Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 Review

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 is a budget compact camera with 4x optical zoom and 16.1 megapixel sensor, Daniel Bell reviews.

|  Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 in Compact Cameras
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Panasonic DMC-S5
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 was announced back in January 2012 and is a budget compact camera for those with limited experience of digital photography or are looking to purchase their first digital camera, it would also make a good gift. It is available in black or red for around £80.00.

Panasonic Lumix Dmc S5 1

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 Features

The S5 has a 16.1 megapixel CCD sensor and 4x optical zoom, which is a 35mm equivalent of 28-112mm. To keep your images as sharp as possible there is Mega Optical Image Stabilisation as well as Sonic Speed AF.

iA mode makes picture taking as easy as possible, with the camera automatically adjusting the settings appropriately for the detected scene. This includes Intelligent ISO Control, Face Detection AF/AE, Intelligent Scene Selector and Intelligent Exposure. There are a range of scene modes as well as Panorama Shot and Auto Retouch.

Videos are recorded in 720p HD. There are colour modes which can be used when shooting videos as well as taking pictures.

Panasonic Lumix Dmc S5 3

Key Features

  • 16 megapixel CCD sensor
  • 4x optical zoom (35mm equiv: 28-112mm)
  • Mega Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)
  • 2.7 inch TFT 230k dot LCD screen
  • iA mode
  • 720p HD video recording
  • ISO 100 - 1600 (High sensitivity mode ISO 1600 - 6400)
  • 5cm minimum focusing distance
  • Panorama shot mode
  • 1.4 fps continuous shooting
  • Available in black or red
Panasonic Lumix Dmc S5 4

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 Handling

The S5 is extremely light and small enough to carry comfortably in your pocket. There are a number of buttons on the rear which includes a d-pad with menu in the centre, playback, delete, mode and the zoom rocker. The d-pad gives you access to exposure compensation, timer, display and flash as well as being used to cycle through the menus. On the top is the on / off button and shutter release.

The menu system is easy to navigate, with a line of text to explain what each setting does. The screen is a little small, with a low resolution, but it's good for a budget camera - it's bright and clear to view. Battery life is rated at 260 shots according to CIPA test results, which we were able to manage during testing.

We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response   0.175 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.3 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.6 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.0 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   2.2 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   2.9 secs
Burst mode   1.0 fps

Burst mode records at full 16.1 megapixel resolution.

Panasonic Lumix Dmc S5 6

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images are well exposed with good colour reproduction. Landscape mode takes scenes with excellent blues and greens. Portraits have decent skin tones and are free of red-eye when using the flash.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Images have a decent amount of detail at both ends of the lens with a good control over purple fringing. Detail within the images taken using intelligent zoom isn't great and you'd be better cropping your images yourself. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 5cm with allows you to get close enough for a decent macro shot.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 100, 200 and 400, with images become soft at ISO 800. Images at ISO1600 have lots of noise and look grainy. If you're shooting in dark conditions you can switch to high-sensitivity, found amongst the scene modes, which shoots up to ISO 6400 with image size limited to 3 megapixels.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent studio lights the AWB preset takes an image with a slight colour cast, with the incandescent preset taking a much better picture. Under the fluorescent lights the AWB performs well, which is good news as there isn't a fluorescent preset.

Panorama | 1/400 sec | f/9.0 | 5.0 mm | ISO 800
Panorama | 1/400 sec | f/9.0 | 5.0 mm | ISO 800

Panorama mode - Panoramic images have a good amount of detail and are generally stitched together well, with slight ghosting occasionally.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 Digital filters

Digital Filters - During shooting you can choose from 4 colour modes to make your images unique, choices are standard, vivid, black & white and sepia.

Video - The video below has been recorded in 720p HD. Quality is good but you can't use optical zoom during recording.

Value For Money

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 is available for around £80.00. There are a number of alternatives below that we have reviewed, or you can also read our best budget compact cameras article.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Nikon Coolpix S3300 Canon Powershot A3200 IS Olympus VG-170 Pentax Optio LS465
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS45 Nikon Coolpix S3300 Canon Powershot A3200 IS Olympus VG-170 Pentax Optio LS465
£92.77 £84.00 £79.99 £74.24 £59.99

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 Verdict

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 is a budget camera that has Optical Image Stabilisation and auto panorama stitching, two features you don't often see on cameras in this price range. It is easy to use and image quality is good. With pictures having good colour reproduction, they are going to look great when sharing on Facebook. There isn't a whole lot to say against the S5, you can get cameras with more zoom for around the same money and care needs to be taken when attaching it to a tripod as the socket makes it a little unstable. The S5 makes an ideal Christmas gift for someone looking for their first digital camera.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 Pros

Decent image quality for a budget camera
Has Optical Image Stabilisation
Good value for money
Takes good panoramas

Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 Cons

Tripod socket is poorly placed
Limited zoom range
Intelligent zoom doesn't seem particularly intelligent


Panasonic Lumix DMC-S5 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.1 - f/6.5
35mm equivalent28mm - 112mm
Optical Zoom4x
Image Sensor
Pixels16.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCCD
Sensor Size1/2.33 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.08mm
Sensor Size (height)4.56mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 16:9
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor2.7in
Screen resolution230,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus5cm
Focusing modes
  • Face Detection
  • Autofocus
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/1600sec
Shutter speeds longest8sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • Multi Pattern
ISO sensitivity100 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Shade
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting1.4fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS24
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoNo
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLi-ion Battery Pack (3.6V, Minimum: 680mAh)
Battery Life (CIPA rating)260shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsBattery Pack, AC Cable, Battery Charger, USB Cable, Hand Strap, CD-ROM (with PHOTOfunSTUDIO 8.0 Lite Edition / Quick Time / Adobe Reader)

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