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Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.8
Reviewed Feb 12, 2021 at 08:55 am
Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 Picture
8.0
Travel Photography
8.4
Landscape Photography
7.6
Sport & Wildlife Photography
7.4
Vlogging
9.0
Studio Video
5.4
Action Video
Body Type
SLR-Style
Mirrorless
Yes
Sensor Size
Full Frame
Tested Lens
Panasonic LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6

The Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 is a superbly well-built full-frame mirrorless camera. It offers impressive overall video quality whether you're recording in 4k or FHD, and its autofocus does an impressively good job of tracking moving faces and objects. The camera itself also features a wide complement of inputs and outputs for fitting different accessories, and you should be able to record for fairly lengthy periods without running out of battery. Its performance in still photography is also very good, with images being low in noise even at high ISO levels and an effective, reliable, and consistent autofocus system. Unfortunately, it's a little bulkier than many other mirrorless cameras.

Our Verdict

8.0 Travel Photography

The Panasonic S5 is great for travel photography. Images are low in noise and graininess, even at high ISO levels, which is great for shooting in dimly-lit environments. It also features a wide shutter speed range, allowing for both intricate long-exposure photography and frozen stills of quick moments. Its autofocus system is also quick and reliable, and the camera's body feels exceptionally well-built and comfortable to hold. However, it's slightly more impractical to carry around compared to smaller mirrorless cameras or point-and-shoots that can be stored in a pocket or a small bag.

Pros
  • Exceptional build quality.
  • Effective and reliable autofocus system.
  • Very comfortable to use.
Cons
  • Relatively bulky design.
8.4 Landscape Photography

The Panasonic S5 is a great option for landscape photography. It takes images that are very low in noise even at high ISO levels, which is good for nighttime shoots. Its body also feels fantastically sturdy and is rated as being weather-sealed, though we don't currently test for that. The full-articulated touchscreen interface is also very sharp and bright enough to be easily seen under direct sunlight, and the camera has sufficient battery life to be used for extended periods. That said, it's fairly heavy and bulky for a mirrorless camera, and its kit lens doesn't let in all that much light.

Pros
  • Exceptional build quality.
  • Bright, sharp, fully-articulated screen.
  • Very comfortable to use.
Cons
  • Relatively bulky design.
7.6 Sport & Wildlife Photography

The Panasonic S5 is good for sports and wildlife photography. Thanks to its impressive noise handling capability, images should look sharp even at high ISO levels. Its autofocus system also does an amazing job of tracking and maintaining focus on moving objects and faces. Unfortunately, its maximum shooting speed isn't particularly high, which can make it hard to capture distinct images of fast-moving subjects. While it feels very well made and is comfortable to use, it isn't especially compact.

Pros
  • Exceptional build quality.
  • Effective and reliable autofocus system.
  • Very comfortable to use.
Cons
  • Relatively bulky design.
  • Slow maximum shooting speed.
7.4 Vlogging

The Panasonic S5 is decent for vlogging. Its fully articulated screen can be rotated to face you when the camera is held in a selfie position. Its in-body and digital stabilization features also help keep camera shake to a fairly low level, which is good for recording handheld video, and its autofocus system does a great job of maintaining and tracking faces. However, since it's on the bulky side for a mirrorless camera, it can be a bit of a hassle to carry around.

Pros
  • Good video stabilization performance.
  • Bright, sharp, fully-articulated screen.
Cons
  • Relatively bulky design.
  • Lack of very high-speed frame rate recording options.
9.0 Studio Video

The Panasonic S5 is an excellent option for studio video. Videos are sharply rendered and low in graininess even when shooting in dimly-lit environments. It also features a wide variety of inputs and outputs for various videography accessories, like external recorders, headphones, or auxiliary mics. Its autofocus system delivers exceptional overall performance, and its menu system is easy-to-understand.

Pros
  • Great video quality.
  • Effective and reliable autofocus system.
  • Wide selection of inputs and outputs.
Cons
  • Lack of very high-speed frame rate recording options.
5.4 Action Video

The Panasonic S5 isn't designed for action video. It's too big to be mounted on a chest or helmet rig and isn't capable of recording at high frame rates in 4k or FHD for generating smooth slow-motion video. That said, it does a great job of reducing camera shake, offers impressive overall video quality, and feels superbly well-built.

Pros
  • Exceptional build quality.
  • Good video stabilization performance.
Cons
  • Relatively bulky design.
  • Lack of very high-speed frame rate recording options.
  • 8.0 Travel Photography
  • 8.4 Landscape Photography
  • 7.6 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 7.4 Vlogging
  • 9.0 Studio Video
  • 5.4 Action Video
  1. Updated Apr 25, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.
  2. Updated Feb 12, 2021: Review published.
  3. Updated Feb 10, 2021: Early access published.

