The GH5 is the successor of the GH4 (released in May 2014).
It's topmost in the lineup which includes the G7 (May 2015) and the
G85 (Sept. 2016).
A low-resolution low-light version without IBIS (GH5s) was released in January 2018.
The Ninja Inferno
from Atomos is a 4K 60 fps video recorder and HDR monitor (high dynamic range)
which matches the capabilities of the GH5 and extends them to 10 bits (1 billion colors)
through an HDMI cable. Compared to the flagship
Shogun Inferno the Ninja
only lacks an SDI connexion (RG-8 coaxial cable) which isn't used in the GH5.
A single-axis gimbal
allows one object to rotate freely around a fixed axis.
The earliest extant description of the device is by
Philo of Byzantium (c. 280-220 BC)
who used it to suspend an
It was again described in detail by Girolamo Cardano
(1501-1576) who never claimed to have discovered it.
The GH4 (released in May 2014)
was the first interchangeable-lens camera capable of shooting 4K videos.
Its successor is the GH5 (released in March 2017) which is topmost in a lineup
which includes the G7 (May 2015) the
G85 (Sept. 2016) and
the more expensive low-light GH5s (Jan. 2018) which has a lower resolution and no image stabilization.
The main technical specification of the Lumix GH5 are listed below:
Sensor :Sony Exmor:
Micro 4/3 (MFT) size. 20.3 Mp (Digital Live MOS).
12-bit pixel depth. 200 ISO native,
The rest of this page focuses mostly on that GH5 camera.
The GH5s, officially released on 2018-01-08, is a different beast
optimized for low-light video due to a lower resolution
multi-aspect 10.2 Mp
sensor with a basic sensitivity of 400 ISO and no sensor stabilization.
Recommended purchases with the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5
The combined cost of $130 required to power the GH5 from the mains with Panasonic parts can be reduced down to $30 or so with third-party parts.
On the other hand, the pricey XLR1 adapter
is a must, without which the audio track won't match the video quality of the GH5 camera
(or else, you may use built-in audio just for synchronization with a handy recorder.)
Both UHS I (one row of contacts) and UHS II
(two rows of contacts) SD cards can be used in the Lumix GH5
(SDHC indicates a maximum capacity of 32 GB, above that it's SDXC).
The write transfer rate limit of UHS I is about 35 MB/s (280 Mbps).
The UHS II interface allows double that rate (about 75 MB/s or 600 Mbps)
which is well above the steady 400 Mbps recording capability of the GH5
(for 60p 4K video).
However, a lot of UHS II cards can't achieve that speed.
The V30 class falls short and V60 isn't quite reliable enough. V90 always works.
Good V90 UHS II SD cards aren't cheap at this writing ($100 for 64 GB, early 2018).
(2018-01-01) Downloading firmware updates. Unlocking software.
Upgrading cameras, lenses, etc. Unlocking V-log on the Lumix GH5.
Like the rest of this page, this article is mostly about Panasonic hardware (more specifically G-cameras,
including the GH5) but the procedures are similar for other members of the
The normal procedure for updating the firmware of lenses and other accessories is through the camera body
they are connected to.
Before updating the firmware of lenses and such, it's a good idea to first update the firmware of the body itself
to the latest version available. In particular, the updating of an Olympus lens on a GH5 can only
be done if that GH5 is running firmware version 2.1 or later.
SAVE YOUR CAMERA SETTINGS before any firmware update.
It seems the upgrade procedure may leave the camera in a weird state:
After updating the GH5 body and kit lens,
I found that turning on or off the teleconverter function had no effect at all.
Even resetting the camera wouldn't change that.
I got back the functionality only by restoring previous settings from a saved file.
So, if you've never saved camera settings, then you're out of luck!
(Well, almost. The solution is to download somebody else's saved settings and start from there.)
The update procedure is the same for the camera or for a lens attached to it:
Obtain the proper update file and use a computer to put it on the root directory of a blank SD
card, freshly formatted by the camera itself.
Insert that SD card into (slot 1 of) the camera before turning it on.
Start the update by hitting the PLAY button
(normally marked with a circled right-pointing triangle).
