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Hi, this is Jay P. Morgan. And this is Kenneth Merrill. Today on The Slanted Lens we are going to compare 2 cameras that are very much entry level cameras but excellent cameras in their class. So what are we going to look at today. We have the new Lumix S5 Mark II which is a new, really exciting release from Panasonic. It competes at this level and I am excited to talk more about that. And we have the Sony a7 Mark IV which is really a good old work horse. A really good option for anyone wanting to do photo and video. It kind of has the ideal specs for something in the $2000-$3000 dollar range. So they really are head to head with regards to specs, price, I mean this is about $500 less than the Sony. But, again they are entry level cameras and 24 megapixels. They are really the camera that most people are going to buy if they want to get into a beginning, kind of, low, not low level but beginning level mirrorless camera.
So…Let’s take a look at some specs. We are going to look at picture quality. We really want to see exactly what the autofocus looks like on this because that has been the challenge in the past with Panasonic. We want to see how that has changed because they have gone now from contrast to phase detect which is a huge step up. It may be a David and Goliath situation though because Sony has some of the best autofocus in the business now. So that will be a tough one. We’ll see how it pans out. Yeah, Sony has been on that ride for a long time and that’s where they keep improving things. Let’s just see how they look. Take a look and see what we got.
So let’s talk about the specs of these two cameras. Yes, I mean, it is fascinating the specs are so close together. I mean, the Sony obviously is like $500 more, so starting there price wise. Yeah.
But when it comes to specs, the Sony has a larger megapixel sensor, 33. Which I do love. I mean, for me I wish all cameras in this category were that 30-35, you know, somewhere in there I think is a better place for them to be. 24 feels just enough, it’s adequate, just barely enough. If you are not going to do too much you know cropping and recomposing and stuff. This only has 24 which is, you know, a lot of others like the R6 Mark II which was just released up from 20 to 24, so. Canon, like, I’m going to give you another megapixel! Ha, ha, ha, ha! It’s like, come on Ebenezer. That is very much how it feels with them. But 24 is still good. I mean, I feel like that is not going to break the deal, necessarily, no. The other thing that you are getting for the $500 extra with Sony is more buffer. You are getting 10 frames per second instead of 9 with the mechanical shutter. And an incredible 828 RAW photo buffer with an unlimited jpeg buffer. You could shoot jpegs until your card fills up on this camera. This camera (S5 II) is only limited to 200 images (RAW). And this is CFExpress Type A (Sony). So that’s why. You have a faster card. You can buffer longer on that card. It’s much different. So that is an advantage, you have that CFExpress Type A, which is a major advantage. Beyond that the specs are just so similar, very similar. Down to similar EVFs and LCDs. The stabilization is very comparable on these two cameras. We’ll take a closer look at that later. What else?
Well, you do have the fan (Lumix). I’ve not had trouble and we shoot on the a7 IV. I’ve not had trouble with it overheating. We have not had that issue. Have you shot like extended 15 minute, 20 minute takes in the sun? Yeah, in the sun. Well, like I said, we were out in the sun, photographing bees at our hive. And this was working fine. But the a1 we’d have to stop and let it cool off. You know, so this was actually more usable than the a1 was in that situation.
Well, shall we look at the imagery here. That’s really where the rubber meets the road. Let’s look at autofocus. Let’s look at imagery and just see how these compare when it comes to what you get. Let’s take a look at the picture quality tests. I love looking at these cameras head to head.And what I have found as you go through this process is that the color on these things are a lot closer than you think. Yeah, as we were shooting on the Panasonic I’m loving the color but when I put it next to the Sony… I took this through Silkypix with the Panasonic because it’s not updated yet on Adobe. So that was the only way to convert the raw. But I just sent it straight through. I didn’t change the color settings.I just, and we set these… Did you adjust contrast or anything? Nothing. No, I just sent it straight through on both of these. And if you look at them, the color is very similar. The Panasonic is a little bit red. You know, just a little bit.
You know, I said in our review of the S5 II that if it sees teal or blue, it really pushes that and you see that in this image. Yeah, that shadow side of my face, it’s like blue! Yep. Yeah, you definitely, it almost feels like there’s a blue light in those shadows, a blue shadow. That’s interesting. You know, so whereas the Sony is a lot more, kind of neutral. I mean the color definitely pops on your shirt and that with the Panasonic. But, with the Sony it’s a little more subdued.
