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Panasonic S5 Comparison Review

The Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was revealed to the public in September 2020 and is equipped with a full frame sensor. It offers a resolution of 24 megapixel.

camera

Is the Panasonic S5 a good camera? The S5 has a Camera Elo of 3025. This very strong rating puts it among the elite group of camera grand masters. The S5 ranks among the top 10 percent of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (full frame cameras), the S5 ranks among the top 20 percent.

Headline Specifications
Panasonic S5
Mirrorless system camera
Leica L mount lenses
24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/60p Video
ISO 100 - 51 200 (50 - 204 800)
Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)
3.0 LCD, 1840k dots
Swivel touchscreen
7 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
Weathersealed body
440 shots per battery charge
133 x 98 x 82 mm, 714 g

Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Panasonic S5 vis-à-vis a credit card. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Panasonic S5 vs credit card front
S5 versus credit card top view
S5 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Panasonic S5 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Panasonic S5 133 mm 98 mm 82 mm 714 g 440 Y Sep 2020 1,999 amazon.com
2.
 
Canon R6 138 mm 98 mm 88 mm 680 g 360 Y Jul 2020 2,499 amazon.com
3.
 
Nikon Z6 II 134 mm 101 mm 70 mm 705 g 410 Y Oct 2020 1,999 amazon.com
4.
 
Nikon Z6 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999ebay.com
5.
 
Panasonic GH5 II 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 727 g 400 Y May 2021 1,699 amazon.com
6.
 
Panasonic S1 149 mm 110 mm 97 mm 1017 g 400 Y Feb 2019 2,499 amazon.com
7.
 
Panasonic S1H 151 mm 114 mm 110 mm 1052 g 400 Y May 2019 3,999 amazon.com
8.
 
Panasonic GH5 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 725 g 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999ebay.com
9.
 
Sony A7C 124 mm 71 mm 60 mm 509 g 740 Y Sep 2020 1,799 amazon.com
10.
 
Sony A9 II 129 mm 96 mm 76 mm 678 g 690 Y Oct 2019 4,499 amazon.com
11.
 
Sony A7 II 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 599 g 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Panasonic S5 was launched in the US market at a price of $1,999. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Check S5 price at
amazon.com

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Panasonic S5 features a full frame sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Panasonic S5 among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.

Panasonic S5 sensor measures

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of alternative cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Panasonic S5 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/60p25.114.5269794
2.
 
Canon R6 Full Frame 20.0 5472 36484k/60p24.214.3339490
3.
 
Nikon Z6 II Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/60p25.014.4330394
4.
 
Nikon Z6 Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p25.314.3329995
5.
 
Panasonic GH5 II Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.713.1113679
6.
 
Panasonic S1 Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/60p25.214.5333395
7.
 
Panasonic S1H Full Frame 24.0 6000 40006K/30p25.214.2280594
8.
 
Panasonic GH5 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777
9.
 
Sony A7C Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7340795
10.
 
Sony A9 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.0343493
11.
 
Sony A7 II Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990
Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The S5 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the S5 can use is 4K/60p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the S5 has an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 2360k dots. The viewfinder offers a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.74x. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the Panasonic S5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Panasonic S52360 n3.0 / 1840 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0/s n Y
2.
 
Canon R63690 n3.0 / 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0/s n Y
3.
 
Nikon Z6 II3690 Y3.2 / 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 14.0/s n Y
4.
 
Nikon Z63690 Y3.2 / 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0/s n Y
5.
 
Panasonic GH5 II3680 n3.0 / 1840 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0/s n Y
6.
 
Panasonic S15760 Y3.2 / 2100 full-flex Y 1/8000s 9.0/s n Y
7.
 
Panasonic S1H5760 Y3.2 / 2330 swivel Y 1/8000s 9.0/s n Y
8.
 
Panasonic GH53680 n3.2 / 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0/s n Y
9.
 
Sony A7C2360 n3.0 / 922 swivel Y 1/4000s 10.0/s n Y
10.
 
Sony A9 II3686 n3.0 / 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 20.0/s n Y
11.
 
Sony A7 II2400 n3.0 / 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0/s n Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

The LCD screen on the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 is flexibly attached to the body. In particular, the LCD is hinged on the side and can be flipped out for odd-angle shots in both portrait and landscape orientation. Also, this fully articulated, swivel type of LCD attachment is often appreciated by videographers for its flexibility. Moreover, v-loggers like the design because the screen can be turned to be front-facing.

articulated screen
Flexible screen on the S5

One feature that differentiates the S5 from many older cameras is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The S5 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while cameras without IBIS have to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.

