Highly Recommended awardThe Lumix S5 Mark II is arguably the best value new full-frame camera around at the time of making this review, packing a wealth of features while comfortably undercutting key rivals on price. The long-awaited inclusion of phase-detect autofocus transforms both photo and video, eliminating the distracting pulsing which haunted earlier Lumix cameras. While the core features and specs are roughly similar to its rivals, drilling-down reveals unique benefits to each: Canon’s R6 II enjoyed the best subject detection in my tests, allows uncropped 4k up to 60p, in-camera focus stacking, multiple exposures, a bulb timer, pre-capture mode, 1080 180p slow motion, and the fastest mechanical burst speed of 12fps. Sony’s A7 IV has the highest resolution on a single frame, support for a faster memory card and access to a wealth of lenses including Tamron’s which aren’t yet available for L or RF mount. Meanwhile the S5 II boasts a high-res pixel shift mode, focus bracketing with a mechanical shutter that allows flash, open-gate 6k video, waveform and vector displays, anamorphic modes, real-time LUT previews, and potentially longer recording times under hotter conditions thanks to a built-in fan. And don’t forget Sigma’s growing series of excellent DG DN lenses is available for both e and L-mounts, giving Sony and Panasonic access to affordable third-party lenses that Canon owners can currently only dream of. Oh, and there’s that $500 or pound saving over the R6 II and A7 IV. In fact it still undercuts their body prices when sold in a twin lens kit with the 20-60 and 50 1.8. Of course both Canon and Sony still sell their previous versions at prices closer to the S5 II, but their feature-sets aren’t as complete. If you’re mostly shooting action or wildlife I’d say it’s worth spending the extra on the R6 II, but as an all-round hybrid camera for a general mix of photo and video, the Lumix S5 II is simply hard to beat at the price and comes Highly Recommended.

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Panasonic Lumix S5 II review


The Panasonic Lumix S5 Mark II is a full-frame mirrorless camera with 24 Megapixels, 6k video, built-in stabilisation, 30fps bursts, and unlimited recording.

Announced in January 2023, the S5 II is pitched as an all-round hybrid camera, and brings a number of upgrades to the original model launched just over two years previously – but by far the most important is the inclusion of phase-detect autofocus.

Yes you heard that right: Panasonic has finally equipped a Lumix mirrorless camera with a hybrid autofocus system and you can see it in action in my complete video review below. If you prefer to read a written version, keep scrolling!

Like most other cameras, the S5 II’s continuous autofocus now employs a combination of contrast and phase technologies, to provide more reliable tracking for moving subjects while avoiding the pulsing effect which plagued earlier models. 

While I personally found Panasonic’s previous contrast-based DFD system was great for stills photography, it was less suitable for video autofocus, especially when vlogging or presenting pieces to camera where you’d sometimes see the background pulse a little in and out of focus. To be fair in some of my tests it was fine, but in others the pulsing became more visible and distracting.

Unfortunately for Panasonic, most camera reviews are now made by YouTubers, who understandably place great importance on video autofocus and revealed the limitations of DFD in this regard. 

Consequently video AF became Panasonic’s Achilles’ Heel with many reviews of earlier models extolling numerous virtues before then ruling them out for some people based on this limitation alone.

But now the S5 Mark II includes a spread of phase-detect autofocus points which hope to lay those demons to rest, and in a bold move, Panasonic invited a load of YouTubers including myself to Japan to try it out, before sending us home with the camera for long-term testing.

As such while this strategy will guarantee almost blanket coverage across YouTube on launch-day, it’s given them nowhere to hide. If it works as advertised, the Lumix S5 II will become a serious contender at a keen price, but if it doesn’t then we’ll certainly know about it. It’s a make or break moment.

To find out if the S5 II finally resolves the issues with previous models, I tested a final production camera running final firmware over several weeks with a selection of native L-mount and adapted EF lenses. I also tested Canon’s latest EOS R6 Mark II alongside it, as well as retesting Sony’s A7 IV side-by-side. 

Both of these models are key rivals in the hybrid full-frame market, and before even opening their boxes, the S5 II impressively undercuts them by around $500 or pounds. 

