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Panasonic GH5: Multi-Aspect Sensor

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I wrote 5 articles speculating about the GH5, talking about possible codecs, what else can we expect but the most intriguing part is obviously the Photo 6K.

Actually, from Photo 6K you can speculate about the sensor as well. In summary my conclusion is that it will be a multi-aspect sensor.

Panasonic GH5: the Sensor has to be multi-aspect!
My best guess is a 22+MP multi-aspect sensor, possibly based on DCI (1.8x crop) instead of 16:9 (1.85x crop*) for a bit more than 5760px wide and a Micro4/3 area of 20MP, possibly the same pixels size and count than Olympus E-M1 MK II.

*we usually say 1.86x crop but if you do the math, it's much closer to 1.85x, but let's not get lost in technicalities because that's not the point and nor that important

If Photo 4K has that name based on UHD at 3840 x 2160, then we could expect Photo 6K to be something around the 6K version of 16:9, so 5760 x 3240px.

On Panasonic's press release, it says that Photo 6K is 18MP (6000 x 3000px) still grabs from video footage - which is a generic way to say it will have a video-like aspect ratio. But they also mention that the source of the video can either be 4:3 or 3:2, which is quite weird. Why wouldn't Panasonic even mention 3:2 as the video source? This is a clearly indication of full sensor readout, but why 3:2?

The 16:9 multi-aspect sensor used in the GH1 and GH2 are almost 3:2 and a DCI based multi-aspect is 3:2, for me, this is another argument that it might be multi-aspect, otherwise, I don't understand why being a 4/3 sensor Panasonic would mention 3:2 aspect ratio as a full readout video source for Photo 6K.

But why did they mention 4:3 then? Simply because they didn't want to confirm multi-aspect sensor, wouldn't people start asking themselves why a video from a 3:2? There is a possibility of Panasonic using a 4:3 of 25MP to 28MP? Of course there is, it's just very unlikely.

More importantly, there were rumors saying it was going to be multi-aspect and also rumors saying 20MP. But why 20MP? Because the Micro4/3 portion of the sensor is 20MP, just like the GH2 was called a 16MP camera, when in fact it had more than that for the whole sensor. Plus, because part of the sensor is outside the image circle, the max resolution you get with the GH2 is indeed 16MP in 4:3, 15MP in 3:2, 14MP in 16:9 and 11MP in 1:1, therefore a 16MP camera.

I said that the 20MP portion could have exact same pixel count as Olympus because I suspect they were developed together, the same way the E-M5 and GH3 had the same sensor, E-M1 and GH4 and also GX8 and Pen-F. It makes sense for the E-M1 MK II and GH5 to be based on the same sensor tech, plus, there were also rumors about Panasonic and Olympus sharing technology and even LSI components. Having the same pixel count and size, it's possible to share the sensor wafer, micro lens, color filter, etc. it saves you production cost money because you can both use the same parts, just different sized sensors.

The greatest thing of multi-aspect sensors is that for lenses, nothing changes since it's all within the same image circle, so you can either use native lenses or focal reducers like Speed Booster without worrying about the extra FOV of the multi-aspect sensor. So yeah, when using the 0.64x Speed Booster, you could get less than 1.2x crop, even closer to 1.15x crop with the Speed Booster and multi-aspect sensor combo. I would still prefer less crop to use APS-C lenses like the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 and 50-100mm f/1.8, even more with IBIS, but for those wanting the 1.33 extra stop of light and closer to FF, then the 0.64x will get you pretty close to FF.

Again, this is my best guess:

  • 22+MP multi-aspect sensor
  • DCI based (approx. 1.8x crop) or 16:9 based (approx. 1.85x crop)
  • at least 5760px wide, probably a few pixels more to accommodate DCI 4K and Photo 6K
  • the Micro4/3 portion and max resolution of the camera will be 20+MP, so the GH5 will be a "20+MP camera"
  • 20+MP will be possibly the same pixel count and size as the E-M1 II

I also wrote about other possibilities including other resolutions like 6114px or even the scenarios of not choosing a multi-aspect sensor. Just like I also countered the idea of Panasonic straight out deceiving consumers with nothing like 6K in Photo 6K but just 18MP, which I find kind of odd since there is no need to Panasonic to deceive consumers and they haven't done anything like that ever before. Photo 6K is not the main feat of the GH5, it's 10-bit 422 and 4K 60fps, why mention 6000 x 3000px if they were simply going for 30fps full sensor burst?

