The Panasonic S5 Compared

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Another day, another camera. The past few months have been absolutely mind-blowing when it comes to the frequency and quality of camera releases. Now, we have the Panasonic S5 to check out. Arguably the "entry-level" of Panasonic's full-frame mirrorless lineup, the S5 is a step up from the true beginner's feature set—and budget, the reason being that it boasts a full-frame sensor capable of 10-bit 4K 60p video in a body that is smaller than a GH5.

Perhaps you are looking for a new camera or looking to add to an existing kit. Maybe you want to move up to a larger sensor after shooting Micro Four Thirds your entire career. Whatever the case, you likely want to know all the options and how they compare. That's where we want to help.

Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 Mirrorless Digital Camera
Panasonic Lumix S5

Below you'll find some quick comparisons between the Panasonic S5 and its direct competitors. Keep in mind, these are not super in-depth comparisons based on lengthy real-world uses. Mostly, we will be talking about the specs and then throw in some limited hands-on experiences since we are usually fortunate enough to get some preview time with many cameras.

S5 SPECS

Starting off, I'm going to throw down the most important specs of the Panasonic S5.

PANASONIC LUMIX S5

SENSOR

24.2MP Full-Frame CMOS

LENS MOUNT

Leica L

SENSITIVITY

ISO 100-51200

Extended ISO 50-204800

VIDEO RESOLUTION

Full-Frame

UHD 4K up to 30p

Full HD up to 60p


Super35/APS-C

UHD 4K up to 60p

Full HD up to 180p

COLOR DEPTH

10-bit

VIDEO OUTPUT

Micro-HDMI

UHD 4K up to 60p (10-bit 4:2:2)

VIDEO FEATURES

Dual Native ISO

V-Log (14+ Stops)

HLG HDR

STABILIZATION

5-Axis Sensor Shift (5.0 stops)

Dual I.S. 2 (6.5 stops)

AUTOFOCUS

225-Point DFD AF (Contrast)

VIEWFINDER

2.36m-dot 0.74x OLED EVF

DISPLAY

3.0" 1.84m-dot Free-Angle Touchscreen LCD

MEDIA

2 x SD (1 x UHS-II & 1 x UHS-I)

DIMENSIONS

5.2 x 3.8 x 3.2"/ 133 x 97 x 82 mm

WEIGHT

1.4 lb / 630 g (body only)

Now that you have the basic rundown, let's talk about the target audience. This is a compact full-frame mirrorless camera. It isn't designed solely for video—it has some solid photo chops—so this means we are looking at a hybrid camera. In this case, we are going to try something different and break this down into two sections: one in which we compare the photo specs and one in which we compare the video specs. By doing this we can better present each camera based on comparative strengths (and weaknesses).

Time to get started!

FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

PANASONIC S1

PANASONIC S1R

SONY a7 III

NIKON Z 5

NIKON Z 6

CANON EOS R6

FUJIFILM X-T4

SIGMA fp

Panasonic S5 vs. Panasonic S1 for Photography

To me, the S5 versus the S1 is the most interesting comparison. They are close in price and features and are both from Panasonic. Basically, we want to find out who might benefit by jumping up to the S1 over the S5 and vice versa.

PANASONIC S5

PANASONIC S1

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Large, ergonomic grip and rugged build

24.2MP full-frame sensor

24.2MP full-frame sensor

96MP High-Res Shot in JPEG or RAW

High-res 5.76m-dot 0.78x OLED EVF

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

In-body stabilization (6 stops)

Face/Eye/Head/Body/Animal AF

Face/Eye/Body/Animal AF

Improved continuous AF

Top status LCD

Live View Composite

400k-rated shutter durability

CONS

CONS

Relatively low-res 2.36m-dot EVF

Older, slower AF system

More expensive

Key Points:

  • The main difference between the S5 and S1 is the size. The S5 is notably smaller and lighter, though it comes with slightly less durability.
  • Image quality is a near-perfect match between the S5 and S1 since they have the same 24MP full-frame sensor.
  • S5 adds improved autofocus performance and tracking, including head detection.
  • Image stabilization is better in the S1 by approximately 1 stop.
  • Both the S1 and S5 have 96MP HighRes Shot modes, but the S5 offers JPEG support while the S1 is raw only.
  • Live View Composite is only on the S5.
  • The S1's larger body hosts a top status LCD for quickly checking settings and a larger rear screen.
  • Electronic viewfinders are very useful for stills, and the S1 has a significantly better 5.76mdot 0.78x OLED EVF.
  • The S5 has two SD card slots while the S1 opts for one CFexpress Type B and one SD slot.

Takeaway:
The S5 and S1 are very similar. Like, incredibly similar. Same sensors, same lenses, same basic feature set.... Arguably, the main decision you should be making is whether you need the bigger, larger body and higher-res viewfinder of the S1. The image quality is basically the same, so it comes down to features and preferences here when it comes to photography. Being newer, the S5 has some handy added features and performance boosts, so it is likely the best camera for most people.

JUMP TO S1 VIDEO COMPARISON

Panasonic S5 vs. Panasonic S1R for Photography

When the S Series launched, Panasonic did the thing everyone is doing and made a general-purpose stills/video camera (S1) and a high-res stills-focused one (S1R), followed shortly by a video-focused model (S1H). Since we want to discuss photography now, we need to take a look at how Panasonic's new S5 stacks up against the S1R.