But remember both Canon and Sony also sell their earlier versions at prices closer to the S5 II which makes them important contenders too. I’ll be making comparisons throughout my review, as well as seeing how the S5 II has changed from the original version.

Let’s check out the body first. At first glance the S5 II looks a lot like its predecessor. Technically it’s fractionally larger all round and at 740g, a tad heavier, but in your hands it looks and feels like the same camera, with essentially the same control layout too.

Size-wise, here’s the S5 II on the right with the Canon EOS R6 II on the left, the former a little taller and more angular in style. And now for the Sony A7 IV on the left, again a little shorter than the new Lumix.

The S5 II may be smaller than the first Lumix S bodies, but there’s still plenty to hold onto with a comfortable grip, and as before the body claims to be dust and moisture resistant.

Before delving into the controls, one small but important difference is the S5 II swaps the rattly strap lugs of the original model for fixed slots on the sides. Not only do these avoid unwanted sounds when filming, but also make the camera easier to accommodate within a cage. Thanks for that.

Moving onto the controls, starting from the top left surface is the non-lockable drive dial with positions for single shooting, two burst modes, the high resolution pixel shift mode, an interval timer and the self timer.

The two drive positions are customisable, so you could have, say, the top mechanical burst speed assigned to one and the top electronic to the other, but there’s no longer the 4k or 6k Photo options of the original S5. I’ll show you the high resolution mode in action later, a capability which typically isn’t available on full-framers at this price, or indeed on any Canon body.

Over on the upper right surface is the non-lockable mode dial offering PASM, Intelligent Auto, Creative Movie, S&Q, and three custom positions. 

You can record video while you’re in the standard exposure modes, but by setting the dial to Creative Movie, you’ll unlock the full menus and quality options. Around the base of the mode dial is a power collar switch.

To the right is a large jolly red record button and behind it a raised thumb dial. Towards the front are three hard buttons dedicated to White Balance, ISO and Exposure Compensation which are adjusted by pushing while turning one of the dials. Meanwhile the shutter release is housed within the finger dial. Both the finger and thumb dials turn with good tactile feedback.

Eagle-eyed viewers may notice some vents on either side of the viewfinder head, positioned towards the bottom and hidden a little by the dials on either side. These work alongside an internal fan to provide active cooling that allows the camera to shoot video for longer under hotter conditions, and is another unique capability in this category. Panasonic assures me they don’t compromise the weatherproofing, but time will of course tell. Oh and in day to day use, the fan is effectively inaudible and I never experienced overheating.

From the rear, there’s an AF mode collar by the viewfinder with a button in the middle to adjust the AF areas. To its right are an AF ON button and a joystick which in a minor upgrade now supports the eight directions you’d expect versus the four on the previous model. Below these is a large, tiltable rear thumb wheel, so with three control dials, a drive dial, AF collar and three hard buttons, you should be able to adjust pretty much every aspect of exposure, drive and autofocus without entering a menu.

Moving onto composition, the S5 II employs a 3.68 million dot OLED with 0.78x magnification, a little larger and more detailed than the 2.36 million dot 0.74x panel on the previous model. 

Back on the original S5, I felt a little let down by the viewfinder resolution, so it’s a welcome boost here that brings it in line with both the R6 II and A7 IV. Note the earlier A7 III had a lower resolution 2.36 million dot EVF like the original S5.

The S5 II’s viewfinder can be set to refresh at 60 or 120fps, the latter looking smoother when panning quickly, although I found the view looked fine for day to day use at 60fps.

The main screen is the same as before, a 3in panel with 1840k dots, mounted on a side-hinged, fully-articulated mechanism. As usual this can flip and twist to almost any angle including forward to face you, or back on itself for protection. So in terms of viewfinder and screen, the S5 II is similar to the A7 IV and R6 II. Note the earlier A7 III screen could only tilt vertically.

