Panasonic GH5 II, a mirrorless camera built for filmmaking

by Tom Barrance | Updated January 2024

This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

Panasonic GH5 II
Check price/buy Amazon

Panasonic’s $1000/£1000 (body only) GH5 II offers a great range of pro filmmaking features. With powerful in-body image stabilisation, it’s a good choice for news shooters, documentary filmmakers and events. With the right choice of lenses it’s also suitable for narrative filmmaking. I’ve bought one to use as my main camera.

The GH5 is weather-sealed, frostproof (to -10C), and can shoot 4K and HD in a range of broadcast quality formats without needing an external recorder. It has a very high resolution electronic viewfinder and a multi-angle touchscreen.

It’s a solid, well-made workhorse with good controls and clear menus. The Boost IS feature is remarkable: for static shots (with compatible lenses), it’s like filming on a tripod. Another great feature is ‘pixel for pixel’ recording, which records from part of the sensor to increase the effective focal length without losing quality. When you film 4K, this gives you a 1.4x boost; with 1080p, it’s 2.7x.

Key features

Broadcast quality

The GH5 II can shoot 4K, in 10 bit, 4:2:2 at up to 30p internally. That means it records more information than the usual consumer 8 bit, 4:2:0 format,  so your footage will stand up better to colour correction, grading and effects. It can record both in consumer UHD and the professional DCI format. It can even record 6K anamorphic video at 25fps.

Slow motion

The GH5 II can record 60p (2x) 4K slow motion, at 4:2:0 10 bit internally. In 1080p HD it can shoot at up to 180p (that’s 6x slow motion, or 7.2x for PAL users).


It has five-axis in-body image stabilisation for easy handholding.  IS Lock lets you get very steady static shots without using a tripod.


There’s advanced autofocus, with touchscreen focusing and programmable rack focus. But its autofocus is slower than some of its competitors, especially in low light.

Screen and viewfinder

The viewfinder is very sharp. Screen resolution and brightness have been improved over the previous model.

Dynamic range

You can shoot V-log with a 12 stop dynamic range. (Dynamic range means how well the camera deals with contrast). V-log is a flat picture style which compresses highlights and shadows, and is designed to be corrected or graded afterwards. You can also preview how the footage will look once LUT correction is applied.


It has microphone and headphone sockets, and two built-in microphones (one of which is for noise cancelling).

An optional $400/£360 audio module adds two pro XLR microphone inputs and physical dials and switches for changing audio settings and levels.

Other features

  • It can display pro waveform and vectorscope monitors
  • There are two SD card slots and no recording limit
  • It’s a world camera: it can shoot NTSC or PAL formats.
  • It’s fully compatible with the  DJI Ronin-SC handheld stabiliser, allowing you to pull focus and set quick autofocus from the stabiliser handle.

The MFT sensor

The MFT (micro four thirds) sensor is smaller than the APS-C and ‘full frame’ formats used on many other camera. That makes high quality lenses lenses smaller and more affordable.

The smaller sensor has more depth of field. So creative shallow focus effects are harder to achieve. (For documentary and events shooters, more depth of field can be better as it means fewer focus errors.) The small sensor also affects low light peformance.

To get better low light performance and shallow focus, you could buy faster – wider aperture – lenses. Alternatively, many filmmakers use Metabones Speedboosters or the cheaper Viltrox adapters. These let you attach lenses made for bigger sensors, while effectively increasing their aperture and reducing depth of field.

Should you buy it? 

For documentaries, news and events, the combination of broadcast quality 4K, easy handholding, interchangeable lenses and pro audio looks unbeatable at this price.

For better low-light performance and video features (but no image stabilisation) you could get a used Panasonic GH5S.

The BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K has many pro video features at a lower price, but it’s less convenient and robust.

Filmmakers who want a ‘cinematic’ look might find the small sensor limiting. If you don’t need to shoot 4K, a used Canon C100 might be a better choice. If you don’t need the GH5’s pro features, the

 has the same great image stabilisation (but not the IS lock) in a smaller body for less than half the price.

Check price/buy Amazon
Check price/buy

Best lenses for filmmaking with Panasonic cameras