The market for hybrid cameras in the mid-range category is becoming increasingly competitive, with numerous manufacturers releasing new models to fight for consumers’ attention. Especially with the $2,000 price segment becoming more attractive, it’s high time to dig into Panasonic and Sony closely while comparing their two of the finest hybrid cameras. But Sony A7 IV vs Panasonic Lumix S5 II: which one is better?
In short – “The Sony A7 4 is better for versatile all-purpose use, including portraits, weddings, wildlife, and video footage, with its impressive image quality and adaptability. The Panasonic Lumix S5 2 is better for filmmakers who require advanced video recording options, especially with the Lumix S5 2-X variant offering more codecs and ProRes for post-production creativity.”
|Sony A7 IV
|Panasonic Lumix S5 II
|33MP BSI-CMOS (Full-frame)
|24.2MP CMOS (Full-frame)
|4K at 30fps oversampled from 7K
|6K at 30fps, 4K at 60fps (super 35 crop)
|3.69M-dot OLED EVF
|2.36M-dot OLED EVF
Sony A7 IV vs Panasonic Lumix S5 II
In this article, we’re setting up Sony A7 4 against the Panasonic Lumix S5 2. Make sure to stick to the end to find out who’s the winner!
Although the Sony A7 4 may appear very similar to its previous model, it has undergone several subtle upgrades that significantly enhance its user experience. One of these upgrades is an improved electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 3.69 million dots and a refresh rate of 120 frames per second, located on the camera’s top. Located below the EVF is a newly added vari-angle touchscreen. The screen can be rotated to face the direction of your shot, which is particularly beneficial for solo video shooters. When holding the A7 4, the grip feels more solid compared to the previous model. However, the camera’s overall design will be familiar and comfortable to anyone who has used a previous Alpha camera. The camera is now equipped with a CFexpress Type A slot, meaning that you can continuously shoot with an effectively unlimited buffer.
Whereas, the Panasonic Lumix S5 Mark 2 has a solid and small body with a full-metal frame and is resistant to dust and moisture to protect against weather conditions. It is designed to be comfortable and easy to hold, with buttons and dials placed conveniently for quick access to settings. The camera has a 3-inch touchscreen LCD that can be tilted and rotated for shooting from high or low angles, as well as an electronic viewfinder with high resolution and minimal delay, even in bright sunlight. Moreover, the camera has two card slots that support UHS-2 SD for more storage options and flexibility while shooting. S5 Mark 2 features an AF joystick with eight directions, which is an improvement from the original S5 which had only four directions. Also, the camera has a full-sized HDMI port to provide more accessibility.
Design-wise, both are pretty modern and ergonomically aesthetic. Both the body has all the necessary ports and functionality that you can ask for at this price point. But if we had to choose one, Sony A7 4 wins by a narrow margin.
Now, The A7 4 features a new 33MP BSI-CMOS sensor, which is capable of shooting at 10 frames per second despite its higher resolution. However, if you wish to shoot in Raw format, the camera can only do so in the lossy compressed format and drops to 12-bit mode, which further reduces the dynamic range. The video quality of the A7 4 is undoubtedly impressive, as it oversamples its 4K at 30fps video from the sensor’s 7K resolution, resulting in a sharp, noise-free image even at ISO 12800. Also, the ability to shoot 4K in 10-bit 4:2:2 provides color graders with more flexibility. The A7 4’s in-body image stabilization can compensate for up to 5.5 stops and allows you to shoot with low shutter speeds. The A7 4 takes a significant step forward by adding 10-bit capture, which enhances the processing flexibility of Log footage.
On the other hand, the Lumix S5 Mark 2 has a full-frame sensor with a resolution of 24.2 megapixels that produces high-quality images and videos. It works with the Venus Engine to ensure accurate color reproduction and excellent image quality. L² powers the sensor, a new image-processing engine developed jointly by Lumix and Leica. This enables the camera to capture 6K video at 30 frames per second with 4:2:0 10-bit and record 4K video at 60 fps with a super 35 crop. Besides, the sensor can take 96-megapixel multi-shot high-resolution photos, and it can shoot at up to 30 fps with C-Autofocus and Raw capture. The camera also features Dual Native ISO technology, which reduces noise in low-light situations. Its autofocus system is quick and accurate, making it suitable for both stills and video modes.
Here, Sony undoubtedly gets the upper hand. From the footage quality to the crispy stills, it shines everywhere. Lumix S5 2 is also, worthy of being at the top, mainly because of its video recording capability.
And lastly, let’s take a look at the Sony A7 4’s additional features. The A7 4 has gained the ability to capture 10-bit compressed images, which is an improvement from the 8-bit JPEGs that were traditionally offered. Unlike Canon, which only uses HEIF capture for HDR images, Sony allows you to shoot standard DR images in 10-bit with a choice of 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 chroma sub-sampling if it is beneficial. The A7 4 also features live streaming of video over its USB connection using audio and video standards like UVC and UAC that is part of the USB standard. You have the option of HD or FullHD resolutions with FullHD available up to 60fps. And with Bluetooth connectivity, A7 4 makes it easier to transfer files to your phone.
In contrast, the Lumix S5 Mark 2 has a new feature that sets it apart from previous Panasonic models: on-sensor phase detection autofocus. This type of autofocus is faster and more precise than the traditional contrast autofocus and combines depth awareness with subject recognition tracking for better results. The camera’s in-body image stabilization has also been improved. Moreover, the camera can now shoot full sensor height 3:2 Open Gate video, which allows for cropping into various aspect ratios or panning around the frame in post-production at up to 30 fps. The footage can also be stretched horizontally for a real-time preview. The camera supports 14+ stop V-Log/V-Gamut capture and industry-standard LUT functions, allowing color grading while previewing the shot.
We notice that Panasonic Lumix S5 2 includes all the modern features in the body and the open gate functionality really opens many doors for creative post-production. Sonny A7 4 has additional features like 10-bit sampling and HEIF capture, but falls a little too short, mostly because it is older than the S5 2, but overall, both are very capable nonetheless.
While there are superior specialized cameras available, the A7 4 is the most exceptional mirrorless camera you can purchase as a versatile all-purpose option. Its adaptability, characteristics, and range of lenses will be highly appreciated if you prefer capturing a diverse combination of portraits, weddings, wildlife, and video footage. Though it comes with a high price tag of $2498, it’s a reasonable investment for most individuals. But the Panasonic Lumix S5 2, with the new PDAF system, is a pretty solid camera too. If you need more filming options, opt out for the Lumix S5 2-X, which has more codecs and a ProRes option for post-production creativity. Also, in that price tag, it is undoubtedly the best mirrorless camera out there. So, which one did you like the most?