Last weekend I went to the SWPP Convention in London to check out some kit and meet up with some friends I hadn’t seen in ages. Despite it predominantly being a photography oriented event, the SWPP exhibition (not sure if that’s the proper name, but that’s how I know it as) there was, not surprisingly, quite a bit of video kit. Canon had a decent booth with all their mid-tier and top-end DSLRs including the EOS 1DX-II, their rather limited mirrorless camera range and of course a tone of lenses, printers, and a few video oriented products such as the Canon C200, the area around which, was super crowded.
Sony was also there with their Alpha 7RIII and A9 cameras, and so were Zeiss, who had their Batis, Milvus, CP3s and also Compact Cine Zooms on display. Of course, other big players such as Fujifilm and your Manfrottos where there, but what impressed me the most was the Lumix booth. They had the G9, GH5 and of course the brand new GH5s on display.
Browsing through the menus was a familiar experience having owned a GH5 ones before, but what surprised me was the lack of an All-Intra 10bit codec in C4K when shooting in 25p in PAL. It is missing in both .MP4 and .MOV.
For those of you in non-PAL countries this issue is of no consequence, but I don’t understand why NTSC frequency countries get the more ample 400Mbps Intra codec in True 4K DCI at 23.98 and true 24fps and we (UK and Europe) don’t in 25p? Sure, you may ask – but why would you want to shoot in C4K/25 anyway? Just use UHD at 25 and get your ALL-Intra 400Mbps codec this way, or do C4K at 24fps as you should for a DCP for cinema exhibition?
Well, a true 17:9 C4K/25p is also a perfect deliverable for web, even though I may be in the minority who think this way. In any case, I asked around at the Lumix booth at SWPP if Panasonic has plans for a firmware update, but they did not know. The Panasonic GH5s camera I looked at had firmware version 1.0, which is the production firmware that cameras will be shipping with in 2 weeks according to the Lumix rep I spoke to at the show.
The GH5S specs are not listing the codec in 25p neither, so I doubt this will be added in an upcoming firmware, but I am hoping it is resolved.
Having used LongGOP 10bit in 4K on the GH5 prior, I had no major complains after Adobe would be updated to play the LongGOP files, but my concern stems from my preference to an All-Intra codec at a higher bitrate compared to a LongGOP codec, which requires more grunt in post from your machine and has severe limitations in grading due to its low-bit nature (to save space) as it does not record each frame individually. For long-form recording it’s fine, but it would be preferrable to have an Intra codec at 400Mbps in all normal speeds in both C4K and UHD in PAL and NTSC.
If you are still not familiar with the differences between the GH5 and GH5s, check out Nick Driftwoods video explainer below:
Nick Driftwood also has a GH5s skintone sample, which you can see below.
Not sure what’s happening in a few of the shots (magenta and heavy green cast, maybe a WB error or Tint/LUT on purpose?) but I think the skin tones in this footage look alright to me.
Panasonic GH5S Highlights
Cinema 4K (4096 x 2160) at 50/60p
8bit 4:2:0 .MOV/.mp4 Long GOP
New 10.2 MP Multi-aspect CMOS 4/3-type sensor
C4K/23.98/24 – 400 Mbps All-Intra 10bit 4:2:2
C4K/25 – 150Mbps Long-GOP 10bit 4:2:2
4K/UHD at 24/25/30p 10bit 4:2:2 at All-Intra 400Mbps
Here’s a nice summary of new features in the GH5s by Panasonic Australia:
So, if you are based in a 50Hz country, and looking to get the GH5S, what do you make of the lack of a high bit rate Intra codec in C4K/25p? Does this matter to you? Or would you not care for the omission? Do let me know in the comments below.