PANASONIC S5

PANASONIC S1R

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Large, ergonomic grip and rugged build

24.2MP full-frame sensor

47.3MP full-frame sensor

96MP High-Res Shot in JPEG or RAW

High-res 5.76m-dot 0.78x OLED EVF

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

In-body stabilization (6 stops)

Face/Eye/Head/Body/Animal AF

Face/Eye/Body/Animal AF

Improved continuous AF

Top status LCD

Live View Composite

400k-rated shutter durability

187MP High-Res Shot in RAW

CONS

CONS

Relatively low-res 2.36m-dot EVF

Older, slower AF system

More expensive

Key Points:

  • The S1R has double the resolution at 47.3MP against the S5 and its 24.2MP sensor.
  • Much like the S5 and S1 comparison, the S5 offers a smaller form factor than the bigger S1R.
  • HighRes Shot modes in the S1R can reach an incredible 187MP, while the S5 is limited to 96MP.
  • The S1R has better image stabilization.
  • The S5 has more features and improved autofocus.
  • A larger screen, top status LCD, and highres 5.76m-dot OLED EVF give the S1R a better shooting experience.
  • The lower-resolution S5 sensor helps deliver improved low-light performance.

Takeaway:
Many people will make their decision about the S1R versus the S5 on price alone. That's fair. However, if you appreciate the L-mount and want Panasonic's best camera for stills, perhaps for studio use, the S1R is objectively better than the S5. The S5 is a better all-around choice for a majority of photographers, however, thanks to its more reasonable 24MP resolution and smaller form factor.

Panasonic S5 vs. Sony a7 III for Photography

Now here is a comparison in which I'm sure many people will be interested: the Panasonic S5 versus the Sony a7 III. They are similar in specs and basic features when it comes to photography and very close in price.

PANASONIC S5

SONY a7 III

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Even lighter weight

24.2MP full-frame sensor

24.2MP full-frame sensor

96MP High-Res Shot in JPEG or RAW

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

10 fps continuous shooting

Face/Eye/Head/Body/Animal AF

Advanced phase-detect AF system

Improved continuous AF

Improved fact/eye-detect AF

Live View Composite

CONS

CONS

Autofocus missing faster phase-detect points

Lacks pro-level sealing

Key Points:

  • Similar in price and features, the real decision is whether you prefer Panasonic or Sony and their overall ecosystem.
  • Matched performance for image quality as they have similar 24MP full-frame sensors.
  • Sony's autofocus performance uses phase-detect points, which will likely outperform the S5 in speed and accuracy.
  • Sony offers faster continuous shooting rates up to 10 fps compared to the S5's 5 fps with continuous AF.
  • Panasonic has plenty of advanced shooting functions, such as HighRes Shot, Live View Composite, and 4K and 6K PHOTO modes.

Takeaway:
Pitting the S5 and a7 III against each other results in a very close battle. They seem to trade out features, making a decision based more on the specific things you want and less about which is flat-out better than the other. Panasonic offers advanced features like a High-Res Shot mode for 96MP JPEGs and raw images, Live View Composite, and plenty more. However, I believe the a7 III wins on some regular specs such as autofocus performance and continuous shooting. To be honest, pick whichever one you like best.

JUMP TO a7 III VIDEO COMPARISON

Panasonic S5 vs. Nikon Z 5 for Photography

These are a little different, as the Nikon Z 5 is positioned to be a bit more entry level and definitely cuts back on video, but this is a photo-specific comparison. Consider that they share resolutions and have a compact design as a major selling point.

PANASONIC S5

NIKON Z 5

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Smaller and lighter weight

24.2MP full-frame sensor

24.2MP full-frame sensor

96MP High-Res Shot in JPEG or RAW

Sharper 3.69m-dot EVF

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

Phase-detect AF system

Face/Eye/Head/Body/Animal AF

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

Live View Composite

Larger 3.2" touchscreen

Free-angle screen design

CONS

CONS

Autofocus missing faster phase-detect points

Slower continuous shooting

Lower-resolution 2.36m-dot EVF

Tilt-only screen design

Key Points:

  • Fullframe sensors seem to have standardized around 24MP for general use, and both the Z 5 and S5 continue in this trend.
  • Panasonic's sensor and processor combo appear to provide better lowlight performance than the Z 5 with a stop improvement in the extended range.
  • Nikon offers a sharper 3.69mdot EVF.
  • Nikon has phase-detect AF points, which have generally been better than contrast-detect systems.
  • Panasonic has a free-angle screen on the S5 while the Z 5 is tilt only. However, the Nikon screen is larger.
  • Both have inbody stabilization with a rated 5 stops of performance.
  • It is minor, but the Panasonic is slightly faster in continuous shooting.

Takeaway:
Panasonic and Nikon are quite evenly matched when it comes to performance. However, if you are looking for your first full-frame camera and are primarily a photographer, the advantages of a higher-resolution EVF, slightly smaller body, and phase-detect AF may push the Nikon Z 5 up on your list—especially since the Nikon is notably less expensive.

JUMP TO Z 5 VIDEO COMPARISON

Panasonic S5 vs. Nikon Z 6 for Photography

A fairer competitor, the Nikon Z 6 brings a little more to the conversation than the Z 5. It has a more similar look and feel to the S5 and has plenty of improvements over the Z 5 that make it worth the extra cash.

