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My Thoughts Canon 1DXMK2 vs Panasonic Lumix GH5


DBounce

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As I write this I have just taken possession of a brand new Panasonic Lumix GH5. My initial thoughts are that it feels good in hand. Almost everything seems well thought out... save for the display button inexplicably located on the handgrip, which ensures it will be pressed inadvertently when handling the camera. I did not expect for the GH5 to match Canon's amazing autofocus... and it did not. Stepping away from the 1DXMk2 and using the GH5 really highlights the value that DPAF brings. It is such a powerful tool and makes even a ham-fisted user look like a pro. The 1DXMk2 is built to last. If you drop this thing you worry about the thing it hits, not the camera. While the GH5 is very solid, if they get in a fight, I know which one my money would be on. 

So how do the two compare as cameras?My first pictures were good. And I am certain that after some time with the camera I will be able to get near enough to the imagery that I get from the Canon 1DXMk2. But... if size is not a detractor... the 1DXMk2 is going to be my weapon of choice. There, that's it. No follow up needed. Put this one to bed. The GH5 is good. I can see the potential from only a few clicks, but the 1DXMk2 has mojo. I cannot explain it any better... there's a reason it cost 3x the money people.

So why would I get the GH5? Well I needed it, because I clearly remember the 1DXMK2 takes subpar video... meaning the GH5 was a much needed purchase. So to reenforce this premise I set out to conduct exhaustive testing, pitting the two camera's back to back... using the same lighting conditions, F-Stop, and with the help of a brand new Metabones Speed Booster XL .64 (MBSB)... the same lenses. 

Well that was the plan, but by the time the testing got underway, it was getting pretty late... so I may have made a few mistakes... but the overall results should still stand... mostly. I lit the set with my Apeture light storms bi-color. And opted for a warmer setting. 3600k. First up was the 1DXMk2. I popped on the ubiquitous Canon 24-70mm f2.8, and shot it wide open. Then I switch to the GH5 and shot the same scene. But for good measure I also shot again with the GH5, but this time using a Veydra Mini Prime 16mm T2.2, again wide open. The Canon lens while I recall thinking of it as a medium size lens on my 1DXMk2, seemed large and unwieldy on the GH5. Was it the added weight of the Speed Booster? I don't really know, I just know it seemed a little self defeating to use this lens on an otherwise much smaller camera. 

So now to the moment of truth, Finally back in the editing bay... em my couch... I was now able to view the footage on my computer. Prepared to see just how superior the GH5 would look, I imported the clips into FCPX. Again the Canon would be first. I hit play... And once again was reminded of why I bought a 1DXMk2. The footage looked great. Perfectly exposed... perfectly in focus, even though I was in front of the camera and had to trust the 1DXMK2 to get the take properly. The Neutral profile produced... well glorious Canon colors. The video looked wonderful. The GH5 would have some big shoes to fill. I dragged the GH5 clips to the timeline and viewed them. The first clip was shot using the MBSB and the 24-70. All settings where the same save for ISO, which if I recall was slightly higher on the Canon. I have to tell you that the framing was off. I'm going to blame the fact that is was late, and filming yourself is hard without reliable autofocus. Well I'm just gonna come out and say it, I feel the Canon crushed the GH5. The lenses hunted away the entire time on the GH5, never settling down even when my face was detected. So the shots were never really perfectly in focus. And when I switched to the Veydra Mini Prime, frankly I missed focus. In the end I feel that it's me that failed on this shoot, not the GH5. Why do I feel this way? Well the autofocus is all Panasonic... I'm not taking the wrap for that. But the resolution and clarity with the manual lens was my fault. I know this because earlier I had shot some handheld video and pulled a frame, and that frame was tack sharp, using the same Veydra Mini Prime.

Grading, I did not grade the Canon footage. I think the Canon footage is best colored in camera using a picture profile. I did however grade the bejesus out of the GH5 footage... and it did not break. I think it did great, especially considering this is the 150mbps codec. I walked away very impressed with the results, and frankly pretty excited about the creative potential of this little (I'm coming from a 1DXMK2) camera.

Here is my intermediate conclusion/not conclusion: The GH5 is going to surpass my 1DXMk2 for video. It captures sharper, more detailed and more gradable footage. To my eyes the GH5's footage felt more cinematic also. Granted that my be subjective. The size is good, but I am left wondering if I should ditch the MBSB and only use M43 glass? As a amateur creative, I think we are lucky to have so many great options to help us share our vision with others. I plan to do more shooting with the GH5, as I can see the potential it has. From what I can tell, both are powerful tools. If you cannot tell your story with either of these cameras, it's you that is the bottleneck. I have only begun to explore the GH5, so I will follow up later with anything new that I learn. I am still on the fence with the Atomos Inferno... while I'm sure it would help when pulling focus, I do not like the size/weight. I am really excited about the prospects of getting into anamorphic shooting, but again size and weight are compromises that I would need to make.

