Is the GH5 the best camera under US$10k? Jordan Drake believes it is. Learn why.

Jordan Drake has used both the Sony FS7 and the GH5 extensively, and tells us why he prefers the GH5 for a fraction of the price.

Jordan Drake and his co-host Chris Niccolls from Calgary, Alberta, Canada consider the under US$2k Panasonic Lumix GH5 to be the best current overall camera under US$10,000, especially after the recent free firmware update. Jordan Drake has extensive experience shooting with the US$7499 Sony FS7 and now he has 6-months using the GH5 too. He has many reasons to justify that statement in the embedded video you’ll see and hear ahead (almost 35 minutes, both entertaining and educational). Beyond all of the various reasons cited by the Canadian team, there is one additional detail I love about the GH5 (not available currently from Sony) that is not mentioned at all by Jordan or Chris, but I’ll spell it out ahead.

The feature I love about the GH5 (and even the GH4), which is currently missing from the FS7 and other Sony and JVC cameras

Fortunately for Sony PXW-FS7 camcorders (AmazonB&HThe Camera Store), starting with firmware 4.00 or later (the current one is 4.20 as of publication time of this article), exact 24 fps is now available (in addition to 23.976). However, as indicated in my recent article When exact 24 fps beats 23.976… and when it doesn’t, Sony’s (and JVC’s) current policy is to offer exact 24 fps exclusively for 4K DCI resolution (4096×2160, aspect ratio 256:135 or about 17:1), not for 4K UHD (3840×2160, 16:9 aspect ratio) or an HD format like 1080p (1920×1080). Fortunately, unlike lower priced Sony cameras, including the:

where the camera operator is deceived into thinking that the camera is recording formats like exact 24, exact 30 and exact 60 fps (when they are actually recording 23.976, 29.97 and 59.94 fps), the PWX-FS7 at least expresses those framerates in menus as 23.98, 29.97 and 59.94. The remaining exact 24 fps —exclusively for 4K DCI resolution (4096×2160, aspect ratio 256:135 or about 17:1) is properly called 24 in the menu.

JVC (and Sony) have the same negative policy of rounding non-integer framerates to the closest integer (in lower priced Sony cameras), as indicated in When exact 24 fps beats 23.976… and when it doesn’t. As indicated in detail in that article, there are indeed other cases where it is appropriate to produce and distribute exact 24 fps in other spatial resolutions beyond 4K DCI. Fortunately the Panasonic Lumix GH4 (AmazonB&HThe Camera Store) and GH5 (AmazonB&HThe Camera Store) offer both exact 24 fps and 23.976 fps in many spatial resolutions, including 4K DCI resolution (4096×2160, aspect ratio 256:135 or about 17:1), 4K UHD (3840×2160, 16:9 aspect ratio) and even for HD 1080p (1920×1080, 16:9 aspect ratio).

If and when I hear about JVC or Sony fixing this situation via firmware, I will publish an article about it.

Video by Jordan Drake and Chris Niccolls

Jordan Drake and his co-host Chris Niccolls are just as guilty as JVC and Sony for rounding non-integer framerates to the closest integer both aloud and via their own graphics in the videos. This is extremely confusing for the production community and they all need to fix that (Chris/Jordan/JVC/Sony). Fortunately, there is no such thing as exact 30 and exact 60p recording in the GH5, and Panasonic at least expresses framerates to two decimals in the menus, i.e. 23.98, 24 (when exact) 25, 29.97, 50 and 59.94). However, frequent display of the actual Panasonic Lumix GH5 menus during the video compensates for Jordan’s and Chris’s rounding of framerates, and their productions are extraordinarily entertaining and educational. I hope they will polish that one critical detail in the future.

Please don’t stop the video when they start talking about still photo capabilities!

Be sure to watch until the very end, when they discuss the GH5’s audio features (covered in more detail in my April 2017 article Panasonic DMW-XLR1 XLR interface for GH5 quality revealed by Curtis Judd with its own video) and Jordan’s and Chris’s general conclusions about the camera.

Jordan Drake’s favorite optical combination

Jordan loves many lenses for the GH5 (including cinema lenses with Micro Four Third mounts), but his favorite optical combination consists of the Metabones Speed Booster XL (AmazonB&HThe Camera Store) with the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 zoom lens (AmazonB&HThe Camera Store). I first covered this combination in this 2016 article, although then it was with the GH4 and a different model of Speed Booster. The Speed Booster acts as an optical funnel or nozzle to make the Micro Four Thirds sensor behave virtually as a much larger one.

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Allan Tépper

Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is a bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994, Tépper has been consulting both end-users and manufacturers through his Florida company. Via TecnoTur, Tépper has been giving video tech seminars in several South Florida’s universities and training centers, and in a half dozen Latin American countries, in their native language. Tépper has been a frequent radio/TV guest on several South Florida, Guatemalan, and Venezuelan radio and TV stations. As a certified ATA (American Translators Association) translator, Tépper has translated and localized dozens of advertisements, catalogs, software, and technical manuals for the Spanish and Latin American markets. He has also written many contracted white papers for tech manufacturers. Over the past 18 years, Tépper’s articles have been published or quoted in more than a dozen magazines, newspapers, and electronic media in Latin America. Since 2008, Allan Tépper’s articles have been published frequently –in English– in ProVideo Coalition magazine, and since 2014, he is is the director of CapicúaFM.com. His website is AllanTépper.com.

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11 Comments on "Is the GH5 the best camera under US$10k? Jordan Drake believes it is. Learn why."

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Robert E. Moran

Great camera without question as is the Sony A7SII.

Jamie LeJeune
Jamie LeJeune

How is the Ursa Mini Pro not even considered here? I’ve shot and color graded footage from all of the cameras mentioned in the article and the image quality, color sampling, color bit depth, dynamic range and codec options on the Ursa Mini Pro are far superior to anything else under $10K. At best it’s an omission due to ignorance (which is not unusual for the DSLR crowd) but at worst he’s a paid shill for Panasonic. Hard to know which is the case.

Jordan
Hi Jamie, As Allan mentioned, this video was by no means supposed to be a rundown of all the top cameras under $10 000. I made that statement having used most of the competitive cameras, but only thoroughly reviewed a few of them. The Blackmagic Ursa series produce gorgeous video, but I’ve had a constant struggle with bugginess (corrupted video files, hard crashes) and build quality (ports falling into the camera body, sensor sample variation) with Blackmagic cameras. Even if the Ursa Mini Pro suffers from none of these issues, the GH5 still has the advantage of image stabilization, portability… Read more »
Jamie LeJeune
Jamie LeJeune
I apologize for being harsh there. I’m sure you have good intentions. My frustrations as a colorist who gets delivered weak codecs that just don’t hold up to serious grading were showing there. It pains me to know that my clients could be reading that a camera with limited dynamic range, a highly compressed codec, and aggressive default noise reduction gets touted in a hyperbolic headline as the “best” they can buy under $10K. “Best” is a strong claim that should be backed up by solid evidence, and to have the Ursa Mini Pro (or the Ursa Mini 4.6K) not… Read more »
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