PANASONIC S5

NIKON Z 6

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Smaller and lighter weight

24.2MP full-frame sensor

24.2MP BSI full-frame sensor

96MP High-Res Shot in JPEG or RAW

Sharper 3.69m-dot EVF

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

Phase-detect AF system

Face/Eye/Head/Body/Animal AF

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

Live View Composite

Larger 3.2" touchscreen

Free-angle screen design

Faster CFexpress/XQD card slot

Dual SD card slots

Continuous shooting up to 12 fps

CONS

CONS

Autofocus missing faster phase-detect points

Single card slot

Lower-resolution 2.36m-dot EVF

Tilt-only screen design

Slower continuous shooting (5 fps)

Key Points:

  • Both cameras appear equal in image quality with 24MP full-frame sensors and the same ISO range.
  • Nikon uses a larger and sharper 3.6mdot 0.80x EVF.
  • Nikon uses a phase-detect AF system, which is generally better than contrast systems.
  • Panasonic has dual SD card slots while Nikon has only a single CFexpress/XQD slot.
  • Nikon has much faster continuous shooting up to 12 fps vs. the S5's 5 fps with AFC.
  • Both cameras offer reliable construction.

Takeaway:
The Z 6 and S5 are very close. They trade out on a few key specs: Panasonic has dual card slots while the Z 6 has a larger, sharper EVF. Image quality is about the same for both, meaning it will come down to specific features to make a decision. If you are a photographer who needs a larger or sharper EVF, the Z 6 wins. If you absolutely can't live without dual card slots, then the S5 is your pick. You can't go wrong with either.

JUMP TO Z 6 VIDEO COMPARISON

Panasonic S5 vs. Canon EOS R6 for Photography

Another super-recent release was the Canon EOS R6, sitting in a spot a little above the Panasonic S5. Both are full-frame generalist cameras in relatively new full-frame systems, so are worth a look for people looking to jump into mirrorless for photography.

PANASONIC S5

CANON EOS R6

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Lighter weight

24.2MP full-frame sensor

20MP full-frame sensor

96MP High-Res Shot in JPEG or RAW

Sharper 3.69m-dot EVF

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

Dual Pixel CMOS AF II

Dual SD card slots

In-body stabilization (8 stops)

Live View Composite

Vari-angle screen design

Free-angle screen design

Dual SD card slots

Continuous shooting up to 20 fps

CONS

CONS

Autofocus missing faster phase-detect points

More expensive

Lower-resolution 2.36m-dot EVF

Slower continuous shooting (5 fps with AFC)

Key Points:

  • Slightly different sensor choices provide a slight advantage to the Canon R6's lowlight performance while the S5 just barely wins in resolution.
  • Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF II is impressive and keeps getting better and will likely outperform the S5's contrast-detect system.
  • Canon has an inbody stabilizer rated for up to 8 stops versus the S5's 5stop rating.
  • Both offer variangle touchscreens and EVFs, though Canon has a slightly sharper EVF.
  • The cameras are similar in size and weight.
  • Both have dual SD card slots, though the R6 has two UHSII slots against the S5's mix of UHS-II and UHS-I slots.

Takeaway:
For photography I think the R6 justifies its higher price. It has a trusted AF system in Dual Pixel technology, a much better in-body stabilizer, continuous shooting up to 20 fps, and a solid 20MP full-frame sensor. The S5 still has plenty of good going on, though if you are looking at one of these, it will be hard to make a solid decision—especially if price is a factor.

JUMP TO R6 VIDEO COMPARISON

Panasonic S5 vs. FUJIFILM X-T4 for Photography

Now for the only non-full-frame option in this comparison list for photography: the FUJIFILM X-T4. Honestly, I was going back and forth on whether an APS-C camera should make an appearance here, but the angle that the S5 is a more lightweight and compact full-frame camera led me to decide that it would be appropriate to mention a smaller system.

PANASONIC S5

FUJIFILM X-T4

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Much lighter and smaller

24.2MP full-frame sensor

26MP APS-C sensor

Better low-light performance

Sharper 3.69m-dot EVF

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

Phase-detect AF system

Dual SD card slots

In-body stabilization (6.5 stops)

Live View Composite

Vari-angle screen design

Free-angle screen design

Dual SD card slots

96MP High-Res Shot in JPEG or RAW

Continuous shooting up to 20 fps

CONS

CONS

Autofocus missing faster phase-detect points

Limited low-light performance

Lower-resolution 2.36m-dot EVF

No full-frame upgrade path

Slower continuous shooting (5 fps with AFC)

Key Points:

  • Obviously, the big difference between the cameras is that the S5 has a 24MP full-frame sensor and the X-T4 has a 26MP APS-C sensor.
  • The S5 boasts much better lowlight performance—at least 12 stops over the X-T4.
  • The smaller sensor of the XT4 permits better in-body stabilization, up to 6.5 stops.
  • Both cameras have similar constructions and designs with vari-angle screens. However, the XT4 has a higher-resolution EVF at 3.69m-dot.
  • FUJIFILM offers much faster continuous shooting at up to 20 fps or 30 fps with a 1.25x crop as well as an advanced phase-detect AF system.
  • The XT4 is a bit smaller and lighter than the S5, but the S5 has a larger full-frame sensor.

Takeaway:
These cameras are close in features and performance, but the smaller APS-C format does have its advantages when it comes to speed and size. It does give up a bit in overall image quality in low-light conditions and somewhat in dynamic range. I think that if you absolutely like the look of full-frame and need the advantages it brings or simply want the option to move up to higher-end full-frame later on, the Panasonic S5 is a great pick. If you are content with a smaller system and prefer a complete system that is compact (APS-C lenses are notably smaller than FF), then the X-T4 may be worth a look.