The Sony does have a bit of a warmer look right out of camera. It does. Were we shooting, I can’t remember, did you have a temperature dialed in? Or were these auto white balance? No these were shot at 5600K. Okay, I like the subtle contrast of the Panasonic better. The Sony has like a really hard highlight. It’s a little more crunchy too. It’s much, the contrast is much heavier on the Sony there’s no doubt about it. I don’t, I don’t love the purple magenta blue shadow. It’s really interesting that you see that. Yeah, I agree.
When we go to this now we got Panasonic on the left and Sony on the right. You do see the color. You see the color and the vibrance of the Panasonic. Definitely a much cooler image again. Yep, I think it’s leaning towards that cool side there.
Wow, these look like they could have been taken with the same camera almost. They do. The difference between those two resolutions feels really slight when you’re actually blowing it up. Yeah. I do feel it a little bit. I feel like on this lettering in particular, you can kind of feel a little bit of the softness, the lack of detail compared to the Sony. It’s not quite as crisp as the Sony. But, so close, honestly.
Man this was my favorite setup of the whole shoot that we did. Was it? Yeah, I just love this scene. Well it’s really pretty. You see the great geographic shapes, geometrical, geometrical, geographic. Geometric. Geometric, you see the geometric, you see the shapes are really interesting the way they frame the image and the two people passing. The Panasonic feels like a little bit of slightly less contrasty out of camera. Yes. These are, and you can adjust these to your heart’s content of course you know. These are so close to each other. There’s no way you can’t. I mean we’re looking at color difference here between these two that is really, like Kenneth said, you can adjust these. It’s almost negligible. It really is.
It does feel like the Sony is a little sharper overall. Yeah, just a little more detail. Yeah, but you got 33 megapixels versus 24, you’d like to, you know, I’d hope you’d see something in there. Yeah.
Okay, so we’re going to look at our ISO test here. But we’re not even going to bother with 400 ISO, 800 ISO. Let’s start at 1600. 1600 ISO is where you would start to see some grain on most cameras. And you do, you know looking down here at these pipes on the lower left, you do see… definitely see it in the Sony. I’m not seeing so much of it in the Panasonic. It still looks pretty clean. Looks very clean for 1600 ISO. Yeah, still looks pretty clean. Now these were processed in different software’s. We do have Adobe for the Sony and we have the Silkypix for the Panasonic. So, but there’s no noise reduction applied to either of these. But boy, the Panasonic looks a lot cleaner.
Yeah, here at 3200 ISO, if you look at the sign in the upper right, you definitely see that grain, absolutely, in the Sony. That is kind of incredible, how different those are. It’s really incredible. I mean, the Sony is breaking up a lot when you get to 6400 ISO. Yeah, you definitely see grain in the Panasonic at 6400 ISO. But it’s not, not to the extent you are getting. Moving to 12,800 ISO. Very clean on the Panasonic and the Sony’s really, really breaking out. This is like you know, Ilford 3200. Yeah, exactly. It’s trying to push two stops. Yeah, and then 25,600 ISO. You can certainly see it in the Panasonic. Yeah and you are seeing some color shift. Now it’s turning a little green. Like, look at the lantern down in the bottom right. The Sony, the color is holding really well. It’s just a lot grittier. That is interesting. So the color is shifting more on the Panasonic but it’s cleaner.
You hit 51,200 ISO and you do have some blue color noise in the Panasonic. You can see it on the signs here. With the Sony it’s very noisy but there’s no color noise and again, you’re not picking up the green in the shadows that the Panasonic has. So it’s kind of, they almost, it feels like there’s a tradeoff. The Panasonic has less grit to the higher ISOs but the color fidelity falls off. Falls off much faster.
You know for me shooting any kind of a still camera, if I can’t shoot down around 6400 ISO at the most, I don’t like to be above that. But you can get away with them. I mean, obviously with noise reduction you can do so much these days. But, I don’t want the color to shift and I don’t want the, you know, just all the noise, but. So I think, it looks like Panasonic, like you say, I think Panasonic seems like it’s holding together better. But the color shifting.
