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Panasonic S5 User Experience


herein2020
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So I'm late to the party, but I've had the S5 for a few days and I must say I'm genuinely impressed. It's a real joy to use. It kind of blows my mind that it's an entry level camera, because it's capabilities are impressive. 

First, I was wrong to write it off because of the recording limit in 10-bit and 60p. It'd have been nice to not have those limits, but the 8-bit is quite nice with good colors SOOC. I think it will be more than sufficient for my event work, though I'll know for sure after this weekend. 

Low light is very good, at least as someone coming from a GH5. Speaking of the GH5, I've been able to match the two pretty easily. I was worried that wouldn't be the case, but I think using the GH5 and my G85 will work out okay as b and c cams. 

I LOVE that I not only can use the XLR module but that I can lower the pre-amps more than the GH5. That was always something that has bugged me. 

There aren't a ton of 3rd party accessories. It came with 3 OEM batteries, but I bought some third party batteries from Newmowa. They work pretty good, though after using the OEM batteries and seeing how long they last I probably didn't need to get them. They work with the GH5 though, so they're not a waste. I wish there was a third party battery grip, and more options for cages. Mine came with a Small Rig cage, which is okay, but it doesn't feel as robust and protective as the GH5 cage I have. 

Overall I'm very pleased. I had no intention of getting it until I was offered a great deal on one. Now I'm contemplating picking up a second one and going with two S5s and one GH5 for my set up. That probably won't happen for a while, but in the span of a week I went from being pretty resistant to going with Panasonic for full frame to debating buying a second FF Panny camera. 🤦🏻‍♂️

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4 hours ago, newfoundmass said:

First, I was wrong to write it off because of the recording limit in 10-bit and 60p. It'd have been nice to not have those limits, but the 8-bit is quite nice with good colors SOOC. I think it will be more than sufficient for my event work, though I'll know for sure after this weekend. 

That's the thing, testing stuff in the real world and see how they work for you.

I am 4 events in to my season and have made a couple of changes based on the experience of those 4 events.

Not that I am unfamiliar with the kind of work I do, rather that the L Mount system I use combined with a very limited and sporadic number of events last year meant that I could not test anything as thoroughly as I would have preferred.

It's been full on now for the last 3 or so weeks with 10 actual days attended, so getting a good flow and feel now.

The S5 I have had in the 'B cam' role for a while. Since last year actually. That is, always on the tripod, longer duration stuff and also switched to 8 bit for that so I am not limited to 30 mins as I have been caught out a couple of times there and had to hit record again!

It's also my 'AF tracking camera' with native lens, but back in 10 bit 50p mode for the best chance.

With my S1H, my main filming camera that is always on me, I have treated it to a proper cine lens and Fotodiox ND adapter and have gone fully manual focus. 

I have mostly been shooting mf anyway, but my photo lenses not being ideal for video, found that it wasn't as great an experience as I'd like so might as well do it properly!

The S1H/cine lens/ND adapter will get it's first run out early next week with a 2 day job.

And last but not least, my S1R got an upgrade. Well, not so much an 'upgrade' as a lens upgrade plus a new sidekick companion.

I do quite like the kit 20-60mm, but it's just a bit meh for me so bought the Sigma 20mm f2 which is perfect for how I start any day/event which is with some local scenery, the venue exterior and interiors, some establishing room shots, plus it's great for late on after dark dancing and getting in amongst them.

The 'sidekick' is a used Leica TL2 armed with the now redundant (due to the cine lens) 35mm f2 and 65mm f2 Sigmas with the 35mm (50 ff equiv) doing candid duty and then using the 65mm (100 approx) doing the longer stuff my S1R with 28-70mm can't do.

That also gets it's first taste of action this weekend and I expect it to do well as it's an 'extra' not an 'instead of' so anything it brings is a bonus.

My DJI Action 2 however is getting far less well...action, than I hoped for but it's just too wide for my tastes really and just isn't adding much.

I'll still use it for some BTS but otherwise, nah, not my thing really.

Good to hear the S5 is working out for you. It's a decent piece of kit for sure.

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On 5/3/2022 at 12:24 AM, newfoundmass said:

So I'm late to the party, but I've had the S5 for a few days and I must say I'm genuinely impressed. It's a real joy to use. It kind of blows my mind that it's an entry level camera, because it's capabilities are impressive. 