JUMP TO X-T4 VIDEO COMPARISON

Panasonic S5 vs. Sigma fp for Photography

There is another compact L-mount mirrorless camera: the Sigma fp. If you are looking for something with a focus on light weight and small size, then this camera should definitely be on your radar.

PANASONIC S5

SIGMA fp

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Much lighter and smaller

24.2MP full-frame sensor

24.6MP full-frame BSI sensor

2.36m-dot EVF

Customizable with accessories

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

Continuous shooting up to 18 fps

Dual SD card slots

Larger 3.15" 2.1m-dot touchscreen

Live View Composite

Free-angle screen design

96MP High-Res Shot in JPEG or RAW

CONS

CONS

Slower continuous shooting (5 fps with AFC)

No in-body image stabilization

No mechanical shutter

Fixed rear screen

Single card slot

Key Points:

  • The Panasonic S5 is the smallest full-frame mirrorless with image stabilization, but the Sigma fp is the true smallest full-frame mirrorless.
  • The Sigma fp is an interesting design and can be built up with accessories to fit the needs of specific users for specific shoots.
  • The Panasonic S5 has a conventional form factor with EVF and vari-angle screen. The Sigma fp does not have an EVF and has a fixed screen.
  • The Sigma is a faster camera with 18 fps shooting.
  • The Sigma only has an electronic shutter and flash sync is limited to 1/30 sec.
  • Both have a 24MP full-frame sensor and use the L mount.

Takeaway:
Similar in idea. Very different in execution. The Panasonic S5 and Sigma fp are both compact full-frame cameras. The S5 is the more conventional option, so if you want to pick up something and start shooting just like you always have, the S5 is the better choice. The fp is significantly smaller, though, and is designed to be customized to fit each user's particular needs. Sigma is also missing in-body IS, a mechanical shutter, and only has a single card slot. I would say the S5 is the better camera for most people, unless you want the distinct size or customizable advantages of the fp.

JUMP TO SIGMA FP VIDEO COMPARISON

That's it for the photo-specific comparisons. Anything not on the list you have questions about? Let us know in the Comments, below, but right now we are going to dive into the video comparisons.

FOR FILMMAKERS & VIDEOGRAPHERS

PANASONIC S1

PANASONIC S1H

SONY a7 III

NIKON Z 5

NIKON Z 6

CANON EOS R6

FUJIFILM X-T4

SIGMA fp

PANASONIC GH5

BLACKMAGIC POCKET 4K

BLACKMAGIC POCKET 6K

Panasonic S5 vs. Panasonic S1 for Video

When it comes to video, the S5 and S1 are intriguingly close. They are also very close in price. The differences between the two cameras come down to the details since on first glance the specs look quite close.

PANASONIC S5

PANASONIC S1

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Large, ergonomic grip and rugged build

24.2MP full-frame sensor

24.2MP full-frame sensor

Improved continuous AF

High-res 5.76m-dot 0.78x OLED EVF

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

In-body stabilization (6 stops)

Face/Eye/Head/Body/Animal AF

Face/Eye/Body/Animal AF

3.0" free-angle touchscreen

Top status LCD

UHD 4K up to 60p 10-bit

Larger 3.2" 2.1m-dot triaxial-tilt touchscreen

V-Log; 14+ stops dynamic range

UHD 4K up to 60p 10-bit

CONS

CONS

Relatively low-res 2.36m-dot EVF

Older, slower AF system

More expensive

V-Log is optional paid upgrade

Key Points:

  • The S5 and S1 are distinguished mainly by design, with the S5 being a smaller, more lightweight take on the S1.
  • Both offer similar recording options of 4K up to 60p with 10bit.
  • Interestingly, the S1 requires an optional paid upgrade to unlock VLog and 4K 60p output while the S5 has it as standard.
  • Both cameras have full-frame oversampled video shooting at 4K 24/30p. 4K 60p pulls from an APSC crop.
  • There are no recording limits for most modes, though there is a 30-minute limit for both with 4K 60p and select 10-bit modes.
  • Both cameras also have Full HD recording up to 180p.
  • The S5 offers NTSC and PAL frame rate options.
  • The S1's larger body features a better 3.2" 2.1mdot triaxial-tilt touchscreen and a much sharper 5.76m-dot OLED EVF.
  • Image stabilization on the S1 is better, rated at 6 stops against the S5's 5 stops.
  • The S5 may have better AF performance due to newer algorithms and features.

Takeaway:
The S5 and S1 are very close in video performance. On an image-quality basis, both cameras should be nearly the same. They have similar specs and can both hit 4K 60p with 10-bit options. With the S1 you are paying for an upgraded body, better screen and EVF, a stop better image stabilization, and a more rugged build. Then you need the paid upgrade for V-Log and 4K 60p HDMI output. With the S5 you get all the good video specs but without the bells and whistles. If you are just starting out, definitely get the S5 and be very happy. Advanced users may benefit greatly from upgrading.

JUMP TO S1 PHOTO COMPARISON

Panasonic S5 vs. Panasonic S1H for Video

Panasonic's crown jewel of its full-frame S Series is the S1H—a leader in full-frame mirrorless video. The S5 is now the entry-level full-frame for Panasonic, so this isn't quite fair, but it is nice to see how many top-level features the S5 crams into its smaller body.

