The Panasonic S5ii is a powerful well-priced full-frame stills/video hybrid camera for the Leica L-Mount, and a significant update on its predecessor, the Panasonic S5.
First and foremost, the Panasonic S5ii’s DFD autofocus system has finally been augmented with phase-detect autofocus for wobble-free focus in video. Plus, you get a 6K30p video, an improved EVF, and a fan-based active cooling system for extended recording time. So, is the Panasonic S5ii the mid-range full-frame camera to beat? Let’s find out. Jump to Conclusion
What is the Panasonic S5ii
The Panasonic S5 Mark 2 is a 24.2-megapixel full-frame camera for Leica’s L-mount. And like the original Panasonic S5, the Panasonic S5ii hybrid functionality intends to fulfill the needs of photographers and videographers alike.
5 Key Features of the Panasonic S5II
Phase Detect Autofocus System
For around a decade, Panasonic has relied on its Depth from Defocus contrast-detect autofocus system, which worked well enough. But for the DfD system to work, the camera had to continually focus – even on static subjects – resulting in a pulsing wobble effect that was particularly distracting in video.
Thus, Panasonic, which has earned a reputation for making some of the finest video cameras, has also earned a reputation for the worst video autofocus.
But not anymore, as the Panasonic S5ii has proudly jumped onto the phase-detect autofocus bandwagon, we can finally enjoy wobble-free video.
The Panasonic S5ii is equipped with a 3.68 million dot Electronic Viewfinder. In contrast, the Panasonic S5’s EVF lags behind with 2.36 Million dots.
Faster Continuous Shooting
The Panasonic S5ii can shoot up to 7 photos each second with auto exposure and focus. In comparison, the Panasonic S5 strolled along at five photos per second.
Headlining the Panasonic S5ii’s impressive video specifications is its 10-Bit 6K30p mode. Furthermore, the Panasonic S5ii will record 4K60p, so long as you can tolerate an APS-C-sized sensor crop.
To manage overheating, the Panasonic S5ii is equipped with a fan. As a result, the Panasonic S5ii will record video for as long as it has power and storage. Despite including vents, the Panasonic S5ii has an unspecified degree of weather-proofing backed up by a no-guarantee disclaimer. Best keep it dry, then.
Panasonic S5ii Specifications
Panasonic S5ii Compared
Judging by the specifications and price, the Panasonic S5ii competes with cameras such as the Nikon Z6ii, Canon R5ii, and Sony A7iv.
However, the Panasonic S5ii is very much its own camera offering a balance of photography and videography features not found elsewhere.
When measured as a photography device, the Panasonic S5ii’s image quality is likely to be at least as good as its rivals, which is to say, very good. However, its slow, continuous shooting modes put it well behind the Canon R6i and R6ii and even the older Nikon Z6ii.
But when it comes to video, the Panasonic S5ii looks very impressive with 10-Bit 6K30p and many of the video-centric features and conveniences we’ve come to expect from Panasonic. Thus, viewed exclusively as a video camera, the Panasonic S5ii exceeds its rivals by a fair margin.
Therefore, whether the Panasonic S5ii is worth it depends on your use case. If you are orientated toward photography, I would pick up an on-sale Canon R6i. But if you’re primarily looking for a video camera that can take excellent photos, the Panasonic S5ii is tough to beat.
Panasonic S5ii vs S5
The Panasonic S5ii is a significant update to the Panasonic S5. As you might expect, you get the usual incremental quality-of-life updates, such as a slightly faster shooting rate, better EVF, and updated connectivity.
But critically, the Panasonic S5ii gives you phase-detect autofocus and 10-Bit 6K30p, while the Panasonic S5 maxes out at wobbly Cinema 4K.
Panasonic S5 vs S5II Specifications
|Panasonic S5ii||Panasonic S5|
|Release Date||4th January 2023||Sep-20|
|Release Price (US$)||US$1999||US$1999|
|Sensor Size||Full Frame||Full Frame|
|Megapixels||24.2 Megapixel||24.2 Megapixel|
|Native ISO Range||100-51200||100-51200|
|In-body Image Stabilization||Yes||Yes|
|Rating||5 Stops – 6.5 Stops with Dual IS||5 Stops – 6.5 Stops with Dual IS|
|AF Type||Hybrid Phase/Contrast Detect||Contrast Detect|
|AF Focus Points||225|
|AF Sensitivity||-6 – +18 EV||-6 – +20 EV|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/8000||1/8000|
|Max Shutter FPS (AF+AE)||Seven fps||5 fps|
|Max E-Shutter Speed||1/8000||1/8000|
|Max E-Shutter FPS (Full Resolution)||8 fps||5fps|
|Max E-Shutter (Low Res)|
|Range||0 EV – 18EV||0 EV – 18EV|
|6K||30p, 25p, 24p||N/A|
|C4K||30p, 25p, 24p (60p, 48p, 30p, 24p – Cropped)||30p, 24p (60p Cropped)|
|4K||30p, 24p (48p, 30p, 24p – Cropped)||30p, 24p (60p Cropped)|
|HD 1080p||120, 60, 48, 30, 24||60p, 30p, 24p|
|Max. Recording Time||TBA|
|Format||MOV, MP4||MOV, MP4|
|Output over HDMI||Yes||Yes|
|Video Compression||H.264/MPEG4, H.265/HEVC||H.264/MPEG4, H.265/HEVC|
|Card Slot 1||SD, SDHC, SDXC (UHS-I & 2)||SD, SDHC, SDXC (UHS-I & II)|
|Card Slot 2||SD, SDHC, SDXC (UHS-I & 2)||SD, SDHC, SDXC (UHS-I)|
|Type||EVF (OLED)||EVF (OLED)|
|Resolution||3680K Dots||2360K Dots|
|Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|Resolution||1.84M Dots||1.84M Dots|
|Video-Out||HDMI Type A||Micro HDMI Type D|
|Audio In (mic)||3.5mm||3.5mm|
|Audio Out (Headphones)||3.5mm||3.5mm|
|Data||USB Type C (USB 3.2)||USB Type C (USB 3.1)|
|Power Port||USB Type C||USB Type C|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 4.1|
|Battery Life||Approx: 370||Approx: 440|
|Video Record Time||90 Mins|
|Weight & Dimensions|
|Weight||740g – Loaded||714g – Loaded|
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The Panasonic S5ii is one of the best hybrid cameras in its class – more so if you’re more orientated toward videography. And the inclusion of phase-detect should prove transformative in getting the best out of Panasonic’s well-regarded video technology.
As a stills camera, the Panasonic S5ii is less exciting. While S5ii’s 24-megapixel sensor is par-for-the-course, its 7fps continuous shooting feels a little 2014.
Yet this is not to say that the Panasonic S5ii is a bad camera for photography. But it’s not meaningfully better than the original Panasonic S5 and is well beaten by cameras such as the Sony A7IV and Canon R6 series.
But viewed as a video camera that also shoots stills, the Panasonic S5ii is a compelling camera unmatched at its price point.