First, I was wrong to write it off because of the recording limit in 10-bit and 60p. It'd have been nice to not have those limits, but the 8-bit is quite nice with good colors SOOC. I think it will be more than sufficient for my event work, though I'll know for sure after this weekend. 

Low light is very good, at least as someone coming from a GH5. Speaking of the GH5, I've been able to match the two pretty easily. I was worried that wouldn't be the case, but I think using the GH5 and my G85 will work out okay as b and c cams. 

I LOVE that I not only can use the XLR module but that I can lower the pre-amps more than the GH5. That was always something that has bugged me. 

There aren't a ton of 3rd party accessories. It came with 3 OEM batteries, but I bought some third party batteries from Newmowa. They work pretty good, though after using the OEM batteries and seeing how long they last I probably didn't need to get them. They work with the GH5 though, so they're not a waste. I wish there was a third party battery grip, and more options for cages. Mine came with a Small Rig cage, which is okay, but it doesn't feel as robust and protective as the GH5 cage I have. 

Overall I'm very pleased. I had no intention of getting it until I was offered a great deal on one. Now I'm contemplating picking up a second one and going with two S5s and one GH5 for my set up. That probably won't happen for a while, but in the span of a week I went from being pretty resistant to going with Panasonic for full frame to debating buying a second FF Panny camera. 🤦🏻‍♂️

 

Welcome to the S5 family, the S5 IMO is definitely a big step up from the GH5 in terms of lowlight and even image quality. The dual native ISO alone puts it in a different class from the GH5. With my GH5 I was having to shoot with 0.95 lenses to try to overcome its lowlight shortcomings.

I personally never use a battery grip when shooting video, I like to be able to quickly go from handheld to gimbal, and battery grips don't play well with gimbals (makes the camera top heavy and harder to balance). Also, your cage options are typically much more limited with a battery grip attached.  What I found with the S5 was the Panasonic batteries lasted so long I rarely worried about battery life.

For long form event work I used a V-Mount battery and the USB-C port, this setup gave me about 8hrs of filming time. In between shooting stationary I set up my rig to be able to quickly grab the camera off the V-Mount rig and go handheld with the internal battery. You can check out my different rigging setups here. I will admit I finally moved on to the C70 because the lack of CAF with the S5 and EF lenses finally got to me, but it is still a fantastic camera with an incredible feature list. I still miss the S5's IBIS, aspect ratio guide lines, and level guide. Even the VLOG was a real joy to grade.

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On 5/2/2022 at 9:24 PM, newfoundmass said:

I had no intention of getting it until I was offered a great deal on one. Now I'm contemplating picking up a second one and going with two S5s and one GH5 for my set up.

Depending on your needs / circumstances, you MIGHT consider an S1 as a second FF cam instead of another S5. You can find used S1 cameras for not much difference compared to a used S5.

The S1 main benefits are the unlimited 4K 10-bit and 6K 30fps internal at 10-bit 4:2:0.

The 6K is limited to 15-minutes, I am pretty sure.

You will need to get the filmmakers upgrade ($200)

On the S5, there is something similar, in the confusingly named 6K photo mode (which is really 5K video but with photographic EXIF data instead of video EXIF data???) I haven't messed around with it a lot but I think it is ok.

The S1 has a nicer (tilt-up only) screen and better EVF and is great on sticks (I have wonky eyesight so I really appreciate the better LCD / EVF / Focus Peaking of the S1). Also for handheld I like the S1 better than the S5 (better IBIS, heavier body = less micro-jitters for me), but much prefer the S5 over the S1 when shooting on a gimbal (on my Weebill S).

Anyway, food for thought.

They both do suffer from some moire / aliasing. 

And, of course, Panasonic autofocus.

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The S1 series cameras are definitely fantastic. The best 10 bit image on the market under 10k IMO other than the RED Komodo. I think the Sigma FP tops it but the lack of an easy 10 bit codec puts it out of the running in that category. Low light performance is also stellar up to 12,800 iso. I do wish it had 4k 60p in full frame, but its really not a deal breaker in anyway.

I just got a Sigma FP and am about to sell my lumix S1 kit. I am sacrificing all ergonomics and convenience for CDNG IQ and sigma color.  

The S1 is hard to beat if you want something fast with a stellar and easy image workflow.

