Everything We Know About the Panasonic S5 Full-frame Camera

Panasonic teased the upcoming Lumix S5 mirrorless camera on Wednesday, August 19, before the official announcement. This is the first acknowledgment of Panasonic’s purportedly low-end full-frame camera, which is quite rumored.

If a leaked spec sheet is to be believed, the S5 will sit a tier below the Panasonic S1, a beef mirrorless camera that earned the Editors’ Choice Award when we reviewed it in 2019. The S1 is a powerful, high-end camera. Which targets professional shooters. It also weighs more than most DSLRs. The S5 is rumored to weigh 715 grams, making it 30% lighter than the S1.

While the teaser image reveals little about the camera beyond the “S5” badge, we can gloss over some of it. The top plate appears to dominate the control dial, whose relatively large size indicates that it is indeed a small body. It also looks as if the top LCD panel of the S1 does not exist, which confirms the idea that the S5 is a lower-level camera.

A smaller, simpler and (presumably) cheaper S-series camera is exactly what Panasonic needs. So far, the series has started with S1 (originally $ 2,500) at $ 2,000, putting it out of reach of most nonprofits. Canon, Nikon and Sony all offer entry-level full-frame models below the $ 2,000 mark. The more acceptable camera will help Panasonic bring in new customers, and possibly boost the overall popularity of the L-mount (which is shared by Panasonic, Leica and Sigma).

What else do we know

Going back to the leaked spec sheet, the Panasonic S5 will feature a 24-megapixel sensor, possibly similar to the one in the S1. The video mode looks surprisingly capable for entry-level cameras, offering 10-bit 4K / 60 up to 200 megabits per second. Even anamorphic video modes are listed.

While 6K video does not appear to be an option, Panasonic has a 6K photo mode. It shoots 6K “stills” at 30 frames per second, but is actually a video mode behind the scenes. Similarly, 4K photo mode returns, frame rate up to 60 fps.

It all looks quite good, but there are some specs that give us a break. The electronic viewfinder clearly has a resolution of just 2.36 million pixels, certainly on the low end of what we would want in a modern camera. The S1 and S1R debuted with 5.76 million-pixel EVFs, with the Sony A7S III offering 9.44 million-dot units earlier this summer, the highest-resolution options available.

The spec sheet also mentions that Panasonic’s contrast-detection “depth from defocus” autofocus technology will return. We would expect the final stage detection AF for Panasonic to adopt, which works better in continuous mode, specifically for video, but it seems like we’re out there. However, it is not surprising that such a feature would not be offered in the entry-level model.

Again, none of the above information has been confirmed by Panasonic. We might be surprised on September 2, but whatever the final spec is ending, the S5 will be a welcome addition to Panasonic’s full-frameup.

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