The battery must be fully charged or the camera will refuse to proceed
(updating an EEPROM may require voltage levels
which aren't reliably available from a partially-depleted battery).
For example, at this writing, the latest
is Version 2.2. For that update, you must use Panasonic's procedures to
extract a file named GH5_V22.bin (68,057,600 bytes, 2017-11-17) which you place on the root
directory of an SD card freshly formatted by the GH5 itself.
Then, use that SD card to execute
and actually perform the GH5 update.
For a lens update, the procedure is identical (Panasonic calls it
except that the update file has an "lin" extension.
For example, the file corresponding to the 1.1 firmware revision released on 2017-08-07
for the Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4 (H-ES12060) is called
ES103011.lin (471,104 bytes, 2017-07-27). Don't ask me why that name isn't related to the part number.
The above procedure must be repeated from scratch for every device you wish to update
(there's no shortcut for multiple updates).
For a friendly introduction to the processus, see one of the videos given in the footnotes below.
It's good to gain some familiarity with the process before attempting the
(paid) software unlock described next...
Unlocking V-log capability on supported Lumix cameras :
V-Log is a paid upgrade for the GH4, GH5 and FZ2500 cameras.
The upgrade is more tedious and intricate to install than a simple update.
The unlocking code is normally found in a box sold by Panasonic.
In the unlocking procedure, you let Panasonic know online the serial number of
the camera you are unlocking.
They pair the unlocking code with the serial number and provide you with
a small personalized text file which you can then use the same way you
would use a regular update file (see above).
Here's the step-by-step procedure, including unnecessary precautions:
Confirm V-Log is not yet installed on your camera by going to the
"Photo style" option in the "Motion Picture" menu (second icon from the top in the main menu).
After "Like709" you're back to "Standard".
Read the boring printed license agreement you're agreeing to.
Break the seal and get the key code inside the envelope.
Save that key code in a safe place
(as it may be needed if you send your camera for repair in the future).
Once the key has been used to upgrade your camera, the code can't be
used for any other camera.
You have to type in the 25 characters in UPPER case without
the hyphens when instructed to do so online.
Save your current settings to one of your regular card (just in case).
Remove your regular card(s).
Insert a spare card and format it.
Tap [Setup] (4th icon of main menu) and select [Activate]. Choose "Export Serial Code".
Confirm that you agree to "start processing". This has the effect of putting a small file called
SERIAL.LST onto the SD card at the following location:
> PRIVATE > PANA_GRP > PAVC > LUMIX > ACTV
Put the SD card into a card-reader connected to your computer.
Upload the file from your card reader (by clicking "choose file" and navigating to it;
once "SERIAL.LST" appears in the box, click the upload button).
Enter the 25 charaters of the key code in UPPER case without the hyphens.
Click "Save to SD card".
If a file called ACTIVE.LST has not been to the same folder as your SERIAL.LST,
locate it and put it there manually (Windows normally puts all dowloaded files
into a folder called "Downloads").
Put the SD card back into slot 1 of your camera.
Turn the camera on.
Go again to Menu > Setup > Activate. Choose "Import Activation Code".
Turn the camera off and on again (as instructed).
Check that V-:og is now a Photo style option (after "Like709").
Turn your camera off. Put your regular cards back in.
Unless you camera goes for repair, you should never have to install V-Log again.
However, it's enough trouble that you may want to save the SD card.
(That saves you the trouble of going online again, although Panasonic will gladly pair
a key with the same camera many times.)
The GH5s comes with V-Log pre-installed forever
(that's part of what you get for an extra $500).
(2017-12-18) Neutral-Density (ND) filters (and polarizers).
An essential tool when shooting video in broad daylight.
Video work calls for the use of ND filters
more frequently than still photography, because traditional video shooting
dictates the shutter speed to create just enough motion blur in each frame.
The rule (which can be violated) is to use what's called a 180° shutter,
which means that the shutter is open for half the duration of a frame:
1/60 s when shooting at 30 fps,
1/120 s (1/125 s close enough) at 60 fps, etc.