On the grip side of the camera you’ll find two SD card slots, both now supporting UHS-II speeds in an upgrade over the S5 and A7 III which only allow UHS-II speeds on Slot-1. Both the A7 IV and EOS R6 II also offer twin UHS-II slots, although Sony’s first slot alternatively allows you to insert a faster, albeit more expensive CF Express Type A card, giving it an advantage in buffer-flushing times.

On the left side are two rubber flaps: behind the top one are 3.5mm microphone and headphone jacks, while behind the lower are USB-C and full-size HDMI ports. The Sony A7 IV may also now feature full-size HDMI, but it remains a nice upgrade from the Micro HDMI port on the original S5, not to mention the Sony A7 III and most Canon bodies including the R6 II.

Meanwhile power is provided by the same DMW-BLK22 pack as the S5, rated at 2200mAh, albeit now only squeezing out around 370 shots per charge versus around 450 on the S5. IN CIPA terms, the battery life falls behind the competition a little, although I found a fully charged pack could last me a good day’s shooting with a mix of stills and video, but you’ll probably want to keep a spare handy. As before you can charge and power the camera over USB C. 

As far as I understand, the S5 II will also work with the battery grip accessory for the original S5, providing both portrait controls as well as accommodating a second battery, doubling the overall life.

Like all Lumix S bodies, the S5 II employs the L-mount, allowing it to use a growing system of native lenses from Panasonic, Sigma and Leica. Highlights include a series of f1.8 prime lenses from Panasonic, along with Sigma’s entire range of DG DN lenses designed for full-frame mirrorless cameras. I’ve also successfully adapted Canon EF lenses.

If you’re after a general purpose zoom without breaking the bank, my two favourite native options are Panasonic’s own kit lens, the 20-60mm f3.5-5.6 with its wider than average coverage that’s perfect for vlogging, and Sigma’s 28-70mm f2.8 DG DN which provides a constant bright aperture in a compact and affordable package.

While Sigma also makes e-mount versions for Sony bodies, Canon owners currently miss out on third party mirrorless lenses with autofocus, giving its rivals a key advantage. 

Moving on, Panasonic describes the S5 II sensor as being new, although I believe it’s based on the same sensor in the S5 and S1H before it, albeit now featuring phase-detect autofocus points. Either way, it delivers images with 24 Megapixels, matching the EOS R6 II and older A7 III, albeit all falling short of the 33 Megapixel A7 IV which continues to lead the pack in terms of resolution. I’ll show you how their quality compares side-by-side in a moment.

The image quality options appear to be inherited from the original S5, so you get three photo resolutions for JPEG files, at 24, 12 or 6 Megapixels, and the choice of two JPEG compression levels. You can also shoot in RAW, but unlike its latest rivals, there’s no RAW compression options, nor any chance to swap JPEG for HEIF. That said, with typical RAW files varying between 30 and 40MB in my tests, I’m guessing there’s some kind of compression taking place, presumably lossless.

The S5 II also inherits the six aspect ratios of its predecessor, so along with the native 3:2, you can choose to crop JPEGs into 4:3, 16:9 or 1:1, as well as panoramic 65:24 or 2:1 options. More options than Canon and Sony there.

One of the key photo highlights of the S5 II over its rivals is the High Resolution Mode which captures a series of eight images using the electronic shutter, with IBIS subtly shifting the sensor between each. These are then combined afterwards to deliver an image with reduced colour moire artefacts as well as potentially higher resolution.

While Fujifilm now offers a similar Pixel Shift mode on its recent X-Series bodies, the S5 becomes quite unique amongst its full-frame rivals. Sony doesn’t start offering Pixel Shift until the pricier A7R series, while Canon doesn’t have it at all. 

Better still, unlike Fujifilm and Sony, Panasonic actually combines the frames in-camera to generate the new high resolution version without the need for external software, allowing you to check your result on-site. The process typically takes less than ten seconds too.

Ok, so let’s check out the quality in practice, starting with a real-life urban landscape, shot with the S5 II fitted with the Lumix S 70-200mm f4 Pro lens, one of the sharpest native lenses I had on test.