Connection comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Panasonic S5Ystereo / monoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
2.
 
Canon R6Ymono / monoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
3.
 
Nikon Z6 IIYstereo / monoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
4.
 
Nikon Z6Ystereo / monoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
5.
 
Panasonic GH5 IIYstereo / monoYYfull3.2Y-Y
6.
 
Panasonic S1Ystereo / monoYYfull3.1Y-Y
7.
 
Panasonic S1HYstereo / monoYYfull3.1Y-Y
8.
 
Panasonic GH5Ystereo / monoYYfull3.1Y-Y
9.
 
Sony A7CYstereo / monoYYmicro3.2YYY
10.
 
Sony A9 IIYstereo / monoYYmicro3.1YYY
11.
 
Sony A7 IIYstereo / monoYYmicro2.0YY-

It is notable that the S5 has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

Further information on the features and operation of the S5 can be found in the free online Panasonic S5 Manual or on the Panasonic support site.

Expert reviews

While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the S5 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).

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Review Scores
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Panasonic S54.5/5+ +4.5/588/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2020 1,999 amazon.com
2.
 
Canon R65/5+ +4/590/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2020 2,499 amazon.com
3.
 
Nikon Z6 II4.5/5..4/589/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2020 1,999 amazon.com
4.
 
Nikon Z65/5..5/589/1004.5/55/5 Aug 2018 1,999ebay.com
5.
 
Panasonic GH5 II4.5/5..4.5/585/1004.5/55/5 May 2021 1,699 amazon.com
6.
 
Panasonic S14.5/5+ +4.5/588/1004.5/54/5 Feb 2019 2,499 amazon.com
7.
 
Panasonic S1H....4/590/100.... May 2019 3,999 amazon.com
8.
 
Panasonic GH54.5/5+ +..85/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999ebay.com
9.
 
Sony A7C3.5/5..3.5/586/1004/54/5 Sep 2020 1,799 amazon.com
10.
 
Sony A9 II....5/590/1005/55/5 Oct 2019 4,499 amazon.com
11.
 
Sony A7 II5/5+4/582/1004.5/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

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Check S5 price at
amazon.com

Panasonic S5 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the S5.

What technology is the imaging sensor in the S5 based on?

The camera is build around a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Panasonic equipped the S5 with the Venus image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the S5?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800.

Does the camera have a selfie-friendly screen?

Yes, the LCD-screen of the S5 is flexible and can be turned to be front-facing for capturing selfies.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5?

Panasonic mentions a shutter rating of 200 000 actuations for the S5. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the S5 over, say, three years, one would have to take about 200 pictures each and every day.

How do I find the shutter count on my S5?

Panasonic embeds the number of shutter actuations in hidden menus. You can check the number of shots that your S5 has taken up to now by carefully following the steps described on the Panasonic S5 shutter count page.

Is completely silent shooting possible with the Panasonic S5?

The camera has an electronic shutter option, so that it is indeed feasible to capture images without any shutter noise.

Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?

No, the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.

Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Panasonic S5?

The S5 offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.

Does the Panasonic S5 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The S5's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.

Does the Panasonic S5 support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?

Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-II cards (data transfer speed of up to 312 MB/s) in its first slot, and UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s) in its second slot.

Which battery does the S5 use?

The camera gets its power from the DMW-BLK22 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Is there a vertical grip available for the S5?

Yes, Panasonic offers the DMW-BGS5 as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.

Where can I find the best deals for the S5?

Grey imports from Asia, as found on ebay, are often very attractively priced. However, these cameras come without a warranty from Panasonic.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Panasonic S5
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Leica L mount lenses
    Launch Date September 2020
    Launch Price USD 1 999
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.6 x 23.8 mm
    Sensor Area 847 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 42.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6 000 x 4 000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 2.83 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 51 200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 204 800 ISO
    Image Processor Venus
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 94
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 25.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.5
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2697
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.74x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2360k dots
    Top-Level Screen no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1840k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen
    V-logging Friendliness Front-flip possible
    Touch Input Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peaking
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 7 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy200 000 actuations
    Silent ShootingElectronic Shutter
    Time Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer Built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots
    UHS card support Single UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 3.2
    HDMI Port micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type DMW-BLK22 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)440 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 133 x 98 x 82 mm
    (5.2 x 3.9 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 714 g (25.2 oz)

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