The Panasonic GH6 was first announced on 22nd February 2022 as a new flagship Micro Four Thirds sensor mirrorless camera.
Now that we know everything about the Lumix GH6 camera, it’s clear that it actually shares some similarities to the core specifications and features of the older GH5 II, so which one should you pick?
We’re bringing you this in-depth Panasonic GH6 vs Panasonic GH5 II head-to-head comparison to help you choose between these two mirrorless cameras.
You can also read our detailed Panasonic Lumix GH5 II Review to find out exactly what we think of it.
The image sensor inside the GH5 II was the same 20.3 megapixel Digital Live MOS unit that was used in the 5-year-old GH5, enhanced with an AR (Anti-Reflective) coating and the removal of the low-pass filter.
The GH6 is the first Panasonic Micro Four Thirds camera to push past the 20 megapixel barrier, utilising a brand new 25.2-megapixel Live MOS Sensor with no low-pass filter.
The native ISO range of both the GH5 II and the GH6 is 100-25,600, but on the GH6 it can be extended down to ISO 50 if required for both stills and video.
Note that for video, the maximum level is 12800 ISO on both cameras.
The Lumix GH6 represents a big step forward when it comes to video specs and performance, even compared to the already very capable GH5 II model.
The GH5 II principally offers internal 10-bit 4:2:0 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) at up to 60fps with a bitrate of 150Mbps. Cinema 4K is also available in 10 bit 4:2:2 at up to 30fps, as is Anamorphic recording up to 60fps with the option of image stabilisation.
The new GH6 model ups the ante by providing 5.7K 30p internal video recording available in ProRes 422 HQ and ProRes 422 for the first time in the LUMIX series.
It also achieves 4:2:2 10-bit Cinema 4K 60p internal recording as well as simultaneous output in 4:2:2 10-bit Cinema 4K 60p over HDMI.
Other improvements include 4:2:0 10-bit 4K 120p (equivalent to 5x slow motion) and 4:2:2 10bit FHD 240p HFR (High Frame Rate) options, plus 5.7K 4:2:0 10-bit 60p/50p and 5.8K 30p/25p/24p 4:2:0 10-bit anamorphic 4:3 modes recorded utilising the full area of the sensor.
The LUMIX GH6 also contains V-Log/V-Gamut for the first time in the LUMIX G Series Micro Four Thirds camera line-up which provides 12+ stops of wide dynamic range, and there’s a brand new Dynamic Range Boost mode which expands it to 13+ stops.
Importantly the GH6 offers unlimited video recording time in all modes by employing a forced-cooling fan mechanism to combat over-heating.
The GH6 continues to use the same DFD contrast-based auto-focusing system that all previous GH-series cameras have employed -anyone expecting Panasonic to implement phase-detection on this new model will be sorely disappointed.
Panasonic don’t actually mention the auto-focus system at all in the GH6 press release, so we’re a little uncertain at this stage what improvements they’ve made in this area, if any at all.
The GH5 II offers a fairly fast 9fps continuous shooting speed in AFC mode when using either the mechanical or electronic shutter and it can shoot continuously for up to 999 JPEG images at the highest image quality or 108 RAW files.
Despite having a new Venus processing engine onboard which delivers approximately twice the processing power, the new GH6 is actually slightly slower than its predecessor, offering a top speed of 8fps in AFC mode, and the buffer is much smaller too – up to 95 JPEGs or 65 RAW files.
The GH6 does have a headline grabbing 75fps mode at full 25 megapixel resolution, but this is limited to AFS burst shooting using the electronic shutter.
Size and Weight
The Lumix GH5 II measures 138.5 x 98.1 x 87.4mm and weighs in at 647g body only.
The GH6 is bigger and heavier than its predecessor, measuring 138.4 x 100.3 x 99.6 mm / 5.45 x 3.95 x 3.92 inch and weighing 739g / 1.63 lb body only.
Every joint, dial, and button is sealed to ensure that the GH5 II is splash/dust-proof and also freeze-proof down to -10 degrees Celsius, and the same is true of the GH6’s magnesium alloy full die-cast front and rear frame.
The GH5 II has a 5-axis Dual I.S. system which incorporates gyro-sensor technology to combine the 2-axis stabilisation from the lens (if it has OIS built-in) and 5-axis stabilisation from the camera body, resulting in compensation for up to 6.5-stops slower shutter speed.
The LUMIX GH6 adopts a new super high-precision 5-axis gyro sensor with a new algorithm to achieve a powerful 7.5 stops of Body I.S. and Dual I.S.2, so one stop better than the previous model.
Both cameras have exactly the same 3,680K-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 0.76x magnification and 100% field of view.
Both cameras also use exactly the same 3.0-inch swivelling and tilting LCD screen with 1,840,000 dot resolution, so no improvements have been made to the GH6 in terms of the EVF and LCD screen.
Both cameras have dual memory card slots, but whereas both slots on the the GH5 II support SD cards, the GH6 has one slot that supports CFexpress card (Type B) which supports internal recording of high bitrate video at 800Mbps or more and one SD UHS II V90 slot.
The GH5 II uses the DMW-BLK22 battery to provide up to 410 still images or 140 minutes of video.
The GH6 uses exactly the same battery as the GH5 II, but life is reduced to a maximum of 380 still images / 100 minutes of video when using an SD memory card or 350 images / 90 minutes of video when using a CFexpress card.
The price of the new Panasonic GH6, body-only, is £1999 in the UK and $2199 in the US, making it the most expensive GH-series camera ever released.
When it was launched in 2021, the GH5 II cost £1499 / $1699 in the UK/US, and it’s still on sale at the same price a year later.
With 5.7K video recording and 25 megapixel resolution, the Panasonic GH6 clearly moves the GH-series a big step on from the previous GH5 II model for both video and stills shooting.
So what do you think? Would you choose the new Lumix GH6 over the slightly older, cheaper GH5 II model, and why? Leave a comment below!