Taking a closer look at the image reveals a decent degree of detail and natural looking processing. Now lets keep this single frame on the left and compare it to one taken using the High Resolution mode on the right moments later, and I’d say the difference in real-life detail is quite visible if you’re looking closely. Most obviously the railings and grills are much better resolved, but beyond this, pipework and bricks are also all now much clearer.

Most pixel shift modes struggle with any elements in motion, which generally rules-out outdoor compositions, but here on a fairly still day, the trees are also looking more detailed than the single frame version on the left, revealing crisp branches and leafs on the right which remain comparatively fuzzy on the left.

That said, in compositions with people walking, the S5 II’s High Resolution Mode can suffer from undesirable artefacts. Let’s zoom into this image I took with the S5 II, placing the single frame on the left and the High Resolution Mode version on the right.

This time, while the crop on the right is resolving finer details, notice how the people in motion have become ghostly images. To reduce the effect, the S5 II offers a second compositing option which can address some elements in motion, but for the best results, try to stick with static compositions in controlled environments, like product or archive photography.

To compare the technical resolution of the EOS R6 II, Lumix S5 II and Sony A7 IV, I photographed my standard resolution chart using the same adapted Sigma 40mm f1.4 Art lens on each body. This is one of the sharpest lenses I have, and as an EF model, it’s possible to adapt it to multiple systems to place them on a level playing field optically.

So here’s the EOS R6 II on the left, the Lumix S5 II in the middle, both sharing the same 24 Megapixel resolution, and the Sony A7 IV on the right with 33 Megapixels. 

At first glance, the Lumix S5 II in the middle looks softest of the three, but take a closer look and you’ll notice some of Canon’s advantage here is down to sharpening. I’d say the R6 II is definitely squeezing a tad more detail from its sensor, but if you compare the points where they both fail to resolve the converging lines, it’s closer than first appears. Meanwhile the A7 IV is out-resolving both rivals as you’d expect, although perhaps not by as much as you’d assume. We’re really pixel-peeping here.

But remember the S5 II has a Pixel Shifting trick up its sleeve and switching its single frame result in the middle for one taken in the High Resolution mode, shows it taking a clear lead in potential resolving power. Once again this is a tripod-based only mode that works best with completely static subjects, but under the right conditions it does give the S5 II a resolution advantage over its rivals.

To compare noise levels, I photographed this bunch of flowers again with each of the three bodies fitted with the same adapted Sigma 40mm f1.4 Art lens. I’m going to zoom-in for a closer look, before running through the full range of ISO sensitivities. Note the S5 II sensor employs dual native ISO, now with manual as well as auto switching for photo or video.

I shot in RAW+JPEG but since the S5 II wasn’t supported by Adobe at the time I made this review, you’re looking at JPEGs out of camera here where you can compare the relative approaches each has for dealing with noise reduction and detail. 

Some models prefer a noise averse approach where all the speckles are smoothed-out albeit the cost of smearing fine detail, whereas others prefer to leave some visible noise at higher sensitivities to preserve detail. 

There’s no right or wrong here, but let me know which is your preferred camera of the three at high ISOs. Personally I’d say all three are looking good up to 6400 ISO, but any higher and you’ll steadily lose fine details to noise and smearing. I’d also say Panasonic’s default approach may leave the most visible noise, but not to the detriment of retained details.

Just before moving on, I wanted to make one more High Resolution mode comparison with the S5 II, so here’s all three cameras back at their base sensitivities of 100 ISO, before switching out the single 24 Megapixel frame from the S5 II in the middle for its High Resolution version. Look closely and you’ll see finer detail in the petals and leaves in particular.

In the absence of third party RAW support, I’m only going to take a brief look at the S5 II’s RAW files converted in the supplied SilkyPix software. Here’s a shot of Brighton Pier where metering for the building often results in crushed shadows below and blown highlights in the sky. By adjusting the exposure slider in SilkyPix though, you can see how you can retrieve tonal detail at both ends of the range in this image. I hope to do more RAW tests once the files are all supported by Adobe.

Moving on, the S5 II’s sensor is stabilised within the body with a five axis system claiming up to five stops of compensation alone, or up to 6.5 with Dual IS when coupled with a lens sporting compatible optical stabilisation.