Feel free to post comments or questions. Video to follow...

These frame grabs from GH5 shot in V-Log, shot using Veydra Mini Primes 16mm show to latitude of V-Log, as well as the potential of the GH5/Veydra Mini Primes combination:

 

Panasonic GH5 V-Log Ungraded.jpg

Panasonic V-Log Graded.jpg

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As I write this I have just taken possession of a brand new Panasonic Lumix GH5. My initial thoughts are that it feels good in hand. Almost everything seems well thought out... save for the display bu

I spoke to the folks at Veydra, and they told me the cost of producing an anamorphic that would meet their requirements was too high, and so they canned the project. I would have felt much better abou

The Canon colors are great out of camera, but the pseudo flat profiles can disappointing in post. For this reason I often opt to capture as near as possible to final grade baked in. The GH5 is far mor

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Interesting read, I do hope you do more tests comparing the two cameras, especially the 4K 60p of both cameras with similar framing and motion. 

I would think no matter what you do with lenses, the Canon will consistently better GH5 with AF. And if AF is your biggest concern, you'd probably be better off with the Canon and returning the GH5. If you want more video oriented options with a LOG profile, then the GH5 will give you that. Obviously Canon will give you better colors out the gate where you'll have to work a little more for them with the GH5. My biggest question is motion cadence. The mjpeg codec gets a bad rap, but I really like the motion cadence from its large, cumbersome files. If it were one or the other... tough call. But since it seems like you're keeping both... then just sit back and enjoy the best of both worlds.

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Also I will add, after using Canon and Panasonic native lenses, you will be let down by the build quality of the Panasonic zooms. The 12-35mm version i is a relatively small lens and it produces a fine image, but is built like a cheap plastic piece of crap and a very expensive one at that; it's nowhere near the same build as your Canon 24-70mm.

If you're looking for AF just to grab an initial focus, the 20mm 1.7 will work and is probably a fun little lens on the GH5.

If you're looking for them for any type of manual focus... just use your Veydra. You probably have one of the cheapest cinema camera set ups there are. Just use your 1DX2 for AF, you'll be happier on those days you need it. 

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Here's a quick and rough FOV test, using again the 24-70mm f2.8 on both the 1DXMK2 and GH5. It seems the 1DXMK2 has a very slight advantage in FOV, but nothing anyone would notice. It's honestly near enough as make no difference. 

 

GH5 vs Canon FOV 24-70mm f28.jpg

52 minutes ago, mercer said:

Interesting read, I do hope you do more tests comparing the two cameras, especially the 4K 60p of both cameras with similar framing and motion. 

I would think no matter what you do with lenses, the Canon will consistently better GH5 with AF. And if AF is your biggest concern, you'd probably be better off with the Canon and returning the GH5. If you want more video oriented options with a LOG profile, then the GH5 will give you that. Obviously Canon will give you better colors out the gate where you'll have to work a little more for them with the GH5. My biggest question is motion cadence. The mjpeg codec gets a bad rap, but I really like the motion cadence from its large, cumbersome files. If it were one or the other... tough call. But since it seems like you're keeping both... then just sit back and enjoy the best of both worlds.

After reading the post about ditching larger bodies for smaller ones, I really thought it might be worth a try. I am enjoying both cameras. They are very different, but both great tools. I never hoped to get usable autofocus from the GH5, its just that going back to conventional/nonworking autofocus after being spoiled by the 1DXMK2 is a bit of an eyeopener. Canon colors rock out of the box, but even with the heavy weight codec, it cannot compete with a 10 bit camera with a modern light weigh codec. I truly cannot wait to see what the new 400 Mbps codec brings. I plan to add a wireless follow focus to the GH5, for use on my gimbal and shoulder rig. I am debating weather it makes more sense to buy the SmallHD Focus, or the Atomos Inferno, as I am unconvinced that the added size and weight are worth the 4k 60fps 10 bit that it offers.

As for motion cadence, I do like the motion cadence of the Canon. It looks pretty good to my eyes. However, I think the GH5 will be equally good and perhaps... hopefully even better in this regard. They are both fantastic cameras.

