(Pocket-lint) - Panasonic has replaced its GH5 mirrorless camera with an updated version: the unsurprisingly named GH5 Mark II. But it's very similar to its predecessor.
The M2 isn't identical to the original GH5, though, and while may not make sense to swap out a first-gen for this model, there are differences. So what exactly are they?
- Both: Water- and dust-sealed body
- Both: Dual SD card support (both UHS-II)
- Both: 3.5mm ports for mic input & headphone out
- GH5: V-Log L pay-for software upgrade / GH5 M2: V-Log L installed as standard
- GH5: 3.2in, 1.6m-dot articulating LCD / GH5 M2: 3.0in, 1.8m-dot articulating LCD
- GH5: DMW-BLF19 battery (1860mAh) / GH5 M2: DMW-BLK22 (2200mAh, USB-C charging)
Take a quick glance at the two cameras side-by-side and you'll notice how similar they are. Very little has changed in terms of the overall shape and styling. All the buttons and dials are in the same place as before, but there are some subtle purely aesthetic changes.
The movie button is now red, plus there's a red ring around the shooting mode switch dial - just like on the Lumix S5. Everything else is practically identical, bar the new "II" marking to specify the camera model.
One other slight difference we notice is the customisable function buttons no longer have 'Fn' labels on them, instead they have the icon depicting what they do by default. For instance 'Fn1' is now the colour profile switcher, 'Fn5' is the LVF button. Essentially, what used to be the secondary label next to the button on the camera body has now been moved onto the button itself.
Both cameras have a fully articulating screen that flips out to the side and features touch-sensitive controls for focusing and adjusting settings. The one minor difference between the screens is that the bezel on the top and bottom is thicker on the new model, while the display is slightly smaller - at 3.2-inches vs 3.0-inches, but it is sharper though.
The two cameras share the same port layout on their left sides. That means 3.5mm ports for mic and headphones, a full sized HDMI, and a USB-C port. The one difference here, however, is that you can charge the M2's battery - which is now larger capacity, the same as used in the Lumix S1 - using this port. It's not just for data transfer.
On the right, both have two SD card slots protected by a locking door. Both cameras support up to SDXC UHS-II speed class 3.
Sensor video capabilities
- GH5: Cinema 4K 10-bit at 24fps, 4K 8-bit 60fps / GH5 M2: Cinema 4K, 4K up to 10-bit 60fps
- GH5 M2: C4K/4K60p/50p 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI out with simultaneous 4:2:0 internal recording
- Both: 20.3MP Micro Four Thirds sensor / GH5 M2: adds anti-reflective (AR) coating
- Both: 5-axis stabilisation (in-body and lens dual system)
On the sensor side, the two cameras have a 20.3-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor and mount. It's in video performance where the M2 has the upper hand though.
We won't list every single available resolutions and frame rate, but the Mark II can shoot in Cinema 4K (4096 x 2160) at 4:2:0 10-bit up to 60fps or in DCI 4K (3840 x 2160) at 4:2:0 10-bit up to 60fps. All internal, and with no recording limits.
Those two are 200Mbps, but if you drop it down to 30 or 24fps you can get up to 400Mbps 10-bit with both resolutions. What's more, you can shoot in Anamorphic 6K up to 30fps or 4K up to 60fps.
The original GH5 only goes up to 24fps at Cinema 4K resolution at 10-bit. And only does 8-bit recording at 4K/60. In short: there's a bit of a bump in terms of data capture, which could suit colour graders more than the last GH5. Especially as the GH5 M2 comes with V-Log L pre-installed, unlike the pay-for upgrade that it was on the original GH5.
Autofocus is slightly more advanced for the M2 model too, offering the same face and eye detection as the GH5, but also adding body and animal detection.
Both models have 5-axis sensor-shift stabilisation and support for Dual IS 2 with relevant stabilised lenses.
Features and performance
- GH5 M2: Adds wireless livestreaming
Panasonic has equipped the Mark II with ability to livestream wirelessly up to Full HD resolution using NTSC or PAL standards - up to either 60fps or 50fps respectively. This is a key new feature for Panasonic.
- GH5 M2: £1499
- GH5 launch price: £1299
Depending on where you look - and where it's still available - the original GH5 can be found between £1200-£1300 in the UK. The GH5 M2, meanwhile, is going to cost a little more - with a retail price set at £1499 for the body only. Like the original GH5 you'll be able to find the Mark II in a kit with the 12-60mm lens.
It's safe to say that the Panasonic Lumix GH5 M2 isn't a huge upgrade over the first-generation model, but that's okay. Instead, this is very much a replacement for it, taking its place on the GH-series ladder.
For those looking for a much bigger improvement it'll likely be worth waiting for the GH6 - which officially comes out later in the year. That will cost yet more though, which is why it made sense to refresh the GH5 and keep something at a more accessible price point.