Can You Actually Shoot 6K with the GH5? Turns Out You Might

By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

When Panasonic announced the GH5, some fans were a bit miffed by the fact it still shot in 4K, rather than using the entire 6K sensor. But one YouTuber has figured out that there just may be a way to convince the GH5 to shoot in 6K (sort of) through the 6K photo mode, and you can even have sound! But you have jump through a few hoops.

We said the potential was there when the GH5 was announced back at CES. But could someone crack the code? Well, New York wedding and travel photographer JD of the YouTube channel Perspective Captured,  has been experimenting with 6K Photo mode of the GH5 and has managed to get video by setting the shutter to start and stop. This means that the photo mode will keep capturing still images, with sound, until you press the shutter a second time to stop it. Effectively turning the GH5 into a 6K video camera.

But as JD explains, while it’s great that you can in fact capture 6K video that way, the problem is that the video is recorded in H.265, the once and future king of ultra high definition codecs. That codec currently isn’t supported by most video editing utilities yet, so you have to then convert your H.265 video to ProRes in order to edit it.  For that, JD uses Rocky Mountain Video Converter to make the transition. “It’s a very computer intensive process,” JD says in his YouTube video. “So you’re only going to want to use that 6K mode for those perfect, special moments.”

The conversion is huge too. JD says that every frame of 6K photo mode is 18 mp, and his 12 second test footage took nearly two and a half hours to convert, and the file size is six times larger. So JD says you want to be prepared for your computer to do some pretty heavy lifting that will take it over if you go that route. The other drawback is that in 6K photo mode, the image is shot in a 4:3 ratio, so it’s not exactly cinematic to modern standards. Also, many point out that in 6K photo mode, the resolution isn’t really 6K at all, but a resolution of 4992×3744 or 5184×3456, depending on the options you select. Basically, 5K.

Still, even at that, you have plenty of real estate there to crop down to wide screen for a 4K output.  JD says the additional benefit of shooting your video in 6K photo mode is that you can pull a professional quality still image grab from any frame, making it ideal for wedding videographers to do double duty as the wedding photographer as well, and vice versa. The same could also be said for ENG and Sports Photography. Or just about any other medium where you need to have both stills and video.

But what needs to happen for H.265 to go mainstream? Well, JD says that it is dependent on whether companies like Apple, Blackmagic and Adobe get serious about supporting  the codec natively in their video editing software. Once that summit is reached, then more camera companies will begin to make the move away from aging codecs like H.264, or at least give shooters the option of H265. Some have, but most aren’t jumping on board just yet. Maybe the GH5’s Photo Mode will be the first big step. And from there, it’s only a short jump this …

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