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47 minutes ago, mercer said:

Also I will add, after using Canon and Panasonic native lenses, you will be let down by the build quality of the Panasonic zooms. The 12-35mm version i is a relatively small lens and it produces a fine image, but is built like a cheap plastic piece of crap and a very expensive one at that; it's nowhere near the same build as your Canon 24-70mm.

If you're looking for AF just to grab an initial focus, the 20mm 1.7 will work and is probably a fun little lens on the GH5.

If you're looking for them for any type of manual focus... just use your Veydra. You probably have one of the cheapest cinema camera set ups there are. Just use your 1DX2 for AF, you'll be happier on those days you need it. 

I plan to get the entire set of Veydra Mini Primes, but first I needed to be convinced, so I tried the 16mm by itself. I like the 35mm focal length so on M43 this is a pretty close equivalent. I will not pay good money for poorly built lenses. My gear must be built to last, I don't like surprises when I'm traveling with my kit. That said I do like the look of the Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH, and I hear plenty of good things about it. My real questions is does the MBSB make sense on M43? Does it undermine the whole "keep it small" mentality? 

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Here is some test footage. The focus is not great on the Veydra in this shot. Keep in mind that it is the exact same lens that the frame grab is from, so it is definitely capable of some sharp imagery. I did several grades throughout the video to test out V-Log. 

 

1 minute ago, AaronChicago said:

Now that GH5 records 10 bit internal (no need for external recorders necessarily) I always have the SmallHD 502 with the Pan/Tilt hotshoe mount: http://store.smallhd.com/store/500-700-pan-tilt-mount

It's super lightweight and swivels in any direction without having to tighten anything.

Once I get an anamorphic setup I'll definitely be looking to get something like this for desqueeze.

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5 hours ago, mercer said:

Also I will add, after using Canon and Panasonic native lenses, you will be let down by the build quality of the Panasonic zooms. The 12-35mm version i is a relatively small lens and it produces a fine image, but is built like a cheap plastic piece of crap and a very expensive one at that; it's nowhere near the same build as your Canon 24-70mm.

If you're looking for AF just to grab an initial focus, the 20mm 1.7 will work and is probably a fun little lens on the GH5.

If you're looking for them for any type of manual focus... just use your Veydra. You probably have one of the cheapest cinema camera set ups there are. Just use your 1DX2 for AF, you'll be happier on those days you need it. 

I once drop the 12-35mm and gh4 from a monopod and both work fine (monopod at 1.3m high), only the lens hood broke.  Panasonic stuff are pretty well constructed compare to Olympus in terms of internal robustness.

 

M43 lens is good for ninja shoots and on gimbal, good luck try use that 70-200mm f2.8 to look casual, I only used prime lens on gimbal to save my arm. Even 12-40mm is too heavy for me on gimbal for all day shoots, I only used m43 prime on it.

 

IMG_0282.JPG.c09051eb46038a7702ab4e3f26d42d22.JPG

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Maybe you should try the Voigtlander and SLR Magic lenses before buying the Veydras.

I wouldn't worry about the AF on the GH5. It's not very good so no point testing it against Canon and Sony. 

I've been very pleastly surprised by the images I get out of the GH5. My only worry is an occasional colour shift that I have noticed in a few shots.I have to check if it was the WB, the ND filter,  tricky exposure or the camera doing weird shit.

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5 hours ago, ntblowz said:

I once drop the 12-35mm and gh4 from a monopod and both work fine (monopod at 1.3m high), only the lens hood broke.  Panasonic stuff are pretty well constructed compare to Olympus in terms of internal robustness.

 

M43 lens is good for ninja shoots and on gimbal, good luck try use that 70-200mm f2.8 to look casual, I only used prime lens on gimbal to save my arm. Even 12-40mm is too heavy for me on gimbal for all day shoots, I only used m43 prime on it.

 

IMG_0282.JPG.c09051eb46038a7702ab4e3f26d42d22.JPG

You have taken the words from my mouth. I can confirm after a few hours of playing around with the GH5, that it is totally self defeating to use my Canon glass on this body. Whereas, on the large Canon body the lenses feel right. This is not the case on the much more svelte GH5. I tested several lenses today. The most comfortable from the Canon line-up was the 16-35mm F4 LII, but there is little point to fitting such a large and slow lens to this body. I'm thinking the MBSB is a mistake for the GH5. That said something for walk around would not be a bad idea. Something like the 12-40mm 2.8 II?

 

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4 hours ago, Thpriest said:

Maybe you should try the Voigtlander and SLR Magic lenses before buying the Veydras.

