Panasonic S5 IIX Review: Great Autofocus and power at a good price

Panasonic introduced the S5 II and S5 IIX full-frame cameras earlier this year, finally adopting phase-detect autofocus, putting it on par with competitors. I’ve already reviewed the S5 II and found it to be one of the best cameras for multimedia creators that Samsung has produced. Now we’re looking at the S5 IIX, which I believe is the more fascinating model.

It has the same design as its sister and many of the same capabilities, such as the improved autofocus mechanism and incredibly effective in-body stabilisation. It does, however, provide a critical feature: the ability to record high-quality, editable ProRes video internally onto SSDs via the USB-C connector. With a little rigging, you can record hours of 4K or even 6K video on a low-cost camera.

Surprisingly, the S5 IIX costs only $200 more than the S5 II. ProRes RAW is also offered for free, whereas the S5 II requires a $200 upgrade. I shot images and movies throughout Paris, Brittany, and other parts of France to determine if it was worthwhile.

Body & Handling

I’ve already covered the S5 II’s body and controls, and the S5 IIX has a similar layout – but it’s worth going over them again briefly, especially in the context of video and content creation. The general appearance is one significant distinction. The Panasonic S5 IIX is distinguished by its gloomy style, which includes a black logo and faint grey graphics on the controls. The only splash of colour is the red record button. Many spectators have oohed and aahed over the black-on-black effect.

The X model, like the S5 II, is a well-handling camera. The grip is big and made of moderately tactile materials, with a ridge at the ring finger to keep it from slipping out of your hands. The controls are spot on, with the record button conveniently located on top. However, another one on the front, like the GH6, would have been wonderful. The menus are also among the best among camera manufacturers (and essentially identical to the GH6), with most settings easily accessible.

It weighs 714 grams, which is somewhat more than Sony’s A7 IV and Canon’s EOS R6 II. An external SSD can add 100 grams or more to the weight, making it a little heavy if you’re holding it out at the end of your arm while vlogging.


The screen includes a brilliant 1.84-million-dot display and completely articulates for self-shooting. It has a 3.69-million-dot electronic viewfinder with comparable resolution to competitors and is easy to confirm focus when shooting in strong sunlight. It contains a full-sized HDMI port, which is essential for a camera with RAW video output, as well as a USB-C port for collecting internal video.


The S5 IIX is a hybrid camera, but video is its main draw. It provides a lot of capability for the budget, with high-quality ProRes capture to an SSD and RAW footage over the HDMI interface. Let’s start with capture via the USB-C port. Internal 10-bit ProRes capture to supported SSDs is supported, which is a big benefit for videographers. Media is reasonably inexpensive, and there’s no need to encode or even transfer footage; simply connect an external drive to a PC or Mac and begin editing.

There’s an odd mix of recording formats in ProRes USB-C mode. It can record 5.8K 17:9 30p footage in ProRes HQ (1.6Gbps) or standard ProRes (1.1Gbps), but not 16:9. It can only capture 17:9 C4K video at 60p with a crop, or supersampled video at 30p without a crop. However, it is not 16:9 Ultra HD. The 17:9 aspect ratio isn’t a big concern because you can clip the edges, but it’s surprising given that most vloggers shoot in 16:9 UltraHD. Perhaps Panasonic will resolve this in a future update.

Fortunately, you can shoot 16:9 5.9K 25p film as well as 4K 60p and 30p footage in the.MOV format. When capturing to USB-C, the latter supports All-I at data rates of up to 800Kbps, which is virtually as excellent as ProRes quality-wise but a little slower for editing.

In-body stabilisation

The Panasonic S5 IIX boasts enhanced in-body stabilisation derived from the GH6, which is powerful and amazing – the greatest on any video camera on the market. Of course, it can’t compete with a gimbal, but the electric mode smooths out steps considerably better than the S5, despite some side-to-side wobbling.

It also offers a “Boost IS” feature for handheld video with no movement, which keeps shots locked off as if the camera were on a tripod. Full stabilisation capability for anamorphic lenses (most types) via a preset is a cool feature not found on many other cameras. Finally, it enables exceptional audio quality via the mic port or an XLR adaptor that connects to the hotshoe.


If you need to use the Panasonic S5 IIX for photography on occasion, it’s not bad. You can shoot at up to 7 frames per second with the mechanical shutter or 30 frames per second in electronic mode. The buffer is extremely good, allowing for 200 RAW shots before throttling. Surprisingly, a USB-C drive does not improve that statistic when compared to an SD card.

The autofocus can keep up, but it’s not as quick or as intelligent as the AF on modern Sony cameras. It’s most obvious when utilising the AI subject modes for example, if a subject turns their heads, it can lose its eyes. Tracking is also limited in comparison to Sony and Canon versions. Still, it works great for vlogging and most types of content creation.


When I reviewed the Panasonic S5 IIX earlier this year, I predicted that the X version would be its main rival, and I’m now certain of that. Simply said, this is a $2,200 near-professional camera with excellent image quality and the majority of the functionality required by a content creator.

The improved focusing is effective but not as strong as that of the Sony A7 IV, and it lacks full-frame 4K 60p video like the Canon R6 II. It’s significantly superior for video than either of those devices, thanks to ProRes and other capabilities not present in either competition product. And the AF is as good as or better than on comparable Nikon and Fujifilm models, with no focus wobble like in previous models.

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