Written by Will Conover, class of 2020


The GH5 was bought because it is (in my opinion) the most versatile camera on the market. It has tons of options and menus that can all be used to get different results out of it. This will be some of the basics and little rules that I have learned/know. Also, YouTube is a great resource and I will paste some links below. 

DIALS: On top you have the On/Off button… duh. The dial has two modes that you will most likely be using:

  • M: Manual for photos. This is what I would recommend if you are taking photos. It is great if you are switching between photo and video. When in this mode, you can use the shutter button to take photos and the dedicated record button.
  • VIDEO: Manual Video Mode is available when in this mode. HOWEVER. In the top left corner you have the option to set the priority mode. I prefer to set it all myself. However in certain situations using the aperture or shutter speed locking mode can be helpful. 
  • CUSTOM: 3 custom functions. The GH5 has 3 custom modes that you can set. If you find certain features or settings that you will use a lot you can set those. Currently I think some are set to slow motion, 4k 60p and zoomed in 1080p 

FRAME RATES: Can be chosen stylistically or for a certain use. The GH5 has a lot of different frame rate choices. 3 of them should be familiar to you: 24, 30 and 60. It has another feature called Variable Frame Rate (VFR). 

  • To access this you have to be in Video mode
  • Go to menu > Manual video > Variable frame rate > (it may be greyed out) 
  • This mode is only accessible if the camera is in any MOV OR MP4 420 8-bit (refer to CODECS
  • Once the camera is in the proper setting you can turn VFR on and set it. 
  • The camera takes care of all the processing, which… kinda sucks at times. 
  • So, if you set your VFR to 120 FPS when your camera’s frame rate is set to 60 your footage will playback at half speed. My recommendation would be to never go over 120 FPS because it starts to get a little grainy and have your base frame rate set to either 30 or 60. If you film in 60 it gives you the flexibility to slow it down in post to 48% in post.

AUTO FOCUS: The auto focus on the GH5 is known to not be the best. If you are using a native Panasonic lens then it will be better. I found this little guide that can be useful. However, I prefer manual focus. 

CODECS EXPLAINED BRIEFLY: There are SO many options. The first thing you need to do is select your codec. You are given 5 options: AVCHD, MP4, MP4 HEVC, MP4 (LPCM) and MOV

  • AVCHD: pretty much unusable, it is a highly compressed codec that shoots in interpolation and is only used for broadcast. So don’t use it pretty much ever.
  • MP4: The first of many MP4 options is just a base MP4 codec. It shots in straight H.264 and has the lower mbps rates. Can not be used by VFR and offers no choice on bit rate for color depth. Not really useful as well
  • MP4 HEVC: This mode is just so you can use HLG. HLG stands for Hybrid Log Gamma. It a feature that I really haven’t played much with. It is supposed to be used to capture HDR content. I’ll drop a link to explain that one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weKS8dJXx4M
  • MP4 LPCM: The first usable codec and the one I would recommend using if you are going to edit on a windows or mac machine. Offers tons of frame rates, mbps and bit rates. VFR COMPATIBLE 
  • MOV: Similar to MP4 LPCM but can be easier to read on mac machines. VFR COMPATIBLE 

RESOLUTION and BIT RATES: Once you have chosen your codec. YOU GET TO CHOOSE YOUR RESOLUTION. 3 options: 

  • 4096×2160 known as cinema 4K
  • 3840×2160 known as UHD 
  • Regular 1920×1080

The GH5 can do C4K up to 30 fps, 4K up to 60 and then HD up to 120 FPS using VFR mode. Bit rates and MBPS are the more important part. Bit rate deals with the color depth in which the camera records. 

It really helps in the rolloff of the highlights. I would recommend sticking with 10 bit when possible. However if you want to use VFR you have to be in the 8 bit mode. 

MBPS is what I find more important. That is what the data rate which it write to your SD card. Check the mps on the card to see how fast it can write. This video does a good job of breaking down the math a little bit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf2ly_aENVc

The max that the camera can do is 400 Mbps. However, that is a little overkill and will murder your SD card, the 100 mbps has plenty of quality if you are planning on doing a longer shoot. If you are planning on doing crazy coloring then go all out and do the 10 bit and 200 mbps. 

There is also the 420 and 422 options but there is not much choice on when you get to use it. Also, I for the life of me cannot figure out what the difference is between LongGOP and All-i so…  

PICTURE PROFILE: I recommend using a few different picture profiles depending on your situation. I will rank them by most common use case

  1. Natural: This gives you the best skin tones right out of the box. It also gives you enough flexibility to play with the colors in post. 
  2. Standard: Has good color overall and looks like you did some color correct. If you are trying to get something up quick this will be the most useful. 
  3. Cine-D: This is the closest to a Log setting that comes on the camera. This will allow you the most flexibility to play with all the colors and will need to graded. 

MY FAVORITE FEATURE: The extended teleconverter is maybe the greatest feature on the GH5. I use it all the time especially for football games and things where I can not get close. The GH5 has a 6K sensor so when you turn on Ex Tele it takes the 6k sensor and crops into it making it a 1080 picture. To enable that go to menu> video > 3rd page > turn on Ex tele conv

WillCoPro Tip:

  1. Try not to push the ISO over 4000
  2. Use 4K for special projects just because of how big the files and hard they are to edit
  3. Try not to fix it in post 
  4. Always double your shutter speed from your frame rate
  5. There is an eye sensor that can get annoying if you brush your hand under it will switch to the eye piece. If you Fn5 it will shuffle through the options and give you control to switch to just the live display