Best cameras under $2000
Published Jun 24, 2020 | dpreview staff
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5
20MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor | 3.68M-dot OLED viewfinder | 4K/60p video capture
What we like:
- Pro-level video specs and tools
- Weather-sealed magnesium alloy body
- Outstanding EVF
- Articulating touchscreen LCD
What we don't:
- Autofocus can hunt a bit in video
- Viewfinder resolution drops during high-speed shooting
The Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 is a hybrid camera for both stills and video, though it's most likely to appeal to videographers. Its 20MP Micro Four Thirds sensor can capture 4K video at up to 60p, and the camera supports pro-level video specs like 4:2:2 chroma sub-sampling and 10-bit color.
The GH5 is large for a Micro Four Thirds camera, but provides excellent ergonomics in a weather-sealed body designed for professional use. A rear joystick makes menu navigation and AF point selection a snap, and the electronic viewfinder is a joy to use, providing a big, bright, lifelike image. There are dual SD memory card slots that support the new V60 card standard required for high bit rate video.
The GH5's headline feature is video, thanks to specifications typically found on pro-level video gear
Autofocus is provided by Panasonic's Depth from Defocus system, which interprets the out-of-focus characteristics of Panasonic lenses to minimize focus hunting. AF is extremely fast and reliable when shooting stills, and AF parameters can be adjusted based on use case. Video AF, while competent, still leaves room for improvement due to occasional focus hunting, and isn't as good as most phase detect AF systems. Autofocus in both modes benefits from Panasonic's excellent subject tracking.
On the stills side, image quality is excellent, with pleasingly saturated colors. Raw files are very detailed, and the camera's excellent sensor makes it possible to extract quite a bit of detail from shadow areas. There's also a '6K Photo' mode which, as its name implies, lets you grab an 18MP image from a video clip.
The GH5's headline feature is video, thanks to specifications typically found on pro-level video gear. The camera uses the full area of its sensor for video capture, down-sampling in camera to provide extremely sharp 4K footage at frame rates up to 60p. Additionally, the GH5 can record 4:2:2 10-bit color internally, capturing twice as much color data, and 64 times as much color depth, as cameras shooting 4:2:0 8-bit video. Equally important are tools that enable a user to leverage those advanced video features, including video waveforms and vectorscopes, a sophisticated image stabilization system, and the option to add a Panasonic's VLog-L gamma profile with in-camera LUT display via a paid-for upgrade.
The GH5 excels when it comes to video, and if you're primarily a video shooter it should probably be on your short list. As a stills camera it can deliver excellent results, though if you're purely a stills shooter there are competitive options worth considering. For those who need to shoot both photos and video, the GH5 provides a hybrid experience that's tough to match.
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