Home L-Mount Alliance Panasonic’s rumoured S5 full-frame camera smaller than the micro four-thirds G9?

Panasonic’s rumoured S5 full-frame camera smaller than the micro four-thirds G9?

2010
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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.

Surprise

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.

Above: A quick comparison between the S5 and other relevant cameras, including the Panasonic G9. The spreadsheet is sorted on weight, from lightest to heaviest

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 specification is shown in full here on the L-Rumors site.

Good news

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.

The S1, big brother to the new S5. The new mini version is likely to retain the angular styling of the S1 in preference to the more rounded appearance of the G9

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.

The S5 should produce similar results to the S1. This picture, by Mike Evans, was taken with the Panasonic Lumix S1 and 24-105mm “kit” zoom

Leica dreams?

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.

What do you think? Will the S5 answer your prayers?

More specimens shots from the Panasonic S1 and Lumix 24-105mm Macro

33 COMMENTS

  1. Just a minor comment. The weight of the Panasonic S1 is 1021g with battery and memory included. The weight of the SL2 is body only. According to Imaging Resource the weight of the Leica SL2 with battery is 928g. It is about 60g more than the original SL.

    • AH…. I did say it was a quick spreadsheet. Thanks for pointing this out. I will amend the spreadsheet and the text. Sorry to everyone for the misleading.

      • I have tried this both ways, using an APS-C L mount on an SL and using the SL kit lens on a CL/TL.

        The first method results in a very user friendly SL that yields 10MP snaps (no vignette), and a rig that looks absolutely comical, but works.

        The Leica M8, despite its crop factor and lack of spare parts is still a highly revered camera that produces stunning B&W shots (notwithstanding snapper’s skill) and these are 10MP.

        Resolution is great, either way.

        If my M-D had a CCD and produced 10MP shots like the M8, only full frame, I would be more than happy. Not that I am unhappy with the CMOS 24MP, but I do try to stick to base ISO, so the narrower bandwidth of the CCD sensor, is not really a huge issue.

        A film negative (film sensor) has a narrow bandwidth and produces images that many people print at 6MP and are satisfied.

        • Many thanks, Stephen
          I had an M8 for about ten years and fortunately skipped the next following M’s. Every time I work on M8 files I need to remove lots of dust spots: a dust magnet, someone properly defined it.
          To just get a CL last year. I’m happy with it, acknoledging things could have been made better, starting with avoiding hot pixels in dark underexposed areas or allowing longer exposure times; ISO behaviour is surprisingly excellent for me though. Its L native lenses, as you describe; are nearly symbolic in FF L cameras.
          And talking about weight the CL balance is a lovely one. Every time I use the M7 with a light Nokton, I realize what a piece of brick it is.

  2. If they came out with a smaller, lighter (and more affordable) mini SL I am sold! I’m just not convinced by the weight of the SL / SL2 – seems unnecessary considering other manufacturers can provide similar same image quality in smaller, weather-sealed bodies.

    • I agree. An SL? weighing 714g and the same size as the G9 would interest me for the reasons you mention. An S5 version of the SL would have the advantage of greater compatibility with M lenses over the Panasonic version. It’s also interesting that Sony is about to announce an even lighter full-frame a7 and this downward trend in weight can only be welcomed.

      This also has an interesting bearing on the future of APS-C and MFT. While they have advantages in overall system size (and, if you wish, advantages in greater depth of field) there is no doubt that buyers will be seduced by cheaper, lighter versions of cameras with full-frame sensors. The market is currently overcrowded but shrinking, and something will have to give.

      • Very true. I think MFT has all but lost the stills market but they will most probably continue in video. APSC probably has a few decent years left ahead of it. But if they can provide full frame at the same weight, size, and similar cost, I don’t think they’ll be many complaining…

    • If Leica was to make the cameras lighter weight, I think the build would lose some of the metal mass that makes Leica cameras so robust. This is probably not desirable for many users.

  3. I would suggest buying the S5 as it will be readily available to enjoy. The Leica 5 variant will be gorgeous but available in your dreams as it trickles out. At least you will have time to put aside money. I originally left the SL “system” due to low selection of lenses after years. I recently received my SL2 and am enjoying it with my medley of M, Panasonic, Sigma, Leica SL glass. I think Panasonic and Sigma have saved the Leica SL and CL camera systems.

  4. If Panasonic succeed in making the S5 the same size as their current M4/3 G9, then the required miniaturisation could have ‘knock on’ effects and enable even smaller M4/3 cameras … thus satisfying M4/3 format consumers’ future needs. But let’s hope that Panasonic’s Lilliputian FF marvel does not employ awful Micro SD cards.

    • Dunk, although I compared with the G9, this camera is a bit of a monster on MFT terms. We would have to look at the PEN-F or GX8 for a more realistic comparison. I think you can be certain the S5 will use standard SD cards!

