Panasonic Australia launched its new S5 full-frame hybrid mirrorless camera at an exclusive Zoom Sneak Preview last week.

An opening spiel from the head of Panasonic’s Lumix division summarised the changes in the camera industry partly instigated by the effects of Covid-19. The resulting shift in direction for Lumix is expressed in its new motto: “Motion, Picture, Perfect.” Essentially, it’s about a more intentional focus on adapting to and meeting the needs of present day content creators largely by keeping up with digital trends which may differ from traditional photography or cinematography.

The anticipated S5 bears the ‘hybrid’ title because of its equal focus on both still and moving image reproduction. In fact the bulk of the launch presentation highlighted the S5’s video capabilities which are strikingly similar to those of the flagship S1. 

Somehow Panasonic has squished a 24.2MP 35mm full frame CMOS sensor into a body that’s actually a couple of millimetres <smaller> than the micro-four-thirds GH5. If that’s not enough, the weather-sealed magnesium alloy body still contains five-axis in-body stabilisation, dual SD card slots, a denser BLF19 battery for improved performance, dual native ISO, and a free-angle flippy screen which is virtually indispensable to GH series users.

Video capabilities include 4K 60p 10-bit recording both internally and via the external HDMI output, a full Varicam V-log and V-gamut profile pre-installed, frame rates up to 180fps, new video production tools such as waveform monitors and luminous spot metering, anamorphic capture with de-squeeze and stabilisation, and improved autofocus which promises to have fixed the ‘breathing bokeh’ common in the GH series cameras.

The S5 ships with a 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 lens kit lens. An expanded lineup of interchangeable lenses are expected including a selection of fast primes such at 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm focal lengths. The L-mount onboard the S5 is compatible with Leica and Sigma lenses.

A firmware update for the S5 expected later this year will add C4K and RAW output TBR, 5.9K RAW at 30p when used with the Atomos Ninja V. The Utility Lumix Webcam Software for live streaming will come soon too.

James Choi, Product Marketing Manager, Imaging, Panasonic, explained: “The hybrid S5 packs the essential capabilities of our ground-breaking flagship S Series cameras into a small, mobile and robust body. Enthusiasts who want to take their creativity to the next level can harness the incredible image quality of a powerful full-frame sensor. The S5’s compact size belies the impressive performance under the hood – this camera is class-leading in the sheer breadth of video and stills capabilities it puts in the hands of content creators.”

Lumix S5 Pricing and Availability

Lumix S5: Body only – RRP $3199

Lumix S5 kit (DC-S5KGN-K): Kit with Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 lens (S-R2060) – RRP $3699

The S5 will be available in late September 2020 from leading photographic specialists.

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