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2 hours ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

The S1 has a nicer (tilt-up only) screen and better EVF and is great on sticks (I have wonky eyesight so I really appreciate the better LCD / EVF / Focus Peaking of the S1). Also for handheld I like the S1 better than the S5 (better IBIS, heavier body = less micro-jitters for me), but much prefer the S5 over the S1 when shooting on a gimbal (on my Weebill S).

Knowing what I know now, ie, user experience of the S5 and S1H, I would definitely pick up an S1 over an S5.

But then also having this info, I’d also happily trade my S5 and S1R for a pair of S1H’s so I had 3 of the things! 

Yes it’s a bit of a lump but it’s the best lump I ever shot with for video or hybrid.

The S1R beats it as a pure stills machine, but otherwise…

The final components for my S1H video beast arrived today and I have to say that after a minor modification, it is indeed a beast.

Having a VND between the lens and the camera is a MUCH better solution than screw on options as it gets out of the way and allows the use of a lens hood…and the Meike cine lens comes with a very integrated looking screw in hood that looks like part of the lens rather than a ‘lens hood’.

And then there is the lens itself… Only had time to shoot a little bit of footage but the result SOOC is already nicer looking than my f2 Sigmas…which were pretty great, but not ideal for video work in that they breathe like dragons and the focus is by wire, so finicky to say the least.

The only thing that bugged me…for about 5 minutes…was the de-clicked aperture. I get why it is, but FFS, put an aperture lock on the things because it gets constantly nudged out of place. Like ALL THE TIME when handholding.

A cunning less than 1” square sticky back Velcro option sorted this and now it ‘locks’ at T2.1, T2.8 or T4, depending on my needs.

The S5 will get a little more use than the last few jobs because other than static full ceremony and full speeches, it’s staying on the sticks and doing any and all things AF, so it’s designated as my ‘tracking unit’.

Full run out of the updated kit next week…

On another note, tried Vlog again. It was just as awful an experience as it’s ever been… Viva Natural. I’m 100% done even trying with log now. And zero need.

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8 hours ago, herein2020 said:

What I found with the S5 was the Panasonic batteries lasted so long I rarely worried about battery life.

My primary reason for wanting a battery grip is that sometimes I need to record longer than 2 hours and there's not always an outlet near the optimal spot for the hard camera. 

8 hours ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

Depending on your needs / circumstances, you MIGHT consider an S1 as a second FF cam instead of another S5. You can find used S1 cameras for not much difference compared to a used S5.

I've thought about it. The thing that makes me lean towards another S5 is that I often times am seeing if bundled with the 20-60mm kit lens. The $200 upgrade also is kinda a sore spot, though I notice a lot of them already have it. 

8 hours ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

And, of course, Panasonic autofocus.

That was honestly why I was hesitant to buy into a full frame Panasonic camera. To be clear, it's not really a huge priority for me, but I think the long term health of the system is dependent on AF because it's what the market demands. But I couldn't pass up the deal I got. 

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Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG DN has almost 0 breathing and manual focus is smooth for a focus by wire lens. With latest firmware that gives extra control over focusing similar to Panasonic lenses it is almost perfect for video. Was pleasantly surprised. But it is relatively big and heavy 🙂

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15 hours ago, newfoundmass said:

My primary reason for wanting a battery grip is that sometimes I need to record longer than 2 hours and there's not always an outlet near the optimal spot for the hard camera.

You will definitely want to look into the USB-C power options for that. Many options out there.....power bricks, vmount batteries, etc. The S5 is great because it uses so little power that you do not need a PD rated USB power source. 

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2 hours ago, webrunner5 said:

How long does a S5 go with the factory battery grip attached?? And can you hot swap the battery tray?

I'd guess you'd get 4 1/2 hours with the battery grip and two OEM batteries (based on what I got with one OEM battery)? And you can hot swap one battery after it switches from the one in the grip to the one in the camera, at least I can on the G85 and GH5. 

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16 hours ago, stephen said:

Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG DN has almost 0 breathing and manual focus is smooth for a focus by wire lens. With latest firmware that gives extra control over focusing similar to Panasonic lenses it is almost perfect for video. Was pleasantly surprised. But it is relatively big and heavy 🙂

I think I'd probably get the 28-70mm instead to save some money if I went that route. 

I'm looking at the Panny 24-105mm though as my first lens purchase, though I'm gonna wait to find a deal on it and stick with the kit lens and adapted vintage lenses until then. 

