s a huge convenience to be able to capture ProRes internally, where most other cameras will require an external recorder.

This brings me to raw recording, which is a bit dirty right at present. Nosotros know that externally recorded 4K/120p ProRes Raw will be offered in a time to come firmware update, only with the 25MP sensor, that capture volition require cropping or line skipping for true raw video capture. I’d dearest to see native five.7K ProRes Raw capture, as well every bit some anamorphic support. We’ll have to expect and see.

Improved displays

You win some and you lose some. The EVF remains a three.69M dot panel, and the LCD is the same 3.0” i.8M dots as the GH5 II (simply slightly smaller and sharper than the GH5’s 1.6M dot panel). Despite that, I was thrilled to run into that the S1H tilt/articulating design is here, and even improved.

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The resolution of the EVF and rear panel may be the same equally on the GH5, but the tilt mechanism carried over from the S1H is fantastic. It also means you lot won’t block important ports if yous tilt the screen.

The S1H required y’all to press a small-scale lock to tilt the LCD out, just this lock was inconveniently positioned right where you would mount a video quick release plate. With the GH6, but pull dorsum on the LCD, and it volition tilt away from the body, too conveniently keeping the panel far plenty abroad from the torso that information technology won’t interfere with your mic, headphone, HDMI and USB ports.

Improved autofocus

Every bit expected, a faster scanning sensor and improved processor have led to better DFD autofocus. The existent question remains, is it practiced enough? The annoying answer based on our initial testing is… it depends.

At 24p, autofocus was still quite unreliable. This makes sense, as the camera has fewer frames to clarify than other framerates. I was, however, quite impressed with the autofocus performance when shooting 60p. The telltale DFD ‘flutter’ is greatly reduced, and accurateness is a substantial stride forrad. Unfortunately, the camera cannot use subject detection when shooting 4K/120p, and autofocus performance took a major hit in that way.

I was quite impressed with the autofocus functioning when shooting 60p

There is a great new tool to better your autofocus experience, a very intuitive focus limiter which allows you to cull a custom range the camera volition endeavour to focus inside. Using this while vlogging, and limiting the focus distance to under ane meter, I was extremely pleased with the results. Using this tool volition proceed the autofocus from making huge jumps to the background or immediate foreground.

So I got a lot of what I wanted, and a couple of disappointments. Panasonic surprised me with a few features I didn’t fifty-fifty think to ask for. Here are the standouts for me:

Dual read sensor for Dynamic Range Boost

I don’t desire to get into the clever way this system works because Richard Butler just wrote a great article with all the details.

This technique theoretically allows for dynamic range rivaling larger sensor cameras, and in do I constitute the footage graded much like that from the S1H. Plenty of highlight information, and much more usable shadow regions than the GH5. When shooting stills, this feature kicks on automatically at 800 ISO and higher up, while you tin enable it when shooting VLog at over 2000 ISO. The important thing is it gives y’all a middle footing in DR between the GH5 II and the total frame S1H.

The ‘DR Boost’ style allows the GH6 to capture more than dynamic range than all other Micro Four Thirds Lumix cameras, though still less than the total frame ‘Southward’ bodies.

The fan

While this isn’t unprecedented, the S1H and Canon R5 C are both hybrid cameras with a fan to control estrus, I was not expecting a Micro Iv Thirds photographic camera at this cost to include one. Want to record a long grade interview in five.7K? Get for it. Roll 4K/120p of a bird for 20 minutes until it takes off? Have at information technology. Panasonic cameras have been very reliable for decision-making heat, merely the fan brings peace of mind that professionals (and even YouTubers) volition truly value.

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Dial-In focus while rolling

Few feelings are worse than looking at your monitor while the photographic camera is rolling and thinking “Is this out of focus?”. Until now, Sony and Fujifilm were the only two hybrid photographic camera manufacturers assuasive you the ability to magnify the image to confirm focus while rolling. Now Panasonic has brought this capability to the GH6, allowing y’all to confirm mid-accept whether or non you screwed up. Hopefully this pushes the other major mirrorless players to include this feature in their next models.

4-channel audio recording

Sony and Canon now offer 4 channel audio recording (two XLRs and a stereo miniphone) on new accessories with three inputs, but it e’er seemed odd to me that when these are attached, it disables your existing 3.5mm mic input on the camera.

Panasonic has offered a meaty and affordable dual XLR accessory for one-half a decade, the XLR1, but when the GH6 was announced with 4 channel audio, I anticipated having to buy a new 4 channel unit of measurement. Imagine my surprise when it turns out that you can apply the existing XLR1 and just plug a mic (or two, with a stereo splitter) into the camera port and enjoy 4 tracks of audio. This delights me, simply I do wish in that location was a style to command levels separately for the two 3.5mm channels. Firmware?

The GH6 audio controls are easily accessible and very intuitive.

Handheld HiRes

The G9 introduced Panasonic’s high resolution multi-shot mode, but we haven’t seen it in a Micro Four Thirds camera since then. I was thrilled to see high resolution fashion return, now capable of 100 megapixel resolution, and more impressively you can now get out the tripod at home while using this mode.

The GH6 surprised all of us at DPReview when it captured 100MP handheld HiRes images and there were no easily recognizable motion artifacts, fifty-fifty in decorated scenes

Panasonic likewise has some of the all-time ‘movement compensation’ bachelor, where it volition only apply one of the 8 exposures for moving objects. I was non expecting to see this capability when shooting handheld, but the GH6 surprised all of u.s. at DPReview when it captured 100MP handheld HiRes images and in that location were no easily recognizable motion artifacts, even in busy scenes.

OK, that’s a lot. So how badly exercise I want this camera?

Really badly!

Last thoughts

Aside from very low light shooting, capturing the most loftier contrast scenes and when I need the absolute shallowest depth of field, the GH6 outperforms my current favorite video camera, the S1H. The headline features similar 5.7K unlimited recording and 4K/120p certainly excited me, simply the main things that make me really want this camera are the smart inclusions like the 4 channel audio, punch-in focus while rolling, and 100MP handheld hi-res capture with motility correction.

This camera will make me go out the S1H at home for the majority of DPReview TV shoots, and that means Micro 4 Thirds is alive and well.

Source: https://www.dpreview.com/opinion/3509707500/the-panasonic-gh6-what-i-wanted-what-i-got-and-what-i-didn-t-expect