We shot the Panasonic GH5S against the Sony a7S II to see whether the video-centric Lumix can wrest the low-light crown away from its full frame rival. We’ll let you draw your own conclusions, but our initial assessment is that the Panasonic comes closer than we expected, and outperforms the Sony when you need to maintain a certain depth-of-field or when you shoot in Log.
We shot both cameras side-by-side, which explains the slight perspective difference. The GH5S’s oversized ‘multi aspect’ ratio sensor means it also offers a wider field of view even when using equivalent focal lengths.
We shot at a range of ISOs in both the camera’s REC709 modes and their respective Log gamma modes, then matched the footage up alongside one another. We’ve kept all post-processing to a minimum, with only very minor color and brightness adjustments applied to provide consistency between the two cameras.
Most sequences were shot so that both cameras had the same exposure settings. These are marked as ‘Exposure Matched’ in the video. However, there are times when you need to achieve a certain depth-of-field. These clips, which required us to stop the Sony down by two stops, are indicated as ‘Depth-of-Field Matched.’
We felt Panasonic’s noise reduction is significantly more effective than Sony’s and, especially when combined with its ability to shoot 10-bit 4:2:2 footage, helps it perform well when compared with the Sony, especially below ISO 12,800 and when shooting in Log. However, it’s also worth noting the yellow blocking that can infest high ISO footage from the GH5S.
For a more detailed assessment, head to our first impressions review.