Lumix S5 Full-frame Camera Released
My Lumix history
Many of you know I’ve been a big fan of Panasonic Lumix cameras for many, many years. At one time I was even one of their ambassadors. However, my affiliation with Panasonic ended about a year and a half ago mainly due to issues with their autofocus system, a problem that affected fast-moving action like Birds In Flight.
But an additional frustration was their decision to start producing full-frame cameras. At the time I was very unhappy, thinking they should keep their eye on the ball with their micro four-thirds system.
As time has moved on, so have I, and I’ve now come to appreciate their decision to join the full-frame market. Though I still hope for continued Micro Four Thirds (MFT) development, I now understand Lumix has to offer additional products people are demanding.
Even though I’m convinced smaller, lighter cameras and lenses are the future, many new to photography know nothing more than, “bigger sensor equals better camera.” This misunderstanding is at the heart of Lumix and Olympus being ahead of their time. I firmly believe eventually somebody will win at the smaller, lighter game. Just look at the iPhone to understand why. Until then, we’re all being forced into full-frame overkill.
Lumix goes all in on full-frame
When the S1 and S1R were announced, I was very surprised at the immense size of both cameras. Not just a larger sensor but a very large camera to go with it. I have no idea what inspired Lumix engineers to design such a large body when compared to other full-frame models. Both cameras received good to excellent reviews except for their autofocus systems and large dimensions. But overall, they were considered well-designed cameras with terrific image quality in both stills and video. Generally speaking, they were an interesting first step into the full-frame market. But the large size and weight hampered their success immensely.
Thankfully Panasonic, being a large company with a burning desire to be a full-frame player, didn’t give up. And so, today they’ve announced a new, smaller, lighter, version full-frame camera called the Lumix S5.
Unfortunately, I haven’t seen this camera in person, so I can’t give my own personal opinion on what it’s like. But I do highly respect Panasonic for going back to the design table and addressing the size and weight issues of the original S1 and S1R versions of this camera. From what I’m reading and seeing on the web, this is the camera that should’ve been built from the start. Let’s just hope the autofocus issues have been resolved as well.
When I heard this camera was being released I called my good friend and fellow Lumix fan Mark Toal. Mark and I worked together when I was a Lumix Ambassador. I knew Mark would have the inside scoop, and in fact, he produced a short video to give us a little better idea of what the new camera is all about. He also supplied all the still images in this blog post.
Another video you might enjoy seeing was produced by Gerald Undon. Gerald is a Canadian that produces the most in-depth videos you can imagine. I can only guess at the production time it takes to do one of his review videos. Below is his take on the new camera.
In conclusion, I’m excited for Panasonic. They still produce what I feel are the best handling and best built cameras on the market. I was extremely inspired to see they left the three buttons, E/V, WB, and ISO, on top and just behind the shutter button on the S5. I miss those buttons when I’m shooting my Olympus and Sony systems. Even though I’m impressed with this new entry into the full-frame field, one has to remember, it’s the lenses that break both back and bank. If they can reduce the size of full-frame lenses AND match the AF I have in my Sony A9, I’ll be very interested in shooting more Lumix gear.