Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 Review
This is a full review of my Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 mirrorless camera. I will cover all of the pros and cons of the DC-S5 from a filmmaker and content creator’s perspective.
I have been making video content online for over 10 years and have had many experiences with other Lumix cameras. This article will also cover the new specifications and practical aspects that you need to be aware of if you come from a Panasonic GH5 or GH5s.
Just to let you know, I paid full price for this camera and have no affiliation with Panasonic whatsoever. Furthermore, I am not a Lumix Ambassador or part of their promotional team. I am a regular customer from laying my money on the line.
Panasonic S5 Video Specifications
Below is a table of specifications for the latest firmware Version 2.2 (April 6, 2021 release date). The latest firmware has increased the video aspects of the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5. These updates are mentioned in the video resolution table below.
|MSRP||$1999 (body only), $2299 (w/20-60mm lens)|
|Body type||SLR-style mirrorless|
|Body material||Magnesium alloy|
|Max resolution||6000 x 4000|
|Image ratio w:h||1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9|
|Effective pixels||24 megapixels|
|Sensor photodetectors||25 megapixels|
|Sensor size||Full frame (35.6 x 23.8 mm)|
|Color space||sRGB, Adobe RGB|
|Color filter array||Primary color filter|
|ISO||Auto, 100-51200 (expands to 50-204800)|
|Boosted ISO (minimum)||50|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||204800|
|White balance presets||5|
|Custom white balance||Yes (4 slots)|
|Image stabilization notes||5-axis Dual IS 2|
|CIPA image stabilization rating||6.5 stop(s)|
|JPEG quality levels||Fine, standard|
Optics & Focus
|Autofocus assist lamp||Yes|
|Number of focus points||225|
|Lens mount||Leica L|
|Focal length multiplier||1×|
Screen / viewfinder
|Articulated LCD||Fully articulated|
|Screen type||TFT LCD|
|Minimum shutter speed||60 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/8000 sec|
|External flash||Yes (via hot shoe)|
|Flash modes||Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync, Slow Syn./Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off|
|Flash X sync speed||1/250 sec|
|Continuous drive||7.0 fps|
|Exposure compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±3 (3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)|
|Format||MPEG-4, H.264, H.265|
|Storage types||Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC slots (UHS-II supported in slot 1)|
|USB||USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)|
|USB charging||Yes (Power Delivery supported)|
|HDMI||Yes (micro HDMI)|
|Wireless notes||802.11ac (dual-band) + Bluetooth|
|Remote control||Yes (wired or via smartphone)|
|Battery description||DMW-BLK22 lithium-ion battery and charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||440|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||714 g (1.57 lb / 25.19 oz)|
|Dimensions||133 x 97 x 82 mm (5.24 x 3.82 x 3.23″)|
Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 Ergonomics
The Panasonic DC-S5 feels great in hand. The S5 is not the same body type as the GH5, but it still feels perfect. This camera features an Olympus OMD-style grip that feels comfortable in hand.
The custom button and top dials can be controlled with your right hand. This easy access allows you to use your left hand to focus easily or keep your shot steady.
Should you upgrade to a Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 from a GH5?
The quick answer is no – but with two exceptions. I will cover all of the deciding factors that I can think of when it comes to “should you upgrade.” The term “upgrade” is a bit overused when it comes to comparing cameras. The S5 is more of a sideways step than a true upgrade, and I will explain why.
Unlimited Recording vs. 30 Minute Limits
The GH5 and GH5s were so far ahead of their time that they are still excellent choices for video production and content creation. There are trade-offs to both cameras when it comes to resolutions and recording limits.
The GH5 and GH5s have an unlimited recording in all modes, whereas the S5 is capped at 30 minutes in all 50/60p modes and 10-bit codec modes.
Furthermore, the battery in the Panasonic DC-S5 is different from that of the GH5. You cannot use your old batteries in the S5, but you can use the S5 batteries in a GH5.
My Full Review Video
Below is a full video review covering what you need to know about the Panasonic S5 from someone who actually purchased it. Subscribe to my Geeky Nerdy Techy YouTube channel for more videos about the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5.