Now, the venerable
Sunny 16 Rule
states that, in broad daylight,
the proper exposure at f/16 is roughly obtained with a shutter speed numerically equal
to the ISO sensitivity rating. The lowest native sensitivity on the GH5 is
200 ISO (you can go down to 100 ISO only at the expense of a reduction in dynamic
range) which would impose a shutter speed of 1/200s at f/16.
A proper 180° video shutter at 30fps would be 1/125s.
Therefore, to maintain proper exposure at that speed, you have to stop down
2/3 of a stop; to f/20.
Some lenses can't stop down that low and those which can do so only at the expense of a
loss in sharpness due to diffraction effects.
The solution is to reduce the incoming light with an ND filter by two stops or so to
reach the sweet spot of most lenses (f/5.6 or f/8).
That's precisely what an ND4 filter would accomplish.
Note that the V-Log setting in the GH5 (with optional firmware installed)
starts at ISO 400. Likewise, the new GH5s lowest native sensitivity is 400.
This means that an ND8 filter
would be needed if shooting in broad daylight (although an ND4 could still do).
If you want to use large apertures for better bokeh, you need even darker filters.
Be aware that the popular vario ND filters are
actually two polarizing filters with a rotating front element.
Well, the orientation of the front element determines the polarization
and the orientation of the back element attenuates the light so polarized.
If you want full control, you'd have to stack two polarizing filters so
either polarizer can be rotated!
The image degradation is the same as the less-flexible vario
configuation (which makes density depend on polarization).
The darkest ND filters available are marketed as
Eclipse Filters. They reduce light by 20 stops and are only suitable
for direct images of the Sun. Nothing else.
100 mm (4" by 4") Square Filter Systems :
brand of square filters was first launched in France (1972) by Jean Coquin.
The French establishment entered bankrupcy protection in 2012.
Several other companies now make unmounted "Cokin Z" 100mm square filters (out of
expensive Schoii glass or the cheaper CR39 optical resin used by Cokin).
The matching holders have up to 3 slots, which can also accomodate 100mm by 150mm
(typically used for ND-gradated filters, which can thus be shifted more than 25 mm off center
in either direction). The standard thickness is 2mm.
Some square filters are only 1.6 mm thick and a few
specialty filters are 4mm thick, requiring spacers which not all holders can accomodate.
Smaller sizes are available
(e.g., Cokin P, 84mm width) at a lesser cost
but they accomodate neither the ultra-wide lens
mentioned below nor the wide angle and telephoto
Larger sizes are available for which I have no need at this time. (The largest made by Cokin is
their X-series, 136mm wide. Other manufacturers provide 150mm width.)
You normally need one adapter for each filter thread in your lens kit.
ultra-wide lenses without a filter mount require a special adapter.
The need for adapters can be bypassed entirely if the camera is mounted in a
cage with rails and a DIY
(with French flags and
barn doors to prevent flaring).
In that case, the filter system is at the rear of the matte box and
isn't mechanically connected to the lens.
called this lens best lens of 2017.
It was a B&H top-wish for the Holidays.
Yet, I chose the better lens by Olympus
which was lowered to the same price point at B&H,
with a year-end $200 rebate (which is already permanent elsewhere).
That Oly lens is better in every way, except weight and filter mount.
(2017-12-31) Best MFT ultra-wide-angle zoom to-date:
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO Lens
This lens improves upon its 2004 legendary brother, the Olympus ZD ED 7-14mm f/4
(see 8:40 review by
Gordon Laing on 2007-06-21).
The older version is discontinued but is still being sold new on Amazon for an
outrageous price of
(misleadingly so, if you ask me).
This new version, released in June 2015, is one full stop brighter.
It's one of the most impressive MFT lenses ever built.
14 elements, 11 groups
Mass: 534 g
Diameter: 79 mm
No optical stabilization.
(distance scale). MWD: 7.5 cm.
Like the latest Panasonic Ultrawide,
this lens relies entirely on the camera body for image stabilization.
This is fine on the GH5, but the newer GH5s has no in-body optical image stabilization (IBIS).
Yet, you can normally hand-hold such a wide-angle lens at 1/30 s or faster fairly safely.
