Panasonic has announced its latest full-frame mirrorless model, the Lumix S5. Based around a 24MP sensor, it’s designed to be equally at home shooting stills and video, while being considerably more compact and affordable than the firm’s existing pro-focused S1. The firm is hoping that it’ll replicate the success of the Micro Four Thirds GH5, and on paper at least, it looks like it should have real mass-market appeal.

Core photographic specs include a sensitivity range of ISO 100-51,200 (ISO 50-204,800 extended); 7 frames per second continuous shooting with focus fixed, or 5fps with continuous AF; and shutter speeds from 60sec to 1/8000sec. Autofocus employs the firm’s familiar contrast detection with depth from defocus technology, but with entirely new algorithms that promise a significant increase in speed, and the ability to focus in light levels as low as -6EV. Panasonic says that it’s also dramatically improved its subject recognition, so the camera can keep better track of humans and animals as they move within the scene.

Built-in 5-axis in-body image stabilisation is rated for 5 stops of blur reduction, or 6.5 stops when combined with optically stabilised lenses in Panasonic’s Dual I.S.2 system. Files are recorded to dual SD card slots, but only one of them is compatible with the high-speed UHS-II standard.

Video recording is available at 4K 60p for up to 30 minutes, or with no time limit at 30p, and with a wide array of high-end features. A firmware update, due by the end of 2020, promises to add C4K recording, along with 5.9K raw output to an external recorder over HDMI.

Measuring 132.6 x 97.1 x 81.9 mm and weighing 630g body-only, the S5 is slightly smaller and lighter than the GH5, and broadly similar in size to its main competitors such as the Sony Alpha 7 III and Nikon Z 6. For viewing it employs a 2.36m-dot electronic viewfinder with 0.74x magnification, and a 3in, 1.84m-dot fully articulated touchscreen LCD.

The body  design is essentially derived from the enthusiast-level Lumix G90, but with the welcome addition of an AF joystick. It boasts a well-judged array of external controls, including two top-plate electronic dials for changing exposure settings, along with dedicated drive and focus mode switches.

The new Lumix S5 (centre) is smaller than either the GH5 (left) or S1 (right)

The Lumix S5 is due to go on sale at the end of September for £1,800 body-only, or £2,000 in a kit with the Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 lens.

Firmware update roadmap for Lumix S-series models

Panasonic has also revealed a series of firmware updates that it plans to release for its existing Lumix S cameras. Firstly, the Lumix S1R will be upgraded with the ability to record 5K video. In addition, the S1, S1R and S1H will all gain the new autofocus algorithms debuted on the S5, with its improved subject detection technology and enhanced continuous AF.