Yeah, I would say if you go back down to something like 3200 ISO, you can start to see some of that color stuff creep in, like on the pipes. But overall, like the fidelity is still there, and it’s going to be a cleaner image. Yeah, it is. So the Panasonic is going to be a cleaner image. Yeah, so those more normal ISOs, you know, 3200, or under, Panasonic might be the winner here. But yeah, it does feel kind of like a close call to me. Just because of those color issues. Yeah.
So we did the autofocus test in video mode on these cameras, because I feel like it’s the best way to kind of see how they’re performing in real time. And we spent a lot of time on this adjusting settings. We even like, refreshed the Panasonic to make sure it was behaving as best as possible. We switched out the 50mm f/1.4 Panasonic. Yeah, that f/1.4 was like two motors and slow, slow and it really wasn’t made for this. When we went to these faster lenses that they have that 50 millimeter was much better. Was really much better. It is made for this kind of autofocus situation. Whereas that f/1.4 it did not work, did not work. So word to the wise on that one. And we kind of landed on these tests where Jay P. would walk at the camera, or he would stand still, and I cross in front or walk around and behind. And honestly, both cameras did pretty good on the tests. There were some overall little quirks that we discovered, as we were going through them. One thing that I noticed is that the Sony does a little bit better of a job picking a subject and sticking to it. I feel like though when we do a test like this, we’re trying to get the camera to think for you. You know, and I think that’s, I mean, when we when I’m just standing there and people are crossing, they’re both pretty good about sticking on the subject matter. There’s a slight jump on the Panasonic when you cross, there’s just a slight jump.
Yeah, the Panasonic seemed to be a little more sensitive to people walking in front of the subject than the Sony was. Like I said, the Sony did, despite the other video, did do a better job of picking a subject and sticking with it when things obscured it. So we actually tried to turn the sensitivity, one of the other people that we were shooting with, they turn the sensitivity down on their autofocus for the Panasonic and that really helped so that when there was that crossing, it wouldn’t jump to that subject. But what we found then, was that the Panasonic had a harder time keeping up with the moving subject. As we move faster. I did some where I was running towards the camera. Now it was, it just, the responsiveness was not high enough to stay on me. So it really depends on the situation you’re in. If you’ve got people crossing and that you probably want to turn the responsivity down a little bit. But if you’ve got major motion, you’re going to have to keep it up. I think long story short, I would maybe lean towards the Sony a little bit more in this test because I had to fiddle less with the settings to get it to do what I wanted it to do. It kind of more consistently picked out the subject I wanted to pick and track with that subject no matter what was happening in the frame. Not 100%, but most of the time. The Panasonic still had a capable system. It worked well most of the time too. But it did feel like for certain circumstances you might have to tailor the autofocus settings more than you might have to on the Sony. So Sony kind of edged out the Panasonic in this test but not so far apart that you would say these are unusable cameras for professional application.
This test we call the close up on Kenneth’s face test. This is, we had two 50 millimeter lenses and my arms are only so long. So you get this uncomfortable, uncomfortable close-ups. That Sony is really, it’s got that big 50 millimeter on it.
So the Sony on the right is way less stabilized than the Panasonic. This is it mind blowing. And it’s jittery, it’s jumping around. Whereas look at the Panasonic, it is so smooth. That is crazy. I did not didn’t expect it to be this different. I didn’t either. Not at all. I mean this feels very usable. This feels, the Panasonic feels so comfortable. Yeah, the stabilization on the Panasonic far out does the Sony. That surprises me. That surprised me that it was that different. Me too. I mean, I’ve always felt like Panasonic is the best in the biz for IBIS. But that level of difference. That’s amazing. Yeah, it really was.
So let’s talk about ergonomics of these two cameras. They are very similar in a lot of ways and very different in a lot of ways. So, what do you think? Well I think the similarities are they both have great EVFs, great monitors. They have the little flip out screen, which is nice. They’re both a similar size and weight. The Sony is probably a little bit lighter. It’s not helped by this massive trash can size lens. But overall, I think both of them are pretty good ergonomically. I will say I like the tactile experience of the Panasonic. I agree with you there. I feel like you have buttons that are more like an old DSLR, that they do exactly what they’re supposed to do, white balance, ISO, your exposure compensation. You have this dial that has all your frame rates and has an intervalometer. Which is awesome. Intervalometer which is great. So you can set that on the top. You can set all your time lapse settings. When you click it to that, you’re ready to, on the Panasonic, to hit record and go for it. So I mean those things are good. I think the Sony does have a lot more buttons that you can program which gives you a lot of options. You can then customize this camera to do exactly what you want. I do miss the little switch for the video and photo mode too. Yeah, on the Sony you do have that video, photo or your slow motion setting. So, I mean on this (Lumix) you have it on the top. So it is there. It’s there. Kenneth like’s that little button. I like the switch. I like the switch a lot.
