The new GH5M2 and the old GH5 cameras look identical at first glance, so much so that you'd be hard-pressed to tell them apart side-by-side, from any angle.
Four years is a very long time in the world of digital photography, though, and a look under the proverbial hood reveals a number of key differences between them.
We're bringing you this in-depth Panasonic GH5M2 vs GH5 head-to-head comparison to show you what's changed and help you choose between the two generations of this Micro Four Thirds sensor mirrorless camera.
The image sensor inside the new GH5M2 is the same 20.3 megapixel Digital Live MOS unit that was used in the GH5, but it has now been enhanced with an AR (Anti-Reflective) coating which Panasonic claims captures details more cleanly than its predecessor, better suppressing ghosting and flare.
Also, Panasonic have decided to remove the low-pass filter from the GH5 M2 to improve the overall image resolution.
It has the very latest, most powerful Venus Engine processor that has been evolved from the GH5 and inherited from the full-frame S1H.
This helps to reduce rolling shutter distortion when recording video, whereas the older camera uses a previous generation.
It also offers 25% wider dynamic range for stills than the GH5,
improved color reproduction, more faithful reproduction of brightness especially in the highlights, more natural high-sensitivity images, smoother gradation of the sky and skin tones, and improved moiré suppression in areas of fine detail.
The GHSM2 and GH5 both have a standard ISO range of 200-25600 and an expandable sensitivity range that runs from ISO 100-25600.
Key new features offered by the GH5M2 include:
- C4K/4K 60p/50p 10-bit recording – the GH5 could only capture 4K/60p in 8-bit
- no crop factor as the camera uses the whole area of the sensor
- C4K/4K 60p/50p 10-bit HDMI output and simultaneous internal recording
- All-I option for 29.97p and 23.98p – only available for 24.00p on the GH5
- The 12-stop version of the V-Log L profile is pre-installed on the GH5M2, whereas on the GH5 you have to buy it as an optional extra
- Improved Anamorphic recording
- New Cinelike D2 / Cinelike V2 profiles, inherited from the S1H video flagship camera from the full-frame S Series
- New L.Monochrome S and L.Classic Neo colour modes have also been added for both video and stills
An image stabilizer ideal for anamorphic lenses can now be used. You can select from
1.30x, 1.33x, 1.5x, 1.8x or 2.0x options
depending on the lens magnification.
New video shooting assist functions include a frame indicator (red for video and blue for live streaming), frame markers, vertical position information, luminance spot metering, and the ability to filter the various Rec Quality setting options and register frequently used combinations for quick recall.
This is perhaps the biggest new feature that has been introduced on the GH5M2.
The GH5M2 is capable of wireless live streaming in 1080/60p at 16Mbps via the LUMIX Sync smartphone app, or by connecting directly to a Wi-Fi router.
For live Wired USB-LAN IP Streaming (FWUP), the dedicated LUMIX Webcam Software is available for free download.
In addition, the new camera will receive a future firmware update later in 2021 to add RTP/RTSP wired IP streaming.
In contrast, the older GH5 offers no live streaming capabilities of any kind.
Both cameras use exactly the same DFD technology, contrast-detect autofocus system with 225 focus points that can auto-focus in 0.05 second, but the new GH5M2 uses the very latest AF algorithms with Face/Eye/Head/Body and Animal Recognition onboard.
Both cameras offer a fast 12fps continuous shooting speed when using either the mechanical or electronic shutter, but the GH5M2 can shoot continuously for up to 999 JPEG images at the highest image quality or 108 RAW files, compared to 600 JPEG and 60 RAWs for the GH5.
Body and Design
The design of the GH5M2 and the GH5's body and controls are virtually identical, although on much closer inspection there are a few minor changes.
There is now a new Photo Style button instead of the Fn1 button and a shared Charging / Network Connection Lamp on the top-panel, and an AF On button on the rear in place of the shared AF/AE Lock button on the GH5.
Otherwise the two generations of camera are exactly the same, which should please those who don't appreciate change just for the sake of it.
Both models feature a 5-axis Dual Image Stabilisation system to help combat camera-shake, but Panasonic have further improved the system used in the new GH5M2 to provide up to 6.5 stops of compensation, versus the GH5 which only compensates for up to 5 stops slower shutter speed.
The GH5 has a 3,680K-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 1.52x (0.76x on 35mm equiv.) magnification, 100% field of view, 1000:1 contrast ratio which operates at a native rate of 60fps.
The GHSM2 inherits exactly the same EVF, but it also offers a faster frame rate of 120fps in addition to the standard 60fps rate.
The older GH5 has a 3.2 inch, 1.62M pixel OLED screen with 100% scene coverage. The rotating, free-angle monitor, which is hinged on the left side of the camera (looking from the rear), can be flipped out and twisted through 270 degrees.
The GH5M2 actually has a smaller 3-inch screen, but it is a higher resolution 1.84M pixel screen with a wider colour gamut and brightness that has been improved by 150% compared to the GH5, making it easier to use outdoors.
The GH5M2 and original GH5 both have dual memory card slots, and both slots on each model support UHS-II speeds – the GH5 was quite ahead of its time in this regard.
The Panasonic GH5M2 uses a new high-capacity 2200mAh battery (DMW-BLK22) that complies with USB PD (Power Delivery), which offers a CIPA-rated battery life of up to 410 shots on a single charge in normal mode and 1200 shots in the Power Save mode.
The GH5 also offers 410 shot life from its DMW-BLF19 battery, but while you can use the old battery in the new GH5M2, you can't use the new DMW-BLK22 in the older camera.
New to the GH5M2 is the ability for it to be powered and charged via a USB-C connection, which is useful if you're out and about and have a compatible powerbank to plug the camera into. The GH5 doesn't offer this feature.
In the UK the Panasonic GH5M2 costs £1499 for the body only and in the US it's priced at $1699.
Four years ago at launch, the Panasonic GH5 was priced at £1699 / $1999 body only, so commendably Panasonic have actually lowered the launch price of the GH5M2 when compared with the GH5.
Street prices are another thing altogether – the GH5 is currently available for around £1199 / £1299 body-only, so you could save a few hundred £$ by opting for the older model.
So what do you think? Would you choose the new GH5M2 or the previous GH5? Leave a comment below!