I wouldn't worry about the AF on the GH5. It's not very good so no point testing it against Canon and Sony. 

I've been very pleastly surprised by the images I get out of the GH5. My only worry is an occasional colour shift that I have noticed in a few shots.I have to check if it was the WB, the ND filter,  tricky exposure or the camera doing weird shit.

I thought of both of those lenses... but are you impressed with SLR Magic? I've seen many subpar lenses from them. It makes me bit skeptical of them. Voigtlander is better regarded, but how is the focus breathing? And most of the test that I see on these lenses shooting video they are stopped down to f2. These are low-light test of the lens... so are they not sharp until f2? The Veydras are sharp across the range, and because they are "real" cinema lenses focus breathing is very good. Colors are consistent across the range also. How do the other two compare in these regards?

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8 hours ago, DBounce said:

I thought of both of those lenses... but are you impressed with SLR Magic? I've seen many subpar lenses from them. It makes me bit skeptical of them. Voigtlander is better regarded, but how is the focus breathing? And most of the test that I see on these lenses shooting video they are stopped down to f2. These are low-light test of the lens... so are they not sharp until f2? The Veydras are sharp across the range, and because they are "real" cinema lenses focus breathing is very good. Colors are consistent across the range also. How do the other two compare in these regards?

It depends what you are shooting I suppose. Both the SLR Magic and the Voigtlander have a look I like, the SLR Magic having a warmer colour to it. The Voigtlander is not sharp at 0.95 but I'm using it at f1.2-f2 and it's fine for me. It might not be for you. The extra light the Voigtlander offers form makes quite a difference but I am rarely shooting in controlled environments. If you are going to light a set then the Veydras might be better. 

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7 hours ago, aldolega said:

It's not really fair to evaluate the GH5's AF with a non-native lens.

Agreed, but this was as much a test of the MBSB, as it was the GH5. More to the point, at $650, is the MBSB a smart investment for GH5 owners with lots of Canon glass, or is it better to invest in new native glass? 

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The best thing about the MBSB is that it gives you the opportunity to mount big pro Canon L lenses on a small M43 camera.

The worst thing about the MBSB is that it gives you the opportunity to mount big pro Canon L lenses on a small M43 camera.

Invariably they completely unbalance it and the AF on the MBSB just doesn't cut it as far as I'm concerned.

Is there a compelling enough Canon lens in my collection that I would simply have to have on my GX80 for example?

Not really.

The Sigma 18-35 is probably the one thats it worth having for but there are enough native lenses that I'm more than happy with and if the AF isn't up to snuff and you are manual focus anyway then Veydras, Voigtlanders etc are a bit more compelling anyway.

What its good for is acting as a universal reducer for my Nikon, Contax Zeiss and M42 lenses via the additional cheap converters to EF and its also good on the JVC LS300 for putting longer lenses on where its a bit more appropriate use case.

I was expecting the AF on the MBSB to be significantly better than the cheaper alternatives. It might well be but its still very lumpy as far as I'm concerned so I'd go with the cheaper adapter and put the extra money towards native stuff.

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3 minutes ago, jonpais said:

Even with the compact Olympus 75mm f/1.8, my Lumix G85 kitted out with a Tuba camera cage, BMD Video Assist and Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro, the weight is approaching 6 pounds (2.678 gr). Stuff adds up quickly. ?

These can work really well to deal with weight (I removed the spring and replaced with a tilt-head quick release: https://www.amazon.com/Manfrotto-234RC-Monopod-Quick-Release/dp/B000JLM50I/): http://www.ebay.com/itm/DSLR-Rig-Support-Rod-Belt-fit-Shoulder-Mount-Video-Camcorder-Camera-DV-Black-/321177005827

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10 hours ago, jonpais said:

Even with the compact Olympus 75mm f/1.8, my Lumix G85 kitted out with a Tuba camera cage, BMD Video Assist and Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro, the weight is approaching 6 pounds (2.678 gr). Stuff adds up quickly. ?

IMG_0280.JPG

 

Hey Jon! Pretty set up, pretty good lookin!:)I have the same cage I think, labeled as Rollei 4K. So on the right, when looking on your photo, I see a HDMI clamp. How

is the connection from you BMD assist to the micro HDMI of the G80, solid enough with the clamp? Is it the 7inch 4K model? Are you liking the quality

of the external recording better then the h264 footage? So many questions about the G85 in a mighty 1DXMII and GH5 thread. :) cheers

 

 

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