This just in: Panasonic has announced a pair of successors to the LUMIX S5. The LUMIX S5II offers a significant upgrade over version one, including a brand-new sensor/processor pair, new Phase Hybrid AF system, Active I.S., and a comprehensive improvement to video functionality. The LUMIX S5IIX offers the same improvements over the LUMIX S5, with additional professional-level videography features. Either way, the hope is that you won’t ever have to abandon a quest for an image because of either the environment or the camera itself. You’ll find all the details below!
A brand new processing engine with “L² Technology” offers roughly a 2x higher-speed than that of the LUMIX S5; paired with a new 24.2 MP CMOS image sensor, this will be a totally fresh experience.
Also new for Panasonic mirrorless cameras: 779 phase detection autofocus points, most of which are contrast detection points. The AF system’s ability to precisely detect and track human subjects has improved greatly as a result of the incorporation of PDAF points into the hybrid AF architecture. Thanks to both the upgraded AF and the faster processor, the LUMIX S5II and S5IIX will be able to hold focus on a subject while zooming, which is pretty neat.
That covers compensation for a moving subject—what about your own motion? Panasonic’s got you covered there, too. The super-smooth Active Image Stabilization mode has been rated by Panasonic as being about 200% better than the IBIS found on the LUMIX S5. You’ll be able to leave that gimbal at home more than ever before! Plus, the IBIS system can be used to quickly record eight subtly different images for immediate composite into a 96 MP “high res mode” image. Hot dog!
The LUMIX S5II/X‘s video specifications may have received the most attention from the engineers. Thanks to a new, built-in cooling fan (which, somehow, didn’t increase the size of the camera substantially!) you can record up to 4:2:2 10-bit C4K resolution without a time limit. (“Long takes, no breaks!”) 6K video is limited to 30 minutes at a time. That being said, you read that right—the maximum resolution on these cameras is 4:2:0 10-bit 6K 30p. Alternatively, if it’s high framerates you’re after, the LUMIX S5II and S5IIX are capable of recording 4K in up to 48 frames per second, or up to 120 frames per second when in FHD resolution.
These cameras support anamorphic recording, 4 channel audio (with optional DMW-XLR1 accessory), and real-time LUT application—a first-in-class feature! The ability to color-grade not only in-camera but actually as you go makes professional video quality even more attainable for the masses.
One of the coolest features that has recently started gaining some traction in the industry is found here on the LUMIX S5II and S5IIX: dual-native ISO. Choose from a base of 100 or 640 for minimal noise at all light levels!
A quick explanation, since this is a relatively new technology…
Digital sensor sensitivity is adjusted by applying gain to the circuit—in essence, “turning up the volume” on the light-sensitive receptors. The side effect of increasing the gain is more noise in the output. The more sensitivity is increased, the more noise is added to the image. The reason most cameras have a base ISO around 100 is that deviation in either direction from the base ISO can degrade image quality, and for bright, daylight scenes you’re going to want a quality image at 100 ISO. “Dual-native ISO” indicates that there are two analog sensitivity circuits built into the sensor. When you want to work in low-light, you can change the base ISO to a higher sensitivity, meaning less gain will need to be applied to achieve very high levels of sensitivity and, therefore, less noise will be present in the final image or video.
More to love
- 14+ stops of dynamic range in V-Log or V-Gamut
- In-camera still image or video cropping (e.g. record in 6K and output a custom-cropped 4K file)
- Sheer overlay using a photo or single frame of video to aid in subsequent shot composition
- Live View Composite for long exposure perfection
- AFS/AFC RAW burst recording at 30 fps—a remarkable improvement from the LUMIX S5‘s max of 7 fps, AFS only
- LUMIX Sync app provides robust sensitivity
- 8-direction joystick and discrete function buttons provide robust physical control
- Dust/splash-resistant; durable magnesium alloy body
- Twin UHS-II SDXC memory card slots
- USB-C PD power compatibility
- HDMI Type A (that’s full-size, folks!)
- 3680k-dot OLED LVF and free-angle 1840k-dot 3″ LCD
- Battery grip available
A quick note on differences
- Completely black body (see below) for less intrusive presence when recording
- RAW video data output (possible on the LUMIX S5II with optional accessory unit)
- USB-SSD recording to SSDs of up to 2 TB
- ALL-Intra video
- Pro-Res support
- Wireless and wired IP streaming
For professional videography, the LUMIX S5IIX is the clear choice. Otherwise, for general hybrid prosumer use, the LUMIX S5II is more than powerful enough for perfect motion and pictures. (Unless you’re like me and that all-black styling is reason enough to upgrade. 😉)
Stop in at a Mike’s Camera near you or click here to pre-order today!
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