[00:00:00] We knew this day was coming… The Panasonic LUMIX S5IIx — the second phase-detect auto-focus LUMIX camera — has arrived, and it brings with it a lovely surprise that we didn’t know about when it was announced back in January. I paired the S5IIx with the new SIRUI 1.6x squeeze full frame anamorphic lens and an ATOMOS Ninja V+ to shoot ProRes RAW, to see what they could do together, but before we get to the footage, let’s have a quick recap of what the differences are between the S5II and the new S5IIx.
[00:00:45] First up; cosmetics. The S5IIx is the black-on-black camera, with the blacked out LUMIX logo and S5IIx badge. The only color on the camera is the red record button. It looks wicked cool.
[00:00:56] OK, specs. I don’t want to go through everything this camera has; I’ve already done an extensive video on the S5II, which I’ll link to at the end of this video, and down just below the Like button… so here, I’ll only focus one what’s different. The S5IIx can record in ProRes. Not internally*, because SD cards aren’t fast enough to write the up-to 1.9Gbps data rate of the up-to 5.8K ProRes 422 HQ that the camera can generate, so for that you’ll need an external SSD drive over USB-C. Which of course is another unique feature for the S5IIx — the ability to record over USB.
[00:01:32] Faster and cheaper than SD cards, it’s pretty sweet to write straight to an SSD drive. Or, instead of to an SSD drive mounted to the side of your camera, pretty soon you’ll be able to write to your cage handle. Or more specifically, to the SanDisk Pro-Blade SSD tucked away inside the Kondor Blue Pro-Blade cage handle announced at NAB. So cool.
[00:01:52] And, not that I’d recommend this workflow, but technically, you can edit straight off that SSD drive, meaning you can start cutting immediately after you finish shooting without waiting for a file copy. Again, not my recommendation, but it’s possible.
[00:02:05] The S5IIx can record in S&Q mode — that’s “slow and quick” mode — in 422 10bit up to 60 frames per second in 4K and C4K and 180 frames per second in HD. The S5II can do the same frame rates, but only in 420 10-bit, not 422. The S5IIx is also capable of recording all-intra C4K, 4K, 3.3K and Full HD.
[00:02:29] Some frame size and frame rate combos do cut you down to an APS-C crop, and since there’s an absolutely mind boggling number of permutations of size and rate and codec, instead of listing them all here, on my website at PhotoJoseph.com/S5IIx, I’ve posted screenshots of every recording quality option, so you can see exactly what’s available in every possible combination.
[00:02:50] Another fantastic capability of the S5IIx is RAW output. And here comes the new announcement — RAW output to both the 5” ATOMOS Ninja V and V+ and the 7” Shogun Connect for recording ProRes RAW, AND to the Blackmagic VideoAssist 12G 5” and 7” models for Blackmagic RAW are supported. And a little bonus for S5II owners — the promised paid firmware update for the S5II to add RAW support will also include both ProRes RAW and Blackmagic RAW, and that will be released on June 13.
[00:03:24] Another feature is Live View Composite, a great addition for long exposure still photographers, which allows you to see the exposure as it builds over time. And more great news for S5II users — this feature is being added to the S5II in a free firmware update. The S5IIx also includes live streaming support.
[00:03:42] You can use the LUMIX Tether app on your phone either wirelessly, or wired with a USB connection to the camera, and use your phone’s data to live stream. Or, using an USB-C to ethernet adapter, use a wired ethernet connection for live streaming up to 4K. This is a great solution for one-camera streaming, especially for live events like kids sports, small theater productions, graduations, and so-on.
[00:04:05] And finally — those of you who’ve watched my “5-by BGH1” video will recall this as being one of my favorite features — the S5IIx offers full control through the LUMIX Tether app, over the network. With an inexpensive USB-C to Ethernet adapter, you can put multiple S5IIx cameras on your network, and even mix and match them with your BGH1, BS1H, and GH5II camera bodies.
[00:04:28] The lens that I paired with the S5IIx for the sample footage you saw in the opening, and that you’ll see more of in a moment, is the new SIRUI Saturn 35mm T2.9 Full-frame Carbon Fiber Anamorphic Lens with a 1.6x squeeze. Because I was pairing this with the S5IIx, I wanted to shoot in RAW.
[00:04:48] Now, with this much stretch, you might consider shooting in a 3:2 Open Gate aspect ratio — which, when stretched 1.6x, would give you a classic cinemascope 2.4:1 ratio — but for RAW there is no full sensor 3:2 Open Gate option. So I went for the 16:9 5.8K 5888 x 3312 RAW option, which once stretched, makes for the ultra-wide 2.8:1 aspect ratio that you’re looking at now. Obviously you could crop that down to a more common 2.4:1 if you wanted, but I wanted to share this video with all the pixels.
[00:05:20] I figure, if Tarantino can do The Hateful Eight at 2.76:1, then I can do a YouTube video at 2.8:1! Anyway, if you did want to shoot Open Gate 3:2 aspect ratio at 5952 x 3968 pixels, and gain some height on the sensor, you certainly could but you’d be recording internally at 4:2:0. Which is actually… what this shot is. The dessert and sample footage, that was shot RAW in 16:9, but this talking head sequence is shot in 3:2, recorded internally — well actually, recorded to an SSD drive because I can! — at 4:2:0 10-bit to H.265. I just then cropped it to match the pretty stuff shot out in the wild.
