Panasonic GH5 Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Panasonic GH5's JPEG image quality to its predecessor's, the GH4, as well as against several recent pro or enthusiast mirrorless cameras: the Canon M5, Fuji X-T2, Olympus E-M1 Mark II and Sony A6500.

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved, click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Panasonic GH5, Panasonic GH4, Fuji X-T2, Canon M5, Olympus E-M1 II, and Sony A6500 -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Panasonic GH5 to any camera we've ever tested!

Panasonic GH5 vs Panasonic GH4 at Base ISO

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Panasonic GH4 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Panasonic GH4 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Panasonic GH4 test image taken at ISO 200
Panasonic GH5 at ISO 200
Panasonic GH4 at ISO 200

Here we compare the 20-megapixel GH5 to its 16-megapixel predecessor, the GH4. As you can see, the GH5 does resolve more detail than the GH4 thanks to its higher resolution as well as the lack of an anti-aliasing filter. While our tricky red-leaf fabric looks better from the GH4, that's partially because the GH5 actually resolves more of the individual threads which break up the leaf pattern a bit. Luminance noise levels are similar from the GH5, though chrominance noise is lower. Contrast and color have also improved over the GH4 with higher saturation, warmer colors and less of a yellow-to-green shift. Overall, a nice improvement here at base ISO.

Panasonic GH5 vs Canon EOS M5 at Base ISO

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Canon EOS M5 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Canon EOS M5 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Canon EOS M5 test image taken at ISO 100
Panasonic GH5 at ISO 200
Canon EOS M5 at ISO 100

While not in same league as the GH5 in terms of price, features, performance and especially video prowess, we decided to include the EOS M5 here as it's currently Canon's top-of-the-line mirrorless and certainly competes in terms of still image quality. Here we can see the 24-megapixel APS-C M5 doesn't really resolve any more detail, but that's mainly because of the different native aspect ratios (3:2 vs 4:3) as this shot is framed vertically which only gives the Canon a resolution advantage of 112 pixels in the vertical axis. Canon's default sharpening is however a bit crude in comparison to GH5's, delivering an image that is softer yet contains more noticeable sharpening halos (the M5's Fine Detail Picture Style would have performed better). The Canon M5's default noise reduction also blurs our red-leaf swatch more than the GH5's, however overall noise levels are lower from the M5 (but keep in mind the lower base ISO). Colors are more accurate from the Canon as well, though not quite as saturated.

Panasonic GH5 vs Fujifilm X-T2 at Base ISO

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Fujifilm X-T2 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Fujifilm X-T2 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Fujifilm X-T2 test image taken at ISO 200
Panasonic GH5 at ISO 200
Fujifilm X-T2 at ISO 200

Again, not much difference here against the 24-megapixel Fuji X-T2 in terms of captured resolution due to the different aspect ratios. The GH5 image is however a little crisper with some areas such as the fabrics showing better detail, while the X-T2 image is a bit smoother and refined looking overall. The red-leaf pattern is more faithfully reproduced by the Fuji, however again that's partially because the Panasonic is resolving more of the fine thread pattern. Colors are also just a little more accurate from the Fuji.

Panasonic GH5 vs Olympus E-M1 II at Base ISO

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Olympus E-M1 II test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Olympus E-M1 II test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Olympus E-M1 II test image taken at ISO 200
Panasonic GH5 at ISO 200
Olympus E-M1 II at ISO 200

These two Micro Four Thirds rivals offer the same 20-megapixel resolution, however we do see some significant differences here at base ISO due to different approaches in default processing. The Olympus image is sharper with slightly higher contrast, however more obvious sharpening artifacts are present. Luma noise levels are comparable, however even here at base ISO, more chroma noise is left behind by the Olympus, yet it blurs the red-leaf swatch much more than the Panasonic. Colors on the whole are also a little more accurate from the Olympus.

Panasonic GH5 vs Sony A6500 at Base ISO

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Sony A6500 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Sony A6500 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Sony A6500 test image taken at ISO 100
Panasonic GH5 at ISO 200
Sony A6500 at ISO 100

Above we compare the 20-megapixel Micro 4/3 GH5 to the 24-megapixel APS-C Sony A6500. Here at base ISO, the A6500 produces a sharper, crisper image with more "pop," yet generates almost no sharpening halos. Noise levels are a little lower from the Sony, but keep in mind the lower base ISO of 100. Both cameras retain some of the fine thread pattern in our tricky red-leaf swatch, but the Sony does a much better job a rendering the leaf pattern, though moiré patterns are more visible. This time it's the Panasonic that produces more accurate colors.

