The Panasonic GH6 has been strongly tipped to be the next entry in the GH series, a mirrorless camera range that has proven hugely popular among videographers in recent years.
With its predecessor, the Panasonic GH5S, now two years old and the Panasonic GH5 arriving back in 2017, the series is certainly due a refresh. However, some fresh rumors about a Panasonic GH5 Mark II have thrown the arrival of the GH6 into some doubt – or at least pushed it further into the background.
A recent leak from the ever-reliable Nokishita suggests the GH5 Mark II will be a relatively minor upgrade to the GH5 and could launch soon. So where does this leave the rumored GH6, which has been tipped to arrive later in 2021?
Until we see an official launch for the GH5 Mark II, it’s not yet clear how it will fit into the GH lineup. It’s possible the camera could be a stop-gap for a true successor, with a pricier GH6 still in the pipeline. Alternatively, Panasonic might keep the series as an affordable alternative to full-frame cameras like the Panasonic Lumix S5.
Right now, this is all just speculation – so we’ve rounded up all of the Panasonic GH6 rumors so far below and, before that, looked at the GH5 Mark II leak and how it might fit into the overall picture.
Here’s all the speculation we have so far on the GH6 – from its release date to the features it might arrive with to fight back against new rivals like the Fujifilm X-T4.
A Panasonic GH5 Mark II leak has thrown the rumored launch of the Panasonic GH6 into doubt, with speculation pointing to an incremental upgrade coming soon. However, a GH6 with 6K or 8K video powers remains a possibility.
Panasonic GH6 release date and price
The Panasonic GH6 was expected to arrive way back in May 2020, before the global pandemic threw a large spanner in the works of global release calendars. We were expecting to get our first glimpses of the mirrorless camera at the Photokina show, before that was cancelled.
Of course, Panasonic could have announced the GH6 through a YouTube stream or similar, as has been the case with most tech launches in recent times. But the company has so far chosen to hold fire on an official reveal.
That reveal might be edging closer, though, if recent rumors are anything to go by. In April, Spanish tech outlet Photolari reportedly attended a Panasonic press conference in which executives told attendees that the successor to the GH5 “will be unveiled within 2021”.
However, a more recent leak from Nokishita on May 10 has instead pointed towards the imminent launch of a Panasonic GH5 Mark II, which is shaping up to be a more incremental upgrade than the GH6 rumors have suggested.
Exactly how this launch might fit into the GH series isn’t yet clear, with a GH6 launch further down the line still a possibility. As recently as mid-April, rumors had suggested that a GH6 could arrive for the 20th anniversary of Lumix cameras in September.
That must now be in doubt following the GH5 Mark II launch, but we should hopefully get some more official information on the Mark II, and what it means for the GH series, very soon.
Panasonic GH5 Mark II specs and features
- Before we round up the Panasonic GH6 rumors, here’s a look at some leaked specs for the rumored Panasonic GH5 Mark II…
A leak on May 10 from Nokishita has revealed some possible specs for a Panasonic GH5 Mark II – that’s right, not the GH6 series that earlier speculation had pointed towards.
Why a Mark II rather than a GH6? Because it would appear that the next camera in the GH series will be an incremental upgrade to the GH5, rather than the long-awaited next generation.
According to the leak, the Panasonic GH5 Mark II will be physically identical the GH5 (with a 138.5x 98.1×87.4mm body that weighs 647g) and potentially also have the same 20.33MP sensor, capable of shooting 4K/60p video.
The only real specs upgrade from the GH5 that’s been leaked so far is that its 3.68-million dot EVF will come with a faster 120fps refresh rate, and that it’ll have a DMW-BLK22 battery (the same as the one used by the full-frame Panasonic Lumix S5).
So far, the leaks haven’t contained any information about potential upgrades to autofocus, video bit-rate or codec support on the GH5 Mark II, so it could certainly bring some further benefits for video shooters.
However, the rumored price tag from the Nokishita leak of $1,697 (around £1,205 / AU$2,160) suggests the GH5 Mark II could well be an incremental upgrade in most respects, given the GH5 arrived in 2017 for a body-only price of $1,999.
We’ll update this page with further leaks or official information about the GH5 Mark II, but in the meantime here’s a roundup of all the prior rumors we’ve seen for the Panasonic GH6.
Panasonic GH6 specs and features
Prior to the Panasonic GH5 Mark II leak, there had been widespread speculation about the arrival of at least one new camera in a rumored Panasonic GH6 series.
This is because, right now, you can buy two Panasonic GH5 series cameras new – the GH5 and GH5S. The next generation had been rumored to have three members; the GH6, GH6V and GH6X.
Their letters don’t really matter, but what they connote does. The Panasonic GH6V would be the equivalent of the GH5S, a camera made for video.
The GH6X was expected to be the stills model and the GH6 is the all-rounder, and almost certainly the cheapest of the three. It was expected to directly fill the space left by today’s Panasonic GH5 – although for the timebeing, it would appear the Panasonic GH5 Mark II will be filling that role (for now, at least).