To show it in action, I recorded the view when composing with the Lumix S 85mm, an unstabilised lens, here without IBIS enabled where the view is wobbly. After enabling it in the menus and returning to the live image though, the view becomes much steadier, allowing you to compose more precisely.

IBIS also of course also allows you to handhold slower shutter speeds than normal, and here’s a shot I took with the 85mm with a shutter speed of 0.4 seconds, the slowest I could successfully handhold a sharp image on the day.

For comparison, on the right is the same shot taken at 0.4 seconds but without IBIS where the image is very wobbly. In fact on the day, I needed a shutter speed of 1/160 without IBIS to match the steadiness of the image on the left, which results in a respectable six stops of compensation. This is noticeably better than the three stops I measured for the Sony A7 IV in a similar test.

But now for the big news, autofocus, with the S5 II finally employing both contrast and phase technologies in line with its rivals. While I talk about it, I’m going to show you a brief video clip showing it in action where it really does appear to have banished those pulsing demons in the background.

Panasonic wouldn’t disclose how much of the sensor area featured phase detect AF coverage, but in terms of AF areas and subject detection, the S5 II has the same options as its predecessor. So you can choose pinpoint, single area, expanded area, a variety of zones or the full area, with a separate object tracking option if preferred.

In each case you can adjust the size of the area and move it around by joystick, buttons or touch, and if desired you can use the screen as a touchpad while composing through the viewfinder.

If subject detection is enabled, you can instruct the camera to prioritise one of three types: Human, Face and Eye or Animal and Human. Panasonic was actually one of the first camera companies to deploy deep-learning for advanced subject recognition, but today its options seem a little less intuitive than some of its rivals. 

For example, Canon and Sony simply have one option for humans, with a separate option for animals. Sony has a third option specifically for birds, while Canon is the only one of these three rivals to have an additional option for vehicles. Simply choose the one for the desired subject.

In contrast, all three of Panasonic’s subject modes include human recognition of some description, so which do you choose when you just want to photograph a person? 

Panasonic’s suggestion is to choose Human when you want to track the whole body near or far, but to choose Face and Eye when concentrating on portrait-style compositions, but I’d still prefer all human recognition to just be on one option. And beyond this, the ultimate goal for any camera is to offer an Auto option which switches between primary subject types by itself, something Canon is already offering with decent success on the R6 II.

But enough talk, let’s see it in action, starting with a single autofocus test using the Lumix S 85mm f1.8, where I’ve filmed the back of the screen rather than recording the HDMI output. 

This is because single AF modes on the S5 II still employ the contrast based DFD system which can operate very quickly, but as I discovered a few years ago, visibly slows down if you’re recording the HDMI output. 

So beware of reviews which do this, as you won’t be seeing the camera at its best. As for the result here, the S5 II is quick and accurate in single AF mode, but then so was its predecessor.

So now here’s some tests in Continuous AFC mode, where you can now record the HDMI output of the S5 II without compromising the performance. I’m starting with the Lumix S 50mm at f1.8 and with Face and Eye detection where you’ll see Panasonic’s unique cross-hair graphics.

Notice how the camera does a good job detecting my eye in almost full profile and also how the S5 II now avoids the distracting pulsing of the DFD system previously used for continuous AF. But also notice how when I turn away or am more distant, there’s no specific head or body detection in this mode. The Face and Eye mode is really for concentrating on face-on portraits.

So here’s the same test with the same lens, but this time using the Human option in subject detection. When I’m close, the S5 II continues to identify my closest eye with a cross-hair, but as I turn away or become smaller on the frame, the camera now recognises my head or body. Once the subject becomes sufficiently close, it switches back to face and eye detection.

Here’s an extreme example showing how the camera handles multiple people on the frame, where the Human detection option is successfully surrounding lots of subjects with frames. You can tap the one you’d like it to prioritise.

Ok, back to me, but this time indoors and using the 20-60mm kit zoom, set to 50mm where its maximum aperture is f5.3. Here I’m still using Human detection, and you’ll notice the camera continues to avoid the background pulsing of earlier models, although now it’s struggling to find my eye in full profile.