Pulling the focus ring engages a purely-mechanical manual focus and reveals
a functional distance scale. This is a great design which allows
classical follow-focus techniques in video work.
In other words, the lens can really
be focused manually; not through some
focus by wire ersatz.
It's parfocal ; the focusing distance doesn't
change when the focal length varies.
The L-Fn button is programmable on Olympus cameras
(up to 27 choices, depending on the body) and on a Panasonic GH5 with
firmware 2.2 or above. Otherwise, the lens button only has the default
"Focus Stop" functioniality (it freezes auto-focusing when pressed).
When this lens is mounted on a GH5 with firmware v2.2, the following seven choices appear in the
menu entitled Lens Fn Button Setting (found in the Lens / Others
submenu at the bottom of the third main menu):
Focus Stop (default).
Focus Area Set.
AF Mode / MF.
The choice applies at once to the button of every lens which might be connected to that body.
At this time, it seems only one Panasonic MFT lens is endowed with a programmable button;
It's the example they chose to illustrate this new feature of firmware 2.2: The
$3000Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 OIS (#H-ES200).
With such short focal distances, one millimeter can make a big difference:
A 7 mm lens covers an apparent area 30.6% larger than an 8 mm lens.
The lack of front-filter threads in this ultra-wide lens may be a blessing in disguise:
It's an excellente incentive to switch from circular filters lens-by-lens to
a proper filter system for every lens in your kit.
Especially for video work.
However, you still need a way to affix the filter holder to the lens hood
(unless your filter-holder is at the rear of a matte box
mounted on a pair of 15 mm rods attached to the bottom of the camera).
Several solutions have been proposed for this.
Most of those are reviewed by Chris Eyre-Walker's (a self-described fan
of this particular ultra-wide zoom) in a specialized
Some links in the following footnotes provide complementary information and/or
(2017-12-18) Still Lighting. Flash strobes.
Shooting hybrid means taking still photos once in a while.
The "H" in GH5 means hybrid.
Although the emphasis is on video, such cameras are very capable of shooting
still photos. A small flash strobe may come in handy, as the GH5 has
no pop-up flash.
The GODOX units are full-featured and seem well-built.
Their price is low enough to stamp out the competition.
I selected the smallest unit, which takes 2 AA batteries,
because of weight and bulk considerations (for what I anticipate to be only occasional use).
For $25 more, you have a heavier full-power unit which takes 4 AA batteries.
GODOX also sells a Li-ion model for
which has the same GN of 60 m at maximum extension
(200mm reach) but actually delivers less
energy since the other units have a zoom head with a lesser maximum extension
The same remark applies to the GN of 54m (177') advertised for the
Nissin Di700A Flash, which takes 4 AA batteries
with commander unit,
For my Nikon system, I have both a 2-AA and a 4-AA strobe.
It turns out that the smaller one is in my bag at all times and the heavier one stays at home
most of the time... I figured I'd spare myself the same dilemma.
A selection of TTL strobes (flash) for still photography with the Lumix GH5
A checkmark in the LED column indicate units which have a buit-in LED video light.
The two larger Lumix units are rated 100 lux at 3.3'
and curiously, the smallest one outputs twice as much.
What I call compact units are flashes without a zoom head.
Their lower guide numbers reflect the fact that the beam isn't focused for telephoto use.
Typically, the actual power is similar to that of a strobe in the mini class.
The reach given is the focal length (in mm) of a full-frame lens
covering the same angle of view as the flash beam when the zoom head makes it narrowest.
For compact units without a zoom head, the number given between parentheses is
the reach of the fixed beam width specified by the manufacturer.
All units nowadays have a diffuser screen which yields wider coverage for very short lenses.
Cages provide many standard mechanical connections around the camera to attach various accessories.
The need is more obvious in video than in still photography because
of the greater variety of available accessories. (Microphones, video lights, external monitor, etc.)
It's possible to use a generic half-cage (three-sided)
loosely connected to the camera via its ¼'' tripod mount,
but a four-sided customized full-cage is more compact and more robust, albeit more pricey
(sometimes insanely so).
Typical standard mechanical connectors on a cage include:
1/4''-20 & 3/8''-16 threaded holes (lots of them on a cheese plate).
