Panasonic’s mirrorless cameras are popular with video content creators in particular, with the Japanese company offering some of the most advanced options for them on the market. However, all of the company’s cameras to date have had one big drawback: autofocus. The new Panasonic Lumix S5II and S5IIx models promise to solve this problem, adding contrast detection and phase detection focusing, which is the industry standard.
Panasonic Lumix S5II series, the first with phase detection focusing
The Panasonic Lumix S5II and S5IIx are largely the same camera, but the latter is aimed primarily at those who use the camera for shooting, while the “standard” S5II gets less video capabilities, but could be ideal as a “hybrid” camera to be used for stills as well.
Panasonic’s S series benefits from 35mm Full-Frame sensors, unlike its other cameras, which use the MFT (Micro Four Thids) format. Also, the mount on the Lumix S is L-Mount, made in partnership with Leica.
Both the Lumix S5II and S5IIx models use a new 24.2 megapixel internally stabilised Full-Frame sensor, which benefits from 315 contrast focus points and 779 phase detection focus points. The sensor also benefits from dual native ISO with a range of 100 to 51200, and expandability to 50-204800. This will ensure improved low-light performance, and the L2 image processor is twice as fast as on the original S5.
S5IIx comes with extra features for shooting
Focus is the biggest upgrade, but the Lumis S5II and S5IIx get other new capabilities. For example, there’s now the ability to shoot in 6K in 3:2 “open gate” 4:2:0 10-bit, full sensor area, and 4K 30 FPS footage is shot via 4:2:2 10-bit suer sampling. There’s also 60 FPS 4K shooting, but this is done by 1.5x crop on the sensor, giving an APS-C perspective. The same goes for 1080p shooting at 120 FPS.
The shooting limit for the S5 also disappears, as the sensor now includes an active cooler, which cools it in use. Panasonic says the S5II models remain weather-sealed and with exposed cooler slots, however. A new full-size HDMI port appears instead of micro-HDMI and a dual SD card slot, as well as a 3.6 million dot viewfinder.
The differences between the S5II and the S5IIx, however, are in advanced shooting. For example, the S5IIx will be able to record video to an external SSD via USB-C, while also allowing 600Mbps ALL-I bitrate shooting to SD card. The S5IIx also gets ProRes shooting modes, similar to those on the GH6, which aren’t on the “standard” Lumix S5II, as well as 5.9K 30 FPS 12-bit ProRes RAW, 4K 12-bit and 3.5k 60FPS video on external Atomos Ninja V+ devices. Also, the S5IIx is completely black with no red accents and white logo.
Prices start at $2,000
When shooting, the Lumix S5II will offer 7 FPS RAW with the mechanical shutter and 30 FPS with the electronic one with continuous focus. There’s also a 96-megapixel high-resolution mode, but it requires positioning the camera on a tripod. The camera will use sensor movements to glue multiple frames together for a high-resolution shot.
Panasonic Lumix S5II launches at $2,000 for the body. The S5IIx will cost $2,200, and a $200 S5II upgrade will be available to get the advanced ProRes shooting modes. What the S5II won’t get either after the update is USB-C capture, RAW shooting and live streaming capabilities.