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  • Published on: 03 Apr, 2017
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Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera
 from Panasonic provides a unique imaging platform for both best video and still photography quality in a single compact camera. At the heart of the camera there is a 20.3MP Digital Live MOS sensor and a newly developed Venus Engine processor, both offer dramatically improved processing times over its predecessor. This enables the ability to record 4K video at up to 60 fps, 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording with select settings, Full HD video at up to 180 fps, 12 fps continuous shooting and sensitivities up to ISO 25600. Also, the camera features built-in 5-axis sensor stabilization

Technical specifications

  • Lens Mount : Micro Four Thirds
  • Camera Format : Micro Four Thirds (2x Crop Factor)
  • Pixels Actual: 21.77 Megapixel, Effective: 20.3 Megapixel
  • Max Resolution: 20 MP: 5184 x 3888
  • Aspect Ratio 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9
  • Sensor Type / Size : MOS, 17.3 x 13 mm
  • File Formats Still Images: JPEG, RAW
  • Movies file format: AVCHD Ver. 2.0, H.264, MOV, MP4
  • Audio: Dolby Digital 2ch
  • Memory Card Type : SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Image Stabilization Sensor-Shift, 5-Way
  • AV Recording
  • Video Recording : NTSC/PAL
  • Video Format 4096 x 2160p at 23.98, 24, 25 fps
  • 3840 x 2160p at 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94 fps
  • 3328 x 2496p at 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94 fps
  • 1920 x 1080p at 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50, 59.94 fps
  • Aspect Ratio 4:3, 16:9
  • Audio Recording Built-In Mic: With Video (Stereo)
  • Optional External Mic: With Video (Stereo + Mono)
  • Viewfinder Type: Electronic, Viewfinder Pixel Count 3,686,000


Panasonic had great success in earlier compact cameras GH3 AND GH4, especially GH 4 which had 4k video recording ability internally which was appreciated by film making professionals.

Now GH5 offers a 4k video in a compact camera. Its ability to record video images with 10 bit color depth and 4:2:2, which is considered a major breakthrough and it is also the world’s first camera to feature this advantages.


Though compact, still cameras which feature 4k videos recording is very high in resolution. The video files are compressed to accommodate into compact segment, where as High end cinema cameras have major advantage of recording uncompressed or unprocessed video termed as ‘RAW file’.

As raw file is uncompressed, it has higher color bit depth as 16.


Most of the DSLR cameras which record high resolution videos internally (in camera recording)  has a color bit depth of 8 and chroma sampling as 4:2:0.


Digital film making has opened wide and new doors. Every technology has its own advantages and disadvantages.


Compact Dslr cameras have unique advantage for its sleek design and very less cost which allows for  independent film making with limited crew members and also high resolution files are compressed it uses less data. On the disadvantage side, when filming cinematographers always expect very good exposure latitude or dynamic range and good color information that always takes a back seat in DSLR/T Film making compared to High end digital cinema cameras.


Advantage of  10 bit color depth


Normally most of the Dslr Cameras record video which uses 8bit color, so advantage about acquiring 10bit footage in short, to see a better image. The higher the bit rate, the more colors are captured.

8bcp (8 bits per channel, 8 bpc = 24bit image) essentially means you can capture 256 shades of color/luminosity values (0-255) on each of the RGB channels, 256x256x256 = 16million+ colors,


Home HD video signals (including Blu-Ray) use 8-bit color, meaning that for each pixel, the signal contains eight bits for each of the three primary colors. That sounds like plenty, and to the naked eye, it is. But subtle differences between those 256 shades, impossible with 8-bit color, can help create depth and a sense of reality.

That’s where higher color bit depth comes in. With 10-bit color, you get 1,024 shades of each primary color, and over a billion possible colors. With 12-bit, that’s 4,096 shades and over 68 billion colors.

16bit color depth cinema camera is capable of recording 14 f-stops of dynamic range in raw uncompressed format, Makes  its camera size, engineering, electronical controls all are multiplied along with the price tag.

DoPs always like to manipulate images (‘fix-it-in-post’) during post production that is color correction. For that they always needs an image with lesser compression during recording.

Higher bit depths gives us more colors to ‘pull from’ or more ‘latitude’ in post color grading, where we are trying to pull from a larger pool of colors and push those colors into a smaller ‘range’ of colors since that will ultimately be encoded to an 8bit video file. The 5D mark 3 and other DSLRs like most of today’s still cameras actually see color at 14bit and this is recorded at 14 bit when shooting raw stills but is only captured as 8bit when shooting video or jpg stills.

In short, bit depth is the level of precision that’s available for storing color information. The encodes  used to have a precision of 8 bits (256 levels) per color channel. There are usually three color channels, so that makes a bit depth of 24 bits per pixel, which is also the most commonly used bit depth of modern desktop PCs.


Higher bit depth for video recording allows up to 10 bits per channel (1024 levels and 30 bits per pixel), that allows for much higher precision.


CJ Rajkumar

Author/ Cinematographer

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