Panasonic GH6 – My First Impressions

Hello Readers!

I’ve decided to try to get back to some Camera gear news this week after watching several reviews on Youtube from my favorite fellow camera enthusiast colleagues. The much anticipated Panasonic GH6 has some much needed upgrades with some surprising but welcome changes as well. I’m giving you my take based the reviews and news coming out about the GH6 with hopefully a hands on review at some point in the future when I can actually get my hands on one. I’ll get into it shortly, but first…

World News Update

This week has been one hell of a week.

The news and world events this week has been shocking, stressful and staggeringly depressing.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and more recently threats by Mr. Putin to use Nuclear weapons against the west has terrified all of us setting us back to the 1950’s cuban missile crisis-style brutal threat days. I was not around then but i’ve heard all the stories. Humanity is truly facing a very difficult time in history right now, I just hope someone is around to read it later.

The events unfolding will change our world for years to come.

I would first like to give my sincere sympathies to all of the people affected emotionally, physically, and mentally over in Ukraine and the people in Russia who have opposed this madness and are also suffering, trying desperately to protest this ungodly assault on Ukraine. The stories coming out on Social media are frankly really disturbing.

Peace needs to come back to the world.

Most of what has happened is because Democracy has been and is being attacked. It is an ideological battle of systems, philosophy and of terrible self-centered egotism with a side of misplaced romanticism of the past. The sacrifice is global peace and with that act, chaos has started to filter back into what everyone thought was a safer world to live in. For decades we had general peace in the world, that’s all changed now.

All of the events of the past decades have been leading up to this moment.

Our civilizations mistakes and unresolved issues of the past as well as a few misaligned actors with agendas that can be considered mental illness rather than rational plans are once again catching up to us and history unfortunately repeating the same negative patterns of humanities dark sides once again.

Will humanity survive and learn to live as neighbours peacefully and will cooler heads prevail in a period of time that just seems beyond belief at the moment? I’m guessing this is how the people of the world felt right before World War Two began. sobering thought.

All people but especially the Ukrainian and the Russian people themselves deserve peace, as does the rest of the world.

When so many of those people have family on both sides of the conflict, I can’t even imagine what is taking place between families over there at the moment. Some career soldiers who are doing war crimes to Ukrainians while other Russian soldiers forced into conscription surrendering peacefully, victims of circumstance and economic factors and an aggressive government, the spectrum of what is really going on when you drill down is staggering but it all comes down to one fact, people are dying needlessly.

The people involved are still people and they have lives and families of their own.

This war has thrown their entire lives into chaos. It’s hard for the western countries to imagine this because war was so long ago in our countries but through the marvel of technology we do see it and we are overwhelmed with grief.

The civilians in Ukraine who have been killed needlessly is no less than a war crime by Russia. The many children who huddle in fear or worse have also been hurt or killed is atrocious. the targeting of civilian targets, unfathomable. The killing of children is wrong no matter how you try and justify it. This needs to stop.

Let’s pray for swift justice for these perpetrators of war crimes.

The rest of the world stands with Ukraine on their fight for survival and continuation of democratic values.

The struggle for global peace and prosperity continues.

Peace more than any other agenda is paramount to our species survival and progress as we march ever forth into the cosmos and beyond. This is the pendulum swinging back the other way, the reversal of progress and harmony that is our species destiny.

We know humanity isn’t perfect. We’re not trying to be perfect, we are going to stumble, trip and make several mistakes along the way but we must always be willing to self-analyze and measure both psychologically, scientifically and morally whether we are making the right decisions not only for ourselves but most importantly for others.

People’s lives depend on it.

The Panasonic GH6’s Main Feature upgrades over the GH5

Many of you may know that I shoot primarily with my Panasonic GH5 using adapted Canon Lenses and a Viltrox speedbooster.

I have gotten great results using this combination however throughout using the GH5 in this way There have been shall we say some shortcomings. The GH6 looks to improve some of those shortcomings.

Now there have been two GH5 revision models since the original GH5 came out. The GH5S which gave us less megapixels but increased the ISO capability for low light as well as getting rid of the new 5 axis optical stabilization system that was introduced on the GH5. The GH5II I am less familiar with but I am sure there were few improvements.

Here are the more notable GH6 updated specs that were of interest to me over the previous GH5 generation.

  • Improved Sensor – 25.2 MP sensor with no low pass filter for maximum image resolution.
  • 4K 120p as well as 10-bit 5.7K Anamorphic shooting modes (and 5.7K ProRes recording).
  • ProRes codec support in 4:2:2! This one is probably one of the best upgrades saving all of us time and headaches in editing as well as saving space on our cards!
  • V-LOG full edition providing up to 13 stops of something called dynamic range boost support! (The GH5’s VLOG-L only supported 12 stops. That’s a whole 1 stop of light difference for this new sensor which is a big deal.)
  • Enhanced noise reduction processing onboard due to a faster processor which results in much better image quality
  • A new 7.5 Stop IBIS stabilizer that reduces shake even further.
  • A new 100 MP in camera processing photo mode that compiles four shots and creates a super high resolution image capable for printing.
  • A cooling system fan! Finally!
  • An innovative touch screen that can flip out as well as stand out like the sony style to avoid breaking connections on the side of the camera.
  • Dual slots – now supporting = 1x CF Express card – 1x SD card. *pros and cons of this later.
  • Improved Autofocus (but still DFD Contrast based autofocus)
  • There is talk of future firmware supporting internal RAW recording but not at release time.

