GH5s Dynamic Range Controversy

Filmmakers are clamoring to see real world examples demonstrating the superiority in dynamic range of the GH5s over the GH5. Several have said they won’t purchase the camera unless it delivers fourteen stops. Imatest would be definitive, as ‘real world’ tests aren’t repeatable. And while Mystery Box, who were paid by Panasonic to promote the GH5s for HDR delivery – which happens to be their specialty – claim sixteen stops of dynamic range when counting nits on their scopes, they take pains to point out that three to four of those may be too noisy. In another first, they also point out that incorrect exposure and white balance will result in further loss of dynamic range. At times, when pressed on the issue of V-Log L and its supposed cap at twelve stops, they resort to saying, “well that’s what the engineers [at Panasonic] told us”. So I would be very skeptical of claims of fourteen stops of dynamic range. Furthermore, even after a reviewer ultimately posts Imatest results online, readers will bicker loudly, insisting that the reviewer knows nothing, and that they can clearly see fourteen or more clearly differentiated bands from pure white to black, but just viewing a chart on a 2012 MacBook Air with a lousy internet connection doesn’t tell the whole story. Not infrequently, what appears to be a significant advantage in a test chart does not always translate into dramatically better results in the real world. Finally, anyone who seriously believes this issue will be resolved need only take the GH5 as example – even one year after its release, no two sane people can agree what the true dynamic range of the camera is! I’ll take it one step further and recommend bypassing the GH5s altogether and spending your hard earned money on an LG OLED TV instead – only then will you be able to appreciate just how fine a camera the GH5 really is – while at the same time, revealing the inadequacies of video graded in rec. 709.

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