Though well-liked with videographers, Panasonic’s mirrorless cameras have at all times been at an obstacle to Sony, Canon and different rivals as a result of inferior contrast-detect-only autofocus. Now, the corporate has lastly launched its first cameras with hybrid phase-detect AF (PDAF), the full-frame L-Mount S5II and S5IIx. They’re designed to make focus “wobble” and different points a factor of the previous, whereas additionally introducing improved video and pictures options.
Both cameras have an all-new 24.2-megapixel sensor with 315 distinction and 779 phase-detect AF factors. The new chip options Dual Native ISO with a spread of ISO100-51200 (50-204800 expanded), and Panasonic has additionally launched the brand new L2 Engine that processes twice as quick as earlier than. That permits for added efficiency and fewer rolling shutter distortion.
I’ve but to check the cameras, however Panasonic appears assured that its new PDAF system can sustain with rivals, speed- and reliability-wise. It mentioned that the AF can now works in situations that had beforehand been a problem, together with monitoring, a number of individuals, merchandise, backlit situations and low mild.
The firm additionally launched a brand new in-body stabilization system known as Active IS, designed to shoot video whereas strolling. It mentioned the system can compensate for “even significant camera shake, approximately 200 percent more than conventional systems” with choose lenses. If the claims are correct, Active IS may make the brand new fashions perfect for vlogging.
As earlier than, they will report 6K “open gate” 3:2 video (4:2:0 10-bit internally), 4K 30p supersampled video utilizing the complete sensor width (4:2:2 10-bit), 4K 60p with an APS-C crop and FHD at as much as 120p with a 1.5x crop.
However, they’re considerably improved over the unique S5 with regards to report instances. Where the S5 was restricted to half-hour at 4K 60p or 4K 10-bit 30p because of heating, the brand new fashions haven’t any recording time limitations at any decision. Panasonic achieved this by including a small cooling fan within the enlarged EVF hump.
Panasonic did not enhance the S5’s 200 Mbps information charges for the interior MOV and LongGOP codecs on the S5II and S5IIx. However, the S5IIx does help inside SD card recording as much as 600 Mbps in All-Intra (All-I) mode, so it seems to be limiting the capabilities of the S5II.
Both cameras provide Panasonic’s V-Log in addition to V-Gamut recording choices that ship as much as 14+ stops of dynamic vary, based on the corporate. It has a LUT view help for simpler monitoring, in addition to the flexibility to use your individual LUTs in actual time — an trade first, Panasonic says.
Other than the absolutely blacked-out physique, the S5IIx has some fascinating options not discovered on the S5II. You can report to the USB-C port, a lot as you can on the GH6 by way of a latest firmware replace. Formats supported embody All-I, ProRes 422 HQ and ProRes 422, all in 10-bit. That consists of 5.8K (17:9) at as much as 25p (1.6Gbps) and C4K (4,096 x 2,160) at 60p with an APS-C crop (1.9Gbps). That would require some form of rig to mount a USB SSD, however these already exist and are not tremendously costly.
In addition, the S5IIx will output full-frame 12-bit 5.9K 30p (16:9) ProRes RAW video, together with cropped 12-bit 4K (really 4,128 x 2,176) and three.5K (3,536 x 2,656) video at as much as 50p externally to an Atomos Ninja V+ HDR monitor-recorder. Both cameras additionally provide S&Q and HFR recording, letting you seize at excessive body charges and both output on the identical pace for HFR or get slow-mo within the S&Q modes.
There are a lot of different enhancements over the S5. The EVF decision has been boosted to three,680K dots in comparison with 2,360K on the final mannequin, eradicating considered one of my largest complaints. It now gives a full-sized HDMI moderately than a fragile microHDMI port plus a USB 3.2 Gen2 (not Gen1) slot, and has two UHS-II SD slots as a substitute of only one. The EVF’s eye-detect sensor has been moved as much as scale back unintentional activations, and the joystick now helps 8- as a substitute of 4-direction operation.
Otherwise, it has a lot the identical structure because the final mannequin (together with the fully-articulating show) and is about the identical measurement and weight. It helps 4-channel audio by way of the identical XLR microphone adapter, gives a range video help capabilities (wave kind, vector scope, zebra, anti-flicker), Lumix Tether for distant USB capturing and wi-fi streaming by way of USB tethering (S5IIx solely).
Finally, pictures clearly is not this digital camera’s raison d’etre, however it does provide 7fps RAW capturing speeds in mechanical mode and 30fps in digital mode with AFC enabled — up over 4 instances in comparison with the earlier mannequin. And with the phase-detect AF, focus needs to be extra correct when capturing bursts, that means fewer blurry images.
That takes us to essentially the most fascinating a part of these cameras, the pricing. The Panasonic S5II is occurring sale this month $2,000, making it cheaper than rival full-frame fashions just like the Sony A7 IV and Canon EOS R6 II — and it is now not poor within the autofocus division. While the S5II does not include exterior RAW video, you’ll replace to that characteristic sooner or later by way of a $200 firmware replace. Panasonic additionally upped its native lens rely to 14 with the launch of the Lumix S 14-28mm F4-5.6 Macro lens arriving in March for $800.
Meanwhile, the S5IIx will arrive in May 2023 for $2,200. It not solely has has the RAW video, but additionally helps USB-C seize and reside streaming, options the S5II won’t ever have — for simply $200 extra. Panasonic says that is as a result of the previous is designed for vloggers and the latter for video professionals. Frankly although, if I used to be a vlogger and within the S5II, I’d attempt to discover the additional $200.
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