Mirrorless cameras have gone through a drastic change over the years, while in some terms they have become better than most high-end DSLRs. It’s really remarkable with what manufacturers have done with delivering top-notch specs and features to a compact shaped camera.
DSLRs are pretty good for still photography, while some are also great for videography, however, for this article I have decided to make a comparison review for two mirrorless cameras which surpass most other high-end DSLRs when it comes to videography.
If you are someone who doesn’t want a bulky camera to carry with all the time, then the mirrorless camera would be your ideal choice, and hence you’re already reading this review, it means that you’ve already come up with a decision.
It’s obvious that the market is pretty huge and when it comes to choosing a camera, it can be tough so in this article, I am going to try to provide you with the most accurate and precise information that I can, while I am going to mention even the slightest details of both cameras.
In the end, you will also find a comparison table where I’ll be pointing out the most key features and specs of the Panasonic GH5 and the Sony A7S II, whereas you’ll also be able to tell which camera outperforms the other in which case. So, let’s not spoil it any further and get straight into the specifics to see what these cameras are truly capable of.
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Head To Head Comparison
First in line comes the Panasonic GH5 which is not only made up for a consumer camcorder obsolete, but it delivers some high-end features which can be great for those serious videographers, while it all comes in a small and compact package. It’s a versatile interchangeable lens camera that can do whatever you throw at it, photos, videos, and it can accommodate users of different levels, from novice to professionals. It’s considered to be a great camera for film students of any skill level.
If you take a look at the specs alone, you’re likely to confuse this camera for a video camera, although it looks exactly how a mirrorless camera should look like. It looks complex yet simple and compact, it has a sophisticated look with a well-thought-out button layout and controls that are well placed and balanced in-between for easy access. The body’s 1.6-pound weight is all mirrorless, however, the comfortable grip, electronic viewfinder, and all the other buttons/control dials take its design cues from DSLRs.
To continue, another impressive area of this camera is the 3.2-inch LCD screen with 1,620k-dots and the 3,680k-dot viewfinder which both offer the most precise and accurate information of what’s in the frame. In addition, what’s also great is that the LCD is touch-enabled and hinge-mounted which means that it will allow you to take shots from different angles and viewing positions, and as a plus, you can also front-face the LCD for vlogs or selfies.
First, let’s start by describing how this camera performs for photo shooting, therefore, the GH5’s 20.3-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor delivers stunning image quality with excellent detail, while with an ISO sensitivity of 200 to up to 12800, but take in mind that you’ll get the noise-free images at a max ISO of 3,200, highest than that you’ll notice some noise occurring in your image, that’s because this camera is mainly oriented toward videographers rather than photographers, and I’m going to tell you why in just a bit.
The fast and quiet performance that this camera offers it’s remarkable yet it’s able to deliver a continuous shooting speed of 12-frames per second for still photos, and 9-frames per second continuous autofocus. It’s pretty solid but wait there’s more, there is a 6K photo mode available which allows you to take short 6K videos at 30-frames per second while it extracts each individual frame.
More on that, the autofocus enhances the camera’s performance even more, with a bump of 255-point AF system it enables the camera even for commercial application purposes. To be exact, the autofocus system is pretty fast and accurate, especially the pinpoint and one-area focus modes. However, it’s important to mention that you need to tell the camera what part of the image you’d like to focus on because if you don’t the camera will pick a focal point for you which in most cases it’s not where you really want the focus to be.
Since we mentioned the 6K feature, the Panasonic GH5 apart from being able to record at Full HD 1080p, it is also able to capture 4K videos at 60P/50P 3840×2160 in MOV or MP4.
Before we end, when it comes to connections, the Panasonic GH5 consists of a 3.5-millimeter audio port, USB 3.0, an external monitor or external Recorder with a full-size HDMI port and it’s available with Twin SD card slots. The camera is also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled for instant sharing or image transfer, so as you can see, this camera basically checks all the boxes of how a good and decent mirrorless camera should be like.
Simply put, if you want to upgrade your videography to a whole new level, then this is the camera to go with. If you decide to go with this camera, you should read our article on the best l mount lenses or best lenses for panasonic gh5 you can buy.