Check Price

Black (Body Only)
SEE PRICE
B&H
Black W/ 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 Lens
SEE PRICE
B&H

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
2.8
Design
Portability
Height
3.9" (9.8 cm)
Width
5.7" (14.6 cm)
Depth
3.2" (8.2 cm)
Volume
71.6 in³ (1,173.3 cm³)
Weight
1.61 lbs (0.73 kg)
Weight With Lens
2.36 lbs (1.07 kg)
9.0
Design
Build Quality

  • Metal and plastic body
  • Buttons and command wheels offer good physical feedback
  • Screen can rotate to be seen from the front
  • SD card compartment is covered by hinged door
  • Screen mechanism feels even sturdier than that of the Canon EOS R6
  • Inputs and outputs are covered by hinged rubber flaps

Design
Body
Water Resistance
Weather-Sealed
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
Yes
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
3
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
L Mount
Built-In Flash
No
Design
In The Box

  • Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 camera body
  • LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 lens
  • Lens cap
  • Lens cover
  • Lens hood
  • Owner's manual
  • Shoulder strap
  • Battery charging cradle
  • Battery
  • Sensor cap
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • AC adapter

9.0
Design
Ergonomics & Comfort
Hand Grip: Small Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Medium Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Large Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Extra-Large Hand
Yes

  • Handgrip is large enough for most hand sizes and has a textured rubber surface that provides a secure hold
  • Changing aperture, shutter speed, and ISO is easy with either eye pressed up against the viewfinder thanks to the dedicated controls for exposure adjustment functions
  • All essential functions can be reached by your thumb
  • Rubber eyecup is comfortable
  • Squared-off body is less comfortable to hold than cameras that have a more rounded body, like the Canon EOS R6

Design
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Type
Electronic
Advertised Coverage
100%
Advertised Resolution
2.36 million dots
Advertised Magnification
0.74
9.7
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
Fully-Articulated
Screen Max Brightness
1,030 cd/m²
Advertised Resolution
1.84 million dots
Size
3.0" (7.5 cm)
Touchscreen
Yes
9.0
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
Yes
App Name
LUMIX Sync

  • Interface is well laid-out and can be navigated via the touchscreen, the command dials, or the joystick
  • Guide Mode can provide more information of certain features and camera functions

Design
Assistance Functions
Level Display
Dual-Axis, Photo & Video
Grid Lines
Photo & Video
Histogram
Photo & Video
Zebra Pattern
Photo & Video
Focus Peaking
Photo & Video
Waveform
Video Only
6.9
Design
Lens
Lens Type
Interchangeable
Maximum Aperture
3.5 - 5.6
Max Aperture (Full-Frame Equivalent)
f/3.5
Minimum Focal Length
20 mm
Maximum Focal Length
60 mm
Max Focal Length (Full-Frame Equivalent)
60 mm
Optical Image Stabilization
No
Luminance
68.5%
Light Falloff
63%
Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
24.2 MP
Processor
Venus Engine
Extended ISO Minimum
50
Native ISO Minimum (Base ISO)
100
Native ISO Maximum
51,200
Tested Firmware
Ver. 2.4
8.8
Design
Battery
Battery Type
Panasonic DMW-BLK22
USB Charging
Yes
Use When Charging
Yes
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
440 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
130 min
Photo General
Photo General
Photo Features
JPEG File Format
Yes
Raw File Format
RW2
Shutter
Electronic and Mechanical
Slowest Shutter Speed
60 s
Fastest Shutter Speed
1/8,000 s
Silent Shooting
Yes
HDR
Yes
Time Lapse
Yes
5.8
Photo General
Photo Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
3 fps
High Speed Continuous
6 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
6 fps
Raw Buffer Size
34 Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
10,000 Photos
Buffer Empty Time
8 s
8.8
Photo General
Photo Autofocus
Object Tracking Success Rate
83%
Face Tracking Success Rate
78%
Face Detection Distance
152" (385 cm)
Eye Detection
Yes
Advertised Coverage
N/A
Advertised Focus Points
N/A
8.3
Photo General
Photo Image Stabilization
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/8 s
In-Body Image Stabilization
Yes
Photo Image Quality
9.0
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Dynamic Range
SNR 18% After Exposure Recovery
33.07 dB
Dynamic Range At Base ISO
12.1 f-stops
Dynamic Range At ISO 800
10.9 f-stops
Dynamic Range At ISO 3200
9.8 f-stops
8.7
Photo Image Quality
Photo Sharpness
JPEG Sharpness At Base ISO
1.662 pixels
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 800
1.6691 pixels
JPEG Sharpness At ISO 3200
1.698 pixels
RAW Sharpness At Base ISO
2.371 pixels
RAW Sharpness At ISO 800
2.307 pixels
RAW Sharpness At ISO 3200
2.335 pixels
9.5
Photo Image Quality
Photo JPEG Color Accuracy
Color Difference (dE2000) At Base ISO
6.36
Color Difference (dE2000) At ISO 800
6.22
Color Difference (dE2000) At ISO 3200
6.12
9.1
Photo Image Quality
Photo JPEG Noise
SNR 18% At Base ISO
40.31 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 800
38.40 dB
SNR 18% At ISO 3200
36.91 dB
9.4
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Noise
RAW SNR 18% At Base ISO
41.21 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 200
40.42 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 400
39.19 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 800
37.46 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 1600
35.2 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 3200
32.78 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 6400
30.24 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 12800
27.32 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 25600
24.59 dB
RAW SNR 18% At ISO 51200
21.11 dB
Photo Image Quality
Test Scene Pictures Download
JPEG Picture At Base ISO Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 1600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 3200 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 6400 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 12800 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 25600 Download
JPEG Picture At ISO 51200 Download
RAW Picture At Base ISO Download
RAW Picture At ISO 400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 1600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 3200 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 6400 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 12800 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 25600 Download
RAW Picture At ISO 51200 Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Skate Park Picture
JPEG Skate Park Picture Download
RAW Skate Park Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Polish Church Picture
JPEG Polish Church Picture Download
RAW Polish Church Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Studio Picture
JPEG Studio Picture Download
RAW Studio Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Stairway Picture
JPEG Stairway Picture Download
RAW Stairway Picture Download
Video General
Video General
Video Features
Full HD Video
Yes
4k Video
Yes
6k Video
No
Clean HDMI Output
Yes
Advertised Max Chroma Sampling Over HDMI
4:2:2
Advertised Max Bit Depth Over HDMI
10 bits
Log Picture Profile
Yes
Recording Light
No
Video General
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
Yes
Video General
Video File Format And Compression
MP4 H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
MP4 H.265 / HEVC
Yes
MOV H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
MOV H.265 / HEVC
Yes
AVCHD H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
All-I Compression
No
4k Video
9.0
4k Video
4k Video Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
No
60 fps In 4k
Yes, with a Crop
30 fps In 4k
Yes
24 fps In 4k
Yes
4k Crop At Max Available fps
1.5 x

