The just-launched GH5 II from Panasonic isn’t a groundbreaking camera – the upcoming GH6 will hopefully be that – but it is a nice update of one of the most powerful and popular mirrorless cameras designed for video. Among the small changes is an update to processing performance and the built-in color profiles. How this affects low-light performance is a good question.
Dom at LensProToGo has done a nice test of the ISO and low-light capabilities of the GH5 II, even including different profiles, such as V-Log L. If you are curious to see how the new model stacks up.
The test focuses on using V-Log L and the Natural color profiles with most of it running in the studio test.
V-Log L is the place to start and it is nice to see that it is natively available on the GH5 II instead of having to purchase an optional upgrade. Starting at ISO 400 you can see it is perfectly clean. ISO 800 is essentially the same and only at 1600 do you see a little bit of noise start to show and even that is not a big deal.
ISO 3200 is very well managed with some noise showing up in the shadows. Come ISO 6400 you might start getting a bit of noticeable noise though it is still very usable. At ISO 12,800 you are getting into tougher territory as the shadows show some distracting noise and pick up a green tint. This is the highest you can go in log anyway.
Moving to the Natural profile you can head to a starting value of ISO 200, which of course is incredibly clean. Interestingly, Dom reports that ISO 400 and 800 are good, but not quite as good as the V-Log L equivalent settings. ISO 3200 has some color shift and noise in the shadows and ISO 6400 is getting into questionable territory. Once again, ISO 12,800 is where you might hit your limit for sure.
After running through the studio scene, Dom shows off a bunch of low-light footage so you can see how it works in action. A lot of ISO 1600 clips were great and very clean. It does show that the GH5 II, even with its relatively small sensor compared to a lot of competition, does a fine job in low-light conditions.
Faster lenses and care with your ISO settings will matter, but the GH5 II is great. Maybe not a huge improvement over the original, but that model was already very good. Now we just have to wait for the GH6 to show up.