There is always that possibility, but logically speaking that has to be less likely than going back to the GH line up roots of multi-aspect sensor. I mean, this line up was developed with multi-aspect in mind from the get go. But sure, this is still just speculation, but I like the odds of a multi-aspect sensor.

If anyone is interesting in getting more in-depth about this, you can read the other articles.

I think that the article about codecs or ProRes/DNxHR is also pretty interesting, even more for those wanting those codecs. My conclusion is that it's better to buy a proper 4K recorder with SSD than buying expensive high-speed UHS-II cards for such high bit rate, I don't think Panasonic would leave their trump card for just a few people that can afford that - the high-speed UHS-II would cost more than the GH5 or several GH5s).

Panasonic GH5: Overheating and IBIS rant (part1)

Panasonic GH5: Codecs and AF improvements speculation (Part2)

Panasonic GH5: Mysterious Photo 6K and Sensor (Part3)

Panasonic GH5: Slow Motion and ProRes/DNxHR (Part 4)

It's worth noting that the E-M1 II full announcement is quite imminent and giving that the E-M1 II will have the same 200mbps Full HD All-I codec as Panasonic already use, the full specs of the E-M1 might gives a few hints about whether or not Panasonic and Olympus are really partnering up or how deep they are sharing and developing technology, and of course, hints about the GH5 as well.

Anyway, this topic is about those wanting to really get in-depth about the speculation and possibilities of the upcoming GH5.

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony Cameras
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Just like I also countered the idea of Panasonic straight out deceiving consumers with nothing like 6K in Photo 6K but just 18MP, which I find kind of odd since there is no need to Panasonic to deceive consumers and they haven't done anything like that ever before.

What do you mean by this sentence? The press release stated: In the LUMIX GH5, the conventional ‘4K PHOTO’ function is dramatically advanced to form ‘6K PHOTO’*2 which lets the user cut a still image out of ultra-high-quality approx.18-megapixel video with approx. 9 times the pixel count than Full-HD. Taking advantage of its high-speed, long-time burst shooting capability, spur-of-the-moment shots can be saved in beautiful photos with higher resolution that complies with larger-sized printing by substantially increasing the resolution from approx.8-megapixel (4K PHOTO) to approx.18-megapixel (6K PHOTO*2). “6K PHOTO” is a high speed burst shooting function that cuts a still image out of a 4:3 or 3:2 video footage with approx.18-megapixel (Approx.6000 x 3000 effective pixel count) that 6K image manages. The name ‘6K PHOTO’ is tentative.

Surely it's straight forward to compare with the current "4K photo" feature and see they are simply referring to high speed 8mp and 18mp photos and is not a reference to the video width standards. This is how it works currently. The dimensions change to maintain the same number of pixels. 

I mean, I would love for this to be the case, but just this point doesn't make sense to me.

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3 minutes ago, Orangenz said:

What do you mean by this sentence? The press release stated: In the LUMIX GH5, the conventional ‘4K PHOTO’ function is dramatically advanced to form ‘6K PHOTO’*2 which lets the user cut a still image out of ultra-high-quality approx.18-megapixel video with approx. 9 times the pixel count than Full-HD. Taking advantage of its high-speed, long-time burst shooting capability, spur-of-the-moment shots can be saved in beautiful photos with higher resolution that complies with larger-sized printing by substantially increasing the resolution from approx.8-megapixel (4K PHOTO) to approx.18-megapixel (6K PHOTO*2). “6K PHOTO” is a high speed burst shooting function that cuts a still image out of a 4:3 or 3:2 video footage with approx.18-megapixel (Approx.6000 x 3000 effective pixel count) that 6K image manages. The name ‘6K PHOTO’ is tentative.

Surely it's straight forward to compare with the current "4K photo" feature and see they are simply referring to high speed 8mp and 18mp photos and is not a reference to the video width standards. This is how it works currently. The dimensions change to maintain the same number of pixels. 

Otherwise I agree with you and look forward to this. 

Apparently you agree with everything I said then because I also think Panasonic was very clear to what Photo 6K means.

I wrote that "I also countered the idea of Panasonic straight out deceiving consumers". Because I received some response to my article of people saying exactly that, that Panasonic couldn't possibly achieve Photo 6K and that it was just marketing mumble jumble to deceive consumers. If you read the article about the multi-aspect sensor you will understand it better.

What seems to happen is that a lot of people are misinterpreting Panasonic's press in a odd way but if you put everything together, this other interpretation doesn't make sense.

People are reading like this:

“6K PHOTO” is a high speed burst shooting function that cuts 4:3 or 3:2 still images out of a 18-megapixel (Approx.6000 x 3000effective pixel count) video footage that 6K image manages.