[00:05:59] One curiosity of this lens is that the 1.6x squeeze is actually not standard. Neither the S5IIx, nor the ATOMOS Ninja V+, nor even DaVinci Resolve have settings to support that 1.6 squeeze ratio. So both in camera for preview and stabilization, and in the Ninja for preview, I had to choose a 1.5x squeeze, and then in Resolve, manually stretch it to the 1.6x ratio.
[00:06:22] Also, since I’m editing in Resolve, but when I recored the outdoor footage I did not yet have the firmware update for the Blackmagic Video Assist, I shot to ProRes RAW, which Resolve does not support. It’s easy enough to convert ProRes RAW to CinemaDNG, which is what I did, and if you want to see a workflow video on how that works, just let me know in the comments below.
[00:06:50] Red Rock is a beautiful place to shoot. Lots of great color, dynamic range, and of course, huge vistas worthy of a wide anamorphic lens. You’ll notice a variance in looks on these shots; this is deliberate, as I played with different color treatments, experimenting with the raw footage.
[00:07:06] The SIRUI lens looks really good for these wide shots, sharp enough edge to edge, and while it doesn’t exhibit extreme shallow depth of field — more on that later — it is shallow enough that focus racks are clear.
[00:07:17] This shot of the street musician was really off in white balance, and while you can of course white balance nearly any image, working with the RAW source means you’re doing it at the RAW decode level, so it’s much cleaner. Remember too that with RAW, de-noising is not applied in camera, so if you’re shooting in low light, you’re likely going to want to add noise reduction in post. I use a tool called Neat Video, which is an impeccable noise reduction plugin.
[00:07:40] This clip, I wanted to show you in Resolve itself. It’s really a nightmare shot; black sky, relatively dimly lit buildings, and incredibly bright lights on the moving water. It’s begging to be clipped, as it appears here. Now, I admit I’m not a professional colorist and I never did get a completely satisfactory color balance from this shot, but I primarily want to show you that using the HDR wheels in Resolve, I’m able to pull a massive amount of detail back out of this seemingly completely blown-out water. It’s pretty remarkable.
[00:08:08] The SIRUI lens is great, remarkably small, and I think an excellent value at its price point. But of course, this is a $1,300 anamorphic lens, not a $13,000 anamorphic lens, so there are some compromises. I mentioned earlier that even at T2.9, it doesn’t feel like the depth of field is as shallow as you might expect it to be. Which means there’s not a huge separation between foreground and background — fine — but it’s also a little challenging to focus. You really do need to rely on focus peaking, for sure.
[00:08:35] The closest focusing distance is three feet, which isn’t bad at all — and, for reference, this shot here is shot at the closest focusing distance — but even at that closest point, there’s minimal bokeh. Even in this environment, I had a hard time getting classic anamorphic flares and cats-eye bokeh.
[00:08:51] Just to force a flare though so you can see what it looks like… here you go. There’s that classic anamorphic flare, even if you don’t see much in the main footage I’m sharing with you. Also you’ll notice that this flare is blue — you can buy this lens with blue or with neutral flare coatings.
[00:09:05] To try to force some more bokeh, I added a close-focus diopter to the lens, and THEN I got some delicious bokeh from it. So, maybe that’s just something to consider as a necessary accessory — get the diopters, and get in close! Of course this is a very wide 35mm lens, which actually once the squeeze factor is calculated, maths out to the equivalent of a 22mm lens.
[00:09:26] One criticism is distortion at the edges. This isn’t something you see at a distance, as you probably didn’t see it at all in the footage played earlier. However, whenever I was close to a subject, it was really noticeable, and in these talking head shots, it’s somewhat prevalent. I shot this scene in the elevator specifically to highlight it. Here, at pretty much the closest focusing distance, you can really see how badly warped the edges are. This isn’t a deal-breaker at all, and I shouldn’t be surprised given the very small size of this lens, but it’s something to be aware of.
[00:09:54] The LUMIX S5IIx is here, and it’s a beaut. With phase detect auto focus — not that I used it in this video — ProRes recording to SSD… RAW output to both ProRes RAW and Blackmagic RAW… 422 10-bit and All-Intra codecs… Live Compositing… Live streaming… Network control with LUMIX Tether — this really is a fantastic camera.
[00:10:15] At $2200, it’s a great value, and paired with an anamorphic lens like this SIRUI, or any of the literally hundreds of options you have now between native Panasonic lenses, adapted lenses from nearly any other manufacturer — oh, and don’t forget, or if you haven’t watched it yet, please do… in my S5II video, I showed how well even adapted Canon lenses work with the new autofocus system — uh, adapted vintage lenses, AND more and more creative third party lenses from companies like SIRUI and LAOWA that keep coming out — I mean, there are some really really great options today.
[00:10:48] Watch this video to learn more about the S5II family and watch this video from a couple of years ago to learn about some other awesome lens options… and subscribe if you haven’t already. See you in the next video.