Switching to Face and Eye mode, the S5 II still isn’t finding my eye in complete profile, but re-acquires me as soon as I begin to turn to face the camera. 

I wondered if this was a light-gathering issue, so swapped back to the brighter Lumix S 50mm at f1.8 here but it’s still not recognising me in full-profile. Maybe it didn’t like my beanie indoors?

To see how the competition compares, I made a similar test with 50mm f1.8 lenses on the Canon EOS R6 II on the left, and the Sony A7 IV on the right, both flanking the Lumix S5 II in the middle.

Notice how both the EOS R6 II and A7 IV do a better job than the S5 II at staying locked-onto my eye in full profile, but that the Canon is the only one of the three here that continues to identify the back of my head or torso as a human subject in this test when my face isn’t visible. Sony’s latest AF system in the A7R V may roughly match Canon’s R6 II performance here, but the older A7 IV falls roughly between it and the S5 II.

Clearly the R6 II is the leader out of these three models in terms of subject recognition, but in practice would you be taking many portraits in full profile or with the subject turned away? Anytime I took actual photos of people rather than trying to trick the system, I enjoyed 100% success with the S5 II and A7 IV, but I still wanted to illustrate their differences for you.

Next for burst speeds and using continuous autofocus for action and wildlife photography. Like most cameras, the S5 II lets you shoot with a choice of shutter types with varying speeds and capabilities. The mechanical shutter operates at 7fps with continuous AF, versus the A7 IV at 10fps and the R6 II at 12fps, so not exactly blisteringly quick, but faster at least than the original S5 which only achieved 5fps with autofocus. 

Note the Sony A7 IV has some speed restrictions when shooting in RAW: you’ll only achieve 10fps in compressed RAW if using a more expensive CF Express memory card. The speed drops to 8fps when shooting compressed RAW onto SD, and slows further to 6fps if you switch to uncompressed or lossless compressed RAW on any card type.

If you’re shooting static subjects in Single AFS mode, the Lumix S5 II increases its speed a little to 9fps. I slightly exceeded Panasonic’s quoted speeds in my tests, shooting 246 JPEGs at 9.5fps with single autofocus or 168 JPEGs at 7.7fps with continuous autofocus. The camera was happy to keep shooting beyond these totals, I just got bored and let go.

Set to the only RAW mode available, I managed 182 images at 7.8fps with continuous AF before the buffer filled. In any of these tests, the camera took between 30 and 45 seconds to write all of the images to the SD card. That’s quite a while to flush the full buffer, but you can grab more images as it’s clearing.

Here’s an example of S5 II shooting at 9fps with a static subject where single autofocus works fine. Note how at 9fps, I only captured one frame where the wooden block was mid-air.

If you’d like to shoot faster bursts, switch the S5 II to its fully electronic shutter. Previously this made no difference to the speed of the original S5, but now on the Mark II it’ll boost the burst speed to 30fps, with single or continuous autofocus.

In my formal tests, the S5 II captured a maximum of 200 shots whether JPEG or RAW when using the electronic shutter, and in either format, did so in exactly the same time of 6.61 seconds, confirming the 30fps speed. In either case, the camera took just under a minute to completely write all 200 images to the SD card.

To show the electronic shutter in practice, here’s that falling block again, but this time captured at 30fps. I’ve still only got the block in two frames, but there’s obviously way more images to choose from for the splash, and again you can enjoy this top speed with continuous autofocus for bursts lasting up to 6.6 seconds.

Let’s now see the S5 II in action for more distant subjects photographed with the Lumix S 70-200mm Pro lens, mostly at 200mm f4. In each of these cases I’m using Face and Eye detection. 

For this test I used the mechanical shutter which again operates at up to 7fps with continuous autofocus. And again while that’s not hugely fast, the presence of phase-detect on the S5 II now means it avoids the distracting high-speed pulsing of the earlier DFD models while shooting in continuous AF. It’s a much more pleasant shooting experience as a result.

