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Sony ZV-E10 II review: small but mighty
5:00 pm | July 10, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Sony ZV-E10 II: two-minute review

The ZV-E10 II is a highly recommendable compact vlogging camera. Its diminutive size is deceptive, as it houses a number of key components and features that are shared with Sony’s pricier and more advanced APS-C cameras.

This camera is built around the proven 26MP Exmor R sensor and BIONZ XR imaging engine combo, which is capable of producing crisp 4K video from an oversampled 6K readout. One of the biggest upgrades over its predecessor is that the ZV-E10 II is capable of recording videos in XAVC HS/XAVC S 10-bit 4:2:2 color up to 4K/60p with a data rate of up to 200Mbps. To take advantage of its dynamic range and color upgrade, it also comes with S-Cinetone and Log recording, along with the ability for users to upload a maximum of 16 LUTs via the Creators’ App, which can be baked into footage for quick delivery. It’s a much less elegant approach to deploying custom looks compared to Fujifilm’s famous film simulations or Panasonic’s seamless Real Time LUT and LUMIX Lab solution, but it’s a welcome addition to Sony’s entry-level offering all the same. It can also record proxy files in XAVC HS HD or XAVC S HD with a max data rate of 16Mbps, despite only having a single UHS-II card slot. The ZV-E10 II offers a strong set of features for what is ostensibly a beginner/vlogging camera. 

However, considering that it’s built around the same sensor, processor and power platform as the A6700 and FX30, it’s a shame that Sony wasn’t able to include the 4K/120p video recording that’s available in those cameras, even if it came with a time limitation and the same 1.58x crop. It’s also disappointing to see that the mechanical shutter in the ZV-E10 has been ditched, meaning the ZV-E10 II is electronic shutter only. But with that said, the readout speed is fast, which will significantly negate the impact of rolling shutter in both video and stills. In terms of stabilization, the camera body has no sensor-shift IS, so you’re restricted to Optical Steady Shot (Standard) with compatible lenses or Active SteadyShot, which comes with a hefty crop. Alternatively, you can take advantage of Sony’s free Catalyst Browse desktop software, which uses gyroscopic metadata for the camera to stabilize your footage and reduce rolling shutter effects even further. The software works incredibly well, but it’s an extra step that some may find tedious, especially some people in the target audience for this camera.

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Sony ZV-E10 II on reflective surface and white background

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II on reflective surface and white background

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II on reflective surface and white background

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II on reflective surface and white background

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II on reflective surface and white background

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II on reflective surface and white background

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II on reflective surface and white background

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)

As you might expect, the autofocusing capabilities of this camera are second to none in its price range, and much better than those of rival APS-C cameras from competitors; the upgraded 759-point PDAF system finds subjects with ease and tracks them stubbornly. Like the ZV-E10, the newer model has a maximum continuous firing rate of 11fps, but with a more advanced AF system your ‘keeper’ ratio from mode shooting is going to be higher. Product focus mode was one of the standout features in this camera’s predecessor, and it works better than ever with this new model. When activated by pressing the trash icon, the camera will intelligently detect and seamlessly pull focus to a product when it's held up, then return to the person’s face when the product is lowered. It’s a unique feature that makes this an ideal camera for social media content creators who do tutorials, product reviews or promotions.

In terms of design, the ZV-E10 II is almost identical to its predecessor – the button layout is unchanged and the form factor will be familiar to owners of the older model, and while this camera being slightly larger and heavier, you couldn’t describe it as large or heavy relative to the competition. I like that it has a decent-sized grip, despite being super compact, and it feels great to hold and shoot with. Due to its size there’s no EVF, which may turn off some beginners who are more inclined towards photography – they might want to spend a little more and pick up the A6700.

