Panasonic GH6: Initial Thoughts & Review

The Best Micro Four Thirds Camera For Video?
By UWPG Editors

The Panasonic GH6 is a brand new model taking the reigns from the massively popular GH5. It's mainly designed with video shooters in mind, and the vast majority of people interested in the camera will be using it for its video shooting capability. 

Like the GH5, the Panasonic GH6 is a micro four thirds camera, ideal for photographers who prefer a compact and lightweight system. The GH6 is more than just an updated version of its big brother. It packs a whole range of new features and is an excellent model in its own right. 

However, the release of the Panasonic GH6 comes at an interesting time for the video market. Many similarly priced full frame cameras offer far better video picture quality than the GH6 - like the Sony A7S III, Sony A7 IV, Canon EOS R6, and Nikon Z6II. With features like 4K/120p recording, video shooters are going to have to decide if they want cool features or better image quality. We think in most cases, it might make sense to go full frame with the current price point. Therefor, the GH6 is a great camera for those who have existing MFT glass.

Panasonic GH6 US MSRP: $2197.99

Panasonic GH6 Underwater Housings

We expect most major underwater housing manufacturers to release housings for the Panasonic GH6, but they're currently all on pre-order. Bluewater Photo will be stocking them as soon as they are available to purchase. But, for now, here is a list of upcoming housings for the GH6. Check out the Bluewater Photo Panasonic GH6 Underwater Housing Buyer's Guide

Panasonic GH6 Key Features

  • 25.2 MP CMOS micro four thirds sensor
  • 5.7k up to 60p
  • 4K up to 120p
  • V-Log/V-Gamut/ProRes 422 HQ
  • 1 x CFexpress & 1 x UHS-II SD slot
  • Type A HDMI port
  • 14 fps in stills mode 
  • UHD or DCI 4K in 10-bit 4:2:2 at up to 60p
  • 5-Axis stabilization

Improvements Over the GH5

Dynamic range

One of the issues with the GH5 was its limited dynamic range due to its smaller sensor size. The Panasonic GH6 attempts to rectify this with a dynamic range boost, although early tests suggest it only improves dynamic range slightly in some shooting situations. According to Panasonic, you get an extra 13 stops of dynamic range in boost mode, but the trade-off is an increased base ISO of 2000. There's only so much you can do, before you're limited by the size of the sensor however.

Improved cooling

In all fairness, overheating was never a massive issue with the GH5, but the new Panasonic GH6 comes with a pretty decent sized fan for additional cooling anyway. Despite the large outlet for hot air, the GH6 is still weather sealed. Any water that gets into the fan inlet or outlet won't find its way into the camera, so you can still use it outside in rough conditions. 

Tilt screen

The tilt screen still flips out and rotates like the old GH5, but now it also tilts up at a roughly 45-degree angle without having to flip it out so that shooting at chest height or down low is easier than ever. Being able to flip the screen up and out also means that you still have full unrestricted access to all ports, input and outputs, which is excellent and something that all videographers can appreciate. 

Ergonomics

The Panasonic GH6 is slightly larger and heavier than the GH5, with a noticeably bigger grip and the addition of the cooling fan we've already mentioned. Despite being bigger and heavier, the GH6 feels nicer to use, thanks to the improved grip size. It also gave Panasonic the chance to include a few more customizable buttons and controls on the body, which is a big win for people who like the flexibility to use cameras in different ways. There are new buttons on the front, back and top. 

Battery life

Panasonic has opted for an upgraded battery which gives you a good recording time of about 1 hour 15 minutes when shooting in 5.7K 60p, but it will also work with the old GH5 batteries if you have any laying around. The battery compartment itself is now entirely inside the larger grip, which means you can open the battery door even when a tripod plate is attached to the base, which you couldn't do on the old model.

Output ports

The Panasonic GH6 has both HDMI and USB-C output ports. Future firmware updates will allow you to record directly into an external SSD storage device via the USB-C port, which would be a welcome upgrade. The USB-C port also allows you to connect an external power supply should you need it. 

Panasonic GH6 Video Specifications

As you'd expect from a camera so heavily focussed on its video capabilities, the Panasonic GH6 has some impressive specs. 

It can shoot:

  • 5.8K up to 30p (4:3)
  • 5.7K up to 60p
  • 4.4K up to 60p (4:3)
  • 4K up to 120p
  • HD up to 240p (up to 300p if you activate VFR)

Perhaps one of the most impressive things is that the GH6 can do all of this in 10-bit with no recording limit and without overheating. 

Final Thoughts

The Panasonic GH6 is an excellent cinema camera and the best micro four thirds camera for video shooting currently on the market. It's a worthy successor to the GH5 that carries over many of the features we loved about the previous version but adds to them with a wide range of new functionality, making this a true workhorse of a camera.

We're looking forward to getting a chance to test the GH6 underwater to see what it's capable of. In the meantime, if you have any more questions about this camera, the team over at Bluewater Photo will be happy to help answer them. We expect this to become a firm favourite amongst underwater videographers, so keep an eye out for a full review once we get our hands on an underwater housing!

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