On the eve of CES in Las Vegas, Panasonic made the much-rumored Lumix S5II Mirrorless Camera official.
With its new phase detection autofocus (PDAF) system, the S5II finally moves away from the frustration of its old contrast detection system and provides far more accurate autofocus without hunting.
At the heart of the S5II is a newly developed, 24.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor with rolling shutter suppression and a brand-new imaging engine.
The sensor and engine were developed under the L2 Alliance formed by Leica and Panasonic in 2022, and promise over 14+ stops of dynamic range in V-Log/V-Gamut.
The new sensor can record 6K video at up to 30 frames per second, with 10-bit 4:2:0 Color in 16:9 or 17:8 wide screen and Open Gate configurations.
4K video can also be captured in a variety of modes, including 10-bit 4:2:2 17:9/16:9 at up to 30p full frame, or up to 6-p in Super35mm mode.
There is also a 3.3K 10-bit 4:2:2 Anamorphic mode in Super35mm, and up to 120 frames per second in 1080p FullHD in widescreen with autofocus, or up to 180fps in 10-bit 4:2:0 without autofocus.
The camera also offers active image stabilization technology
For more professional applications, Panasonic is also introducing the S5IIX, a special edition variant of the S5II with several professional-grade video recording features including All-Intra and ProRes internal recording, external recording to SSD, 10-bit recording in FullHD up to 180 fps, wired and wireless streaming, USB tethering, and a preinstalled Raw video output recording license.
For audio recording, the S5II can record enhanced, four-channel audio at 48kHz/24bit using a built-in microphone or external microphone. Using an external or XLR microphone allows high-res 96kHz/24bit audio recording.
Panasonic has also designed a cooling fan that enables the camera to record without limit. Air is drawn in from a vent underneath the front Lumix logo of the 3.68m-Dot 0.78x-Magnification OLED LVF eyepiece housing and vents hot air out the side panels.
The fan can also be turned off when noise becomes a concern in situations where silent video recording is important. But the downside is that the camera recording time will be limited and it will shut down when overheating becomes imminent.
Back to autofocus, the new phase detection autofocus offers 779 points of autofocus, with the choice of human, face and eye, or animal auto-detection and tracking. The human mode switches between human, eye, or face detection to keep the subject in focus as it moves, while the eye and face detection only will only lock onto the subject when a face or eye is in the frame.
However, the new scheme also manages to keep the subject in focus or find the subject without hunting, so if the subject moves out of focus, the camera will detect the subject and then adjust the focus.
Focusing is faster and manages to perform on any L-Mount lens, regardless of manufacture, which is the benefit of the L-mount alliance.
The one rumor that didn’t seem to be accurate was the talk of a built-in LIDAR sensor for capturing depth metadata. That isn’t the case in the S5II, meaning that there isn’t a feature for changing focus after the fact.
For photography, the S5II is capable of burst modes up to 9 fps mechanical, or 30 fps electronic. The image buffer will store up to 200 RAW+JPEG images or 300 JPEGs and fills the buffer up to 4 times faster, a benefit when taking action shots. The high-resolution mode also returns, enabling the Panasonic S5II to stitch together nine images for a main 96MP image in the camera with no software required.
The Panasonic LUMIX S5II will have a retail price of $1,999.99 and will be available later this month 2023. The LUMIX S5IIX will be available in May 2023 at an MSRP of $2,199.99. Preordering is available at the links below.
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