PANASONIC S5

PANASONIC S1H

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Large, ergonomic grip and rugged build

24.2MP full-frame sensor

24.2MP full-frame sensor

UHD 4K up to 30p (FF) or 60p (S35) 10-bit

Up to full-frame 6K 24p video

Improved continuous AF

High-res 5.76m-dot 0.78x OLED EVF

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

In-body stabilization (6 stops)

Face/Eye/Head/Body/Animal AF

Raw output over HDMI (ProRes RAW)

3.0" free-angle touchscreen

V-Log, 14+ stops dynamic range

V-Log; 14+ stops dynamic range

3.2" 2.33m-dot tilt/free-angle touchscreen

Active cooling system

CONS

CONS

Relatively low-res 2.36m-dot EVF

Older, slower AF system

More expensive

Key Points:

  • Both cameras sport 24MP full-frame sensors with impressive low-light performance.
  • The S1H enables full-frame 6K recording up to 24p with 10-bit support.
  • As for 4K, the specs are surprisingly similar with full-frame up to 30p or with an APS-C crop up to 60p.
  • The S1H has a fan that enables unlimited recording times, while the S5 has limits in 4K 60p and 10-bit modes.
  • The S1H offers DCI while the S5 is limited to UHD modes.
  • Image stabilization is rated a stop better on the S1H.
  • External raw recording is possible with the S1H as of a recent free firmware update.
  • The S1H has a larger 3.2" 2.33mdot tilt/free-angle touchscreen
  • There is a chance that the S5 has better AF performance thanks to newer algorithms and features.
  • Other advantages of the S1H are timecode input, color bars and other helpful shooting tools, Netflix certification, and more.

Takeaway:
Obviously, the S1H is a much better camera than the S5 for video recording. It is also twice the price. I think that anyone looking to do serious video in the future should consider looking at the S5 as a starter camera with the intention of potentially moving up to the S1H (or a theoretical S1H 2) in the future. Also, if you already have an S5 it is possible to consider the S5 as a B camera for your shoots, especially since it is smaller and lighter.

Panasonic S5 vs. Sony a7 III for Video

Now here is a comparison people will likely want to see—the S5 against the Sony a7 III. Both relatively affordable generalist cameras, they hold up close when it comes to comparisons on both photo and video. Let's get to video thoughts.

PANASONIC S5

SONY a7 III

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Smaller and lighter construction

24.2MP full-frame sensor

24.2MP full-frame sensor

UHD 4K up to 30p (FF) or 60p (S35) 10-bit

UHD 4K up to 30p (8-bit)

Improved continuous AF

Fast phase-detect AF system

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

V-Log; 14+ stops dynamic range

Improved Eye AF

3.0" free-angle touchscreen

S-Log2/3 and HLG HDR

CONS

CONS

Contrast-only AF system

Limited 3.0" tilting touchscreen

Only 8-bit recording, even external

Key Points:

  • While the S5 is designed to be smaller and lighter, the a7 III is in fact even smaller and lighter than the S5.
  • Both cameras use 24MP full-frame sensors with solid low-light performance.
  • The S5 gives a huge boost to video as it records in 4K up to 60p and has 10bit internal recording. The a7 III is limited to 8-bit and 30p.
  • Autofocus is much better on the a7 III as it uses phasedetect points and a continually updated feature set.
  • For vloggers, the S5 has a freeangle screen while the a7 III has a limited tilting screen.
  • Both offer their respective log gammas.
  • Image stabilization is rated the same for both systems.

Takeaway:
Videographers and filmmakers of all types will appreciate the advantages of the S5 over the a7 III—which is starting to show its age. The S5 offers 10-bit recording, which is incredibly important for high-quality video. It has a crop mode that enables 60p for 4K video. And, the screen is a free-angle design that is ideal for vlogging. The a7 III is still a great pick if you need photo performance as well, but the huge advantages of the S5 for video mean that if you are video first it is well worth it.

JUMP TO a7 III PHOTO COMPARISON

Panasonic S5 vs. Nikon Z 5 for Video

Two cameras released recently with the same general idea: to become the entry-level option for their respective full-frame series. The Nikon Z 5 does aim for an even more beginner audience and is targeted more for photographers, but its more affordable price and the fact that it does support 4K recording may make it an option for some.

PANASONIC S5

NIKON Z 5

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Smaller and lighter construction

24.2MP full-frame sensor

24.2MP full-frame sensor

UHD 4K up to 30p (FF) or 60p (S35) 10-bit

UHD 4K up to 30p (8-bit)

Improved continuous AF

Fast phase-detect AF system

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

V-Log; 14+ stops dynamic range

More affordable

3.0" free-angle touchscreen

CONS

CONS

Contrast-only AF system

Limited 3.0" tilting touchscreen

Only 8-bit recording, even external

Strong 1.7x crop in 4K

Key Points:

  • With 24MP full-frame sensors, the Z 5 and S5 should offer similar quality, though the Z 5 appears to have a more limited ISO range.
  • The S5 offers significantly better video options, including full-frame 4K up to 30p and a Super 35mm mode for 4K up to 60p. Plus it can record 10-bit.
  • The Z 5 is severely limited in 4K, resorting to a huge 1.7x crop and 8-bit recording.
  • AF is likely to be faster with Nikon's phase-detect system.
  • Panasonic features a vari-angle screen good for vloggers.

Takeaway:
This one is quite easy, if you want a good video camera you'll want the S5. The Z 5 is definitely a photographer's camera with some limited video features. The 4K relying on a 1.7x crop in the Z 5 basically eliminates its full-frame advantage. Pick up the S5 if you want a capable hybrid camera.

JUMP TO Z 5 PHOTO COMPARISON

Panasonic S5 vs. Nikon Z 6 for Video

The Nikon Z 6 is a more comparable video option to go up against the S5. It has some advanced options and became a favorite for videographers when it was originally released.