New Sensor

The Upgraded megapixels is a welcomed addition for Photography but having more pixels in video isn’t always needed. In fact usually in the Micro four thirds world, having less pixels but larger ones tends to win over on image quality under low lighting more. So this is a surprise but a welcomed one as reportedly image quality has improved.

The biggest change from the GH5S (not the GH5) is that this sensor ditches the low pass filter which is a much welcomed removal. the lowpass filter (or anti aliasing filter) is designed to try to remove certain image patterning that cause artifacting or weird image effects such as moire. If you’ve ever seen video of someone wearing a heavily patterned black and white shirt and then watch the video of that shirt moving you will see what i am talking about. The low-pass filter is designed to remove such image problems by blurring them slightly. this obviously can have issues in other situations where higher resolution is wanted.

Until recently I was unaware the GH5S had a low-pass filter on its sensor but the GH5 did not. So not a major change in terms of function but much increased resolution due to the 20% extra megapixels on the sensor.

I’ll take it.

I will say that for Photography, I would still much prefer to go to a full frame camera for any serious work and that if I were to upgrade to the GH6 it would primary be for the video capabilities.

What about ISO performance in low light versus the GH5?

Potentially the new sensor design could match the original GH5 or better however given that the smaller the light capturing diodes need to be being 20% smaller may in fact make low light capability a bit worse. Its hard to say at this point without a camera to test. Only time will tell. So far i have not see any direct reviews in this area.

Resolutions Galore

Although a lot of rumors suggested the GH6 might end up being an 8K recording device, its not. They settles on 5.7K or higher with other Anamorphic modes and trickery but the GH6 has a ton of new recording modes and even more 4:2:2 10-bit color modes over the GH5. that is a welcome addition as we have very few modes at the highend on the GH5 in true 4:2:2 10-bit color space to choose from. I mostly record in 4:2:2 10-bit H.264 .MP4 mode but the file sizes are large. there are now H.265 4:2:2 modes which will save space as well as new ProRes recording modes as well which I will get to below.

Apple ProRES Codec Support

A much welcomed improvement, many who don’t know may be wondering why an Apple codec might be useful. The Apple ProRes codec allows you to record almost lossless recording but using a proprietary compression algorithm to allow smaller file sizes all while still being able to edit on your computer reducing its processing requirements. This codec allows a better workflow without sacrificing quality. The ProRes 4:2:2 codec is used in the Black Magic 4K Pocket Cinema Camera as well as others that it makes sense that Panasonic decided to implement this in the GH6. It saves time, effort and reduces the loss of data from having to take the extra step of conversion while in your editing station. Your editors will thank you and so will your storage budget.

VLOG Full edition

Essentially the GH5 had VLOG-L which is a lightweight version of the full VLOG profile that all Professional Panasonic Cameras use for storing and recording color profile information. The main difference between the VLOG-L and full VLOG is that the Lightweight version was an adapted profile to allow it to work with cameras that didn’t have enough dynamic range of color information like on the more professional cameras meaning that the GH5 used slightly less range than the full standard like on their Varicam. That’s no longer the case with the new GH6 as its using the full VLOG at 13 stops+ of dynamic range using something called boost which is essentially using two pathways of data for capturing highlights and shadows. This Means your highlight recovery for those really blown out or difficult shots are going to be able to be recovered a lot easier than you could on the GH5. The GH5 doesn’t have this high and low parallel ISO support which the software now makes this possible in the GH6.

Note: I have not had a chance to see a lot of this discussed or any comparisons yet on how effectively this works but in theory it sounds fantastic. One of the problems I have had is working in hard lighting conditions or switching my ISO at times between indoor and outdoor environments. The dual ISO function will solve many lighting issues assuming it works without a lot of noise added to the image. I assume that is what the enhanced processing and denoising filters are for which we will talk about next.

Enhanced Noise Reduction

Noise reduction on camera is a bit a topic that is highly debated. Most photographers do not want noise reduction in camera because typically the noise reduction software can’t be tuned or does not have the same power as a desktop computer and therefore does a poorer job. In video things are a bit of a different story however because noise reduction I would argue is less noticeable in moving images than in still images. Therefore in camera noise reduction makes sense because set parameters of noise reduction settings or an adaptive algorithm while the video is rolling may actually be a good thing. Technology is coming a long way however so even for photography all of the software processing that is occurring even on our smartphones is impressive these days. So until I see some side by side comparisons of my own work I won’t know for sure whether I’d turn this feature on or off yet, but its nice to know its now available in camera as an option instead of spending extra money outside for your editing program.

