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Panasonic S5 II Review: Unbeatable Value

1/04/2023 ISO 1200 Magazine 0 Comments

The new Panasonic LUMIX S5 II is a camera that offers excellent value and performance. It features a phase-detect autofocus system and has several improvements over the original S5 model. 

Dynamic Range

The Panasonic LUMIX S5 II is a camera that delivers strong performance in terms of noise and dynamic range. When tested with no noise reduction, the camera achieved 12.3 stops of dynamic range. When a minor amount of noise reduction was applied in post-production, the dynamic range increased to 13.4 stops. The camera's noise performance is strong across the ISO range, with usable results up to ISO 25,600 and the ability to push to ISO 51,200 in a pinch.


One significant improvement is the removal of recording limits in most modes, with the exception of 5.9K30 and 6K30, which are limited to 30 minutes by default. The thermal management function allows users to increase the temperature threshold too high, removing the 30-minute limit from even the 6K30 mode but increasing the temperature of the body. The camera has also been rated for up to 40 degrees Celsius or 104 Fahrenheit, providing confidence in its performance in various environments. Additionally, the S5 II has a clever fan that draws in cool air from the front and exhausts it out the side, and users have control over the fan modes in the menu.


In terms of color, Gerald explains that the official 709 LUT from Panasonic produces pleasing results, but it is not the most color-accurate conversion available and tends to favor reds and magentas. Using the Color Space Transform in DaVinci Resolve produces better results, and the camera's recordings are robust and grade well.


The audio functionality of the S5 II is also impressive, with 3.5-millimeter headphone and microphone jacks and the option to install the XLR module from previous cameras for 4-channel audio. The camera also allows users to increase the sound quality up to 96kHz at 24-bit.


The Panasonic LUMIX S5 II is the company's first attempt at creating a mirrorless camera with phase detection autofocus. In the past, the autofocus functionality of Lumix cameras was inconsistent. However, with the S5 II, Panasonic has succeeded in creating a reliable autofocus system that performs admirably in most situations,

The Panasonic LUMIX S5 II has a hybrid phase-detect autofocus system that combines phase and contrast detection for strong performance. It offers various tracking options including face and eye tracking, human body tracking, touch area and touch tracking, and animal tracking. However, when the camera is set to 5.9 or 6K and HDMI is connected, subject detection is not available. This may be a problem for users who want to use face-tracking autofocus while recording 6K and viewing the footage on an external display.

Gerald Undone´s Conclusion

In the past, consumers often had to choose between cameras that excelled in certain areas but had significant limitations in others. Sony's offerings had strong dynamic range and autofocus but poor rolling shutter and a lack of professional video features, while Canon sacrificed dynamic range for other strengths and Panasonic had excellent video features but poor autofocus.

The Panasonic LUMIX S5 II offers a reliable autofocus system, good menus and ergonomics, and is more affordable than many other cameras like the Sony a7 IV, the Fuji X-H2S, the GH6, and the Canon R6 II. 

The S5 II may not be perfect, with limited time code support, a 4K60 mode that is cropped, and the rolling shutter is still a bit slower, but it offers excellent value for money ($2,000) and is the most feature-rich camera available at its price point. 

You may also like: The Evolution of Autofocus - Canon EOS R vs Sony a7 III vs Panasonic G9

About Gerald Undone:

This channel is a mixture of providing tech support for creatives while documenting my never-ending crusade to find the best gear for the dollar. Here we'll be testing different tech and gadgets and reviewing products from a value perspective, while also providing tutorials and guides for content creation using that same gear. Let's Get Connected: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Image and video via Gerald Undone