I think the most important advancement of this is really the fan. Yeah, the fan is awesome. It’s a new fan design from Panasonic that they’re using to try and keep the heat out of the sensor block when you’re recording video. So a lot of other systems, especially Canon, but even the Sony’s can overheat if you record video for too long if you’re out in the sun, or in a hot environment. And Panasonic’s usually been really good with this. My S1H had a fan built into the back. Yeah, that was really this. This is a sort of ingenious design where it just radiates the heat upward and then spins it out the side with the fan under the hot shoe. I hope that other systems will adopt something similar to kind of keep that under control. Because really the reality is they’re saying it really will play forever and not overheat and just has the ability to be what a video camera should be. And that’s something you mentioned is that Panasonic actually does not have any recording limits yeah at all. And the Sony a7 IV does. So that’s a thing. Yeah, certainly interesting to know.
Also, you might want to know, both of these have a full size HDMI. Which I think is just something to mention that’s compatible. You know, not compatible, but they both have a full size HDMI.
A couple small gripes that I have with Panasonic after using it are one, I don’t love the lens mount button being here. I know a lot of systems have it here. But it’s kind of obnoxious to get to and it is really, these lenses are snug when you put them on. They’re kind of hard to get on and off. The lens cap design is also terrible for Panasonic lenses that’s a small thing. Small thing, but boy, it’s annoying. But you know what, I can add to that. That even though I don’t love this button inside here. Sony’s is in the same place and this is more crowded. That’s true. I can’t get my fingers in there to do this. Not that I have big fingers or anything but yeah, anyway. So neither the cameras are winning on the lens mount, on the lens mount button. And that’s the critical point. Everyone knows it’s about the lens button release.
Anyways, I mean they’re both good cameras. I think if I had to pick one based on ergonomics alone, I probably go with the Panasonic I just think it has more going for it with all the buttons with the new fan system. But they’re both in a good, they’re in a good spot. They certainly are and you get used to whatever the working system is that you’re on. And I think you would adapt to Sony just fine. But this feels more like the old traditional DSLRs where the buttons are kind of so obvious and in places to be able to change them on top and outside the camera and that I do love.
So after looking at all the images and the footage and you know we shot with them for days, Why would you buy the Sony over the Panasonic? Well the Sony over the Panasonic: I feel like the autofocus slightly edged out the Panasonic. So I think that was a fair you know, I think I love autofocus issues, I mean I don’t like auto focus issues. I love to just have things be in focus. And autofocus, so I do think that the Sony edged out the Panasonic slightly there. But when it came to stabilization the Panasonic didn’t edge out the Sony it kicked the Sony to the curb. Yeah, that’s true. Really sad. It really was. But I love the picture quality as you look at them head to head they aren’t that different. Yeah. But the ease of use on the Panasonic, seeing it in the EVF, seeing it on the LCD, I feel like gives me a better user experience. I liked the camera. As far as the buttons and dials a little better.
Did the resolution difference? Would that push you towards the Sony versus the Panasonic. It kind of does. I have a hard time with 24 versus 33? I just, I don’t know, 33 is more. That’s true. So I would have a hard time.
So which way would you go for video? For video stuff I would definitely choose a Panasonic because I think V-log is the best log profile in the mirrorless world. I think the ergonomics and usability of the S5 II are phenomenal. Just the overall experience made the video, oh, and the stabilization is huge for video. Yeah, huge. I love that. So, I would pick the Panasonic for the color, for the stabilization, for V-log, for the ergonomics. I would pick the Sony for the autofocus probably. And you know, maybe the resolution, but it really, I think that kind of. When you are in video, I don’t know if that resolution makes that much difference for video, yeah for video. Just in general as a hybrid camera hybrid camera. If you are shooting stills that makes a difference. I feel like the Sony makes more sense if you need the extra resolution and you really want the autofocus and you’re not going to use the stabilization. Maybe you’re not a video shooter at all, you just shoot photos. And so if you’re just a photo shooter, I think the Sony might make more sense in many ways. If you’re if you’re a video shooter, though, I think the Panasonic is definitely the way to go. It has a few features that really set it a level ahead.
