GH6 Development Story
Masanori Koyama (Product Planning)
After five years of silence, it has finally arrived
Why did it take five years?
Five years after the launch of the GH5, the GH6 was finally released in March 2022. During that time, there were whispers that LUMIX might have given up on Micro Four Thirds because of its entry into the full-frame market, but this was never the case, and development had been underway since immediately after the release of the GH5. Rather, by stepping into the world of full-frame cameras, we have encountered image expressions that can only be achieved in that realm, and we have developed a tremendous desire to incorporate this image quality and performance to the fullest extent possible in the GH6. And from there, the struggle began. This was an extremely difficult development process that took five years to complete, due in part to the constraints of not compromising the mobility unique to the Micro Four Thirds system.
What, we can enter the same playing field as cinema cameras?
I’ve been in charge of product planning for the successive GH series since the GH1 was released in 2009. When the GH1 was first developed, we envisioned a dual-purpose family single-lens camera that could take both still images and videos by taking advantage of Panasonic's unique strengths in video performance.
However, contrary to our expectations, the GH series moved in a direction we had not anticipated. Videos taken with a single-lens camera attracted a lot of attention in the field of video production because of its interchangeable lenses, larger sensor size, and impressive shallow depth of field compared to compact digital cameras and home video cameras. In a blind test overseas, the GH2 was compared side by side with the more expensive cameras used in film production, and most of the respondents said that the GH2 offered the best image quality. This was a shock, because it was being compared on the same playing field as cinema cameras.
The reason for the change of direction was because of hacking!?
What was even more surprising was that the hacking of the GH2 started to become rampant in the world. About 10 years ago, for example, there were people in the industry who became obsessed with shooting higher quality images by increasing the video bit rate and so on. Of course, this was not within the scope of our guarantee, and none of this was expected, but on the contrary, it was a great realization that such a need existed. Taking this as a hint, the GH series shifted its target users from family to professional use, and from the GH3 onward, we focused on the concept of mastering the world of image production with a full-fledged single-lens camera. Through these changes, the GH series is now recognized as a pioneer in SLR video.
The GH6 continues to carry on the style of the series
In the past, our customers have responded beyond our expectations, and we are keenly aware that we must always develop cameras that transcend conventional thinking in order to meet their expectations. The creative fields in which creators are active in and their methods of expression are changing rapidly with the times. The GH series is a camera that continues to take on the challenge of creating powerful support for the new visual expressions demanded by the field with its camera performance. The GH6 is packed with features and performance that reflect the feedback we have gathered from our many visits to creators' sites.
We are very much looking forward to seeing the GH6 produce innovative photographic and video works, as well as the new development paths that will be paved from there.
GH6 Development Story