This is just a quick Panasonic GH6 essential accessories guide to let you know some of the things you may need to consider when buying the camera. Essential could be overstating it but it is simply a list of things that are well worth considering when purchasing the Panasonic GH6.
The true benefit of the GH series is how far they have pushed the Micro Four Thirds format whilst keeping the price tag reasonably accessible. Their ability to harness such intensive computational imaging in a relatively small camera body is very appealing to me. But with this, does come with some considerations when buying the camera.
What lens should I buy for the Panasonic GH6?
The price everyone is banding around for the GH6 is the body-only price, meaning you need to get a lens separately or pay more for the lens bundle if you don’t already have any Micro Four Thirds glass. Luckily MFT lenses are relatively cheap and you can get the standard bundle kit lens for only £199 more, which is a 12-60mm f3.5-5.6mm. Nothing spectacular but more than capable to get out shooting.
What type of lens you need is subjective to what you want the camera for and how you plan to use it. If you start with the kit lens you will soon realise its strengths and weaknesses and that informs you for your next lens purchase. The real joy of Micro Four Thirds is that you can buy some great lenses that are a fraction of the price of other systems. Places like eBay have loads of great MFT glass at low prices, especially if you choose to go for something like a vintage manual lens.
Does the Panasonic GH6 support 4 channel audio?
It does, but not out of the box. To get 4 channel audio you need the DMW-XLR1 adapter which costs around £350 ($400). This is only really necessary if you need those additional XLR inputs. But just be sure that you know you will need that additional accessory to utilise those extra channels of audio.
The Panasonic DMW-XLR1 adapter attaches to the GH6 hot shoe, so if you plan on buying this GH6 accessory and a cage, consider if a cage will fit around it without any issues.
What storage cards do I need for the Panasonic GH6?
The Panasonic GH6 has two card slots, one is a CF Express Type B slot and the other is an SD card slot. The SD card will be limited to (at the time of writing this) 4k 60fps video. To shoot in 4K 120fps or 5.7k formats you will need a CF Express Type B card. These are currently quite expensive, you can get a 128GB card for around £120. A firmware update is coming to support an external HD over USB C. So you will be able to get around 2TB for the price of a 128GB card but the convenience is having that card internally with no wires and mounting needed. It is worth noting, if you are planning on using the higher resolution video modes, you are going to need a lot of space on the cards, 128GB will not last long.
You could get spending a lot here by shooting in the lower frames until the firmware release is available for SSD recording capabilities. Although you will still need a CF Express Type B for relay or backup recording if you plan to use those features. You do get a free CF Express Type B card if you buy the camera on pre-order but the free card doesn’t come with the camera, you need to prove purchase to redeem it. It could take weeks, so this leaves you with a camera you can’t use to its full potential.
Do I need a cage for the Panasonic GH6?
This depends on your usage of the camera, if you only shoot with the camera and no additional accessories then it is not worth it. Say for example you plan on shooting photos only, it has no benefit. A cage adds more weight to your camera but is useful if you plan to attach multiple accessories to it. Let’s say for example you want to use an external mic and an external hard drive, a cage will give you tons of mounting options keeps everything tidy. If you plan on using an external monitor you will need a cage to support the weight as this can put unnecessary strain on the camera’s hot shoe. Tilta and SmallRig have released a new cage for this and it is priced at around £70-£100. This is not essential but worthwhile if you are planning on using the external audio unit and external SSD recording for example.
Do I need ND filters for the Panasonic GH6?
If you are planning on using the Dynamic Boost feature on the camera then you will need to make sure you buy yourself a variable ND filter or a set of NDs. The base ISO for dynamic range boost is 2000, so if you want to shoot wide open in broad daylight you will need to have an ND filter on the camera. ND filters come in all strengths and sizes, if you are unsure of strength and want the ease of use then a variable ND can be a good choice. You will need to find out the thread size of your lens (mm) to get the correct size. If you have lots of different sized lenses you can save a little money initially by getting one for the largest lens and then getting step-down rings to make it work on the smaller ones.
You can get around having an ND filter by just shooting at apertures like 22 but this is going to limit your creative choices when shooting. A lot of people love to blur out the background and that is just not going to be possible in daylight for a lot of situations when using DR boost without an ND filter.
Do I need spare batteries for the Panasonic GH6?
The battery life of the Panasonic GH6 in the higher resolution shooting modes is not going to last a day of shooting, so you will need to look at getting some extra batteries if you plan to do longer shoots. You can use older batteries from your GH5, GH5s or GH5 MkII but this will reduce the amount of shooting modes you can access in the camera. At the time of writing this, you are restricted to 4K 60fps on the older DMW-BLF19 batteries.
The new battery for the Panasonic GH6 is the same as the S5 which is the DMW-BLK22, so luckily there are some good 3rd party alternatives on the market already. I would always recommend picking up at least one extra battery for your camera, even if it is just as a failsafe in case one is damaged or lost.
How much will the GH6 cost in total with all accessories?
I am not saying you NEED all of these things but it is worth considering the additional cost when buying the camera, the same obviously goes for other cameras. Each has its own pros and cons. I have had my Panasonic GH6 since it was first released in early March and regularly use all the accessories in this article with it. Don’t be disappointed on the day of receiving it, make sure you have what you need.
You will soon know if you need additional cards, lenses, and accessories once you start shooting. There are also plenty of other things I have left out here little bags, tripods, etc but I wanted to keep this list concise and to the point.
Below is a breakdown of reasonably priced mid-range accessories, you can go higher or lower depending on your budget.
Panasonic GH6 Cost Breakdown
|Panasonic GH6||£2000 ($2650)|
|Panasonic Kit Lens||£200 ($265)|
|128GB CF Express Type B card||£120 ($158)|
|128GB SD card||£40 ($52)|
|XLR audio unit||£350 ($463)|
|ND filter||£50 ($66)|
|Off-brand batteries and charger||£40 ($52)|
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