Panasonic Lumix S5II (X) fixes their biggest problem with phase detection
The Panasonic Lumix S5II and Lumix S5IIX have been unveiled and will undoubtedly make the list of the best cameras of the moment. The biggest revelation is that Panasonic has finally traded contrast detection for phase detection, which will make for much better autofocus.
The unveiling of the Lumix S5II and Lumix S5IIX, with 24MP CMOS sensor, took place at CES 2023, the big camera and tech show in Las Vegas. While Lumix models have been doing well for a long time, there was always a big problem: contrast detection autofocus. The focus is determined by contrasts and light, but phase detection also sees where an object is located in the image and is therefore much more precise.
The two cameras are the successor to the Lumix S5 and have a completely new full-frame CMOS sensor with 24 megapixels. The most significant difference between the Lumix S5II and S5IIX is that the X version is made for heavier video codecs. For example, you can record ProRes internally and externally and record RAW video via an external recorder or external SSD. The X version is also slightly pricier.
Filming in 6K
The Lumix S5II and S5IIX can both film in 6K 30fps with 4:2:0 10-bit colour depth. In 4K 60fps, the entire sensor is used. Thanks to the new built-in fan, you can film for up to 40 minutes in the most demanding modes. You can film unlimited in low frame rates and resolutions.
Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF)
The main headline is the advent of on-sensor phase-detect autofocus (PDAF). For years, users have been asking for a better autofocus system, but Panasonic stuck with the old Depth from Defocus system. The old system caused searching focus and therefore ruined video images. The new autofocus system, with 779 autofocus points, is especially welcome for filmmakers. This recognizes people and animals, along with eye and face detection.
Of course, the S5II and S5IIX have internal image stabilization (IBIS) and these have been greatly improved. According to the company, the stabilization is even up to two times better than on the Lumix S5.
Also made for photographers
The Lumix S5II is a hybrid mirrorless camera, which means that you can use it for both film and photography. You can take up to 9 photos per second with the mechanical shutter and up to 30 photos per second with the electronic shutter. You can achieve this speed with both JPEGs and RAW images. While the burst is being made, active rolling shutter suppression is active.
The special 96MP super resolution mode lets you take photos with extra pixels. This is done by taking several photos, shifting one pixel with each photo (pixel shift). This only works with static scenes.
According to Panasonic, the S5II and S5IIX compete with full-frame models that were unveiled not long ago. With this, Panasonic refers to the Canon EOS R6 Mark II and the Sony A7 IV.
Specifications Lumix S5II
- New 24MP full frame CMOS sensor
- 6K 30fps 4:2:0 10-bit (3:2 and 17:9)
- 5.9K 30fps 4:2:0 10-bit (16:9)
- C4K 60fps 4:2:2 10bit
- 9 fps mechanical
- 30fps electronically
- Up to 300 photos buffer for burst RAW+JPG
- Phase detection autofocus with 779 AF points
- 96MP Pixel shift mode
- Real time LUT
- L mount
Specifications Lumix S5IIX
The Lumix S5IIX has the same features as the S5II, plus a few extras
- 5.8K ProRes 442 HQ / 442 via USB SSD
- ProRes Full HD internal
- 800Mbps All Intra Recording
- Apple ProRes RAW over HDMI
- Wireless/Wired IP Streaming
- USB Tethering to Smartphone
- Complete black design
Price and availability
What is special about the Lumix S5II and Lumix S5IIX is that they have the same starting price as the original Lumix S5. Because of the higher prices, you would expect the price to be higher, but it remains the same.
The Lumix S5II is available from £1,999 and the Lumix S5IIX costs £2,299. They are also available with selected lenses.
It is already possible to place a pre-order and the cameras will be on sale from May 2023. Panasonic has also unveiled a new lens: Lumix 14-28mm f/4 5.4 macro. It will also be available from May.
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