Panasonic S5 II 6K vs 4K Mode – Which One to Pick?

Camera companies are giving us more and more settings to play with in the latest models. We are talking newer codecs, a range of resolutions, and a variety of frame rates.

It can be difficult to pinpoint which ones are the best in some cases due to odd restrictions in some cases or simply a lack of clarity on how the modes actually work.

One current example is whether the Panasonic Lumix S5 II should use the 6K or 4K mode for primary recording. Time for some testing! If you are looking to know for yourself and your new S5 II then this video from Mark Bennett’s Camera Crisis can help.

Why wouldn’t you always just shoot in the highest resolution? Good reasons to not include bigger file sizes, being more difficult on your computer and hard drives, and different codecs that aren’t always the best option for you.

Sometimes it is as simple as it doesn’t make a huge difference to the final product. Mark actually demonstrates this by putting 6K and 4K footage side-by-side for you to compare in a blind test.

Panasonic Lumix S5 II Mirrorless Camera

Image Credit: Panasonic

It’s basically impossible to determine a difference in this case. Part of that is the final compression and upload, but that’s also kind of the point. If your destination is YouTube then any potential benefit of 6K is likely to just get lost.

This isn’t to say there are no benefits to using a higher resolution. In the 300% zoom shots you can see a touch more detail in the 6K footage.

If you are planning on punching in during editing then the 6K footage may be more useful. Downsampling is also a good advantage for reducing the impact of noise and increasing apparent detail.

Panasonic Lumix S5 II Mirrorless Camera Rear Screen

Image Credit: Panasonic

In this case, the 6K isn’t actually going to provide a huge noise advantage since the 4K image is performing some in camera downsampling. I will say that the 6K footage did look a lot more detailed in the low-light test, but that may have just been the focus being slightly different between the two takes.

Since the 4K is doing downsampling there isn’t even any advantage when it comes to rolling shutter. They both look the same.

Something to note has to do with autofocus tracking. When working in 6K with an external monitor you will lose face and eye tracking. In 4K you will be able to keep the face and eye tracking active.

Basically, you should follow the general guidelines when you want to choose a resolution. The 6K can give you a little bit more detail and flexibility in post, but you will lose face and eye tracking when using an external monitor.

4K is nearly as good and even maintains full AF capabilities, though with a slight loss of detail.

Which mode do you prefer using with the S5 II?

[source: Mark Bennett’s Camera Crisis]

Order Links:

  • Panasonic Lumix S5 II Mirrorless Camera (B&H, Amazon)

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