Panasonic Announces the LUMIX S5II and the LUMIX S5IIX

Panasonic has announced two new full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Lumix S5II and S5IIX. The Panasonic Lumix S5 II is the latest iteration of the company’s mid-range full-frame stills and video mirrorless camera, built on the legacy of the original S5. It has a 24MP CMOS sensor with phase detection autofocus and uses the same L mount as Leica and Sigma. The Lumix S5 IIX, a variant with a more comprehensive video feature set, will be available later this year.

The two cameras differ only slightly in terms of high-end video specifications, but both feature the first Panasonic Lumix mirrorless camera sensors to use phase detection autofocus (PDAF), thanks to what the company describes as a newly developed 24.2-megapixel 35mm full-frame CMOS sensor powered by a new imaging engine.

That new imaging engine is the first to be developed as part of Panasonic and Leica’s L² Technology cooperation, and it promises excellent resolution, natural description, and about 2x faster signal processing for high bit-rate video recording.

Furthermore, Panasonic claims that the PDAF capabilities are made even more reliable by an evolved autofocus technique called Phase Hybrid Autofocus, which raises the number of AF points on the sensor to 779 and significantly enhances tracking performance.

“Once the S5II and S5IIX are locked on a subject, the autofocus will continue to track the subject, even in adverse lighting conditions and when multiple objects are moving within the frame,” Panasonic claims. “Additionally, continuous AF during zooming, AF micro adjustments, and options to decrease the size of the AF area are available.”

At the core of the new LUMIX S5II and S5IIX is a freshly-developed 24.2MP 35mm CMOS Dual Native ISO sensor (640/4000 native ISO values in V-Log) with 5-axis stabilization and enhanced Active I.S. This dual native ISO reduces noise creation by selecting an ideal circuit to employ based on sensitivity before gain processing. As a result, the highest ISO for both cameras is 51,200. (Extended: 204,800).

The new sensor and processor combination also enables faster burst photography, with up to nine frames per second (FPS) in AFS, seven FPS in AFC with a mechanical shutter, and up to 30 FPS in JPEG/RAW in either AFS or AFC with an electronic shutter.

The new cameras have a strong image stabilization system that combines sensor stabilization with optical image stabilization (OIS) in Lumix S Series lenses, according to Panasonic: A maximum of 6.5 stops of stabilization is achieved with five-axis sensor stabilization and two-axis OIS.

“The 5-axis Dual I.S. 2 works for both photo and video recording, including 4K. In addition, Active I.S. has been added for even more stable video recording,” Panasonic says. “Active I.S. optimizes the horizontal, vertical, and rotational correction ratios by determining the status of camera shake. As a result, the performance of the image stabilizer can account for a larger amount of camera shake at approximately 200% compared to conventional image stabilization. This capability is highly beneficial in adverse situations, such as handheld filming or telephoto fixed-frame shots.”

Coming to video mode, both are capable of high-quality video recording, as shown below. The two cameras support unlimited 4:2:2 10-bit C4K/4K recording at 4:2:0 10-bit 6K (3:2) and 5.9K (16:9) resolutions. Panasonic is able to enable no recording duration limit due to overheating thanks to a revolutionary heat-dispersion system that uses a small fan and a high-efficiency heat sink. If the camera stops capturing 4K video, Panasonic claims that a small fan functions independently to cool down the equipment for a speedy recovery. In addition, the cameras include a High Frame Rate (HFR) option for C4K/4K (48p), FHD (120p), and Slow & Quick motion in C4K/4K (1 to 60fps) / FHD (120p) (1 to 180fps).

According to Panasonic, both cameras include 14+ stop V-Log/V-Gamut to record high dynamic range and rich colors. Furthermore, a REAL TIME LUT capability is offered to enable color grading on compatible video and photo in-camera by using the LUT (.VLT/.cube) recorded on the SD memory card. Users can perform color grading on the fly without postproduction and share photographs via social networking sites; this function can also be utilized for live streaming.

“Alongside the recording capability, new heat dispersion mechanism and 14+ stop V Log/V Gamut capture, the Lumix S5II and Lumix S5IIX feature unique shooting options such as the 4K60p interval shooting and 4K HDR video recording,” Panasonic says.

“In response to requests from professional users, video assist functions such as Waveform Monitor, Vector Scope and Zebra Pattern are available. Some features offered on the LUMIX S1H and LUMX GH6, like System Frequency (24.00Hz), Synchro Scan, Fan mode, and redesigned control panel, which enables quick selection of menu, are also available on the LUMIX S5II and S5IIX.”

Over the standard S5II, the X model offers a few extra benefits, starting from internal ALL-Intra recording in 5.8K and ProRes 422 HQ recording in FullHD. Moreover, it allows recording 5.8K ProRes video onto external SSDs via either HDMI or USB-C.

Because many users don’t require some features that would have made the S5II more expensive, Panasonic opted to sell two versions of this camera. Those features are available for a modest price on the S5IIX for those who desire them.

Panasonic states that both cameras will receive a future firmware update to improve camera performance: RAW data output utilizing Software Upgrade Key, Live View Composite, and more.

The S5 II will be available from the last week of January for a recommended price of $1999, with the S5 IIX not hitting the shelves until the end of May. The S5 IIX will command a $200 premium over the less video-centric version. An optional paid upgrade for the S5 II will add Raw video output and will cost $200.


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