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Panasonic LUMIX S5 II Review | Full Frame Hybrid Camera

The upgrade that all fans of the Panasonic S-Series have been waiting for, making the LUMIX S5 II a serious contender for best hybrid camera of the year.

The Panasonic LUMIX S5 II is part of a category of full-frame cameras affectionately known as the “all ’rounders.”

These include the Sony A7 IV and Nikon Z6 II, and feature solid still image capability along with excellent video capabilities.


The S-Series Panasonic we've been waiting for. Excellent autofocus and image quality for stills and video.

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These cameras are for wedding and event photographers doing hybrid photo/video work, on-location portrait photographers, street photographers, video creators, and more.

They are often small to medium-sized and in the 24-30 megapixel resolution range.

Now that it includes phase detection autofocus, the Panasonic LUMIX S5 II could be the best bargain in the entire category.

Let me tell you why I think that may be the case.

Panasonic LUMIX S5 II Specs

  • Excellent stills and video features.
  • Very good autofocus in stills and video.
  • Great ergonomics.
  • Full-size HDMI port.
  • Best IBIS in its class.
  • No recording limits.
  • Best video specs in its class.
  • Not best in class tracking autofocus.
  • No dedicated stills/video switch for quick hybrid coverage.
  • Must switch to electronic shutter for high FPS burst shooting.
  • Lens Mount – L Mount (Leica, Panasonic, Sigma)
  • Sensor Resolution – Actual: 25.28 Megapixel / Effective: 24.2 Megapixel (6000 x 4000)
  • Image Sensor – 35.6 x 23.8 mm (Full-Frame) CMOS
  • Image Stabilization – Sensor-Shift, 5-Axis
  • ISO Sensitivity – Photo/Video 100 to 51,200 (Extended: 50 to 204,800)
  • Continuous Shooting – Mechanical Shutter Up to 9 fps for up to 200 Frames (Raw) / 300 Frames (JPEG)
  • Continuous Shooting – Electronic Shutter Up to 30 fps for up to 200 Frames (Raw) / 200 Frames (JPEG)
  • Video Recording – H.264/H.265/MOV/MPEG-4 AVC 4:2:2/4:2:0 8/10-Bit
  • Media/Memory Card Slot Dual Slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II)
  • Video I/O 1 x HDMI Output
  • Audio I/O 1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm TRRS Headphone/Mic Headphone Output
    1 x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm TRRS Headphone/Mic Microphone Input
  • Power I/O 1 x USB-C Input/Output
  • EVF – Built-In Electronic (OLED) 3.6 Million Dots
  • Focus Mode – Continuous-Servo AF, Manual Focus, Single-Servo AF
  • Autofocus – Photo, Video Phase Detection/Contrast Detection: 779 points
  • Battery Type – 1 x Rechargeable Lithium-Ion, 7.2 VDC, 2200 mAh (Approx. 370 Shots)
  • Dimensions – (W x H x D) 5.29 x 4.03 x 3.55″ / 13.44 x 10.24 x 9.02 cm (Without Protrusions)
  • Weight – 1.45 lb / 658 g (Body Only) 1.64 lb / 744 g (With Recording Media)

Build & Appearance

panasonic lumix s5 ii with lens

The Panasonic LUMIX S5 II is a solidly built camera with an attractive design.

I especially like the red accents that are perhaps a nod to the video roots of the company.

While I did not shoot with it in the rain, it is a weather-sealed camera. All dials, knobs, and buttons are high quality, and I’m not concerned about wear and tear.

The 3.6 million dot EVF was pleasant to shoot through, although I found the Nikon Z6 II at the same resolution noticeably sharper.

The rear screen is crystal clear and will articulate forward if that is a feature you use.

panasonic lumix s5 ii camera

Ergonomics & Handling

a close up of a camera with a red button.

The Panasonic LUMIX S5 II has a deep grip and feels great in hand. It is a small but dense camera that feels very solid and brick-like.

This is a compliment.

The button layout for white balance, ISO, and exposure compensation are laid out perfectly.

The red button for the video cannot be missed, and the indentation on the ISO button gives tactile information about where you are in operation.

The back buttons of the camera are just as thoughtfully laid out, and I’m a big fan of the spinning control dial for menu diving and quickly scrolling through image playback. Canon users will feel right at home.

panasonic lumix s5 II review.