Panasonic GH5 vs Panasonic GH4 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Panasonic GH4 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Panasonic GH4 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Panasonic GH4 test image taken at ISO 1600
Panasonic GH5 at ISO 1600
Panasonic GH4 at ISO 1600

Here at ISO 1600, the GH5 produces an image with better detail, higher contrast (in most areas), lower luma noise, much lower chroma noise, and better color. The GH4 does a little better in our problematic red-leaf swatch though, with higher contrast, slightly better detail and a smoother rendering. The GH5 still retains more of the thread pattern, however it just looks like higher noise here. Again a nice improvement over the GH4, except in our troublesome red-leaf swatch.

Panasonic GH5 vs Canon EOS M5 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon EOS M5 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon EOS M5 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon EOS M5 test image taken at ISO 1600
Panasonic GH5 at ISO 1600
Canon EOS M5 at ISO 1600

The GH5 produces an image with much lower noise than the Canon M5 here at ISO 1600. Fine detail is also rendered better by the Panasonic, however the Canon does better with our tricky red-leaf swatch with higher contrast, more detail and less interference from the thread pattern. The Panasonic does a bit better in the pink fabric, though.

Panasonic GH5 vs Fujifilm X-T2 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Fujifilm X-T2 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Fujifilm X-T2 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Fujifilm X-T2 test image taken at ISO 1600
Panasonic GH5 at ISO 1600
Fujifilm X-T2 at ISO 1600

The GH5 compares surprisingly well with the X-T2 here at ISO 1600, producing an image with lower noise while holding onto almost as much detail, except in our troublesome red-leaf swatch where the Fuji does much better. Contrast and color are a little better from the X-T2, however the GH5 performed better than expected here.

Panasonic GH5 vs Olympus E-M1 II at ISO 1600

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Olympus E-M1 II test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Olympus E-M1 II test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Olympus E-M1 II test image taken at ISO 1600
Panasonic GH5 at ISO 1600
Olympus E-M1 II at ISO 1600

The GH5 produces lower levels of luma and chroma noise here at ISO 1600 than the E-M1 II in flatter areas, yet it holds onto noticeably more detail in our mosaic crop and pink fabrics with fewer noise reduction artifacts. Both cameras blur our the tricky red-leaf swatch pretty badly, however the GH5 manages to retain a touch more detail.

Panasonic GH5 vs Sony A6500 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A6500 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A6500 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A6500 test image taken at ISO 1600
Panasonic GH5 at ISO 1600
Sony A6500 at ISO 1600

The A6500 still produces a somewhat crisper image here at ISO 1600 with slightly better detail in the mosaic crop, however the GH5 manages to hold onto almost as much detail while at the same time reducing noise more effectively. The A6500 does however hold onto significantly more detail in our tricky red-leaf swatch as well as in the pink fabric, however colors are still better from the Panasonic.

Panasonic GH5 vs Panasonic GH4 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic GH4 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic GH4 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic GH4 test image taken at ISO 3200
Panasonic GH5 at ISO 3200
Panasonic GH4 at ISO 3200

Similar to what we saw at ISO 1600, the GH5 does a better job at retaining fine detail, reducing noise and reproducing accurate color than the GH4, producing a better overall image than the GH4 here at ISO 3200 except in the red-leaf swatch, though both cameras begin to struggle to produce sharp images at this sensitivity.

Panasonic GH5 vs Canon EOS M5 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon EOS M5 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon EOS M5 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon EOS M5 test image taken at ISO 3200
Panasonic GH5 at ISO 3200
Canon EOS M5 at ISO 3200

At ISO 3200, it's the GH5 which comes out ahead of the M5 with significantly lower noise in flatter areas yet better detail and sharpness in most other areas. Both blur our red-leaf swatch quite heavily, though the GH5 leaves behind a little more noise in the fabric.

Panasonic GH5 vs Fujifilm X-T2 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Fujifilm X-T2 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Fujifilm X-T2 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Fujifilm X-T2 test image taken at ISO 3200
Panasonic GH5 at ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-T2 at ISO 3200

The Fuji X-T2 comes out ahead in this comparison, but not by much. The Fuji image looks a bit more refined and natural in areas of fine detail while the Panasonic's area-specific noise reduction tends to distort or blur fine elements a bit more than the Fuji. Noise in flatter areas is lower from the Panasonic, but noise reduction artifacts are more visible compared to the Fuji's more film-like noise grain structure. The Fuji does significantly better with subtle detail in our red-leaf swatch, even though contrast is a little lower.

