Panasonic LUMIX S5 shrinks 4K mirrorless camera with pro-tech

Panasonic's newest full-frame mirrorless camera has broken cover, with the LUMIX S5 combining a 24.2-megapixel sensor with 4K 10-bit video recording. The new camera promises up to ISO 51,200, along with Panasonic's Dual Native ISO system borrowed from the company's VariCam professional video cameras.

Dual Native ISO means the LUMIX S5 can run its image sensor at both 640 and 4,000, with the camera automatically picking which circuit to use according to the nature of the scene. There's support for 4K 60p/50p4:2:0 10-bit, and 4K 30p/25p 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording, along with 4K 60p/50p 4:2:2 10-bit via HMDI out. As for heat management, Panasonic says there's no time limit for internal recording in 4K 30p 4:2:0 8-bit mode.

There's a Slow & Quick mode, for slow and fast-motion video from 30x sped-up to 2.5x slowed down while recording at 4K. AF is still supported in both modes. HDR video is available too, at 4K.

For stills, meanwhile, there's a High Resolution mode. That uses the in-camera image stabilization system to grab eight consecutive images, each shifted slightly. They're then combined into a 96-megapixel equivalent image – or 12,000 x 8,000 resolution – in-camera.

The image stabilization promises more accurate shake detection and compensation, with 5-axis Body I.S. delivering 5 stops of slower shutter speed. It'll work in tandem with 2-axis OIS in LUMIX S Series lenses, and in that case you can have up to 6.5 stops slower speed. Dual I.S. works for both stills and video.

Also new on the LUMIX S5 is Live View Composite. That releases the shutter automatically at different intervals of exposure time, and then combines the parts with high luminosity into a single image. "While the total brightness of each consecutive image is accumulated in bulb shooting, only the target subject, the bright parts of an image, are detected and the user can synthesize them carefully while seeing it in live view," Panasonic explains. "This is useful for capturing shots of fireworks or stars in the night sky where the background needs no gain-increase."

There's now Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) in Photo Style, and 6K PHOTO continuous burst shooting from which you can grab a roughly 18-megapixel still. Panasonic is using Contrast AF with Depth From Defocus (DFD) autofocus, and the S5 can apparently differentiate a subject's head from their eye, face, and body. That means subject tracking can still work, even if the person turns away from the camera.

As for design, the S5 is made with a magnesium alloy full die-cast body that's dust and splash resistant. There's a 2,360k dot OLED viewfinder and a 3.0-inch free-angle 1,840k dot LCD touchscreen. Two SD memory card slots – one accepting a UHS-I card, and the other a UHS-II card – are included, plus Bluetooth 4.2 and WiFi 802.11ac for remote app use and image transfers. The new 2,200 mAh battery is rated for 470 shots and can be recharged by the USB-C port. Panasonic also has PC software for tethered shooting.

In a firmware update by the end of the year, meanwhile, there'll be C4K video recording, RAW video data output to ATOMOS NINJA V over HDMI at a resolution of 5.9K (5888x3312) 29.97p/25p, 4K(4128x2176) 59.94p/50p and Anamorphic 3.5K (3536x2656)/50p, and various new video assist features.

The Panasonic LUMIX S5 is headed to stores in mid-September. It'll be priced at $1,999.99 body-only, or $2,299.99 with a 20-60 kit lens.