Panasonic GH5 Sample Footage:
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Sony A7S II
Second in line comes the Sony A7S II which is way more expensive than our first camera, but we’re still about to see which one is better for what and if purchasing this camera is worth it.
Design-wise, the Sony A7S II boasts that traditional classic mirrorless camera design, compact, small and lightweight construction which sits comfortably in the hand due to its well-thought-out aesthetics, the deeply sculpted handgrip with texture to not only deliver comfort but it also gives a great look to the overall appearance of the camera.
The button layout is exactly the same as most mirrorless cameras, you have buttons for direct access to some of the most commonly used features, while I also like the placement of the buttons since they are all well-spaced in-between, thus, you’re unlikely to press something by accident.
I’m not really satisfied with what the manufacturer has done with the LCD screen, since the LCD has no auto-brightness control and it’s not as bright as the GH5’s screen in direct sunlight, however, the finder is. Additionally, the LCD can flip vertically but not as much, while you can’t swing it left or right, some to some point you’ll be able to take shots from different angles but you’ll still be limited with positioning. Although what I’m really disappointed at is that the LCD is not touch-enabled, and at this price range the manufacturer should have done more since this feature has become pretty common even with entry-level cameras.
Nonetheless, now let’s jump to performance and see what else this camera offers.
First, take in mind that this is not the best camera you can find for photography, even though it comes at an expensive price, it’s still very weak for photo shooting. To be exact, it is a 12.2-megapixel E-mount camera with a full-frame sensor while it runs the BIONZ X image processing engine and it has 5-axis image stabilization, but that’s pretty much it.
However, you may already know this but the A7S cameras are great for low-light shooting with a maximum sensitivity setting of ISO 409,600, and a native ISO range 100-102,400. When you combine this with the 5-axis image stabilization you’ll get smoother footage and sharper images.
It’s important to note that the Sony Alpha A7S II has a maximum continuous shooting speed of 5-frames per second.
Now, when it comes to video recording this is where this camera shows quality and performance, with internal 4K video recording, uncompressed 14-bit RAW, 5-axis image stabilization as we mentioned above, high-speed AF while maintaining its legendary low-light capability.
Since we mentioned the AF, this particular model has an improved autofocus system that holds 169-AF points and lets every lens benefit from the 5-ais SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization. With this camera, you’ll get some serious tracking and autofocusing across the frame even with fast-moving subjects. The XGA OLED Tru-Finder has been upgraded to the world’s highest viewfinder magnification of 0.78x and it shows clear images across the entire display area. Unlike an optical viewfinder, the OLED Tru-Finder can be used to instantly show how exposure compensation, white balance, and other commonly used settings will affect the image.
Moreover, you can easily connect with a smartphone device or tablet via the built-in Wi-Fi and NFC, thus, you can instantly share or transfer your images. But that’s not the only method, you can also do this by using the PlayMemories Mobile app, while this also allows for remote camera control from your smartphone, pretty cool huh?
In the end, the Sony A7S II has been and it still remains one of the best mirrorless cameras for videography that you can find out there, it has high-end specs and premium features for what this camera is mainly oriented for.
Sony A7S II Sample Images:
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Panasonic GH5 vs Sony A7S II Feature Comparison
|Panasonic GH5||Sony A7S II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless||Full-Frame Mirrorless|
|AF Points||255 AF Points||169 AF Points|
|Sensor Size||CMOS||Exmor CMOS|
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Now that we got the comparison table out of the way, I believe it’s clear to you which camera is best for what. Although, I’m still giving my personal opinion for both cameras.
The first in our list, the Panasonic GH5 delivers the most value for money, it has some impressive specs along with a plethora of premium features, including the touchscreen capabilities, the 255-point AF system and its 20.3-megapixel sensor, which makes this camera a perfect all-rounder for both still photography and videography even more.
However, as for our second camera, the Sony A7S II, it is mainly oriented towards videographers who want to upgrade their work to a whole new level. It has incredible low-light performance with a native ISO 100-102,400 and a boosted ISO of 409,600. It delivers noise-free results even at extreme ISOs, while it’s perfect even for commercial applications, vloggers who record all the time, and for people who just want a 4K mirrorless camera.
By now, I believe you have enough facts and arguments to support your decision and to help you decide which camera is best for you, and as I said in the beginning, it all depends on what features are you after for more.
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