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Panasonic GH5 versus Canon 1D X Mark II

The Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 and the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2017 and February 2016. The GH5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the 1DX Mark II is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a Four Thirds (GH5) and a full frame (1DX Mark II) sensor. The Panasonic has a resolution of 20.2 megapixel, whereas the Canon provides 20 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Panasonic GH5 vs Canon 1D X Mark II

The physical size and weight of the Panasonic GH5 and the Canon 1D X Mark II are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the GH5 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Panasonic GH5 vs Canon 1D X Mark II
Compare GH5 versus 1DX Mark II top
Compare GH5 and 1DX Mark II rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Canon 1D X Mark II is considerably larger (95 percent) than the Panasonic GH5. Moreover, the 1DX Mark II is substantially heavier (111 percent) than the GH5. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (GH5) and the Canon EF Lens Catalog (1DX Mark II). Mirrorless cameras, such as the Panasonic GH5, have moreover the advantage that they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance and can thus use many lenses from other systems via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the GH5 gets 410 shots out of its DMW-BLF19 battery, while the 1DX Mark II can take 1210 images on a single charge of its LP-E19 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic GH5» 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 725 g 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i
Canon 1D X Mark II« 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1530 g 1210 Y Feb 2016 5,999 i i
Canon 5D Mark IV« » 151 mm 116 mm 76 mm 890 g 900 Y Aug 2016 3,499 i i
Canon 80D« » 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i
Canon 5DS« » 152 mm 116 mm 76 mm 930 g 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon 1D X« » 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1551 g 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799- i
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » 150 mm 160 mm 80 mm 1385 g 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999- i
Nikon D500« » 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i
Olympus E-M1 II« » 134 mm 91 mm 67 mm 574 g 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i
Panasonic GH5s« » 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 660 g 440 Y Jan 2018 2,499 i i
Panasonic G9« » 137 mm 97 mm 92 mm 658 g 400 Y Nov 2017 1,699 i i
Panasonic G85« » 128 mm 89 mm 74 mm 505 g 330 Y Sep 2016 899 i i
Panasonic GX8« » 133 mm 78 mm 63 mm 487 g 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199- i
Panasonic GH4« » 133 mm 93 mm 84 mm 560 g 500 Y Feb 2014 1,499- i
Sony A9« » 127 mm 96 mm 63 mm 673 g 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i
Sony A7 II« » 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 599 g 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i
Sony A77« » 143 mm 104 mm 81 mm 732 g 470 Y Aug 2011 1,999- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The GH5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 67 percent) than the 1DX Mark II, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Panasonic GH5 vs Canon 1D X Mark II

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Panasonic GH5 features a Four Thirds sensor and the Canon 1D X Mark II a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the 1DX Mark II is 284 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 2.0 and 1.0. The sensor in the GH5 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the 1DX Mark II offers a 3:2 aspect.

Panasonic GH5 and Canon 1D X Mark II sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Panasonic GH5 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixel, compared with 20 MP of the Canon 1D X Mark II. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.34μm versus 6.57μm for the 1DX Mark II). However, it should be noted that the GH5 is a somewhat more recent model (by 11 months) than the 1DX Mark II, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that partly offset its pixel-size disadvantage. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the GH5 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

GH5 versus 1DX Mark II MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the 1DX Mark II offers substantially better image quality than the GH5 (overall score 11 points higher). The advantage is based on 0.2 bits higher color depth, 0.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Panasonic GH5» Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777
Canon 1D X Mark II« Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484K/60p24.113.5320788
Canon 5D Mark IV« » Full Frame 30.1 6720 44804K/30p24.813.6299591
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579
Canon 5DS« » Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/60p24.712.4238187
Canon 1D X« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280
Panasonic GH5s« » Four Thirds 9.9 3680 27004K/60p----
Panasonic G9« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p----
Panasonic G85« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.565671
Panasonic GX8« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675
Panasonic GH4« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34564K/30p23.212.879174
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792
Sony A7 II« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990
Sony A77« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.280178

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, and both provide the same movie specifications (4K/60p).

 

Feature comparison: Panasonic GH5 vs Canon 1D X Mark II

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the GH5 has an electronic viewfinder (3680k dots), while the 1DX Mark II has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic GH5 and Canon 1D X Mark II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Panasonic GH5»3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 8000 12.0 n Y
Canon 1D X Mark II«optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 16.0 n n
Canon 5D Mark IV« »optical Y 3.2 1620 fixed Y 8000 7.0 n n
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n
Canon 5DS« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Canon 1D X« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n n
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y
Panasonic GH5s« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 8000 12.0 n n
Panasonic G9« »3680 Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 20.0 n Y
Panasonic G85« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 9.0 Y Y
Panasonic GX8« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Panasonic GH4« »2359 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 8000 12.0 Y n
Sony A9« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 20.0 n Y
Sony A7 II« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y
Sony A77« »2359 Y 3.0 921 full-flex n 8000 12.0 Y Y

Both the GH5 and the 1DX Mark II are current models that good online retailers will have in stock. You can check the latest prices, for example, at amazon. The 1DX Mark II replaced the earlier Canon 1DX, while the GH5 followed on from the Panasonic GH4.

Review summary: Panasonic GH5 vs Canon 1D X Mark II

So how do things add up? Is the Panasonic GH5 better than the Canon 1D X Mark II or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More compact: Is smaller (139x98mm vs 158x168mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 805g or 53 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (67 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 11 months after the 1DX Mark II).

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Advantages of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (11 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2 stops ISO advantage).
  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • Easier setting verification: Has a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (16 vs 12 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1210 versus 410) out of a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2016).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the GH5 comes out slightly ahead of the 1DX Mark II (9 : 8 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

GH5 09:08 1DX Mark II

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the GH5 or the 1DX Mark II handle or perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Panasonic GH5»HiRec85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i
Canon 1D X Mark II«-89/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2016 5,999 i i
Canon 5D Mark IV« »HiRec87/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2016 3,499 i i
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i
Canon 5DS« »Rec83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i i
Canon 1D X« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-HiRec4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i
Nikon D500« »HiRec91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i
Panasonic GH5s« »-84/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2018 2,499 i i
Panasonic G9« »HiRec85/1005/5-5/5 Nov 2017 1,699 i i
Panasonic G85« »HiRec84/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899 i i
Panasonic GX8« »Rec82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199- i
Panasonic GH4« »HiRec85/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2014 1,499- i
Sony A9« »HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i
Sony A7 II« »Rec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i
Sony A77« »91/10081/100-4.5/55/5 Aug 2011 1,999- i

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please contact me, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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