Now that Panasonic has officially announced the Lumix S5 Full frame camera which we saw as a direct replacement for the GH5 line even when now it seems a GH6 may be in the cards for a future release, it is now time to examine the slow motion modes on the camera to see if they stand a chance at becoming a feature which will be a seller for the new device or just one more feature.
When the GH5 was announced about 3 years ago it came with a 180fps 1080p mode that was better than many camera’s 120fps modes and quickly became our favorite Lumix camera for slow motion as we noticed how the quality of the 240fps mode on the GH5s low light geared camera was heavily inferior in resolution. The GH5 really became the best value along with the G9 for 180fps slow-mo modes in Full HD.
The Lumix GH5 is still one of the best video powerhouse cameras ever produced. It doesn’t overheat, it shoots incredible 4k oversampled video at up to 60fps 4k or 180fps 1080p with near Full HD quality but it’s Achilles heel, the Micro 4/3ds sensor which is small and quite inferior in low light compared to Full Frame or even APS-C rivals. The GH5s is the low light lower megapixel version with dual Gain senor which is actually very clean in low light and can go toe to toe with the best out there but has no IBIS which is a big loss.
Now Panasonic is set to announce the Lumix S5 Full frame mirrorless camera which essentially migrates most GH5 features into a full-frame body with nearly the same introductory price of $1998 USD but improves 4k 60p with 4:2:2 color at 10-bit instead of 4:2:0 8 bit on the GH5. You get IBIS, and also the 180fps Full HD of other S L-mount cameras by Panasonic. It is still too early to tell what kind of quality the 1080p 180fps mode will be capable of but it does hold promise as the S1H and S1 do a pretty good job on these modes.
As it was initially unveiled at Photokina last year, the Panasonic Lumix S1 and S1R cameras are their answer to the domination of larger sensors in stills and video mirrorless cameras. Is there any reason now to buy a Full Frame DSLR when mirrorless is so advanced? The only thing we can think of is to have marginally longer battery life. The mirror is on its last legs and fans better start offloading their lenses if they don’t want to mess with adapters. In the case of Panasonic however, it is not possible to use Lumix Micro 4/3 lenses on the Leica/Sigma/Panasonic Full Frame L-Mount.
The S1 and S1R will both shoot up to 180fps 1080p video with a crop that may or may not be impactful. Seems the S1R has less crop on 1080p than the video geared S1 which is an odd spec. We will have to wait for more samples and info on the HFR mode to see which of these cameras offers the best slow motion performance. From the limited samples, we can say that the quality looks very good and at least on par with the Lumix GH5 at 120fps.
The announcement of the Panasonic S series is a complete acceptance that smaller m4/3 sensors are not the future but the past. As now Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony, Leica and now Panasonic have shifted priorities to Full Frame Sensors as mirrorless has allowed the smaller form factor without compromising low light performance and absolute stills image quality. Fuji is also going strong on Medium Format stills oriented cameras like the new portable GFX 50R which meshes a rangefinder camera with a huge MF sensor.
The move by Panasonic, which had been leading in mirrorless frame rates in continued recording with their Lumix GH5 and GH5s Series up to 240fps 1080p, will now focus on larger sensors that produce more heat and may be much slower to read at high speeds. Sony has so far been able to only have 120fps 1080p recording in their a7 series for example. If the Panasonic S1 at 24MP can only do 120fps 1080p which is still unknown, it will not bode well for slow motion frame rates for some time.
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