While the size-to-capability balance of Micro Four Thirds cameras really can't be beat, the smaller-than-APS-C-size sensors can be a drag in low light.
With Sony's full-frame, low-light-championas competition, Panasonic took a necessary step backward. It created a 10.2-megapixel Four Thirds sensor for the Lumix GH5S, about half the resolution of the 20MP version in the in order to increase the low-light sensitivity to a native ISO 51,200 -- only a stop short of the larger sensor in the Sony. It also allows the camera to support 14-bit raw stills, something that's been lacking in Micro Four Thirds models as well, which have been stuck at 12-bit for a while.
One way Panasonic has decreased low-light noise is with something called Dual Native ISO Technology. If I understand it correctly, it creates a bimodal noise distribution (around ISO 400 and ISO 2500) to reduce the ranges across which it has to apply noise suppression.
Panasonic also upped the camera's top recording capability to Cinema 4K/30p and 60p, with 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording in 30p and 4:2:0 8-bit in 60p. Unlike the GH5, the GH5S will come with the V-LogL and Rec. 709 lookup tables built in rather than as an extra cost option.
However, you do pay for the privilege. At $2,500, it's going to be about $500 more than the GH5 when it ships in February. (Directly converted that's about £1,845 or AU$3,190.)
Of course, it carries over the features of the GH5, such as Hybrid-Log Gamma support and variable frame rate recording, which allows for fast and slow motion. Welcome new capabilities include:
- Improved low-light autofocus sensitivity, down to -5 EV
- Similar continuous-shooting speed as the
- A multi-aspect ratio sensor, so you won't be constantly changing the field of view as you flip between 16:9, 4:3 and other lenses
- Time code in/out for syncing footing from multiple cameras
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