Panasonic’s long-anticipated Lumix GH6 mirrorless camera features a new 25.2 megapixel sensor and updated Venus Engine processor with ‘next-generation’ video capabilities.
Angled front view of the Lumix DC-GH6 with the 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens (Source: Panasonic.)
Originally promoted through a ‘development announcement’ in May 2021, the new flagship photo/video hybrid camera of the Lumix GH Series has been designed primarily for videographers, particularly those involved in small group video productions such as shooting movies, music videos, documentaries and short clips for social media. Key features of the new camera include:
- A new, Panasonic-developed, 3 x 13.0 mm Live MOS sensor with 26.52 million photosites, which delivers a maximum effective resolution of 25.21 megapixels. The lack of a LPF (Low-pass Filter) ensures maximum image resolution can be achieved, while the high-speed signal readout minimises rolling shutter effects and captures a wide dynamic range.
- An updated Venus Engine processor that has approximately twice the processing power of the previous generation chip and enables key technologies covering Intelligent Detail Processing, 2D Noise Reduction, High Precision 3D Noise Reduction for video, and High Precision 3D Colour Control.
- Panasonic’s latest heat management technology, which combines active and passive heat dispersion. An internal fan directs a cooling air flow across the electronics and memory cards through vents on either side of the monitor housing. There are also passive heat-absorption panels to facilitate heat transfer.
- Effective heat management enables the GH6 to ‘record continuous footage for a desired duration’ with most video settings.
- In movie mode, the GH6 offers V-Log/V-Gamut with 13+ stops of wide dynamic range as well as Apple ProRes 422 HQ, 5.7K 30p internal video recording. High frame rate video recording has been enhanced to include 4K 120p 10-bit 4:2:0, and FHD 240p 10-bit 4:2:2 (with audio recording) to enable functions like speed ramping. VFR (Variable Frame Rate) is available at up to 300fps in Full HD 10-bit for dynamic slow motion. C4K 120p recording in 10-bit 4:2:0 is available without frame cropping or other image quality compromises.
- The GH6 also supports full-sensor 5.8K 30p 10-bit recording with dedicated anamorphic lenses or filters for videographers producing wide screen anamorphic content. While shooting with anamorphic accessories, the camera can display de-squeezed footage to monitor in real time.
- Video assist functions built into the camera include a Waveform Monitor, Zebra Pattern, Luminance Spot Meter, Frame Marker, Anamorphic Desqueeze Display, Red REC Frame Indicator and Tally lamps. The Safety Zone Marker has been enhanced to display guides showing 95%, 90% or 80% of the recording area, while Centre Marker now allows users to choose the type of marker and Kelvin values in the Colour Temperature Setting can now be displayed on the user interface while recording.
- A new Dynamic Range boost mode utilises uses two analog circuits, a high gain and a low gain, with each simultaneously capturing a different exposure, and saturation/noise level. The two images are combined at a pixel level to create a high dynamic range image with both low noise and high saturation, resulting in clear and smooth HDR video with smoother gradations.
- High resolution audio recording is supported at up to 24-bit 96kHz and the optional XLR Microphone Adaptor DMW-XLR1 and the 3.5mm input jack/built-in microphone enable users to capture four channels of audio, reducing the need for external audio recording devices during outdoor interviews where voices and ambient sound both need to be captured. The headphone channel can be switched during video recording and audio menus can be directly accessed with the Fn1 button on top of the camera for easy sound level checks during 4-channel audio recording.
- Recorded 4:2:2 10-bit C4K 60p footage can be sent to internal and external storage simultaneously, the latter via the camera’s HDMI Type A interface. The inclusion of HDMI 2.1 will support C4K 120p HDMI video output with a future firmware update. C4K 120p 12-bit RAW output to the Atomos Ninja V+ monitor recorder will also be available via a planned firmware update.
- Built-in sensor-shift stabilisation provides up to 5 stops of shake correction, thanks to a new super high-precision 5-axis gyro sensor with a new algorithm. Dual I.S.2 gives users the freedom to choose between using tripods, gimbals or shooting handheld.
- Autofocusing is still contrast-based using the Panasonic DFD system. However, the new image processor and an improved AF algorithm allow faster signal processing. Subject detection has been dramatically enhanced and a new AF Focus Limiter enables users to set a near and far range to limit the incidence of hunting.
- Manual focus assist enables the focus point to be enlarged during video recording, while the linear focus control enables repeatable focus pulls by setting the angles the lens moves through from close to infinity focus.
- For stills photography, the GH6 supports 14-bit raw recording and provides a new High Resolution mode with tripod or handheld settings. Both settings capture eight consecutive images in rapid succession and combine them to produce a 100-megapixel (11552 x 8672-pixel) image that can be saved in both RW2.RAW and JPEG formats.
- Dual memory card slots provide flexibility in recording options. The CFexpress card (Type B) supports internal recording of high bitrate video up to 1900Mbps including 5.7K 30p ProRes 422 HQ and C4K 60p ALL-I. The SD Memory Card UHS II V90 supports internal recording of video at 600Mbps or less, with modes including Relay Recording, Backup Recording and Allocation Recording, using both SD Memory Card and CFexpress Card.
- Burst shooting is supported at up to 75 frames/second (fps) with the electronic shutter or 14 fps with the mechanical shutter. The buffer memory can store more than 95 JPEG frames or more than 65 RW2.RAW frames or more than 40 RAW+JPEG pairs.
- Interface ports include a full-size HDMI Type A terminal, USB 3.2 Gen 2 for high-speed transfer, Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi 5GHz[i] (IEEE802.11ac)/ 2.4GHz (IEEE802.11b/g/n), for easy content sharing with smartphones. The GH6 is supplied with a cable lock holder for the HDMI/USB cable is bundled to prevent issues such as accidentally unplugging on location.
- The settings of a GH6 camera can also be copied and transmitted to other GH6 cameras when shooting using multiple cameras (either via LUMIX Sync or SD Card). Hassle free firmware updates are also available via LUMIX Sync.
The front panel of the GH6 with no lens fitted, showing the new red movie button on the front of the camera. (Source: Panasonic.)
Other improvements to the body design include an additional movie record button on the front panel to make it easy to start and stop recording when shooting at a low angle or with a shoulder rig and a tripod pin-lock in addition to the regular tripod socket for attaching accessory devices. The 2200mAh (DMW-BLK22E) high-capacity battery, which can be recharged either via AC or USB PD. The battery is CIPA rated for between 330 and 750 shots/charge with the CFexpress card, 360-850 shots/charge with the SD card or between 40 and 90 minutes of video recording.
The top and rear panels of the GH6. (Source: Panasonic.)
The magnesium alloy full diecast front/rear frame of the GH6 is splash and dust-resistant – although no rating standard has been disclosed and Panasonic states it only offers protection ‘against exposure to a minimal amount of moisture, water or dust’. It is also freeze-resistant down to -10 degrees Celsius. Future firmware updates will add the following functions:
- DCI4K ProRes 422 HQ / ProRes 422
- FHD ProRes 422 HQ / ProRes 422
- USB-SSD direct recording
- 4K 120p HDMI Video output during Live View
- DCI 4K 120p HDMI RAW Video Data Output to ATOMOS Ninja V+
Details of the firmware can be found here.
The GH6 will be available in April 2022 from leading photographic specialists. It will be offered as a body along at an RRP of AU$3699, with the Lumix H-FS12060E 12-60mm lens for AU$3999 or the12-60mm Leica DG lens (H-ES12060E) for AU$4799. The DC-GH6PRO kit with the Lumix G 12-35mm lens (H-HSA12035E) will also be available for AU$4799. Click here for more information.