  5. Its probably worth noting that MFT can still comfortably maintain the size advantage by choosing one of the smaller bodies in the system. The EM5 Mkiii by Olympus is diminutive and light, yet retains full weathersealing and advanced features. I actually think that the increasingly numerous selection of Full Frame bodies will drive MFT back towards it’s initial raison d’être – tiny size and weight. This advantage can still exist – and is also tied in with the telephoto reach of the smaller sensor. An Em5iii and the Panasonic Leica 200mm/2.8 is going to be much more pleasant to carry about than an S1 and a 400mm/2.8.

    These are the types of things that the S5 will force me to consider. Consolidate my MFT gear down to the smallest and lightest kit possible for specific use (if we ever get out of this damn lockdown, I’m still a motorcyclist at heart!) and buy into the S5 and L-mount system for general use? Decisions decisions……

    • I agree. I think MFT has its place still. APS-C is a bit of this and a bit of that, but still it has its aficionados and Fuji will want to keep the flame alight. Nonetheless. The arrival of smaller FF bodies is welcome.

  6. I’m legitimately excited about this. Right now I shoot with the SL2 and, when I want something more compact, the Sony RX1R II, which of course has a fixed lens though the 42MP sensor offers plenty of scope to crop in post.
    The Sigma Fp was simply too compromised as a stills camera — primarily the lack of an EVF and struggles with flicker related banding due to the electronic only shutter.
    It’s compact size was very welcome and even if the S5 will be larger, it will still be a welcome addition to the line-up,a long with what will likely be solid ergonomics.
    As noted above, it will pair very nicely with the Sigma 45mm f/2.8 and, yes, there will be a compromise with APS-C lenses in terms of resolution, but paired with the Elmarit 18mm f/2.8 it will make for a lovely, compact package.
    Panasonic’s menus aren’t Leica minimalist but they’re clean, well organized and intuitive.
    A Leica equivalent would, of course, be very appealing – if they could pull it off as a FF CL that would make me very happy!

  7. I see here in the states that the CL is being bundled with the 18 mm lens for “$1500 off”; essentially a free lens. This implies the CL is being cleaned out- any rumors of a successor ? Could a repackaged S5 replace the CL, going FF but still a market for TL lenses?

    • There has been no sign of similar discounts here in the UK although I notice that used CLs seem to be sticking, probably because of worry over the US discounts. Something has to happen soon, I suppose, and I am thinking a CL2 rather than ceasing APS-C. Stefan Daniel said Leica is committed to APS-c, although I am not sure why, given the current state of the market.

  8. I think a smaller Panasonic S would be attractive. I have been sitting on the fence with SL2 and S1R due to the size.

    The other thought was why not develop one or two long telephoto lenses in APS-C format. Then you could serve dual purpose usage with one body. Want to shoot wildlife but don’t want the massive size of full frame. Use an APS-C format lens on the L mount you get the smaller size and weight (more akin to MFT) and a 21MP image on an SL2 body. I imagine a lot of wildlife photos are heavily cropped anyway so why have glass for an imaging circle that doesn’t get used ?

  9. Six foot six I stood on the ground,
    I weighed two hundred and thirty-five pounds (ish),
    But this giant of a man was brought down to his knees by …….. holding an SL2 and a 24-90 lens in a dealer’s for half an hour.
    I’ll be interested in a smaller lighter version of an SL2. And I apologise to Johnny Cash.

    • Any saving welcome and, I suppose, 214g is worthwhile. But the lenses are still the problem until someone brings out smaller f/2 or f/2.8 similar to Sigma’s sole effort with the 45mm.

      • That’s true. Do we really need IBIS in both a body and a lens? How much difference does it make in practical terms regarding image quality versus weight gain? I’m interested in opinions.

        • Most of the pro primes for L mount do not have OIS so it’s helpful to have it in the body. And Panasonic’s system allows lens and body stabilisation to combine, thus increasing the stop factor. The main weight issue comes from glass, both in quality and quantity. There’s not much to choose between Panasonic it Leica lenses in this respect. All the primes are fast but I think Panasonic our to be producing lighter f/2 lenses for the new camera.

    • There were some leaked shots on one of the sites today. It looks just like the S1 but difficult to judge the size. I agree early September will be the launch date

      • If the leaked specs are to be trusted, the S5 receives dual gain ISO capabilities. Something that the S1 never officially had (but user evidence suggests may have been quietly incorporated with the S1H release). The more I look at those specs, the more I think it makes the S1 redundant. And that would make sense, reducing the product line to entry level / high resolution/ Video master . The market is shrinking too much for 4 separate FF bodies. Especially if Sigma eventually release another FF body for L-mount.

        • I agree on that, Jason. The S1 does look redundant in the light of the S5. I see two major areas where the S1 wins — much better viewfinder and bigger battery (although it will be the shots-per-charge that counts). But I think anyone wanting this more “pro” approach will go for the S1R. Let’s hope Leica grabs the S5 as well… it only needs a new body, badge and a bit of work on the sensor glass.

          • Thanks Mike.

            Your observation on the EVF is a good one – they’ll need to be careful to not leave users feeling like the S5 evf isn’t good enough.

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