Several 3/8-16 UNC threaded holes with Arri locating points.
The SmallRig cage doesn't have any rubber padding on the platform
which supports the camera, allowing the camera to skid and loosen the bolt over time.
Self-stick rubber pads are not a good solution, for they would rob too much thickness
from the bolt and jeopardize the sturdiness of the assembly.
I've had good success with spray-on rubber and nothing else!
To add just a little bit of thickness, I sprayed the platform and the two tabs with
5 thin coats of rubber (you have to wait at least 4 hours between two coats)
after protecting from overspray the rest of the cage (with scotch tape and aluminum foil).
Rubber-coating aerosol has many uses and is quite affordable
($6 a can).
It's much easier to position the camera in the cage if there's no lens attached
to it (use a body cap, or you're asking for trouble).
(2017-12-28) No-Stitch Hand Strap for Camera Cage
Just use flat nylon webbing and a pair of small triglide slides.
A do-it-yourself hand-strap can provide an unconventional way to hold a
hybrid video camera without griping it (top tension, bottom pressure).
It's so thin that you'll never have to remove it.
The design I advocate also provides a way to attach a tiny pouch,
known in the trade as a coin purse
to store Allen keys (hex tools)
and/or SD cards (a spare battery is probably too heavy).
The components listed below are available from
StrapWorks in your choice of colors.
I don't recommend using side-release
in this application, forgoing the simplicity ans sturdiness of
triglide slides (French: boucle-coulisse, double-passant).
You just need:
About 12'' of narrow flat nylon webbing:
3/8'' wide @ $0.23/ft
or 1/2'' wide @ $0.27/ft.
Two triglide slides
@ $0.25 a piece
(narrow ones; 3/8'' or 1/2'').
Either that or you can sacrifice a neck-strap you don't like,
as suggested by Ken Wheeler.
My design is inspired from Ken's; the only difference is that I chose to keep the narrow webbing
in one piece mostly for aesthetic reasons (I like the look of a narrow black stripe in the middle of
a dark-red wide strap). The middle part of the narrow webbing doesn't carry any load,
You may thus either get rid of it (if you prefer a solid color)
or use it to attach a tiny two-slot accessory pouch...
DIY Wrist-Strap :
In some situations, common-sense and/or regulations may impose a secure tethering to your body
beyond what a loose hand-strap can provide (e.g., when shooting out of an helicopter).
On the SmallRig cage for the GH5 (#2049)
there's a shallow 3/8'' notch (on the rear of the battery-door hole)
which is begging for a tight loop of 3/8'' flat nylon webbing.
That makes an ideal soft anchor point for a D-ring where a safety wrist-strap can be attached
without interfering with anything else.
This D-ring can be used for either of two quick-release attachments
(they're never both needed at the same time):
A strain-relief for the AC power cable (in tethered studio work).
A wrist-strap for safety, in risky outdoor situations.
Adequate commercial wrist-straps are available where camera equipment is sold.
For critical conditions, however, you may want to consider more secure options,
like the shortenedsurf leash
suggested by Hey Just J, (he quotes one branded by
Other armband leashes are marketed as GoPro accessories:
Either that or simply make your own paracord bracelet for the purpose.
It's also a good idea to tie the camera to its cage with two short strips of paracord
through the eyelets on the camera which are normally intended for standard neck-straps
(just in case the tripod mount would be detached, for whatever reason).
(2017-11-05) Micro Four-Thirds (MFT) Communication Protocol
How an MFT camera body and an MFT lens talk to each other.
The MFT mount in an open mirrorless standard derived from the earlier Four Thirds System
which could accomodate the mirror boxes of DSLR. Without that design requirement, the MFT
flange distance could be made shorter (namely, 19.26 mm)
which open the possibility of mechanical adapters for lenses originally designed for reflex cameras.
Electrically, the MFT standard is similar to the Four Third System
with the addition of two mount signal contacts. This makes it possible to make adapters
for MFT cameras at the $30 price point, maintaining full functionality without active electronics.
The MFT (and/or 4/3) communication protocol itself is nowhere described on the Internet, although
Panasonic and Olympus have claimed it was an "open" standard.
