Big Baby - Lumix S5

After considering it for some time, I finally picked up a Panasonic Lumix S5 to try out.

It’s the baby of the Panasonic Lumix S-series cameras. The S1, S1-H and S1-R are all big cameras. I guess it’s all relative and if you use medium format or prefer a battery grip on your DSLR then maybe they don’t feel that big. But to me, next to the Fujifilm X-series in particular, they’re big. The S5 though is the smallest of the Lumix full-framers, and gets much closer in size and weight to, say, the Fuji X-T4.

I’ve been using Fujifilm cameras for so many years now that it seems strange to consider switching to another system. But I’d already traded in a few lenses and had some credit. And I’m intrigued by the S5, with using full-frame more, with dabbling more in video as I mentioned last time.

I thought about Sony and Canon and Nikon too of course. Sony is generally ahead in tech specs, but not UI. It seems like they release new cameras and lenses every few months. Amazing autofocus apparently. But technical doesn’t mean fun, the A7 III is relatively old, and they just didn’t appeal to me. Canon are up there too in terms of new technology. The R6 does seem very, very good. But mainstream too. And plastic. And more expensive than the other cameras I’ve been considering. Then there’s the Nikon Z6 II, and it is a great camera. Beautiful in the hand, to me, excellent ergonomics. If it was only for stills, Nikon are producing great cameras.

I’m torn a bit of the whole flippy screen thing. Maybe I’m old-school, and I still like for example that my Fuji X100F has a fixed screen rather than the tilt options in the X100V. But then there’s that whole Fuji X-Pro3 vibe, the idea of being able to hide the screen away and just use the viewfinder, with less temptation to keep reviewing the images. And a fully articulating screen does that. Maybe it’s seems trivial but how we use the screen has a big impact on the experience of a camera.

The Lumix S5 also has some nice video features, like waveforms, that should be fun to use. And it feels great in the hand too. Solid, and very customizable. And it’s well priced. $300 off in the US at the moment, so it’s now $2000 including the 20-60mm zoom. And it takes L-mount lenses, so that’s Sigma and Leica as well as Panasonic glass.

It’s an exciting camera, to me at least. I’ve only had it a few days. I’ll let you know how it does once I’ve had more chance to use it, and whether it’s likely to replace my Fujifilm X-T3 anytime soon.