Now here’s the S5 II shooting with its electronic shutter at 30fps, again with approaching bikes using Face and Eye detection. It’s certainly managing to keep the subject in focus across most of the frames here, and gives the S5 II a speed advantage over the Sony A7 IV which only offers 10fps whether using its mechanical or electronic shutter. Canon has however taken the lead in speed here with 40fps electronic bursts on the R6 II, although in practice you’re unlikely to miss much at 30fps.

Next for some birds in flight, again with the S5 II fitted with the Lumix S 70-200mm f4 Pro and again mostly at 200mm f4. I stuck with the full AF area, but changed the subject type to Animal and Human, where the system surrounds the creature with a box. Unlike Canon and Sony I don’t believe it’s deploying face or eye detection here.

I’ll show you some bursts with the mechanical shutter at 7fps first before switching to some with the electronic shutter at 30fps. Shooting alongside the R6 II, Canon’s recognition felt more confident, identifying birds from a longer distance when they were smaller on the frame, not to mention concentrating on their eyes when closer, but the bottom line is I still managed to get a decent number of keepers with the S5 II.

During mechanical bursts, the R6 II at 12fps felt comfortably faster than the 7fps of the S5 II, but once set to electronic, both were taking more frames than I needed.

Both cameras though, along with the A7 IV, suffer from rolling shutter artefacts when using their electronic shutters. If you pan quickly with any of them or have a subject that moves quickly across the frame, you will see skewing artefacts.

You may have already spotted this during some of the electronic bursts of birds I showed a moment ago, but here’s another example. I’m starting with a pan at 70mm using the mechanical shutter where the tower and buildings are vertically upright as you’d expect.

And now the same pan but with using the electronic shutter where the tell-tale skewing artefacts of rolling shutter have become apparent with the tower and buildings leaning to the side. 

To be fair, most cameras without faster stacked sensors also suffer from a similar skewing effect when using their electronic shutters. Here’s the Lumix S5 II on the left and the Canon R6 II on the right, when both were panning with 70mm lenses using their electronic shutters, and both exhibiting similar degrees of skewing. 

Sadly until sensors with faster readouts become more affordable, skewing will remain the penalty of using an electronic shutter. If your subject or composition is mostly still, it will be less of an issue, but when shooting fast motion be warned. 

Moving on, long-time Lumix fans will note the S5 II no longer includes the 4k and 6k Photo modes which exploited the frame rates of video to capture action, before then grabbing individual frames during playback as photos. 

The new 30fps electronic shutter effectively replaces them for standard bursts, although it does mean the S5 II now misses out on the pre-burst and post-focus modes of earlier models. This also means Canon’s EOS R6 II now becomes the only one in its full-frame peer group to offer any kind of pre-capture with its RAW burst mode.

I’m almost done now, but before wrapping-up, a quick mention of some other shooting modes for photography. The S5 II offers a variety of bracketing options including exposure bracketing with up to seven frames one EV apart, aperture bracketing, focus bracketing with up to 999 frames at a choice of 10 steps, and two types of white balance bracketing. 

To see Focus Bracketing in action, I photographed a vintage Mac using the 20-60mm at around 50mm f5.6, and from this position I needed 80 frames at a step interval of two in order to focus from the closest to the furthest point. 

Note how the S5 II is able to use its mechanical shutter during focus bracketing, in turn allowing flashes to be fired. In contrast, Canon and Sony only support focus bracketing with their electronic shutters, thereby ruling out flashes, and the feature isn’t even available on the Sony A7 IV.

While the Canon R6 II will now composite a focus bracketed burst in-camera though, the S5 II still requires you to assemble the frames using your own software afterwards. So you’re seeing the stacking process here in Helicon Focus, and now the final result stacked from those 80 frames where the entire computer is in focus from near to far.

Interval timers have long been present on Lumix cameras and the S5 II continues to offer one, along with a timelapse option that will assemble them into a video afterwards if desired.

There isn’t a Bulb timer, a standard feature on Canon bodies, but in some consolation you can at least manually dial-in a 60 second exposure which is double what most cameras allow. Like Sony’s A7 IV, there’s sadly no multiple exposure option, something that’s a standard feature on the Canon R6 II.

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