So they think that it will be 4:3 or 3:2 images out of a 18MP video footage and they are ignoring the 6000 x 3000px reference.

This is what one person said to me:

"With a full sensor readout of a 20MP sensor, you can store 4:3 or 3:2 pictures with 30fps in a non standard video format. Because this 4:3 or 3:2 video format has approximately the same pixel count as 6k video they call it 6k."

Some other people said that multi-aspect didn't make any sense and that they expected a 25+MP sensor.

Anyway, I was just addressing what people that don't agree with multi-aspect sensor has been saying.

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Jvc has a native m4/3-super 35 sensor already, and I believe it is designed and manufactured in house, since they bought out a smaller company. I believe that JVC is owned by Panasonic, so that's that. I do not know the math for stills, but for a video orientated hybrid camera, that could be the selling point that will boost it near the top just immediately.

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26 minutes ago, Kisaha said:

Jvc has a native m4/3-super 35 sensor already, and I believe it is designed and manufactured in house, since they bought out a smaller company. I believe that JVC is owned by Panasonic, so that's that. I do not know the math for stills, but for a video orientated hybrid camera, that could be the selling point that will boost it near the top just immediately.

One thing is sure, Panasonic won't put a APS-C sensor in the GH5, they already said so just a few months ago. They wouldn't announce 3 new Micro4/3 lenses so they can all of sudden adopt a bigger sensor, plus I don't think there would be room for IBIS in that situation.

More importantly, with focal reducers, why do you need an APS-C sensor? Buy a focal reducer, use the Sigma lenses with IBIS and be happy!

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2 hours ago, theSUBVERSIVE said:

They wouldn't announce 3 new Micro4/3 lenses so they can all of sudden adopt a bigger sensor, plus I don't think there would be room for IBIS in that situation.

I dont believe they will either. But if they did the lenses could still cover and they could have two lines just like Canikon and Sony does.

Also JVC fitted an ND wheel behind it so I think IBIS would fit as well.

But again, it wont happen.

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5 hours ago, Mattias Burling said:

I dont believe they will either. But if they did the lenses could still cover and they could have two lines just like Canikon and Sony does.

Also JVC fitted an ND wheel behind it so I think IBIS would fit as well.

But again, it wont happen.

Yeah, when JVC launched the LS300 I saw all sort of possibilities for both a GH5 and a possible AF100 successor, how they could simply offer the 4:3 APS-C line up and instead of APS-C/Super 35, I called it Super4/3, makes sense, right? hahaha...

So it would be Micro4/3 and Super4/3 line up with new lenses and everything, even more for an AF100 successor, it would had been a great FS5 competitor, modular design, compact and with all the feats we now will see in the GH5 like 4K 60fps and 10-bit 422 - because at the time I didn't think Panasonic would have the balls to put these things in the future GH5. Ad with Speed Booster you could easily achieve FF and everything would have its place.

But it won't happen, at least for now.

As for IBIS, it's not the same. ND doesn't require the sensor to move up and down, side by side or roll, it only needs enough space to fit an ND, so you basically need a bigger camera. In IBIS' case, you need to be able to do everything within the image circle and I don't think that would be possible with a "Super4/3" sensor. Sony was quite clever when creating the E-mount but Fuji didn't do like that and although Micro4/3 mount can fit Super 35 image circle, having that AND moving around with IBIS, it might be possible, but I'm not so sure about it.

But I'm still interested to see if Panasonic will make an AF100 successor or even if JVC will make a bigger brother to the LS300. If Panasonic could put a Super 35 sensor, IBIS and use Micro4/3 mount in an AF500 or something, that would be pretty interesting because it would pack feats that I'm not so sure Sony would be comfortable to counter, since it would hurt the FS7.

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9 hours ago, theSUBVERSIVE said:

More importantly, with focal reducers, why do you need an APS-C sensor? Buy a focal reducer, use the Sigma lenses with IBIS and be happy!

I don't agree, all those who are professional and have beautiful cinelenses are stopped by the small sensor, I would have preferred not to have the ibis, but the s35 sensor ...

SpeedBooster is the only canon lens

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2 hours ago, Mattias Burling said:

They could have a s35 and crop it for ibis.

If it came to that, they could, but that would be more in line with something Sony would do than Panasonic.

Let's say they decide to make this AF500, would you prefer Super 35 and no IBIS or multi-aspect Micro4/3 sensor with IBIS?

1 hour ago, maxmizer said:

I don't agree, all those who are professional and have beautiful cinelenses are stopped by the small sensor, I would have preferred not to have the ibis, but the s35 sensor ...