Sony A7C vs Panasonic Lumix DC-S5
The Panasonic S5 wipes the floor with the Sony A7C (B&H Link) in technical aspects. The only advantage to the Sony A7C is its industry-leading autofocus performance.
The Panasonic is far superior when it comes to higher frame rates and video codecs. The S5 supports 4k60p in 8 and 10-bit formats giving it far better color information for grading in post-production.
Sony vs. Panasonic IBIS Compared
Additionally, the Panasonic S5 has an excellent IBIS system when compared with the Sony A7C.
While the A7C footage can be stabilized in post using the Sony Catalyst software, this is a time-consuming step to achieve what the camera should be doing, to begin with.
Without the Catalyst software, the IBIS system in Sony A7C leaves a lot to be desired.
Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 vs. Sony A7C Colour Science
When it comes to color science, you can choose what looks best for you; this is highly subjective. I will give the nod again to the Panasonic S5 over the A7C for color science to my eye.
Sony colors have never been great, and Panasonic colors are always improving. The GH5 had a green tint that was unavoidable without adjusting the in-camera color towards red. Additionally, the GH5S fixed this, and the S5 looks just as nice but without the Magenta tint as the GH5s.
Sony vs. Panasonic SD Card Slots
The Sony A7C only has a single SD card slot. The result is the Sony A7C has a lack of redundancy. If redundancy is important to you, then it is another reason to go for the Panasonic.
Panasonic S5 Downsides
There are a few things to know about the Panasonic DC-S5 camera before you buy it. The first of these downsides is relating the EVF. This Electronic viewfinder is a lower resolution than the GH5 or GH5S. Considering the GH5 came out in 2017, this is pretty disappointing.
Secondly, the recording limits are not a welcomed addition to this camera. The only reason Panasonic has done this is to push series creators towards their S1H. If you have the cash for an S1H, get the Sony FX3 instead. These recording limits apply to all frame rates and codecs, excluding 8-bit 24/25/30p.
Thirdly, the 4K APS-C crop might be a deal-breaker for those wanting a true full-frame experience. After using the camera for a few weeks, I haven’t found it a huge issue. This APS-C crop almost gives you a faux-zoom without the need to change lenses.
Lastly, the Lens selection and autofocus performance are not industry-leading. The lack of quality prime lenses from Panasonic for their L-Mount might be enough of a deal-breaker for most folks to get a Sony or Canon.
Reasons to Buy the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5
There’s a lot to like about this camera. The color science, battery life, codecs, bit-rates, and ergonomics are excellent. Additionally, image quality in both video and photo modes is fantastic.
Filmmakers who are behind the camera and do not rely exclusively on autofocus will love this camera. The 10-bit modes are awesome, and it’s straightforward to color grade in post-production.
The end result is that the 20-60mm Kit lens is a nice addition to the pack, while it’s not the fastest zoom in the world. The field of view of the 20-60mm will appeal to many people making videos.
The menu system and overall functionality are similar to a GH5s and will appeal to Panasonic fans.
The Panasonic S5 offers a lot more than cameras from Sony, Canon, or Nikon for video shooters for the money.
My first impressions of the Panasonic S5
My review below was my first impression of the S5 after purchasing it. This was filmed before my full review video and covered a range of initial hands-on impressions and thoughts. I also compare it with the Panasonic GH5s.
Panasonic GH5S II & GH6 vs. Panasonic S5
Much like I predicted in a recent YouTube video, I thought that Panasonic would repackage the S5 in a GH5 body, and they did.
There are some differences between these cameras. The depth of field will be better on the Lumix S5, but the stabilizer and unlimited recording give the GH5 II an advantage.
These GH5 II updates include better IBIS, more 10-bit frame rates, and an updated battery. The battery life will be better on the GH5 II due to the sensor being smaller.
In conclusion, we don’t know all the technical aspects of the GH6, but the GH5 II is an updated GH5. If you are into MFT, then it might be worth waiting for the GH5.