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What I Look For In A Camera

I worked on a project this past weekend where I DP’d a small shoot. One of the guys asked me why I got my camera. For context, earlier this year I bought a Panasonic GH5. It got me thinking about why I bought it and if someone was doing similar work as me, if they should get it. Even if you’re looking for a camera and not necessarily doing filming or run-n-gun shooting like I am this may help.

I switched from a Canon 5diii to this gh5 which was difficult because I needed a whole new set of lenses. I could’ve gotten a speed booster or some sort of adapter to use for these lenses but because the gh5 isn’t a full frame sensor, it was going to crop all of my lenses and it wasn’t worth it. Regardless, I switched because of how limited I was with the Canon. It did 60fps in 720p which is very very dated. 60fps was the highest frame rate possible and in 1080 it did the standard 24fps and 30fps. What I liked about the GH5 is that it does up to 180fps in 1080 which is a huge upgrade. I like slow mo, I use it a lot and I may overuse it but its definitely nice to have. The GH5 also has variable frame rate. Most cameras will give you 24,30,60, and maybe 120fps in mirrorless or dslr cameras but with the gh5 you can go from 2fps to 180fps in almost any configuration. which makes it possible to do 48fps or 72fps blah blah blah.

There are some cameras that have the ability to do 120 which is good but with the variable frame rate, it does give me more flexibility over other cameras. Next, I like that this camera does 4k, yes most do now outside of the very very entry level cameras but this does DCI 4k, which most people don’t realize that standard Ultra High Definition 4k is actually 3.8k, it does add an extra bit of resolution to have true 4k as well as UHD 4k that does 60fps which there are not many that can provide that just yet.

There is a GH5S which I was thinking about getting which does 240fps, but it does not have In Body Image Stabilization. I like to shoot handheld and though I don’t notice the IBIS really working because it does jitter a bunch, im sure it does better than without IBIS. For others that shoot on a shoulder rig or handheld, it has to be helpful and that meant a lot when looking at cameras.

The last part is probably the most important thing that I looked at when buying this camera. It does 10bit 422 at 4k and has a high bit rate. Realistically it probably doesn’t mean much to people but from Canon having really good color science to the pictures, going to a GH5 was going to lack in color but because of what I just mentioned, I have a lot of latitude to color grade, and much more than my old 5D that only did 8bit color. The films that I shoot can be colored now without the colors breaking down quickly and easily and it means a lot to me. I could have the best resolution or have the slowest slow mo ever but if the colors look like shit then all of that doesn’t really matter to me.

I needed a camera to be future proof for a couple years as I save to move to a cinema camera in the future and I know with this camera it can last for a bit until im able to make the move to another camera and with the GH5 it does do that for me. With all the features this camera has, it should be priced at least double of what it is and for that I found a lot of value in it.

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