Benchmark LUMIX S Series Cameras unveiled: S5IIX and S5II deliver Phase Hybrid AF and Active IS

LUMIX S5II & S5IIX Hybrid Full Frame Mirrorless CamerasThe new LUMIX S5IIX and S5II embody Panasonic’s strategy of developing hybrid full-frame mirrorless cameras that offer a significant step forward for ambitious creators who demand uncompromising performance free of capture and workflow constraints.

Aaron Waters, Product Marketing Manager, Imaging, Panasonic, said: “The new cameras are a serious evolution in performance. Key capabilities that will be a powerful attraction for today’s committed enthusiasts include a new 24.2MP sensor and a new processor born from the Panasonic and LEICA L2 Technology alliance. This makes possible Phase Hybrid AF and Active IS for reinforced command over subject tracking and stabilisation. Other features that expand the videographer’s horizon include unlimited 4:2:2 10-bit C4K/4K recording achieved via a fan and high-efficiency heat sink; full-sensor video shooting; and REAL TIME LUT for on-the-spot colour grading without postproduction.

“LUMIX has a loyal community that has benefited from continued enhancements to the range. The improvements to the AF system will further encourage adoption by first-time mirrorless buyers, allowing them to enjoy the capabilities that LUMIX has to offer.”

Each camera has an individual style, with the LUMIX S5IIX sporting a LUMIX-first monochromatic all-black look, while the S5II features the signature LUMIX design with red and white accents. Both offer an impressive feature set, with the step-up S5IIX offering a range of pro-level video features pre-installed, including HDMI RAW video data output, USB-SSD, ALL-Intra and ProRes recording, and wireless and wired IP streaming.

  1. Professional-quality photo/video performance for unlimited expression

Panasonic has developed a new 24.2-megapixel 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor that features on-sensor PDAF (Phase Detection Auto-Focus). Under the L2 Technology alliance formed by LEICA and LUMIX, both brands co-invested to develop a new imaging engine that has approximately 2x higher-speed signal processing for high bit-rate video recording and improved high burst rate photography.

Aaron Waters explained: “LUMIX has taken the accuracy of Depth From Defocus and the smart subject detection of AI and added Phase Detection to offer high performance auto focus, in both photo and video modes.

The new PDAF has 779 focus points, and with the new generation processor, provides total AF confidence and a strong ‘lock’ on the subject.”

With the adoption of PDAF, the AF system has evolved into Phase Hybrid AF. Advanced subject detection and metering technologies lock on, track and capture the target subject in focus in a range of shooting situations – from fast moving sports or multiple subjects; to vlog style content such as talking to camera in a studio or holding up an object to the camera; and backlit or low illumination environments. Major improvements to the AF performance for overall reliability when shooting at 24fps will make the cameras a go-to for You Tube content creators.

With an increased buffer memory size, the LUMIX S5II and S5IIX are capable of impressive high speed burst shooting at up to 30 fps (AFS/AFC) with an electronic shutter in JPEG/RAW.

Another game-changer delivered with the LUMIX S5II and S5IIX is the new Active I.S. This builds on Panasonic’s history of innovation and reputation in the image stabilisation field by determining the status of camera shake and optimising horizontal, vertical, and rotational correction ratios. The system can compensate for significant camera shake in video recording, approximately 200% more when compared to the LUMIX S5[i]. It is highly beneficial in challenging situations, such as handheld filming while walking without using a gimbal, long-shutter handheld shots such as night-time or moving water, and telephoto fixed-frame shots. The cameras also offer Dual I.S.2 with a high-precision 5-axis gyro sensor for stills shooting.

  1. A variety of video functions and recording options

The LUMIX S5II and S5IIX are built for the videographer who desires freedom from restriction. They introduce 4:2:0 10-bit 6K (3:2) to the S Series, which makes it easy to crop for multiple aspect ratios (16:9, 9:16, 1:1) from the same source footage while maintaining resolution. For example, when you take a 9:16 vertical image out of 6K footage you still maintain a greater than 4K vertical image which can be viewed on mobile devices.

The cameras’ new and extremely compact active heat management system delivers unlimited recording in all environments while not adding extra bulk to hamper the photographer, providing free rein in the field[ii]. The 14+ stop V-Log/V-Gamut capture offers a high dynamic range, consistent colour management and streamlined post-production. In addition, with in-camera colour grading via REAL TIME LUT, creative scope is increased while workflow is reduced – excellent for repeatable setups such as content creators who work in the same studio or are looking to repeat the same style in camera instead of applying the same LUT in post.