New/Updated IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization System)

One of the great features of the GH5 was its new IBIS stabilization sensor that accounted for more stable shooting whether in video or stills. Though there are still some issues with the GH5’s stabilizer at times (okay down right annoying things), its supposedly much improved in the new updated IBIS. One thing for my shooting is that I shoot manual and adapted lenses which do not get the full IBIS support. The only ones that do are the native Panasonic Micro four thirds lenses. Keep that in mind however you still get sensor stabilization which can alleviate a lot of movement. One problem that the GH5 has is that sometimes there is a lot of wobble issues with the stabilizer with adapted/speedbooster lenses that ruins a number of shots. It takes some getting use to “calm” the sensor stabilization down so that the shot can proceed without the wobble. Usually most happens in the edit bay later, trimming out those wobbly shots. I for one am looking forward to seeing the improvements with the IBIS system on the GH6.

100 MP Photo mode

Although not a great photo camera, the GH5 could still take decent images and even had a lot of cool and unique photo features that I use quite a bit. One of things it was lacking was resolution. a 20 MP image only lets you print something on paper to about a sheet of paper size before you start losing image quality. Full frame cameras have always reigned supreme for that reason in this area and more recently your smartphone too. With the competition so staggering, Panasonic has come up with a great way to join this group by creating a 100 MP image mode taken from four different 25 MP static images and digitally stitching them and post processing them into a 100 MP image. It’s not perfect from what i’m seeing and there is a delay in processing such a large image on the camera however this is a great way to add capability and take on a whim a single high resolution image and then be able to print that image later for merchandise or product that you intend to use it for. You of course are still limited to all of the features of your camera and what lens you are using but if you adapt lenses like I do, this opens up the possibility of getting some really great high resolution images thus fulfilling my need to only take one camera with me. Keep in mind that moving subjects will probably still be difficult and the 100MP mode will most likely not produce desirable images for but its a great addition.

Built-In Active Cooling system (a Fan)

The GH5 rarely overheated on me but when it did it was annoying. Not only that, keeping your very expensive SD cards in good shape means keeping things cool. Your batteries will also thank you. With global warming and world temperatures going crazy of late, if you are in a warm climate, you will appreciate the fan in this system. I believe this fan design was borrowed from the Panasonic S1H full frame cousin and we couldn’t be happier. One thing to watch for however will be how the fan affects the audio recording and whether or not internal audio recording or recording through the Mic jack will pick up and fan EM noise. Let’s hope not.

Innovative Touchscreen

Even though I didn’t have a problem with the GH5’s touchscreen, the GH6 has improved upon it by adding a flip out screen similar to a Sony camera but then also allowing you to tilt in a flip forward like the GH5 one did already. this allows you to get your screen clear of any wires you have have plugged into the camera and also gives a better viewing angle. The screen itself is also very good in direct sunlight compared to other cameras.



CF Express Card support for increased robustness

The GH5 has dual card slots but they are both SD Card slots. The Card readers on the GH5 were also known to be very picky and finicky with certain types of SD card media generally available. I have one card slot itself that seems a bit weaker at times then the other one. Don’t ask me why. That’s good then why there are two of them.

CFExpress cards are more robust but also faster cards. The downside is they are expensive. Why Panasonic has only included one CF Express slot instead of two is a head scratcher to me. For backwards compatibility then you could put one of your expensive SD cards when you move over to the GH6. You would have to buy the hugely expensive 800 Mbps CF Express media cards that are over twice the cost. The downside is that you also can’t record to some of the more exotic Resolutions and bitrates on the camera without using the CFExpress, so why not just switch both slots to CF Express and bite the bullet. Anyways, were glad it still has two slots even if it somewhat complicates matters for you.

Autofocus improvements but still DFD

One of the most annoying things about my setup is that autofocus can’t be used for video filming using adapted lenses properly. It just doesn’t work out well. I’ve always had to use manual focusing and lost a lot of shots in the process. For photography its worse because even though i can use single point autofocusing, it almost never focuses correctly or fast enough to do anything. Well Panasonic has said that its autofocus is improved with the GH6 and with a faster processor things may actually be able to handle my needs a bit better but I’m not holding my breath. The GH6 doesn’t have Phase detect autofocus like Canon cameras do. They don’t even have a hybrid version of it. That’s why The GH6 is not going to be a photo replacement for me but in a pinch you can do some amazing things with its photo capability, just most of it, at least for me, ist still going to be manual focus.


The Panasonic GH6 definitely has some great improvements over the GH5. It’s definitely the new gold standard of GH camera’s. Panasonic has done a tremendous job here but there is definitely more room for improvements especially in the area of autofocus. Needless to say, four thirds is still going strong and this is still one of the best portable high quality video production cameras you could own at such a low price point compared to other options. If were I to upgrade or be looking to purchase today, I wouldn’t hesitate getting the GH6.

Also don’t forget to check out Tony and Chelsea Northrup’s Youtube channel for the GH6 review there as well as where Chris and Jordan have a great introductory review as well. Thanks again for staying nonbiased and providing great resources.

Till next time, keep creating, learning and improving.

** Article Images of the GH6 taken from Panasonic’s website.


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