Panasonic Lumix GH6 Review: Handheld Stability

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Panasonic’s high-end mirrorless cameras have been the go-to for impartial and documentary filmmaking for years. In 2017, Panasonic launched the original GH5, the flagship mannequin that took three years to construct. It was speedy, rugged, and straightforward to make use of—a massively fashionable, clear standout out there.

Lots has modified since then. Other producers are actually constructing great cameras for filmmakers that may shoot 6K footage. But the brand new GH6 continues to carry its personal for videography and images alike, particularly at this value level. 

Control Panel

There’s a shocking quantity of heft to the GH6 however not a lot that it turns into a wrist pressure. It comes with a UHS-II SD card slot in addition to a CFexpress card slot, which turns into needed for higher-end video capturing (extra on that beneath). Its three-inch flip-out display could be rotated so it is seen to the topic of the digicam, making it useful for on-line content material creators who must be their very own manufacturing group.

For run-and-gun photographers and filmmakers, the physique is constructed for purposeful muscle reminiscence. Alongside typical layouts just like the white steadiness, ISO, and publicity compensation buttons alongside the highest, or dials to regulate issues like aperture with out taking your hand off the physique, there are additionally a number of purple buttons for recording video. There’s one button on the highest plate and one other on the entrance. You can begin recording footage, regardless of which photograph mode you are at the moment in.

The materials on this digicam has a number of the most satisfying tactile suggestions I’ve encountered on a digicam. Its design is not that far off from many different cameras prefer it, however the distinction is within the subtleties. For instance, the audio data button alongside the highest is rubberized, which supplies it barely extra friction than the machined metallic video button proper subsequent to it. Once you are aware of the structure, little particulars like this make it straightforward to inform precisely which button or dial your finger is on with out wanting.

Photograph: Panasonic

The equipment comes with a barely better-than-standard f/2.8, 12–60mm variable focal size lens. It additionally contains non-compulsory Power OIS, which, mixed with the in-body picture stabilization, makes the entire system impressively clean, even when freehanding pictures. Inside, the GH6 packs a 25.2-MP Micro Four Thirds sensor. It’s a bit on the small aspect, however it works effectively sufficient for this digicam.

Battery life, sadly, is middling. A totally charged battery will final about an hour of steady utilization, whether or not that is pictures or 4K video. However, that may very well be considerably much less, particularly when you depend on Apple ProRes recording. Conveniently, nonetheless, you possibly can cost the battery utilizing the gadget’s USB-C port. If it may provide sufficient energy (round 9 V/3A), then you possibly can function the digicam off USB-C energy. Still, you may want a spare battery or two.

Balance and Focus

The Lumix GH6 feels prefer it expects you to make use of it whereas on the go. The stage gauge overlay show has a built-in accelerometer to show lean and tilt, turning inexperienced if you’re as stage as could be. This is the type of function that’s pointless when you have a superb tripod or gimbal, but when all you possibly can deliver with you is your digicam and your toes, it is a useful instrument.

The digicam makes use of contrast-detection autofocus. This sort of autofocus is more and more outdated, however a minimum of the GH6 does effectively with it. A blue overlay will spotlight the areas of the picture which might be in sharp focus, and repeatedly urgent the autofocus button can (typically) swap between totally different topics in focus. 

When rotating the main focus lens manually, a gauge pops up indicating the focal distance and, crucially, which route you are transferring the main focus. This is the type of extraordinarily useful function that is onerous to do with out after getting it—no extra guessing whether or not you have over- or under-shot the main focus.

Options Upon Options

The GH6 got here with an already spectacular vary of video recording choices, and a firmware replace in late July added much more. The star of the present is the addition of Apple ProRes 422 and 422 HQ. Depending in your storage media, you possibly can shoot as much as 5.7K video at 30 fps in ProRes 422 HQ, probably the greatest compressed codecs you should use with out diving into studio-level cameras. This is especially useful for filmmakers seeking to edit for 4K output.

Storage media issues as a result of, for sure video settings, the SD card you’ve got laying round in all probability will not reduce it. Most typical SD playing cards max out at round 300MB/s learn speeds, however their write speeds can typically be a lot decrease. For instance, this 128-GB SD card tops out at round 120 MB/s when writing and is often on sale for about $36. Meanwhile, a 128-GB SD card that can document on the practically 240 MB/s required for five.7K ProRes footage costs around $120, on the time of writing.

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