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A bunch of 5s

There currently seems to be a strange devotion to the number 5 among the camera manufacturers: An R5, a Z5 and now an S5 and more than likely an A5 – all in the space of a few months. And they are all full-frame mirrorless!

Panasonic S5
Tricked up ‘preview’ image of the S5. Apparently this shows the camera to not have an LCD screen on top.

So, being a glacially slow news week, we went to to find out what all the fivish fuss was about. On the positive side, we were pleased to discover, the number 5 is curious, adaptable and social. It’s less attractive characteristics are that it is non-commital, unreliable and directionless.

Perhaps of most concern, photographically speaking, is that 5 ‘has difficulty maintaining its focus’.

It’s passing strange that any major cameras would be released with the Coronavirus lockdown having devastated the economies in most potential camera markets – but those new announcements just keep on coming, ready or not. The latest are the Panasonic Lumix S5 – to be formally announced on September 2, and the Sony A5 (or maybe A6) – still at the ‘strategic leak’ stage of the launch schedule.

The Panasonic S5 is about a third lighter and smaller than the fairly hefty previously-released  S-series cameras, and will be the new ‘budget’ full frame mirrorless in the Panasonic range.

The leaked spec sheet for the Panasonic S5 is unconfirmed but incredibly detailed, and emerges at the same time as a poorly photoshopped ‘first leaked photo’ of the camera.

From the leaked specs it will feature a 24-megapixel CMOS sensor. Video performance is up to 10-bit 4K/60 at up to 200 megabits per second. It’s also capable of anamorphic (widescreen) video.

It can grab 6K stills at 30fps  in 6K Photo mode. 4K Photo mode is also available.

The EVF is a fairly modest 2.36 million pixels. (By comparison, the Sony A7S III has a 9.44 million dot viewfinder and most new releases are at least 5 million dots.)  It will use Panasonic’s contrast-detection (Depth from Defocus) autofocus system.

Weight is just over 700g with battery and SD card, compared to the 1kg+ bulk of other S-series models. There are two SD card slots. Burst mode is up to 7fps. ISO sensitivity is up to 204,800.

The Sony A5 rumours are a bit vaguer on the specifics, but also indicate a more compact, less expensive camera for Sony’s Alpha range. It’s also pencilled in for a possible September announcement. The Sony leak comes from a Polish photo magazine. (Nokeshita must have been busy with the Panasonic story!) Like the Panasonic S5, it will have smaller and lighter body than its stablemates, more along the lines of Sony’s ASPS-C cameras such as the A6400. It will have a tilting rear touchscreen, a large grip and some kind of ‘retractable’ viewfinder with, once again, a relatively low-res 2.3 million dots. Image stabilisation is said to be ‘matrix stabilisation’ – differing from the optical/mechanical stabilisation in most camera bodies.

Other specs include a maximum 5fps burst speed and 4K video with a top frame rate of 60fps (cropped).


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