PANASONIC S5

NIKON Z 6

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Smaller and lighter construction

24.2MP full-frame sensor

24.5MP BSI full-frame sensor

UHD 4K up to 30p (FF) or 60p (S35) 10-bit

UHD 4K up to 30p

Improved continuous AF

Fast phase-detect AF system

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

V-Log; 14+ stops dynamic range

Raw video output (ProRes RAW)

3.0" free-angle touchscreen

N-Log & 10-bit HDMI output

CONS

CONS

Contrast-only AF system

Tilting-only screen

8-bit internal recording

Single card slot

Key Points:

  • Similar image quality with 24MP full-frame image sensors.
  • Both cameras offer capable 4K 30p full-frame recording.
  • The S5 can reach 4K 60p with a Super 35mm crop.
  • Nikon is limited to 8bit internally, while the S5 can record in 10bit in many modes.
  • Nikon requires the HDMI output for 10bit and N-Log, but the Z 6 can also output raw video over HDMI.
  • The Nikon Z 6 likely will have faster AF with its phase-detect system.
  • Panasonic has a free-angle touchscreen, while Nikon is tilting only.

Takeaway:
Again, the S5 wins out when it comes to pure video specs. The addition of 4K 60p, even if it is a crop, and 10-bit internal recording is a huge advantage over many competitors—including the Z 6. The S5 is just more versatile for video and requires fewer extra accessories to get the best from it. Nikon does include a neat feature with raw video over HDMI but, for the best video on the Z 6, you will likely need to pick up an external monitor/recorder like the Ninja V.

JUMP TO Z 6 PHOTO COMPARISON

Panasonic S5 vs. Canon EOS R6 for Video

Another recent release, the Canon EOS R6 puts up a good fight on the photo and video sides. It even offers some class-leading specs in many cases, meaning that it being the more affordable version of the R5 helps it a lot in this comparison with the S5.

PANASONIC S5

CANON EOS R6

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Lighter weight

24.2MP full-frame sensor

20MP full-frame sensor

UHD 4K up to 30p (FF) or 60p (S35) 10-bit

Full-Frame UHD 4K up to 60p (10-bit)

Improved continuous AF

Fast Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

In-body stabilization (8 stops)

V-Log; 14+ stops dynamic range

Canon Log & PQ HDR

3.0" free-angle touchscreen

Sharp 3.69m-dot EVF with 120 fps refresh rate

3.0" vari-angle touchscreen

CONS

CONS

Contrast-only AF system

Only original Canon Log (12+ stops)

Limited recording times (heat and built-in)

More expensive

Key Points:

  • Different sensors are found in these cameras, with the S5 using a 24MP and the R6 featuring a 20MP sensor. They should be similar in image quality.
  • Canon offers more capable formats, with up to UHD 4K at 60p in full-frame with 10-bit 4:2:2 sampling. The S5 only hits 60p in a crop mode.
  • Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system is likely to provide faster, more responsive autofocus in video.
  • Interestingly, Canon's choice to use original Canon Log limits it to about 12+ stops of dynamic range, while Panasonic's VLog can hit 14+ stops of dynamic range.
  • Close in viewing systems, the R6 squeaks out a win with its sharper EVF.
  • Canon dominates with its in-body image stabilization, rated up to 8 stops.
  • Canon has both self-imposed recording limits and recommended times based on potential overheating concerns.

Takeaway:
This was a close one. The Canon EOS R6 and Panasonic S5 are both going after the same market of hybrid shooters with an emphasis on high-end video specs. It's hard to argue that the R6 doesn't look better on paper with full-frame 4K60 and 10-bit recording. Plus, it has better stabilization and a more proven AF system. Where pro shooters may think twice is in its recording limits. The R6 has self-imposed 30-minute recording limits and a guide has been published with concerns on overheating. Since neither camera is officially out yet, it is something to think about and perhaps wait until more reviews are available because the S5's no-limit recording might be enough to sway a new user with a specific goal in mind.

JUMP TO R6 PHOTO COMPARISON

Panasonic S5 vs. FUJIFILM X-T4 for Video

The FUJIFILM X-T4 may be APS-C, but it does totally deserve to be here with its 4K video specs and much-loved design. If you are still not sold on going 100% full-frame with the S5, this might be the comparison you are seeking.

PANASONIC S5

FUJIFILM X-T4

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Smaller and lighter system

24.2MP full-frame sensor

26MP APS-C sensor

UHD 4K up to 30p (FF) or 60p (S35) 10-bit

DCI/UHD 4K up to 60p (10-bit)

Improved continuous AF

Fast phase-detect AF system

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

In-body stabilization (6.5 stops)

V-Log; 14+ stops dynamic range

F-Log Gamma

3.0" free-angle touchscreen

Sharp 3.69m-dot EVF with 120 fps refresh rate

3.0" vari-angle touchscreen

CONS

CONS

Contrast-only AF system

Limited low-light performance

More expensive

Smaller sensor

Key Points:

  • Sensor size is the key differentiator here; the S5 has a 24MP full-frame sensor while the X-T4 has a 26MP APS-C sensor.
  • The fullframe S5 has advantages in low-light performance.
  • As for max specs, both have APSC 4K 60p shooting, though the X-T4 also has DCI formats.
  • The S5 offers UHD 4K in full-frame up to 30p.
  • Both cameras have 10bit and log gammas.
  • FUJIFILM's AF system and inbody image stabilization are more effective.
  • Both cameras have similar monitoring tools.
  • The XT4 is more affordable and as a system is smaller thanks to the APSC format.
     

