Panasonic Lumix GH6 — The New Kid on the Block
Welcome to my Lumix GH6 Review. As a big fan of Panasonic’s LUMIX GH5 mirrorless camera, I’ve been keeping a close eye on their updates to the GHX line for quite some time now. After buying my Nikon Z6 mirrorless body in 2019, I can’t say I was really itching for anything new. I don’t buy a new camera based on marketing hype — only when my current tool is limiting me creatively. So let’s talk about that…
I had spent a lot of time while working for the Space Force, shooting on a RED Epic with the 5K Mysterium-X sensor. And I made some beautiful B-Roll with it, especially of rocket launches! Needless to say, I got spoiled shooting 5K 100FPS, RAW .R3D files. As much as I loved my GH5 and Z6, neither tool could compete with that capability.
And then in 2022, came the Panasonic’s Lumix GH6 announcement…
Who Needs Another Camera?
To be fully honest, I had slept on Panasonic’s few and far between announcements for the GH6 for months. Right before the release announcement, I had reached out to Lumix to try and get on the list to test the pre-release model. While I would have been perfectly fine with a “No Thank You,” but instead, I was mislead for weeks, then finally told no one would be getting a pre-release copy of the GH6. (I found out months later some random creators did.) And while I’m not a big “influencer” by any means, I do appreciate some common courtesy of mutual respect. But I digress…
So fast forward a few months, and I’m starting to question whether my GH5 or Z6 will give me the results I want on my upcoming trip to the Caribbean. My GH5 shoots pretty great 4K 60fps, but limits my photography. My Z6 is great for still photography, but slow-motion video is limited to 1080P HD… which seems to compress shadow details to mush, and can’t survive color grading.
I started thinking again about the Lumix GH6, with 5.7K 60fps, 4K 120fps (both 10-bit by the way) and a ton of other resolutions, variable frame rates, built-in V-Log, dynamic range boost, and so much more. This camera seemed like the perfect tool, at a pretty great price point: $2,197 USD when I bought it. (Yes, I bought it myself, Panasonic didn’t send me a camera to review.)
So here it is, my Panasonic Lumix GH6 review. I’ve had the camera about 9 months as of the release of the review. Unlike most YouTubers who review cameras, I like to take my time and learn the ins and outs of cameras before sharing my thoughts … which can change over time.
Welcome to the Caribbean, love.
Underwater 4K 120fps footage — need I say more? I have yet to see any underwater footage from the GH6 yet, so I do believe this is the first. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, because I’m certainly impressed! Even with my total lack of underwater photography and videography experience, I was able to capture some really amazing 4K120 footage of Caribbean coral reefs, starfish, stingrays and other assorted reef creatures.
The video capabilities at this price point are truly why I picked the Lumix GH6 over other camera bodies like the Nikon Z7 II, Nikon Z9 or the Sony Alpha FX3. The GH6 just pumps out amazing footage for MUCH cheaper, and I wanted my trip captured, in 4K+ detail with slow-motion as an option. I should also add that I was shooting on Nikkor prime lenses with my Fotodiox DLX MFT to F-Mount Adapter.
Cons of the Lumix GH6
Pretty good stuff right? When it was released in the first quarter of 2022, it was going for around $2200 USD, now in 2023 it’s down to under $1500 USD right now on Amazon. (Check out my Link in Description for that price)
Now all of these specs make this camera seem like the perfect run and gun photography or cinema camera. But the GH6 does have cons to think about…
GH6 Autofocus – It’s gotten better than the GH5, but it still isn’t anywhere near comparable cameras made by Sony, Canon or even Nikon. Panasonic didn’t add Phase Detection autofocus until the S5 II and S5 II X, which still really disappoints me.
GH6 Photography – While the GH6 boasts a new 25 MP sensor and takes good photos, I can’t say there’s anything magical to write home about. There is a considerable amount of noise in the shadows, and once you start raising your ISO or editing your photos, it’s quite noticeable. While I didn’t buy the GH6 primary as a still photography camera, I still wish the photo mode was a little better.
If I have a photography job, I’ll opt for my Nikon Z6 or an older Nikon model (D750, D810, etc.) over the GH6. I don’t judge anyone for the size of their sensor, but the M4/3 sensor isn’t my favorite in all honesty. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by full frame since the Canon 5D MKII?
GH6 Video – Video is primarily why I bought the GH6; 5.7K at 60 FPS, 4K at 120 FPS, internal ProRes HQ 422, V-LOG, dynamic range boost, etc. The GH6 is killer at its price point. What I was disappointed with was V-LOG begins to fall apart with higher ISOs and low light scenarios. I believe you’re better off shooting on another profile such as Cinelike-D or Natural. You need to be very careful with noise and shadows when using V-LOG in general.
Similarly the dynamic range boost option requires a minimum of 2000 ISO. Unless your scene is extremely well-lit, there will be noise everywhere. For that reason I rarely, if ever, use the GH6’s DR Boost.
Last, but probably most importantly, is the horizontal video streaking. This drives me nuts. I’ve reached out directly to Panasonic/LUMIX about this, and they’re still pretending like they don’t know what’s happening. So if you’re listening Panasonic, please fix whatever is going on here. As you can see it’s very irritating, and one of the reasons I may not keep my GH6. It’s not lens flaring or shutter streaking, it’s a sensor problem I believe.
GH6 Design – The design is quite similar to the GH5. They’ve added another programable function button on front, and a front record button. I don’t love the front record button, as you can see in the video review, because it just feels awkward to press.
So those are the biggest pain-points of the Panasonic LUMIX GH6. They may make or break the camera for you, so I just want to share my honest thoughts.
Should You Buy a Lumix GH6?
The GH6 has a lot to offer for a mirrorless camera under $1500 USD. Yes, there are also some pros and cons to weigh-in if you’re thinking about buying one as a photo or video camera.
I’d recommend using higher quality glass than the kit lenses to get the most out of this camera. I use a Micro Four Thirds to Nikon F-Mount, to utilize all of my Nikon glass.
I’ve also built a pretty cool GH6 Cinema Rig that I’ll be showing off in a future video, with my setting for getting the best quality footage.
I also did a little test of the GH6 against the RED Epic with the Mysterium-X sensor. I’d be curious to know if you can tell the footage apart from these two cameras. Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see that video!
Lumix GH6 Review Conclusion
Overall I think the GH6 is a solid upgrade from the GH5. It has a lot more video features than the Z6 or Z6 II, and makes a pretty handy run and gun cinema camera for the current work I’m doing. Not everyone can afford to buy a RED or rent an ARRI, and that makes the GH6 a solid option for video, even with the M4/3 sensor. As I mentioned earlier, my biggest recommendation is to not buy the cheap kit lens. Spend the extra money for the Lumix Leica Summilux lenses. They’re so much sharper than the cheaper Panasonic kit glass. You’ll thank me later.
If you liked the look of my island adventure, my photos were color graded with my Tortuga Lightroom Preset Pack. My videos utilized my Panasonic Lumix GH6 V-Log to 709 LUT, that I plan on releasing VERY soon, so keep an eye out for that as well.
Until next time, get out and go shoot!