Still, earlier rumors had pointed to a family structure very similar to that of Sony’s full-frame A7 series, or Panasonic’s own S1 family.
If a Panasonic GH6 family is still in the works, Panasonic may well stagger their releases. Don’t expect to hear about all three at the same time. This triple GH6 rumor also came from a Facebook group, so its veracity is highly questionable.
The Panasonic GH6’s sensor details provided one of the juiciest rumors to date. It’s rumored to be based on the Sony IMX594 or IMX492, with the latter the most likely according a recent post from 43Rumors. Both are Four Thirds camera sensors listed for use in security and surveillance cameras.
They have an effective resolution of 41MP shooting at 4:3 aspect ratio, very high for this size of sensor. This is a worry when smaller sensor pixels usually mean more noise at higher ISO sensitivities, but these sensors are designed specifically to cope with minimal light.
Sony’s security camera sensor division has a technology called Starvis, designed to offer good quality color and monochrome images with moving subjects that won’t allow for long exposures.
If the Panasonic GH6 does use a consumer camera take on the IMX594, it will likely benefit from the same advancements, wrapped up without the Starvis name stuck on the front.
Those sensors are also capable of 8K resolution video capture at 30fps, which would be a natural evolution for the series – even if Panasonic GH5 Mark II leaks suggest it will remain at 4K for now.
The Panasonic GH5S can shoot at up to 60fps in DCI 4K resolution, which is 4096×2160 pixels. And the cheaper GH5 even has a 6K capture at 30fps mode, added in a 2017 firmware update. However, it is not part of the core feature set and is effectively a tweak of the 6K burst stills mode the camera had at launch.
If Panasonic is to separate this family into three forks, it seems unlikely all three would offer 8K capture. But there are other rumored upgrades too, including 6K capture and 4K Raw.
A “Raw” codec is one of the rival Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K‘s key features, but it is not Raw in the purest sense, as the codec still reduces file size to avoid the ungainly weight of completely unprocessed footage. Blackmagic calls its Raw format “visually lossless”, the most important parts being 12-bit color and a flat profile to maximize dynamic range.
However, the Panasonic GH6 is likely to have the same 10-bit 4:2:2 color as the GH5S. So what will the 4K mode actually add? It may be a higher bit-rate alternative to V-log, a flat format that preserves dynamic range for greater editing flexibility.
V-log was a paid update in the Panasonic GH5 and GH4, and may well be again for the base Panasonic GH6 (or, potentially, the rumored Panasonic GH5 Mark II).
Panasonic Lumix GH6 autofocus
One of the most predictable feature rumors of the Panasonic GH6 is that it will have better autofocus. Just about every camera refresh promises faster focusing, but this time there is also talk of a completely new focusing system.
GH series cameras use Panasonic’s “Depth from Defocus” focusing, which is effectively fancy contrast detection. Predictive algorithms speed-up focusing significantly, but not to a “best in class” level. The obvious place to head next is on-sensor phase detection points, as used in most other compact system cameras.
Phase detection has been used in Micro Four Thirds cameras before, such as the Olympus E-M1 III, so this is not a fanciful idea. However, there is still a chance Panasonic may stick with an intelligent contrast detection system, perhaps invoking “AI” to convince us it is that much smarter than Depth from Defocus.
There’s also plenty of scope to improve tracking and eye AF using software with this approach, rather than jumping to on-sensor phase detection focusing.
There are two other upgrades on the cards; an improved IBIS system and a longer-lasting battery. The Panasonic GH5S is rated for 410 shots per charge, or 60 minutes of video, and uses the same BLF19 battery as other GH-series cameras since 2012’s Lumix GH3.
The Panasonic GH5 Mark II leak has pointed towards the camera having a DMW-BLK22 battery, which is the same as the one in the full-frame Panasonic Lumix S5, so it’s certainly seems to be possible to fit a new battery into the GH5’s form factor. Whether or not Panasonic is still planning to release a GH6 with a similar upgrade remains to be seen.
Panasonic GH6 early thoughts
The recent leaked specs for a rumored Panasonic GH5 Mark II have thrown the Panasonic GH6 into some doubt.
The GH5 Mark II certainly appears to be an incremental upgrade to the GH5, but it doesn’t necessarily spell the end to hopes of a GH6. For example, Sony recently announced a very minor update to its Sony A7R IV, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a Sony A7R V isn’t in the pipeline.
Right now, the arrival of a GH5 Mark II looks very likely, and an official launch should hopefully some hints of what the future holds for the series. The role of a GH5 successor is to offer something for videographers that full-frame and APS-C cameras cannot – and one of those is the combination of a very appealing price tag and small form factor.
It’s still possible that Panasonic will look to give its Micro Four Thirds a generational leap further down the line, but for now we’ll be eagerly anticipating the official word on that rumored GH5 Mark II.