If you'd prefer a camera that can record 4k 60p video without a crop, consider the Panasonic LUMIX GH5s.

9.7
4k Video
4k Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In 4k
200 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In 4k
60 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In 4k
4:2:2
Bit Depth In 4k
10 Bit
Record Time Limit In 4k
N/A
Overheat Recording Interruptions in 4k
0
8.1
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In 4k
7.3
Face Tracking In 4k
8.2
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Eye Detection In 4k
Yes
8.2
4k Video
4k Video Stabilization
Walking Test In 4k
9.49 pixels/frame
Running Test In 4k
22.22 pixels/frame
In-Body Video Image Stabilization In 4k
Yes
4k Video Stabilization Crop
1.09 x
8.9
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
8.5
Test Scene Extract In 4k
9.3
6.1
4k Video
4k Video Rolling Shutter Effect
4k Rolling Shutter
6.3°
Full HD Video
8.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Frame Rate
240 fps In FHD
No
120 fps In FHD
No
60 fps In FHD
Yes
30 fps In FHD
Yes
24 fps In FHD
Yes
FHD Crop At Max Available fps
1 x
9.8
Full HD Video
FHD Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
100 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
20 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:2
Bit Depth In FHD
10 Bit
Record Time Limit in FHD
N/A
8.0
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In FHD
7.3
Face Tracking In FHD
8.1
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Eye Detection In FHD
Yes
8.0
Full HD Video
FHD Video Stabilization
Walking Test In FHD
6.45 pixels/frame
Running Test In FHD
12.48 pixels/frame
In-Body Video Image Stabilization In FHD
Yes
FHD Video Stabilization Crop
1.09 x
8.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
8.0
Test Scene Extract In FHD
9.0
7.2
Full HD Video
FHD Video Rolling Shutter Effect
FHD Rolling Shutter
3.7°
Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
SD Card UHS-II
Card 2 Slot
SD Card UHS-I
9.5
Storage And Connectivity
Inputs / Outputs
USB
USB-C
HDMI
Micro (Type D)
Headphones
Yes
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 only comes in one color variant: 'Black', and you can see its label here. We tested it in conjunction with the Panasonic LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 lens, but other L-mount lenses can be fitted to the camera. However, we haven't tested this camera in any other configuration.

Let us know in the discussions if you come across another variant, so we can update our review.

Compared To Other Cameras

Sony α7 IV

The Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 and the Sony α7 IV are both great full-frame mirrorless cameras that perform well in photo and video. They can record 4k 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally at up to 60 fps. Both have fully articulated screens and sturdy, weather-sealed bodies and are similar in size and weight. That said, while the Panasonic has better overall stabilization performance, the Sony has a significantly better autofocus system, takes CFexpress Type A cards as well as UHS-II SD cards, and can shoot at 120 fps in 1080p.

Panasonic LUMIX GH5s

The Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 and the Panasonic LUMIX GH5s use different sensor sizes and they're aimed at different kinds of shooters. The S5 is a full-frame hybrid camera that's a better fit for those primarily interested in photography. Its larger sensor is more suited to low light and provides better bokeh. It also has IBIS for more stable handheld shooting and an improved autofocus system. However, the GH5s has a bit more to offer for filmmakers, including anamorphic 4k and Cinema 4k up to 60p and All-Intra video compression. 

Discussions