SpeedBooster is the only canon lens

Yeah, but this is not a matter of agreeing or not, that's missing the point. It's simply that the GH5 won't have an APS-C sensor, just that.

And all of those who are professionals, as you say, they wouldn't rely on the GH5 for that, they can very well go for Super 35 video/cinema cameras, you don't need the GH5 for that. Sure, the GH5 can be rigged up for cine lenses but it's clearly not it's main objective, therefore it's pointless to say that. I mean, you can't simply apply your wishlist and completely ignore what the camera is made for.

Is the GH5 advertised as a video/cinema camera? No, Panasonic has always advertised it as a hybrid, in theory that was the AF100 line up for, a step up from the GH with more serious video feats and if you want more, go Varicam. Will the majority of GH5's owners be using cine lenses? No. By the reaction of the development announcement, most people were concerned about IBIS and I didn't see anybody panicking or trashing Panasonic for a non-Super 35 sensor in it. So it's clear that most people will either use native lenses or adapters and focal reducers.

Also, if you really, really want cine lenses, you can use EF cine lenses - which is not just Canon lenses - or native Micro4/3 cine lenses as well.

But since we got into this, let's talk about crop factor. Canon's APS-C has a 1.62x crop, a multi-aspect Micro4/3 sensor can get between 1.8 and 1.85x crop, which is right in the middle between APS-C and Micro4/3. The RED Raven is a cinema camera and it has 1.87x crop so both RED Raven and a multi-aspect Micro4/3 sensor is basically just a 1.1x crop over Canon's APS-C, just like the 5D IV also has a bit of crop in 4K when compared to APS-C.

So it's not like it's the end of the world, it's pretty close to what a lot of people already use in Canon cameras, it feels more like a psychological thing than true limitation like you mention.

But in the end, it's not about your preference or my preference, what I'm trying to discuss is what will likely happen, it's about realistic speculation based on what Panasonic has done, the info we already have, etc. I don't really want to turn this topic into a wishlist for the GH5, the announcement is right around the corner, I don't see much point in doing that now. Maybe after the announcement people can make a wishlist for the GH6 instead.

In my mind people should be happy that they might use multi-aspect sensor rather than frustrated that it's not a Super 35, but that's up to how people see things I guess.

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14 hours ago, theSUBVERSIVE said:

Apparently you agree with everything I said then because I also think Panasonic was very clear to what Photo 6K means.

I wrote that "I also countered the idea of Panasonic straight out deceiving consumers". Because I received some response to my article of people saying exactly that, that Panasonic couldn't possibly achieve Photo 6K and that it was just marketing mumble jumble to deceive consumers. If you read the article about the multi-aspect sensor you will understand it better.

What seems to happen is that a lot of people are misinterpreting Panasonic's press in a odd way but if you put everything together, this other interpretation doesn't make sense.

People are reading like this:

“6K PHOTO” is a high speed burst shooting function that cuts 4:3 or 3:2 still images out of a 18-megapixel (Approx.6000 x 3000effective pixel count) video footage that 6K image manages.

So they think that it will be 4:3 or 3:2 images out of a 18MP video footage and they are ignoring the 6000 x 3000px reference.

This is what one person said to me:

"With a full sensor readout of a 20MP sensor, you can store 4:3 or 3:2 pictures with 30fps in a non standard video format. Because this 4:3 or 3:2 video format has approximately the same pixel count as 6k video they call it 6k."

Some other people said that multi-aspect didn't make any sense and that they expected a 25+MP sensor.

Anyway, I was just addressing what people that don't agree with multi-aspect sensor has been saying.

Might have been me, haha, I'm also on Facebook. It's been the only thing that's confused the heck out of me. So you're saying the reference to 4:3 and 3:2 does not preclude the possibility of it also covering 16:9. That would certainly join the dots. 

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1 hour ago, theSUBVERSIVE said:

Let's say they decide to make this AF500, would you prefer Super 35 and no IBIS or multi-aspect Micro4/3 sensor with IBIS?

Both. A s35 without IBIS but IBIS when cropped. The cropping should be stepless/variable like on the LS300 for prime zoom, etc.

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3 minutes ago, Orangenz said:

Might have been me, haha, I'm also on Facebook. It's been the only thing that's confused the heck out of me. So you're saying the reference to 4:3 and 3:2 does not preclude the possibility of it also covering 16:9. That would certainly join the dots. 

hahaha... who are you?

I like people challenging this idea because it makes me think deeper to see if there are hole in my reasoning and what makes more sense. I quite neutral when it comes to logic because I disregard my personal wishes and try to tackle it simply by what makes more sense or what could be a reasonable proposal.