The new cameras provide 4:2:0 10-bit 6K (17:9) / 5.9K (16:9), unlimited 4:2:2 10-bit C4K/4K recording capability[iii]. HFR (High Frame Rate) in C4K/4K (48p), FHD (120p), Slow & Quick motion in C4K/4K(1-60fps) / FHD(1-180fps), and 4K HDR video recording are also available. 4K 60p Time Lapse video can also be produced in-camera. The exposure is automatically adjusted to prevent large changes in brightness between adjacent frames, allowing smooth daytime to nighttime time lapses to be created. Practical tools included are Waveform Monitor, Vector Scope, Zebra Pattern, System Frequency (24.00Hz), Synchro Scan, Fan mode and a control panel for quick menu selection.

By using the optional XLR Microphone Adaptor DMW-XLR1 and the 3.5mm input jack/built-in microphone, users can capture four channels of audio, reducing the need for external audio recording devices.

  1. Excellent operability and functions to enhance workflow

The small size of the new S Series cameras and the lenses available means a low-impact kit, and no compromise on performance with a wealth of capabilities designed for a superior shooting experience. AWB Lock keeps the white balance set in auto, while Sheer Overlay can now be used in Creative Video mode footage sequences. Live Crop allows digital zooming and panning on the 6K sensor in a 4K video recording, making it easy for a creator to add smooth motion without having to move the camera.

In a step up from the S5, the new, larger 3,680K-dot OLED LVF (Live View Finder) has a magnification ratio of approx. 1.52x / 0.76x (35mm camera equivalent). A versatile, bright free-angle 3.0-inch LCD rear monitor (3:2 aspect, 1840K-dot) with touch control allows for quick changes to settings, even when both the HDMI cable and USB cable are connected, or the user is in front of the camera.

The Live View Composite Mode[iv] takes away the guess work, allowing the photographer to set the desired exposure, take the shot, then view the image on the screen as it is being exposed in real time. Once they are happy with how the shot looks, they simply hit the shutter button again to stop the exposure. This mode is also great for light painting, shooting light trails and other long exposure scenarios.

The drive dial now includes a setting for 96-megapixel High Resolution Mode. In this mode the camera captures 8 images in quick succession, with small movements of the sensor between shots to capture extra resolution. There is no requirement to stitch images using software as the camera combines the shots into one image. This mode also features motion compensation, further expanding the use of High Resolution Mode in general photography.

  1. Impressive quality, performance and connectivity

The LUMIX S5II and S5IIX have been designed to offer dependable video recording in real-world conditions and have a new heat dispersion mechanism combining a small fan and high-efficiency heat sink. As a result, they achieve continuous video recording[v] in C4K 60p, while the camera body remains conveniently compact. Users can shoot worry-free, whether capturing extended recordings or livestreaming. To withstand heavy field use, the cameras have a magnesium alloy full die-cast body and are splash/dust-resistant.[vi]

The LUMIX S5II and S5IIX support USB 3.2 Gen 2 for high-speed writing and readout. The dual SD Card slots (UHS-II x 2) offer a choice of Relay Recording, Backup Recording or Allocation Recording modes, with the card access indicator now located inside the card slot cover.  Videographers will be thrilled that the cameras have a full HDMI Type A terminal, offering a more robust connection without the need for adaptors. For external microphone connection, a Φ3.5mm input jack is provided as well as a headphone jack.

Content sharing with smartphones is streamlined using Bluetooth 5.0 Low Energy connection, Wi-Fi 5-GHz (IEEE802.11ac) and 2.4-GHz (IEEE 802.11b/g/n). With an always-on Bluetooth connection, a smartphone can act as the camera’s remote control via the LUMIX Sync app. The settings of the LUMIX S5II and S5IIX can also be copied and transmitted wirelessly to other S5II and S5IIX cameras when using multiple cameras.

The cameras are compatible with LUMIX Tether applications which enable tethered shooting via USB. Users can control and view multiple cameras by connecting them to a PC. For live streaming, LUMIX Tether for Streaming (Beta) with LIVE VIEW mode is available. LUMIX Sync for iOS/Android devices enables image transfer to a smartphone or tablet via easy wireless connection.

The 2200mAh high-capacity battery (DMW-BLK22) can be recharged either via AC or USB which is convenient if you are travelling and want to use a USB power bank. It also complies with USB PD (Power Delivery) when used with the optional LUMIX Battery Charger (DMW-BTC15). The current Battery Grip (DMW-BGS5) is compatible with the new cameras.

