What purports to be a full specification of the rumoured Panasonic S5 L-mount mirrorless camera, a smaller version of the S1, has been published on the Japanese website Nokishita. It was reported on the L-Rumors site (see below). If it is authentic — and it looks pretty convincing to me — then we L-amount users could be in for a treat.
According to the leaked report, the S5 will have the 24-megapixel sensor of the S1 and 6.5-stop IBIS capable of working in conjunction with compatible lenses. It will be dust and splash resistant and will feature a 2200 mAh battery, some 28% smaller than the 3050 mAh behemoth found in the S1.
The big surprise, however, is that this camera appears to be smaller than the company’s G9 micro-four-thirds model, although this is always difficult to tell from the figures – which, in the case of the S5, exclude “protrusions”. It is slightly heavier than the G9, at 714g, including battery, but this puts it firmly in Sony A7III and Nikon Z5 territory. It is 64g heavier than the Sony and 39g heavier than the Z5.
However, looking at things from Panasonic’s point of view, the S5 is one third lighter than the S1 and, as we have indicated, smaller than the G9. This sounds like mission accomplished. By comparison, the Leica SL2 is 93g lighter than its S1 counterpart, so the new S5 offers a respectable weight saving of 214g.
The arrival of the S5 will be good news for owners invested in the burgeoning L-Mount system which currently leads on heavy professional cameras – excepting the slightly oddball Sigma fp which, as good as it is, has limited appeal.
I can imagine many SL owners buying this new camera as a second body for use with lighter lenses such as the Sigma 45mm f/2.8, or the full range of Leica TL zooms and primes. It is likely to be more appealing than the Sigma fp because of its more traditional approach, including the presence of an electronic viewfinder.
If all this comes to fruition, it will be interesting to see whether Leica follows suit with a scaled-down 24MP version of the SL2. The similarities between the S1R and SL2 are notable, and this is particularly so under the skin where Panasonic has clearly been heavily involved in the electronics, the sensor supply and the IBIS system. It would not take too much of a leap in imagination to see a Leica version of the S5. At only 50g more than the M10, such a camera could have significant appeal, especially for M-lens fans.
What about the S5 kit? I will stick my neck out and say that the S5 kit will include the Panasonic Lumix S 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6. It’s the only candidate from the current Panasonic line up that fits the bill unless the company produces a rabbit out of the hat in the near future. I am assuming that the S1’s kit lens, the Panasonic Lumix S 24-105mm f/4 Macro OIS will be considered too bulky for the new midget.
As for price, the S1 has a recommended tag of £2,099 (including tax) in the UK, although the street price is currently around £1,800. The S5 will be cheaper, of course, and I am thinking in the range of £1,599-£1,799 body only and between £1,999 and £2,299 for the kit, including the 20-60mm.
If you are in the market for the well-reviewed 20-60mm to bolt to your SL2, it might be worth waiting a month or two to see what happens. In view of the increasing pace of rumours on the S5, I do not think we can be far from the launch date. I’d hazard that it will be announced in the traditional September window.