In this case, if you read the press release, in summary it says that Photo 6K is a more advanced Photo 4K and it's basically the same thing but with higher resolution.  And most ideas outside of that always fall into complicated plots and compromises when I think that multi-aspect sensor can easily solve everything. And more often than not, the simpler solution is usually the more likely scenario.

If you think about it, Photo 4K in the LX100, which uses a sensor acting like multi-aspect sensor, it gives you the max resolution of each aspect ratio. If you apply that to this possible GH5, then you get 20+MP for 4:3, 19-20MP for 3:2 and 18-19MP for 16:9. If you assume Panasonic will make improvements over tracking AF, then you basically get a full sensor readout 30 fps burst with tracking AF, which is more than the E-M1 II offer with C-AF at 18fps, the difference is that the GH5 will output JPEG and the E-M1 II will output RAW as well, oh and that supposedly 30fps of JPEGs can be sustained for longer, like mentioned in the press "long-time burst shooting capability".

I'm speculating that in a Panasonic and Olympus deal, Panasonic got 10-bit 422 and 4K 60fps while Olympus got full sensor readout RAW output and one can't have the exclusive the other has. Photo 6K comes from video, so it's like a workaround to get the full sensor readout burst without getting too close to Olympus' exclusive feat. I also think that Olympus helped Panasonic with IBIS and Panasonic helped Olympus with video encoding technology, because I find very weird that Olympus will all of sudden offer this 200mbps All-I 1080p codec that only Panasonic has been using until now.

I wrote all of that in all these articles but I wrote too much, most people don't read it! hahaha... I just wanted to get it out of my head and put somewhere and hopefully get into some discussions and think different stuff, see some new perspective and keep learning.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Mattias Burling said:

Both. A s35 without IBIS but IBIS when cropped. The cropping should be stepless/variable like on the LS300 for prime zoom, etc.

no, I understand that you prefer to have both, but I'm saying that IF these are the two only choices you have, S35 without IBIS or multi-aspect with IBIS, which one do you prefer.

I'm asking that because having both and compromising it for the S35 would be something that Sony would be willing to do, but I think that Panasonic wouldn't do that, they don't work with these type of compromises.

I think Panasonic could had offered full sensor readout and no extra crop in 4K in the GH4, but they didn't. why? because that would mean worse rolling shutter, they preferred to crop the sensor than either choosing a 12MP sensor or compromising the performance. Sony wouldn't crop it, they would offer full sensor readout regardless of the performance, which is exactly what they already do. so there is a philosophical difference between the two companies.

choosing a S35 and only working IBIS in cropping would mean double compromise. one because it wouldn't work in S35, another because being a bigger sensor, the performance in crop mode wouldn't be as great as it could be if it was just the multi-aspect sensor. of course I'm just speculating and I couldn't possibly know but I think that Panasonic would think that way, they either offer IBIS in S35 working for the full sensor or they would only offer it in multi-aspect, they wouldn't take the in-between option.

I personally would had preferred if Panasonic would look at the GH and GX line up like Sony does with A7s and A7r, but no, Panasonic wants the GH to be a hybrid and appeal to photographers as well. I would had liked Panasonic to choose a 12-13MP multi-aspect sensor for the GH line up so you would have better low light performance and even faster full sensor readout and then leave bigger MP count to the GX line up, use BSI and copper wiring like Sony and offer 24+MP cameras aimed at photographers. Give both high-end cameras V-log and not just the GH, give the G80 V-log as well because they can complement each other now. It would make much easier to develop the line ups that way.

But Panasonic prefer the hybrid approach and also because Panasonic doesn't have the same power as Sony does to develop so many new sensors. There are new companies in the Micro4/3 and Panasonic could sell them sensors but even in the Micro4/3 world  Sony is also selling sensors! hahaha...

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5 hours ago, theSUBVERSIVE said:

 

I wrote all of that in all these articles but I wrote too much, most people don't read it! hahaha... I just wanted to get it out of my head and put somewhere and hopefully get into some discussions and think different stuff, see some new perspective and keep learning.

 

 

Yea I covered a few pages with aspect ratio calculations before giving up. Your view is simpler and joins the dots.

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8 hours ago, theSUBVERSIVE said:

no, I understand that you prefer to have both, but I'm saying that IF these are the two only choices you have, S35 without IBIS or multi-aspect with IBIS, which one do you prefer.

I would prefer to turn the IBIS on when it was shaky and leave it in s35 on a tripod or steady handheld :)

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