And that’s what got you into the Panasonic world in the beginning. It was just it’s really a great video camera. And I think this has stepped it up. The autofocus is, I think the autofocus is not quite as good, but I don’t think it’s that far behind. It’s like the Sony is like a nine out of 10 Panasonic’s like a seven and a half out of ten. Yeah. I think they’re very, very similar. So I don’t think that really makes the difference. I don’t know, there’s so many things, I know people will make this decision based on the fact that this is $500 more. Yeah, you know, and most people make the decision on these kinds of things depending on the lenses you have. If you have a whole series of Sony lenses, you’re not going to change everything to switch over to a camera like this. Getting into this camera, though, I do know it is interesting, I looked at the prices of these lenses. And you can really get into this system with a good set of prime lenses and maybe one telephoto, a 70 to 200. You can get into this for around $3,000, you know. Which is pretty reasonably priced. Some of these are $700. You know, $700 to $1,200. So there’s a really good range of lenses here and a price so you could get into a system like this. So a new photographer just starting. This is actually a pretty reasonable entry point. Because you’re going to have an inexpensive body with achievable lenses that are small and compact to match the ergonomics of the system, and achievable financially.
So I mean, I would say as a new filmmaker, if I was talking to some kid out of college or whatever, and he’s wanting to invest in a full frame mirrorless camera for video stuff. I would definitely tell him to go with Panasonic for video. I think it just has better features. But the thing I like about it is it has great photo features so you’re not losing that side of it. That was my frustration with the S1H is I felt like it has amazing video, cinema sort of features. But the autofocus is terrible. And I don’t really care for it as a stills camera. It’s too big and heavy. This you don’t lose that you have an incredible stills camera and the video is knocked out of the park. If you were to advise one of your students which system to buy as a photographer, they want to go to weddings, or they want to do portraits or whatever, which one would you advise them to go with?
Wow. If one of my students asked me which of these two systems? I would say, if you get into the Sony and you buy Tamron lenses, you have a really nice setup there that’s really cost effective. Or you get into the Panasonic with their proprietary lenses and you have a pretty similar kind of price point to get in. I feel like for the first time in this process I can comfortably recommend the Panasonic and people can buy. And I see the future as far as they’re going to have lens support, they’re going to have cameras. Cameras are going to come out that have great autofocus, have higher megapixels. I think that direction for Panasonic is there and I think we’re going to see that grow in the future. So I’m kind of torn. I think you could go either way. You really could. And that is usually how it goes. Yes, you could go either way. There are reasons to go both ways. It just really depends on your application. And I think, I think we’ve kind of gone through the application for each one that makes sense.
Alright, so check that out. See what you think. Leave us some comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts. We are not fanboys for either these camera systems. Kenneth owns Panasonic. I own Sony. I own and I’m shooting with Panasonic have been for the last couple of weeks. So you know, but we’re trying to give you some honest opinions about it. So we’re shooting this right now on a Sony FX 6 that I own. So I’m pretty agnostic when it comes to the cameras unless it’s a Leica. Yeah, Leica is the God. You are a fanboy. You are a Leica fanboy. I’ll shoot an old like it doesn’t autofocus or do anything good. Because it’s a Leica. We did notice something funny talking about autofocus. I realized I don’t own any autofocus lenses right now. Because I shoot Leica R glass on my cine stuff. And then I shoot Leica M Glass on my stills.
I shoot everything autofocus because my eyes just aren’t what they used to be and I’m not fast enough anymore. And you know what Kenneth, when he says, this is a whole new topic here. When Kenneth says he’s out, he doesn’t shoot, he’s shooting for pleasure. Yes, you know and that’s much different. That is very true. This, I just shot this last week. This girl is going to run and pole vault over that pole. I need you to get nine frames a second in focus with your Leica. Click, click. Zone focus, I think maybe… anyways, here you go.
We hope you enjoy the comparison. I feel like both of these cameras are incredible head to head and I’m excited to hear what you guys all think of the new S5 Mark Two and what you Sony fanboys think of the competition. There you go. So keep those cameras rollin’ and keep on clickin’.