Panasonic S5 II Rumored with LIDAR Technology

Another wild rumor going around the interwebs is that Panasonic is set to announce a second-generation S5 II Mirrorless camera right after the first of the year. Moreover, the scuttlebutt suggests a revolutionary new form of autofocus is coming with it.

When it first came out in September of 2020, the first generation Panasonic S5 featured a 24.2 MP full-frame CMOS image sensor that was capable of capturing 4K 10-bit HDR video internally at 60 frames per second.

The S5 was also able to capture using dual native ISO and V-Log.  With five-axis sensor-shift image stabilization and a 225-area contrast detection autofocus system, the S5 was also capable of over 14 stops of dynamic range and dampen out 6.5 stops of camera shake.

With this new rumor, however, comes talk of a revolutionary new autofocus scheme that could leverage LIDAR, much like many modern smartphone cameras, to more accurately measure depth and subject ranging, providing the camera processor with not only better data to capture sharp and well-lit images more accurately, but also to be able to change multiple metadata after the camera captured and processed the initial image.

If you look at the leaked photo of the S5II above, it’s possible that the circular diode above the nameplate is a LIDAR sensor. If Panasonic is looking to add LIDAR to its autofocusing system, this could be a huge game-changer in being able to bring computational photography to a modern mirrorless camera system.

By adjusting the subject depth and focus, as well as how light reacts within the scene after an image has been captured to change the focus or subject of an image after the image has been written.

Since LIDAR depth data could measure the distance of every single object in a scene, it could provide the photographer with all the metadata they need to do make anything in that scene the focus.

Moreover, using the LIDAR sensor for autofocus in a video could also be beneficial for adding virtual subjects and objects or removing existing objects within the scene in real time.

Likewise, with smartphones like the iPhone adding LIDAR to their higher-end models, the ability to manufacture the technology on a minute scale for portable electronics could certainly make adding the technology into the next generation of cameras not only a possibility but what could revolutionize the medium much like Canon’s Dual Pixel AF did a few years ago.

Lenses already transmit metadata to be written in the EXIF data file, so it’s possible that adding depth and light data from a LIDAR sensor could be the next big step, and if it does, it’ll be one of those innovations where photographers don’t remember what their workflow was light without it.  Either way, it’s believed that Panasonic will make the announcement official on January 4th.

Just in time for CES.

[source: Sony Alpha Rumors]

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  • Panasonic Lumix S5 Mirrorless Camera (B&H)

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