The combined optical and sensor based image stabilisation of the new GX80 has to find its way in to the forthcoming Panasonic Lumix GH5
One of the standout features of Panasonic’s new GX80 gives us a very strong indication as to a new feature we could see on the Panasonic Lumix GH5, which is expected to arrive later this year, most likely around the time of Photokina. There is already speculation, including that the Lumix GH5 could shoot at a 6K resolution, but obviously, currently everything is just speculation and gossip.However, the new Dual IS of the Panasonic Lumix GX80 is one that we should expect to see in the GH5, and indeed, given the price of the GX80, we could see it in many of Panasonic’s MFT system cameras in the future.
The Dual IS system combines a 5-axis sensor based image stabilisation system, with Panasonic’s existing lens based stabilisation. Having 5-axis stabilisation in-camera now puts Panasonic alongside Sony, who has 5-axis stabilisation in the second generation of its A7 series of full frame cameras. It also puts them head to head with Olympus, who use 5-axis stabilisation in some of its own Micro Four Thirds cameras, however, in theory, Panasonic could have the edge with the additional benefit of combining the lens and sensor stabilisation.
When shooting 4K with the GX80 we found that the footage was incredibly steady, and we were able to use a 3 00mm (equivalent) lens handheld and get surprisingly steady footage. There is also a second, electronic, image stabilisation mode that uses a slightly cropped image area. This further enhances the stabilisation effect by shifting the are the sensor is recording from. In this mode the stabilisation feel like it is almost locked on to the subject and there is only the merest hint of breathing up and down as you handhold the camera in a set position.
To test out just how good the Dual IS of the GX80 is, we placed it on a twin camera bar, side-by-side with an Olympus E-M5 II. The Olympus cameras also uses 5-axis sensor based stabilisation, and it is regarded as about the best stabilisation of any camera manufacturer. We then walked along, smoothly and slowly, quickly, and at one point even a light jog, with the two camera, plus we did a few panning shots for good measure.
Both cameras were fitted with the Panasonic 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS (the GX80’s kit zoom). The E-M5 II was set to use in-body stabilisation rather than lens stabilisation.
Overall there is very little difference between the stabilisation shown in the Panasonic Lumix GX80 and the Olympus E-M5. In some regards the Panasonic looks better, in others, the Olympus camera, and it is hard to tell them apart and say that one is definitely better. Both produce quite smooth footage when care is taken to walk slowly and steadily, but when walking naturally, and quickly, they still produce the odd sharp bump and shake. As for jogging, this is obviously far too much for either system to go with.
So whilst the Panasonic GX80 and its Dual IS may not have a hugely noticeable advantage over the 5-axis stabilisation of the Olympus EM5 II, lets remember that the E-M5 II is about as good as image stabilisation gets on what is primarily a still image camera, so the GX80 can compete with the best out there.
With just a good stabilisation system, and one that Panasonic are targeting at videographers, it is a no brainer that Dual IS should be in the GH5, in fact, if anything it is a surprise to see Panasonic put its first use in a camera that is aimed more at the consumer end of the market.
With 4K video and Dual IS, the GX80 looks like a great camera for videographers, it’s just a shame it doesn’t have a microphone socket.