Panasonic announces the GH5 Mark II; GH6 incoming

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Panasonic has announced not one, but two new GH series cameras - the streaming-focussed GH5 Mark II, and the GH6, which Panasonic says will feature a brand-new sensor and downscaled 5.7K video, and is expected to launch by the end of the year. 

Let's start with the GH5 Mark II. 

The Mark II has the same body and sensor as the GH5, but its internals have been revamped, inheriting features from Panasonic's S-series of bodies. The standout feature is 4K 60 frames a second (fps) at 10-bit 4:2:0, an upgrade on its predecessors 8-bit recording. On the Mark II, recording can also be done internally and externally simultaneously.  

Like on the GH5, there's a cinema 4K mode, which provides a wider-than-16:9 aspect ratio, but on the Mark II this also now supports 30p and 25p, where the GH5 maxed out at 24p.

Matching the S-series, there's now Cinelike D2 and V2 profiles, along with V-Log L, which was previously a paid upgrade for the GH5.

Panasonic are keen to emphasise the streaming capabilities of the new body, and on paper at least, they are impressive - over WiFi is it possible to stream to platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitch directly, with the level of streaming compression able to be adjusted at various levels and resolutions, depending on the platform. Streaming keys can also be input manually both in-camera and via the Lumix Sync smartphone app. Panasonic says that the ability to hardwire to a phone or even directly to a LAN via USB will also come with a future firmware update.

Panasonic says the autofocus has also been improved - there's head, body and animal detection, and tracking should now be twice as fast as the GH5, with the system looking for objects 60 times a second. Panasonic also says that the system should lock on to subjects better, and will perform better when tracking people who are farther in the distance as well.

The GH5 Mark II’s in-body stabilisation has also received a boost. While the original GH5 had 5-stops of stabilistion, the Mark II can compensate up to 6.5 stops with certain lenses. There's a few other interesting new features too, including USB-C power delivery, a higher capacity battery, a brighter and higher res rear LCD, and tweaks to the colours to provide clearer indications when recording. 

And finally, if this wasn't enough for you, the GH6 is coming, with Panasonic confirming they've announced it now so people will be able to decide if they want to hang on until the end of the year for the GH6, or get the GH5 II in July when it launches. 

Details on the GH6 are still pretty light, but it will feature a new Venus image engine and a new sensor, and will have the capability to record 10-bit 4K at 120fps and 10-bit 5.7K at 60fps. As you'd expect, there will be no recording time limits either. Interestingly, these specs are very similar to the Sony A7S III (which also sells for much more).

And that's not all. In addition to the GH6, a new interchangeable lens, the Leica DG 25-50mm F1.7 is also under development. Together with the Leica DG 10-25mm / F1.7 ASPH, these two lenses will cover focal lengths from 10mm to 50mm at f1.7 (35mm camera equivalent: 20-100mm).

You can watch the live stream launch for the new products below.

The GH5 Mark II will be available from July for $2,699 body only, and the GH6 tbc by the end of the year. You can find out more about the new camera(s) at Panasonic. 

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