They may have communicated it privately only to fellow manufacturers of MFT lenses, including
Zeiss, Tamron and Sigma...
Many manufacturers offer "dumb" adapters (no electrical connections) to use Canon EF lenses
on an MFT camera, for $20 or so. Several advertise electrical compatibility and communication protocol conversion,
maintaining autofocus, aperture control, image stabilization and EXIF data transmission.
Mileage may vary. For example:
Canon has never licensed the EF
mount communication protocol, forcing third-party developers to reverse-engineer it, more or less thouroughly.
Thus, some of the above autofocus adapters may not be perfect, especially at lower price points.
At this writing, it seems that only "dumb" adapters and converters are available to use Nikon F-mount lenses
on MFT bodies, with manual focus only. Some of them provide mechanical aperture control on G-lenses (which have no aperture
ring of their own). None of them provide aperture control for E-lenses
(lacking electrical control such lenses remain wide open).
By definition, an adapter doesn't contain any optics.
It's mostly a mechanical element which allows a longer-mount lens designed to
fit on a shorter-mount body. The effective thickness of an adapter is equal
to the difference between the nominal flange focal distances
of the lens and body (the former must be substantially greater than the latter).
The flange distance of mirrorless cameras being much shorter than reflex cameras,
such adapters allow the use of DSLR lenses on mirrorless cameras, including MFT cameras.
For example, the Nikon F-mount flange is 46.5 mm while the MFT flange is only 19.25 mm.
Therefore, a 27.25 mm adapter with a female Nikon mount and a male MFT mount will allow
the use of Nikon lenses on MFT cameras like the Panasonic GH5.
Converters (adapters, teleconverters and speedboosters)
Unlike mere adapters, converters include optical elements which effectively multiply the
focal length of the mounted lens by a certain conversion factor.
This factor is greater than 1 for teleconverters,
it's less than 1 for speedboosters (a mere adapter is
effectively a converter of factor 1).
The first thing to know about a converter is that its front glass may be in the
way of the rear elements of some lenses, making such lenses utterly unusable with that converter.
For example, the Metabones 0.64 speedbooster is unusable with the Nikkor 50 mm f:1.4 lens.
Optically, vignetting will occur if the conversion factor is greater than the ratio
of the crop factor targeted by the lens designers
to the crop factor of the camera (namely 2 for MFT cameras).
For example, to use full-frame (FX) Nikon-F lenses in the MFT system
the conversion ratio should be greater than 0.5.
To use Nikon DX lenses without any fear of vignetting, we would need a conversion
factor greater than:
To put it bluntly, the condition is satisfied for FX lenses by all currently available
speedboosters (they all have a conversion ratio greater than 0.5)
but, strictly speaking, none of them meet the requirement for DX lenses:
The 0.71 Metabones "Ultra" is 7.46% too strong and
Zhongyi's 0.726 "Turbo II" is still off the mark by 5.38%.
Either of those may thus cause some vignetting with
DX lenses. The 0.64 "XL" Metabones model is way
too strong and will cause vignetting on most DX lenses
(even if they fit mechanically).
Using Nikon DX (or FX) lenses with an MFT camera (e.g., Lumix GH5)
At this writing, MFT adapters or converters for Nikon lenses only allow them to be used in manual mode
(no automatic aperture, no autofocus, no optical stabilization).
No off-the-shelf protocol conversion is available
(and not enough information is available to hack it).
The newer "E" series of Nikon lenses can only be used wide-open
(this includes the 200-500).
(2017-11-31) External Video Recorder & Monitor
May also serve as a somewhat heavy electronic viewfinder (EVF).
In the Atomos line, only two units are able to extend the
internal capabilities of the Lumix GH5 to the full 10-bit 4:2:2 4k video format at 60 fps.
The usual recommendation for the GH5 is the Ninja Inferno.
For $300 more, the flagship Shogun Inferno only adds
SDI connections which are irrelevant to most GH5 users
(reportedly, it provides 240 fps HD video over SDI for Blackmagic cameras).
Recommended accessories for Atomos Inferno Monitors / Recorders