I like that the on/off switch is on the right-hand side along with the other most actively used controls, with the drive dial on the left accented in red.

One notable aspect that tends to get glossed over quite often is the intuitive menu system.

If you are new to Lumix cameras, you will find the Panasonic LUMIX S5 II easy to set up and adjust when necessary.

a close up of a lumix s5 ii camera mode dial.

Focus Performance

Panasonic Lumix S5 II + Sigma 65mm f/2 | 1/160 f/2 ISO800Implementing phase detection autofocus brings the Panasonic LUMIX S5 II in line with its rivals, the Nikon Z 6 II, Sony A7 IV, and Canon R6 II.

The continuous AF is good for most moving subjects, although this is not a birds-in-flight type of camera, and the system lacks long super telephoto lenses for that genre anyway.

This is a very good camera for weddings and events, street photography, portraits, and landscapes.

Previous S series cameras only had DFD / contrast-based AF, which is extremely accurate autofocus with static subjects, but it was not the best in class for moving subjects.

Now, if you have brides walking down the aisle, rabbits, cats, or kids jumping about the house, you can feel confident in your shots.

The human/eye and animal detection are available for you to use to assist in your captures. They all work excellently.

a man playing a xylophone on the street.

Panasonic Lumix S5 II + Sigma 65mm f/2 | 1/1000 f/2 ISO 200

Low Light Performance

a billboard advertising dark mode on the side of a building.

Panasonic Lumix S5 II + Sigma 65mm f/2 | 1/320 f/4 ISO 100

The Panasonic LUMIX S5 II is a modern-day, full-frame mirrorless camera with an ISO range of 100 to 51,200, and it is not going to let you down in low light image quality.

The sensors of a new full-frame camera these days make low-light performance almost an afterthought except for the most extreme situations.

As long as your exposure settings are close without needing to bring back shadows too much, the noise in images from the Panasonic LUMIX S5 II is well controlled and not needing noise reduction in post.

The dual native ISO also helps extend the camera’s dynamic range.

Image Quality

a building with a colorful mural on it.

Panasonic Lumix S5 II + Sigma 65mm f/2 | 1/640 f/5.6 ISO 100

The Lumix S series cameras made for L mount have terrific image quality with high dynamic range, beautiful color rendition, and great sharpness.

Post-processing the RAW images was easy, with the results I wanted in minimum time.

the redhead piano bar in chicago.

Panasonic Lumix S5 II + Sigma 65mm f/2 | 1/2000 f/2 ISO 100

a sign that says mercedes building built 1886.

Panasonic Lumix S5 II + Sigma 65mm f/2 | 1/640 f/2.5 ISO 100

a plant in a pot on a table in front of a window.

Panasonic Lumix S5 II + Sigma 65mm f/2 | 1/160 f/2 ISO 400

a water tower in the middle of a city.

Panasonic Lumix S5 II + Sigma 65mm f/2 | 1/160 f/5 ISO 100

a storefront with a sign that says torture museum.

Panasonic Lumix S5 II + Sigma 65mm f/2 | 1/160 f/4.5 ISO 100

a sign for jake's mernick's on the side of a building.

Panasonic Lumix S5 II + Sigma 65mm f/2 | 1/500 f/2 ISO 100

chicago river cruise - chicago river cruise - chicago river cruise - chicago river cruise - chica.

Panasonic Lumix S5 II + Sigma 65mm f/6.3 | 1/400 f/2 ISO 100

a blue scooter is parked in front of a building.

Panasonic Lumix S5 II + Sigma 65mm f/2 | 1/400 f/2 ISO 100

a brown rabbit is standing next to a basket of grass.

Panasonic Lumix S5 II + Sigma 65mm f/2 | 1/200 f/2 ISO 800

Overall Performance

The Panasonic LUMIX S5 II is not a speed demon of a camera, nor is it a tortoise crossing the road. Start-up time is on par with the other cameras in its class, but I did notice a lag compared to my flagship Nikon Z9.

The frames-per-second burst shooting mode is capped at 9fps with the mechanical shutter, but one can go as high as 30fps with the electronic shutter.

This makes the camera great for general use but it will not be high on the list of professional sports photographers.