Takeaways:

I think the decision between the S5 and X-T4 comes down to two major factors: budget and format. If you must have full-frame (which is nice to have as an option), the S5 is the camera to beat. It may crop down to APS-C to get 4K 60p, but it still has advantages in low-light performance across the board. However, if you want to save money and embrace a system that is smaller across the board (body and lenses), then the X-T4 is very tempting.

JUMP TO X-T4 PHOTO COMPARISON

Panasonic S5 vs. Sigma fp for Video

Ah, a battle of compact L-mount full-frame mirrorless cameras: the S5 against the Sigma fp. Both come with impressive video-specific features, but they have very different form factors.

PANASONIC S5

SIGMA FP

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Ultra-compact camera

24.2MP full-frame sensor

24.6MP full-frame sensor

UHD 4K up to 30p (FF) or 60p (S35) 10-bit

UHD 4K 30p up to 12-bit raw

Improved continuous AF

Customizable form factor

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

DCI 4K HDMI raw 12-bit output

V-Log; 14+ stops dynamic range

Director's Viewfinder function

3.0" free-angle touchscreen

Dedicated heat sink

USB recording to external SSD

CONS

CONS

Larger than fp

No in-body image stabilization

Up to 30p only

Fixed rear touchscreen

Key Points:

  • The Sigma fp is still the most compact full-frame mirrorless camera on the market.
  • Both cameras have 24MP full-frame sensors with similar image quality.
  • The fp can record up to UHD 4K 30p in 12-bit raw natively.
  • The S5 can reach UHD 4K up to 60p with crop mode.
  • While the Sigma doesn't have dual card slots, the fp can record via USB to an external SSD.
  • Sigma has dedicated video modes, including a Director's Viewfinder function.
  • The Panasonic S5 has a vari-angle screen and EVF while the Sigma fp only has a fixed touchscreen.

Takeaway:
I honestly believe this decision will come down to size concerns. Looking for a B cam to stick in small spots? The Sigma fp will do the job. Need a more general-purpose camera? The S5 is the better choice. I will say the fp is a more unique camera, but one that is likely suited to people who find all the quirks of the system appealing, while most people are better suited to the more conventional S5. Basically, if you don't know you definitely want the fp, the S5 is the safe bet.

JUMP TO FP PHOTO COMPARISON

Panasonic S5 vs. Panasonic GH5 for Video

Panasonic's classic GH5 is getting some stiff competition with the S5. Both are (shockingly) similar in size and tout their photo/video chops. Sure, the S5 is newer and comes with a much larger full-frame sensor, but that doesn't mean the GH5 can't still compete or that you might not want to work with both of them together.

PANASONIC S5

PANASONIC GH5

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Expansive MFT system

24.2MP full-frame sensor

20MP MFT sensor

UHD 4K up to 30p (FF) or 60p (S35) 10-bit

DCI 4K up to 30p (10-bit) or 60p (8-bit)

Improved continuous AF

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

High-resolution 3.69m-dot EVF

V-Log; 14+ stops dynamic range

Dual UHS-II SD slots

3.0" free-angle touchscreen

3.2" free-angle screen

CONS

CONS

Lower-resolution EVF & smaller screen

Optional paid V-Log L upgrade

Mixed UHS-I and UHS-II card slots

  • With a full-frame sensor, the S5 offers numerous advantages in image quality for lowlight and dynamic range.
  • The S5 and GH5 have 4K up to 60p, but the S5 hits 10bit with 4K 60p.
  • Both have solid image stabilization rated to 5 stops.
  • VLog comes standard on the S5 while the GH5 has the lesser VLog L as a paid upgrade.
  • The GH5 manages to fit a larger 3.2" free-angle screen.

Takeaway:
Comparing the S5 and GH5 shows how far ahead Panasonic was when it released the GH5. This camera holds up today, even though it has a smaller Four Thirds format. The Micro Four Thirds system has grown exponentially over the years and it does have an advantage in lens options and accessories. It's hard to advise someone to choose the GH5 today, especially since things like 10-bit recording in 4K 60p are available on the S5. If you currently have a GH5, I wouldn't be afraid to look toward a full-frame future.

Panasonic S5 vs. Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K for Video

For video, Blackmagic has made a solid run in creative powerful, yet affordable cameras. The Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, or BMPCC4K, was one of its home runs. It took the concept of a mirrorless camera and tuned it specifically for video shooters. Since the size and shape are similar to standard mirrorless, let's see how it stands up against the full-frame S5.

PANASONIC S5

BLACKMAGIC POCKET 4K

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Expansive MFT system

24.2MP full-frame sensor

MFT HDR sensor

UHD 4K up to 30p (FF) or 60p (S35) 10-bit

DCI 4K up to 60p in raw

Improved continuous AF

USB raw recording

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

CFast 2.0 and SD card slots

V-Log; 14+ stops dynamic range

Large 5.0" Full HD touchscreen

3.0" free-angle touchscreen

Mini-XLR input with phantom power

More affordable

CONS

CONS

No internal raw recording

No in-body stabilization

Larger lenses

HDMI output limited to Full HD

Fixed screen

Key Points:

  • The S5 has many advantages with its full-frame sensor, including lowlight and dynamic range.
  • The Pocket 4K uses a smaller format sensor capable of higher-quality modes, including DCI 4K up to 60p in 12-bit raw internally.
  • Blackmagic's own BRAW format and the ability to use ProRes allow the Pocket 4K to record in versatile formats.
  • The Pocket 4K has a larger 5.0" fixed screen, but the S5 screen has a vari-angle design.
  • Panasonic hits similar recording specs of 4K up to 60p in 10bit at greater sensor formats.
  • Blackmagic has a miniXLR input with phantom power for professional mics.
  • Blackmagic can record to external SSDs via its USBC connection.
  • Panasonic offers inbody image stabilization and faster autofocus.

