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Panasonic Lumix S5II Camera Review

Take a look at sample photos and read our full review of the Panasonic Lumix S5II mirrorless camera.

| Panasonic Lumix S5II in Mirrorless Cameras

Panasonic Lumix S5II Camera Review: Lumix S5II Body Flat Front View | 0.4 sec | f/16.0 | 53.0 mm | ISO 100

Quick Verdict

An excellent technical performance, great handling and is very much a photographer's camera in its operational style. These are all key features that help make the Panasonic Lumix S5 II a pleasure to use. The new Phase Hybrid AF system works well, the improved IS system applies equally to stills and video shooting and all the controls and systems work crisply and without hesitation.

The competition at this price point is keen, but the S5 II should be high on our list for serious consideration.


+ Pros

  • Great ergonomics
  • Excellent sharpness
  • Low distortion
  • Low CA
  • Low noise
  • Effective new Phase Hybrid AF system
  • dust, splashproof and freezeproof construction
  • High-resolution mode
  • Good video spec

- Cons

  • Videographers might want to look at the S5 IIX


Panasonic has an enviable and well-earned reputation as a quality manufacturer of a wide range of consumer electronic products, and has continued to develop a wide range of video and stills camera ranges, all well noted for their sound designs and reliability. In the field of hybrid mirrorless cameras they are notable for solid quality construction, very reasonable prices and designs that make them very much photographers' cameras. Any photographer moving from a DSLR to mirrorless would find that the cameras all gel with the long-established norms of operation and, in the case of the S5 II in particular, are very hands-on and dial and button driven, as opposed to electronic menu-driven design. The new S5 II Hybrid camera builds upon the very successful S5 with many improvements, so let's see how it works out in practice, using the also newly reviewed Lumix S 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.


Panasonic Lumix S5II Features

Panasonic Lumix S5II Camera Review: Lumix S5II Body Top View With 20 60mm Lens At 60mm | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 31.0 mm | ISO 100

The S5 II is basically a 24MP full-frame hybrid mirrorless camera, suited to stills and video applications. It is dust and splash resistant. Relatively compact compared to many full-frame DSLRs, it still weighs in at a fairly hefty 740g, including one card and battery. The main chassis is die-cast Magnesium alloy, with sealing of all joints, dials and buttons. The result is a sturdy camera that inspires confidence.

Looking down at the top plate, there are dials and buttons for every occasion. On the left, the drive dial selects such items as the self-timer and the drive speeds. This is also where the High-Resolution Mode is selected, although the settings for this are in the camera menu. On the right, the mode dial dominates, with its firm but slick click stops. There is no central locking button, but the dial is secure anyway. The on/off switch is around the mode dial, not as convenient as being around the shutter release button but, I would argue, better than being on the left. There are two control wheels, the front one surrounding the shutter release button and the rear one on the very corner at the back of the top plate. Three buttons line up behind the shutter release – WB, ISO and exposure compensation. That's convenient, and if it isn't then there are alternative paths to these functions. Finally, a red anodised aluminium button is the video start/stop.

Panasonic Lumix S5II Camera Review: Lumix S5II Body Showing Screen | 0.8 sec | f/16.0 | 68.0 mm | ISO 100
The rear of the camera houses buttons for playback, LVF selection, AF, single, continuous AF or MF, AF on/off, Q menu, back button and display button. A joystick controls the AF position. A four-way controller provides navigation through menus, has a menu switch in the centre that doubles as a set (OK) button and a rotating rim that duplicates the changing of some parameters once they are selected. The Q menu is another way to gain quick access to parameters such as Photo Style, White Balance and ISO. There is no shortage of alternative ways to operate the camera, so it should suit a wide variety of photographers' needs.

The free-angle touch screen gives a good, crisp view, as does the splendid OLED LVF. Electronic viewfinders have certainly come of age.

Moving to the left side of the camera we have two rubber doors, which are hinged, not just loose, but it would be better if these were hard plastic. If charging is done at this point via USB then wear and tear on the appropriate door could be very heavy indeed. The larger door reveals a full-size HDMI Type A socket and a USB charge point. The smaller door reveals sockets for mics and headphones.