In other aspects, such as overlay graphics, menu screens, etc., the camera was quick.

Other Useful Features

The Panasonic LUMIX S5 II is also a capable video camera with specs and video performance close to its Netflix-approved Panasonic Lumix S1 H.

The unlimited video recording times, built-in fan and full-sized HDMI port make this Lumix camera extremely compelling for shooting video.

Hybrid cameras are being released all of the time. Still, the Panasonic codecs for pro video quality and other niceties, like recording video to both cards for redundancy, put the Panasonic LUMIX S5 II at the top of any hybrid shooter’s list.

The IBIS within the Panasonic LUMIX S5 II is the best on the market for full-frame cameras, I believe. The electronic image stabilization can mimic the camera’s footage look on a tripod, making it look as though a gimbal was used.

Live Composite Mode lets you shoot a series of continuous images using the same exposure time, with each shot only recording new light sources – and then composites them all for you in-camera. Olympus originally pioneered this ultra-cool feature.

How I Tested the Panasonic LUMIX S5 II

Panasonic LUMIX S5 II with sigma 65mm f2 lens.

I mounted the Sigma 65mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary Lens for Leica L for a trek around downtown Chicago for travel photography and a portrait session for my pet rabbit named Sam.

The combination never faltered, and the small and nimble Panasonic LUMIX S5 II pairs nicely with the I-series Sigma lenses.

I did not have the opportunity to use the camera at any of my client’s weddings.

Still, as a user of earlier Lumix cameras for professional work, I know that they are more than capable, and the phase detection autofocus within the Panasonic LUMIX S5 II makes it an even more compelling camera for this type of work.


The Nikon Z 6 II is now getting long in the tooth, and the Panasonic LUMIX S5 II has now leapt ahead of it with phase detection AF.

It’s on par now with the Sony A7 IV and Canon R6 II.

So it really comes down to ergonomics, price, and lens selection in deciding which camera to purchase.

The Panasonic and Sigma lenses are priced better than the competitors, and the quality is excellent.

How a camera feels to use is subjective, but the Panasonic LUMIX S5 II feels great with its deep grip and excellent button and control dials layout.

Value for Money

At about $2000, the Panasonic LUMIX S5 II is the best hybrid camera for the money today.

The Panasonic f/1.8 prime lens lineup is priced under the competition as well and is size appropriate to this body.

The value-based Sigma Art series of lenses are now native to this mount and have also been downsized to balance well on this camera body, as are its even more compact Sigma I Series prime lenses.

This all adds up to an incredible value for money for first-time buyers and those looking to switch camera systems.


How long does the Lumix S5 battery last?

While battery life is good, this will depend on shooting style, weather, and whether or not you are shooting video. I’d opt for one spare battery for a weekend of stills and additional batteries for long wedding days with stills and video.

Is the LUMIX S5 a full-frame camera?

Yes, there is a full-frame sensor in this camera, and it is part of the L Mount alliance of full-frame cameras from Panasonic, Sigma, and Leica, who share the mount and hence can share lenses.

What is the highest frame rate on a Panasonic S5?

If you are willing to use the e-shutter mode (which could produce rolling shutter), it is 30FPS. Otherwise, 9FPS is high for its mechanical shutter.

Does Lumix S5 have WiFi?

Yes, wifi is built in and can be used to transfer images with the Panasonic Lumix sync app.

Does Panasonic S5 have image stabilization?

The Panasonic LUMIX S5 II has the best IBIS I have ever seen in a full-frame camera.

Panasonic LUMIX S5 II Review | Conclusion

While the lack of phase detection autofocus haunted earlier Lumix cameras, with the release of the Panasonic LUMIX S5 II, there is no excuse not to give this camera brand a try for shooting stills or video.

Unless you are shooting fast action like sports or wildlife, this camera can do the job for you.

If you are not of fan of larger bodies but still want an ergonomically sound full-frame camera, this is it. If you are primarily a stills photographer who wants to add video, this is a great hybrid option.


The S-Series Panasonic we've been waiting for. Excellent autofocus and image quality for stills and video.

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Steve Vansak is lead photographer and owner of Region Weddings, shooting wedding and portrait photography in Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

Build Quality9
Ergonomics and Handling10
High ISO Performance 10
Image Quality9

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