Takeaway:
This is a question of methodology and budget. If you prefer a camera that shoots exclusively video and are in more traditional filmmaking environments, the Pocket 4K may deliver much more performance for the relatively low cost. However, the S5's larger full-frame sensor and conventional mirrorless form factor will be a greater benefit to your everyday shooter. It even adds a free-angle screen and in-body stabilization for run-and-gun shooting.

Panasonic S5 vs. Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K for Video

After the BMPCC4K, Blackmagic stepped things up with a Super 35mm sensor in the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K, or BMPCC6K.

PANASONIC S5

BLACKMAGIC POCKET 6K

PROS

PROS

Compact, lightweight design

Active Canon EF lens mount

24.2MP full-frame sensor

Super35 HDR sensor

UHD 4K up to 30p (FF) or 60p (S35) 10-bit

Up to 6K 50 fps raw video

Improved continuous AF

USB raw recording

In-body stabilization (5 stops)

CFast 2.0 and SD card slots

V-Log; 14+ stops dynamic range

Large 5.0" Full HD touchscreen

3.0" free-angle touchscreen

Mini-XLR input with phantom power

CONS

CONS

No internal raw recording

No in-body stabilization

Fixed screen

Key Points:

  • The S5 has many advantages with its full-frame sensor, including lowlight and dynamic range.
  • Blackmagic wins on resolution, with internal 6K 50p recording in raw available with its Super35 sensor.
  • Panasonic has UHD 4K up to 60p with a crop, so is definitely a competitor here.
  • Blackmagic's own BRAW format and the ability to use ProRes allow the Pocket 6K to record in versatile formats.
  • The Pocket 6K has a larger 5.0" fixed screen, but the S5 screen has a vari-angle design.
  • Panasonic hits similar recording specs of 4K up to 60p in 10bit at greater sensor formats.
  • Blackmagic has a miniXLR input with phantom power for professional mics.
  • Blackmagic can record to external SSDs via its USBC connection.
  • Panasonic offers inbody image stabilization and faster autofocus.

Takeaway:
Blackmagic offers plenty of distinct advantages for filmmakers, as it has features designed specifically to benefit them. A larger, albeit fixed, 5" touchscreen and USB raw recording are nice features to have along with mini-XLR for pro audio. Panasonic has a lot of good-to-haves for everyday users, such as in-body image stabilization and advanced autofocus. For general users, the Panasonic S5 offers a lot. Filmmakers may find some advantages to the Pocket 6K's design and feature set.


What are your thoughts on this comparison? Anything you think we missed and want us to add? Which of these comparisons would you most like to see turn into a true hands-on comparison when the opportunity arises? Be sure to let us know in the Comments section, below!

Items discussed in article

8 Comments

How does it compare to the GH5ii considering they're almost the same price and at times are?

I would say it would depend on your usage of the camera.  My quick reply is if you are doing a combination of still photography and videography, then the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 Mirrorless Digital Camera would be my recommendation.  If you are mainly more concerned about video recording performance, then the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 II Mirrorless Digital Camera would be my recommendation.
 

Image quality-wise, the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 Mirrorless Digital Camera would be my recommendation over the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 II Mirrorless Digital Camera.  The DC-S5 is using a larger full-frame sensor with 24 megapixels compared to the Micro Four Thirds sensor used in the DC-GH5 II.

The full frame sensor has almost 1.5 stops more dynamic range, has better High ISO performance, better color depth, larger individual pixels, and has increased image resolution when using the Pixel Shift High-Res Mode (with a combined resolution of 96 MP).

The Panasonic DC-GH5 II does have a larger viewfinder, faster continuous shooting frame rate of 12 fps, a higher maximum electronic shutter speed, has Eye Tracking Focus and Animal Eye AF Tracking, and has both a flash sync port and a full-size HDMI port.

For video shooting needs, the GH5 II would use an uncropped sensor for 4K video shooting, includes All-I compression, a higher maximum bitrate, and unlimited recording, as well as having a better viewfinder.

Do note that the Panasonic DC-S5 does use the full-frame sensor and has the larger Leica L-mount lens mount.  As such, there are currently fewer lens options for the DC-S5 that would cover the entire sensor for maximum benefit with the camera, and the full-frame lenses would be larger, heaver, and higher in price compared to the larger Micro Four Thirds library of lenses.  This may also be something you wish to consider when choosing between the two cameras.

What is the difference between photo quality between S5 and XT4? If both would cost the same, which one would you pick for hybrid use? 

Most would choose the Panasonic S5 mainly for the full frame sensor, with Fuji X-T4 offering a smaller APS-C sensor.  With most full frame sensor, there is a noticeable difference in the depth of field as well as the low light performance over smaller sensors. 

Do the S5 & S1 not have a 6k video mode?

Unfortunately, the Panasonic S1H is the only S Series model to offer 6K video at 24 FPS. 

What about GH5S? Which camera is better for video? Which one is better for low light shooting?

The S5 has a full frame sensor, which gives it a major advantage over the GH5S for quality and low light shooting.

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