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7 hours ago, newfoundmass said:

Powering a camera via USB powerbank is foreign to me. I've been using a 5 year old camera, people! 🤣

 

Any specific powerbanks you'd suggest? And any easy ways to mount it to a cage or tripod?

Smallrig make all kind of clamps and accessories.

I have a cheese plate gaffer taped to a power bank and that is then screwed into a clamp which is attached to a tripod leg et voilà!

I use powerbanks from Anker and have done for years with zero issues.

Re. the zooms, I’m not really a fan of zooms but still use a couple.

I also chose the Sigma 28-70mm f2.8 over the bigger and bulkier 24-70 because it was so much smaller and lighter.

I have used it for video and it’s pretty good but obviously can’t rely on the AF for tracking. It can…but not reliably.

I use it as my principal stills lens now but as a ‘twin prime’ lens ie as a 28mm or a 70mm but nothing in between. I have 20, 50 and 100 f2 primes for anything else.

If I could only take one lens to a job, photo and video, it would be the 24-105, but I don’t actually use it for that purpose because I have other more suited options, but if you could only have one lens…

Maybe if it had internal zooming because that is the part I don’t much care for with zooms. With the 28-70, the extension is really small like maybe an inch max.

I use it on my S5 these days for long tripod stuff so ceremonies and speeches where I need a bit of reach but some flexibility for certain wide stuff such as entrances and exits. Still toying with swapping it out for a 70-200mm f4 but not right now.

But for photography, it doesn’t get used on actual wedding days but instead does get used as my landscape lens on say a hike in the mountains where again, like I do any zoom lenses, used at only the extreme ends of 24 and 105 as nothing in between exists for me.

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Just ordered a Lumix 50mm lens for the S5. Took a slight risk using a new company GadgetWard UK but the price was very competitive (£378, free shipping) and the reviews of the company were generally very positive.

There was a question upthread about a USB power block for the S5 and though I don't need it for that, something like it would be very useful for my battery hungry Tascam DR-70D. I have looked into a 10,000 mAh Anker job at £35 which I think will do the job fine but the issue is how to mount it with other things I already have to deal with. In many ways it would ideally go sort of attached to the front of the Tascam or even under it, next to the tripod mount, but beyond resorting to superglue, I cannot think of any way to do this. What I don't need is any more arms or brackets or whatever as I have nowhere for them to go without things getting silly (and I go handheld quite a bit). Any ideas? The Anker is small (about the size of a playing card) and light (180g)

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25 minutes ago, Geoffrey said:

Just ordered a Lumix 50mm lens for the S5. Took a slight risk using a new company GadgetWard UK but the price was very competitive (£378, free shipping) and the reviews of the company were generally very positive.

There was a question upthread about a USB power block for the S5 and though I don't need it for that, something like it would be very useful for my battery hungry Tascam DR-70D. I have looked into a 10,000 mAh Anker job at £35 which I think will do the job fine but the issue is how to mount it with other things I already have to deal with. In many ways it would ideally go sort of attached to the front of the Tascam or even under it, next to the tripod mount, but beyond resorting to superglue, I cannot think of any way to do this. What I don't need is any more arms or brackets or whatever as I have nowhere for them to go without things getting silly (and I go handheld quite a bit). Any ideas? The Anker is small (about the size of a playing card) and light (180g)

Thinking about this I guess some very good duck / gaffer tape might do it.

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I'm looking at this, and looking for some alternative solutions. https://www.smallrig.com/smallrig-holder-for-portable-power-banks-bub2336.html

2 hours ago, Geoffrey said:

Just ordered a Lumix 50mm lens for the S5. Took a slight risk using a new company GadgetWard UK but the price was very competitive (£378, free shipping) and the reviews of the company were generally very positive.

There was a question upthread about a USB power block for the S5 and though I don't need it for that, something like it would be very useful for my battery hungry Tascam DR-70D. I have looked into a 10,000 mAh Anker job at £35 which I think will do the job fine but the issue is how to mount it with other things I already have to deal with. In many ways it would ideally go sort of attached to the front of the Tascam or even under it, next to the tripod mount, but beyond resorting to superglue, I cannot think of any way to do this. What I don't need is any more arms or brackets or whatever as I have nowhere for them to go without things getting silly (and I go handheld quite a bit). Any ideas? The Anker is small (about the size of a playing card) and light (180g)

 

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