5 Reasons the Panasonic GH5 will Surpass the Canon 5D Mark IV for Filmmakers

August 29, 2016
Gear News and Ideas
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When ShareGrid first launched, the Canon 5D Mark III was one of the most popular cameras on the site. Given Canon’s revolutionary history with the Mark II, it’s no surprise that each successor has been greeted with plenty of hype. While the Panasonic GH4 wasn’t quite the indie game-changer the 5D MKII was, it certainly altered the landscape of affordable 4K video options and only aided the sway from DSLR to mirrorless cameras for video. 

Over the past two weeks, Canon announced the specs for the 5D Mark IV while new spec rumors (and a rumored announcement date) for the Panasonic Lumix GH5 hit the internet. The video community's response to the two releases could not have been more opposite. Keeping in mind that the specs for the GH5 are only rumors, here are the five biggest reasons why the GH5 will surpass the Mark IV for video. 


1. Price Tag

Again, we don’t know what the exact price tag of the GH5 will be, but assuming it’s around the original $1,500 price tag of the GH4, that makes it a full $2,000 cheaper than the MKIV. Spending more money isn’t necessarily bad if you’re getting appropriately more in return. The Mark IV has made the jump to 4k video and boasts a 30mp full frame sensor, which certainly out-specs the GH5 rumors on the surface. As we will discuss, though, looks can be deceiving…


2. 4k Crop Factor

The Mark IV only records 4k with a 1.74 crop factor, which is a higher crop factor than Panasonic’s micro four thirds mount with a speedbooster attached. A Mark IV with internal full frame 4k would have, on the surface, put it in direct competition with the Sony A7s and A7r, cameras closer to its price range. If Panasonic even slightly increases the image quality and low light performance from the GH4, it’s only going to close the gap between the two cameras further. Even though crop factor isn’t a total deal breaker, the bad news for Canon doesn’t stop there. 


3. No 4k HDMI Output

Maybe you’re thinking that, like the GH4, A7s, and others, Canon might allow full frame 4k with an external recorder like the Atmos Shogun. Nope. There’s no HDMI output. Forget all of the other reasons for why you might want an HDMI output in a $3,500 video production camera, the inability to record externally is extremely binding both in image potential and post production workflow. Moreover, it continues the 30-minute recording limit that has long been an irritation with the Mark II and III. Assuming the GH5 keeps the GH4’s HDMI output, Panasonic’s camera will be the easier of the two to specialize for production and post needs. Moreover, if rumors that the GH5 internally records 4:2:2 and 10-bit color are true, it's hard to imagine the GH5 not having the superior 4k image already out of the box.


4. No Log for Canon…

There will be no log picture profile on the Canon 5D Mark IV, a fact that should make anyone working in postproduction in 2016 a little uneasy. While you’ll still be able to manually input a flat image, and it’s not hard to imagine an eventual Magic Lantern hack, a log picture profile of some sort is a necessity for professional video cameras, especially at this price range. Before Canon had serious competition in the DSLR and mirrorless video market, this wasn't as much of an issue, but now it should come standard. Panasonic has had a log picture profile for a while now, making shooting for post much, much easier. 


5. This Isn’t Canon’s Video Camera

In case you haven’t noticed, this article has less to do with the hype surrounding the GH5 and more to do with the official specs on the Mark IV, and that’s kind of the point. If the GH5 offers any improvements whatsoever for videographers (there’s no reason to think it won’t) then it is essentially moving in the opposite direction from Canon, which is treating DSLR video like an afterthought. 


I know that some of you might be feeling that this article is misleading. Canon has been focusing all of its video efforts on the cinema cameras (with nice touches on the IDC and IDX MkII). The 5D line is a photographer’s camera and, really, it always has been. While that’s true, Canon's cinema cameras don’t offer the size advantages of DSLRs, which is becoming ever more important as drones and gimbals become more affordable. While the 1D line is an option, it's another $2,000 more expensive than the 5D, putting it in a different class of competition altogether. Canon could have made a camera to rival the A7s and re-spark the debate between DSLR and mirrorless cameras for that class of videography. A relevant Mark IV would have been great for competition. There is room in the market for it. Instead, it seems like the Mark IV is the final nail in the coffin for the 5D series as a filmmaker’s best friend. 

The GH5, on the other hand, seems poised to impress. If the internal recording, image quality, and low-light performance improves at all, the GH5 could become the best sub-$2,000 video camera for years to come. Panasonic has our attention. Let’s see what they do with it. 

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Brent L Zaffino

I am a filmmaker out of Atlanta, Georgia currently working as a freelance director and videographer for music videos, short films, and corporate videos.

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