  1. The best lineup of full-frame lenses

The Panasonic LUMIX S Series boasts a total lineup of 14 lenses including the new LUMIX S 14-28mm F4-5.6 MACRO (S-R1428). Users can take advantage of the five-strong LUMIX F1.8 lens series which all feature the same exterior, and offer convenience by having the same filter size. Using lenses of a similar size, diameter and centre of gravity also makes it easy to switch between them when an S Series camera is mounted on a gimbal, for example. All these lenses have the same high-quality colour rendering, and bokeh performance. Covering virtually any framing and composition, use of these fixed focal length lenses ensures filmmaking with streamlined workflow and post-production.

LUMIX S Series lenses all feature linear motors with the option to change how the focus ring responds. For the non-linear setting, focus is shifted with a variable amount according to the rotation speed of the focus ring; while for linear setting focus is shifted with a designated amount according to the rotational quantum of the focus ring. Sensitivity (the amount of focus shift per rotational quantum) can be selected from 90 to 1080 degrees. With MF Assist, there is now the ability to enlarge the focus point to check critical focus while recording video[vii].

Furthermore, the L-Mount system provides the largest native lineup of full-frame lenses to choose from, with 61 lenses to date for a limitless spectrum of creative possibilities. The LUMIX S5II and S5IIX will also recognise the focal length of an analog lens such as anamorphic or other old lenses, and automatically use the in-body image stabiliser.

  1.  Even more with the LUMIX S5IIX

The LUMIX S5IIX has all of the remarkable features of the LUMIX S5II and more. it is the first full-frame mirrorless camera to record directly to an external SSD (solid-state drive) via USB-C, offering workflow and cost advantages. Professionals will also benefit from the inclusion of advanced video codecs such as All-Intra and ProRes. The camera is capable of RAW video output via HDMI supported by an external recorder.[viii] The GH5II’s streaming capabilities were well received, and are now introduced in the LUMIX S5IIX, with features including wired[ix]/wireless IP streaming and USB tethering – making this a perfect tool for the video/hybrid creator. The design too, offers a superior point of difference with a LUMIX-first monochromatic all-black look.

  1. Future firmware update

To enhance the performance of the LUMIX S5II and S5IIX, the functions below will be available via a future firmware update.
・RAW data output using Software Upgrade Key DMW-SFU2 (S5II)[x]
・Live View Composite (S5II)[xi]
and more.

Pricing and Availability

LUMIX DC-S5M2GN: Body only: RRP $3199

LUMIX DC-S5M2KGNKit with LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 lens (S-R2060GC): RRP $3699

LUMIX DC-S5M2XGN: Body only: RRP $3499

LUMIX DC-S5M2XKGNKit with LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 lens (S-R2060GC): RRP $3999

The cameras will be available from leading photographic specialists.  The LUMIX S5II is available in late January 2023 and the S5IIX is available in late May 2023.

  • L-Mount is a trademark or registered trademark of Leica Camera AG.
  • Wi-Fi® is a registered trademark of Wi-Fi Alliance®
  • The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Panasonic Corporation is under license.
  • Other trademarks and trade names are those of their respective owners.
  • Design and specifications are subject to change without notice.

[i] Compared with LUMIX S5. Focal length 20mm, when using S-R2060.

[ii] 6K and 5.8K at 30p/25p video recording stops once when continuous recording time exceeds 30 minutes if [Thermal Management] is set to [Standard].

[iii] When the camera is used at the recommended operating temperature of 0-40 degrees Celsius.

[iv] Available via future firmware update

[v] When the camera is used at recommended operating temperature 0-40 degrees C.

6K and 5.9K at 30p/25p video recording stops once when continuous recording time exceeds 30 minutes if [Thermal Management] is set to [STANDARD]

[vi] Dust and Splash Resistant does not guarantee that damage will not occur if this lens is subjected to direct contact with dust and water. To avoid damage when using the camera under these conditions, it must be used in accordance with associated instructions in the manual.

[vii] Up to 60p. Does not work in Variable Frame Rate or Live Cropping modes.

[viii] Compatible with the Atomos Ninja V+ monitor recorder.

[ix] Requires USB-LAN adaptor, sold separately

[x] The firmware will be released in mid-2023. (These functions are pre-installed in the S5IIX.)

[xi] The firmware will be released in mid-2023. (These functions are pre-installed in the S5IIX.)