Panasonic GH5 vs Olympus E-M1 II at ISO 3200

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Olympus E-M1 II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Olympus E-M1 II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Olympus E-M1 II test image taken at ISO 3200
Panasonic GH5 at ISO 3200
Olympus E-M1 II at ISO 3200

Both of these cameras retain similar levels of detail here at ISO 3200 with just a slight edge going to the Olympus for better contrast. Noise levels are lower from the GH5, however the E-M1 II's noise grain is more consistent and film-like. Overall, we'd say this comparison results in a draw with one camera doing just slightly better than the other or vice versa depending on what the subject matter is.

Panasonic GH5 vs Sony A6500 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6500 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6500 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6500 test image taken at ISO 3200
Panasonic GH5 at ISO 3200
Sony A6500 at ISO 3200

At ISO 3200, the Sony A6500 pulls ahead of the GH5 with better detail, contrast and sharpness, however noise in flatter areas is definitely stronger and more noticeable. The Sony appears to do much better in our red-leaf swatch, however much of the apparent detail is heavily distorted.

Panasonic GH5 vs. Panasonic GH4, Canon EOS M5, Fujifilm X-T2, Olympus E-M1 II, Sony A6500

100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Panasonic GH4 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Canon EOS M5 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Fujifilm X-T2 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Olympus E-M1 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Sony A6500 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic GH4 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon EOS M5 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Fujifilm X-T2 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Olympus E-M1 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6500 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Panasonic GH5 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Panasonic GH4 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Canon EOS M5 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Fujifilm X-T2 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Olympus E-M1 II test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Sony A6500 test image taken at ISO 6400
Panasonic
GH5
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Panasonic
GH4
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
EOS M5
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Fujifilm
X-T2
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Olympus
E-M1 II
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A6500
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. High-contrast detail is also important, pushing the camera in different ways, so we like to look at it separately. As you can see, the Panasonic GH5 offers a considerable improvement over the GH4 here in detail, contrast and even color across ISOs. The GH5 also compares well to Canon M5, Fuji X-T2 and Olympus E-M1 II. The Sony A6500 however comes out ahead in this group for both detail and contrast, especially as ISO climbs.
 

Panasonic GH5 Print Quality Analysis

Very good 30 x 40 inch prints at ISO 100/200; a nice 16 x 20 at ISO 1600; a good 5 x 7 at ISO 12,800.

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageISO 100/200 prints are quite good at 30 x 40 inches, with pleasing colors and excellent fine detail. The higher resolution 20-megapixel sensor certainly proves its worth here as compared to 16-megapixel predecessors and rivals not capable of such a large print at the lower sensitivities.

ISO 400 images look good at 24 x 36 inches, with nice color, fine detail and no noticeable clues that the gain has risen. Larger prints are certainly possible for wall display purposes here as well.

ISO 800 delivers a 20 x 30 inch print that's really not bad for this ISO, and it's a usable print for mid-level applications. For our official "good" grade we'll award the 16 x 20 inch max print size here, which shows only very mild traces of noise in flatter areas and a typical softening in the red channel, especially evident in our tricky red-leaf fabric swatch.

ISO 1600 also turns in a solid print at 16 x 20 inches (!) which is quite a rare feat for this sensor size. Most contrast detail is now lost in our tricky red-leaf swatch but otherwise the print is quite good with very little in the form of noise, and plenty of fine detail is still present throughout the print.

ISO 3200 tends to be the turning point for most Micro Four Thirds cameras, and the GH5 is no exception as its prints show a noticeable downturn in quality at this ISO. The camera can deliver a worthwhile 11 x 14 inch print here, with only minor traces of noise in a few areas and the typical red channel softening as mentioned above, but the prints begin to lose some vibrancy from this ISO and higher.

ISO 6400 delivers a good 8 x 10 inch print, and is similar to the 11 x 14 at ISO 3200. The noise levels and softening issues are well-controlled here, but there is still a noticeable decrease in "pop" as compared to prints at ISO 1600 and lower.

ISO 12,800 yields a 5 x 7 inch print similar to the 8 x 10 at ISO 6400, and is really not bad considering how high of an ISO this is for a MFT camera.

ISO 25,600 turns in a 4 x 6 inch print that may pass muster for casual snapshots, but for anything else we recommend avoiding this ISO altogether.

The Panasonic GH5 turns in a very respectable performance in the print quality department. The increased sensor resolution over the GH4 along with improved processing allows larger prints at most ISOs, and the camera matches stride with the best Micro Four Thirds cameras as ISO rises. Everything up to ISO 1600 shines in print and looks really good, and the 16 x 20 inch print at that ISO matches the best of the best MFT cameras. After that the images begin to fade a bit, which is very typical with this sensor size, so for more critical printing purposes we recommend remaining at ISO 1600 and below.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageTesting hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)

 



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