On the right side of the camera is the large, solid plastic door that reveals the two SD card slots. The base houses the battery compartment and the grip connector, plus of course the usual tripod socket.

Key Features

  • 24.2MP Full-Frame sensor
  • 96MP JPEG and RAW
  • Dual Native ISO
  • ISO 100-51200 (Standard)
  • ISO 50-204800 (Extended)
  • Dual SD card slots
  • 5-axis, 5-stop IBIS with Active IS, 6.5 stops
  • 4:2:0 10-bit 6K 30p/ 4K 60p video
  • 14+ stop V-Log/V-Gamut
  • Real Time LUT
  • Hybrid Phase Detection AF, 779 points
  • 30fps Electronic burst shooting
  • 9fps Mechanical shutter
  • Shutter 30s to 1/8000s
  • Flash Synch 1/250s
  • 1,840k Free-angle touch screen LCD
  • 3,680k 0.78x OLED LVF
  • Dust and splash resistant/freezeproof to -10C
  • Battery life 1250 images/90mins 4K 60p video
  • 134mm x 102.3mm x 90.1mm
  • 740g with card and battery, 657g body only
  • WiFi 2.4GHZ and 5GHz where available
  • Bluetooth v5.0 (BLE)


Panasonic Lumix S5II Handling

Panasonic Lumix S5II Camera Review: Lumix S5II With 20 60mm Lens And Hood | 0.5 sec | f/16.0 | 60.0 mm | ISO 100

Handling the S5 II is very much like handling a DSLR, just without the flipping mirror and its associated pentaprism hump. There is still a pentaprism-like hump, but very much smaller than we would expect from a DSLR. The EVF is housed there. This is a real, solid, fit-in-the-hands design, not ultra-compact but very comfortable to hold and use. It is large enough to avoid the tendency for any buttons to be accidentally moved but small enough compared to a DSLR for the difference to be appreciated. A good balance.

The position of the on/off switch has already been mentioned, and although this reviewer finds cameras where it surrounds the shutter release work best, there will be plenty of photographers out there who don't agree. All it really requires sometimes is a willingness to alter some of our modus operandi just a tad.

The position of the video start/stop button is convenient and it operates without the camera shaking too much. There is a sea-change difference between shooting unstabilised handheld video and switching in the IS system. With IS switched on the video is rock solid, something that makes a big difference to the audience, who soon tire of movies that are forever wobbling through the lack of a good solid tripod. We can now very largely leave those tripods in the car.

The new Phase Hybrid AF system works well, being fast, virtually silent and snapping nicely into focus every time. This is also true of the rest of the camera, the controls being snappy and responsive.

The High-Resolution mode looks interesting, but does it make much of a difference to a screen image or a small print? To try this out, a reference shot was made and then a High-Resolution shot using JPEG capture. The camera was firmly clamped to a sturdy tripod and the self-timer used to eliminate any residual camera shake. The resulting 96MP file does most definitely contain much better fine detail. However, as a web image then there is little difference to be seen unless of course, we want a severe crop of the image and then the difference will become apparent. For large prints, high-class publications or large projection then the difference is also clearly there. So yes, it does make a very significant difference, but the number of times it will be used or necessary will depend very much on the intention of the photographer. Professional food photography for glossy magazines could be one area that would benefit, and there will be others.

The overall user experience of the Lumix S5 II is excellent.


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sco1 8 United Kingdom
23 Feb 2023 8:28AM
I upgraded from the S5 to the S5ii over a month ago but to date the RAW conversion in Adobe or DXO is not available. Lumix "helpline" advised that their staff are working on the conversion but expect a delay of 3-4 weeks at least. Why do camera manufacturers release new cameras that are only partly fit for purpose? It's not only Panasonic that are guilty of this as I have experienced this with Sony as well. I am sure other manufacturers are similar. Surely, as consumers, we should expect new products to work from day 1 release with all raw, jpeg or video features working asadvertised.

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