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Sony A7S II versus Panasonic G5

The Sony Alpha 7S II and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in September 2015 and July 2012. Both the A7S II and the G5 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are based on a full frame (A7S II) and a Four Thirds (G5) sensor. The Sony has a resolution of 12 megapixel, whereas the Panasonic provides 15.9 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Sony A7S II vs Panasonic G5

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Sony A7S II and the Panasonic G5. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. If you prefer, you can also use the toggle button to switch to a comparison in percentage terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the A7S II – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Snapsort Sony A7S II vs Panasonic G5
Compare A7S II versus G5 top
Compare A7S II and G5 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic G5 is notably smaller (18 percent) than the Sony A7S II. Moreover, the G5 is substantially lighter (37 percent) than the A7S II. It is worth mentioning in this context that the A7S II is splash and dust resistant, while the G5 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can find an overview of optics for the two cameras in the Sony FE Lens Catalog (A7S II) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (G5). Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.

Concerning battery life, the A7S II gets 370 shots out of its NP-FW50 battery, while the G5 can take 320 images on a single charge of its DMW-BLC12 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Sony A7S II» 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.1 oz 370 Y Sep 2015 2,999 i i
Panasonic G5« 4.7 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 14.0 oz 320 n Jul 2012 599- i
Olympus E-M1 II« » 5.3 in 3.6 in 2.6 in 20.2 oz 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i
Panasonic GX850« » 4.2 in 2.6 in 1.3 in 9.5 oz 210 n Jan 2017 549 i i
Panasonic G7« » 4.9 in 3.4 in 3.0 in 14.5 oz 350 n May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GF6« » 4.4 in 2.6 in 1.5 in 11.4 oz 340 n Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic G6« » 4.8 in 3.3 in 2.8 in 13.8 oz 340 n Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic G3« » 4.5 in 3.3 in 1.9 in 11.9 oz 270 n May 2011 599- i
Sony A7 III« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i i
Sony A9« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 23.7 oz 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i
Sony A7R III« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.9 in 22.9 oz 650 Y Oct 2017 3,199 i i
Sony A99 II« » 5.6 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 29.9 oz 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i i
Sony A6500« » 4.7 in 2.6 in 2.1 in 16.0 oz 350 Y Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Sony A7R II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 22.0 oz 290 Y Jun 2015 3,199- i
Sony A7 II« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.4 in 21.1 oz 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i
Sony A7S« » 5.0 in 3.7 in 1.9 in 17.2 oz 380 Y Apr 2014 2,499- i
Sony A99« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 28.6 oz 500 Y Sep 2012 2,799- i

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The G5 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 80 percent) than the A7S II, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Sony A7S II vs Panasonic G5

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Sony A7S II features a full frame sensor and the Panasonic G5 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the G5 is 73 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 2.0. The sensor in the A7S II has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the G5 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Sony A7S II and Panasonic G5 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the G5 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixel, compared with 12 MP of the A7S II. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.76μm versus 8.40μm for the A7S II). Moreover, it should be noted that the A7S II is much more recent (by 3 years and 1 month) than the G5, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

A7S II versus G5 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Sony A7S II» Full Frame 12.0 4240 28324K/30p23.613.3299385
Panasonic G5« Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p----
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280
Panasonic GX850« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p23.213.358673
Panasonic G7« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p----
Panasonic GF6« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i20.710.662254
Panasonic G6« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p21.311.563961
Panasonic G3« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34481080/60i21.010.666756
Sony A7 III« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792
Sony A7R III« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.014.73523100
Sony A99 II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792
Sony A6500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.513.7140585
Sony A7R II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p26.013.9343498
Sony A7 II« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990
Sony A7S« » Full Frame 12.0 4240 28321080/60p23.913.2370287
Sony A99« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.014.0155589

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the A7S II provides a higher video resolution than the G5. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Panasonic is limited to 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison: Sony A7S II vs Panasonic G5

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under consideration are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the A7S II offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the G5 (2400k vs 1440k dots). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Sony A7S II and Panasonic G5 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Sony A7S II»2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y
Panasonic G5«1440 n 3.0 920 swivel Y 4000 6.0 Y n
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y
Panasonic GX850« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 500 10.0 Y n
Panasonic G7« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic GF6« »- n 3.0 1040 tilting Y 4000 4.2 Y n
Panasonic G6« »1440 n 3.0 1036 swivel Y 4000 7.0 Y n
Panasonic G3« »1440 n 3.0 460 swivel Y 4000 4.0 Y n
Sony A7 III« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Sony A9« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 20.0 n Y
Sony A7R III« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y
Sony A99 II« »2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 8000 12.0 n Y
Sony A6500« »2300 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 4000 11.0 Y Y
Sony A7R II« »2400 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y
Sony A7 II« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 8000 5.0 n Y
Sony A7S« »2400 n 3.0 921 tilting n 8000 5.0 n n
Sony A99« »2359 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 8000 6.0 n Y

The A7S II is a current model that online retailers, such as amazon, will have in stock. In contrast, the G5 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the G5 was succeeded by the Panasonic G6.

Review summary: Sony A7S II vs Panasonic G5

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Sony A7S II or the Panasonic G5 – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Sony Alpha 7S II:

  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (2400k vs 1440k dots).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 920k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (370 versus 320) on a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
  • Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization build-in.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 1 month of technical progress since the G5 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (15.9 vs 12MP), which boosts linear resolution by 13%.
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (120x83mm vs 127x96mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 231g or 37 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (80 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in July 2012).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the match-up finishes in a tie (9 points each). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

A7S II 09:09 G5

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the A7S II and the G5 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review scores
  Camera cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Sony A7S II»Rec-4.5/55/55/5 Sep 2015 2,999 i i
Panasonic G5«HiRec-4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jul 2012 599- i
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i
Panasonic GX850« »Rec76/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Jan 2017 549 i i
Panasonic G7« »HiRec80/1005/54.5/54.5/5 May 2015 649- i
Panasonic GF6« »HiRec-4.5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 499- i
Panasonic G6« »HiRec-5/5-4.5/5 Apr 2013 599- i
Panasonic G3« »HiRec75/1004.5/54.5/55/5 May 2011 599- i
Sony A7 III« »HiRec89/1005/5-5/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i i
Sony A9« »HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i
Sony A7R III« »HiRec90/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2017 3,199 i i
Sony A99 II« »-85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i i
Sony A6500« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Oct 2016 1,399 i i
Sony A7R II« »HiRec90/1005/54.5/55/5 Jun 2015 3,199- i
Sony A7 II« »Rec82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i
Sony A7S« »-86/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Apr 2014 2,499- i
Sony A99« »-84/1004.5/5rev4.5/5 Sep 2012 2,799- i

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when refering to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting. If the camera you are interested in is not available, please send me an email, and I will try to locate and add the respective data to the application.

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