Having only the articulated screen to compose shots on isn’t a problem, but it did become a bit of a struggle on sunny days, as I didn’t find it bright enough, even on its maximum setting. I also found the default Shooting Screen UI cluttered, but you can (and really should) make adjustments to the look and feel of it in the menu. To Sony’s credit, I love the fact that the whole UI rotates when you shoot vertically, making it a little bit easier to see your settings, whatever orientation the camera is in; it’s a small touch, but a nice one. Speaking of touch, the ZV-E10 II also adds direct touch as a means for changing settings and selecting subjects for the AF to track, touch functions not available on the ZV-E10. Again, it’s not a huge feature, but it significantly improves the functionality of the camera over its predecessor.

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Sony ZV-E10 II camera on a stone surface

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II camera on a stone surface

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II camera on a stone surface

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)

One of the ZV-E10 II’s USPs is its built-in three-way capsule microphone, which sits along the top of the camera. The unique design helps to isolate audio when the user is speaking to camera without external audio capture, whether holding the camera up vlogger-style or speaking from behind the camera. Sony says the latest version is “intelligent”, and should do an even better job of delivering clear audio. I didn’t have the previous model at the same time that I was testing the ZV-E10 II to compare the two, but I can confirm that the audio quality that’s recorded by the ZV-E10 II’s built-in mic system is good – it will be adequate for most quick shooting scenarios in public, and should certainly suffice for more controlled situations, such as shooting in a studio, although for the best results you’ll want to stay close to the camera, as it's not designed to pick up your voice from a distance. For higher-quality sound recording you have the option of inputting third-party audio sources through the 3.5mm socket. Alternatively, the camera’s digital multi-function hot shoe supports audio data transfer, allowing you to connect a Sony hot shoe mic like the ECM-G1 or a more advanced audio solution such as the Sony ECM-W2BT wireless microphone.

Live online content creators will enjoy the fact that the ZV-E10 II makes it easy to get connected and stream via a wireless network connection or USB-C, at up to 4K/25p with a max bitrate of 38 Mbps. Full HD streaming goes up to 60fps, and it’s also possible to record to the camera while streaming, which is handy for redundancy.

The ZV-E10 II is a camera that covers a lot of bases for content creators who have begun to experience the limitations of a smartphone and need reliability and quality in equal measure, but in a package that keeps things simple. If you can go without a viewfinder and can tolerate overheating limitations when shooting 4K video, the ZV-E10 II is well worth your consideration.

Sony ZV-E10 II on reflective surface and white background

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)

Sony ZV-E10 II: release date and price

  • $1100 / £950 body only
  • Available from July 10 2024
  • Can be bought as a kit with the new Sony E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 II $1200 / £1050

The ZV-E10 II is available to pre-order from July 10th, 2024, with sales starting at the end of July 2024. It can be picked up for an RRP of $1100 / £950 body only or for $1200 / £1050 with the new Sony E PZ 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 II as part of a kit. That’s a pretty big price hike from the Sony ZV-E10. 

  • Price score: 3.5/5

Sony ZV-E10 II on reflective surface and white background

You can take off the lens to easily pack the Lumix S9 away in a small bag. (Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)

Sony ZV-E10 II: design and handling

  • Body is almost identical to previous model
  • Features higher-capacity NP-FZ100 battery
  • Vari-angle touchscreen
  • Digital multi-function hot shoe

The Sony ZV-E10 II is a very compact camera, measuring 4.5 x 2.65 x 2.1 inches / 114.8 x 67.5 x 54.2mm and weighing 13oz / 375g. It’s almost 10mm thicker, a couple of mm wider and 32g heavier than its predecessor.

Sony ZV-E10 II key specs

Sensor: 26MP Exmor R sensor APS-C sensor
AF system: 759-point phase-detect
EVF: None
ISO range: 50 to 102,400 (ISO 100-32,000 video range)
Video: 4K/60p 4:2:2 10-bit internal
LCD: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen
Max burst: 11fps (continuous autofocus), 30fps burst
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 2.4GHz/5GHz, Bluetooth 5.0
Dimensions: 114.8 x 67.5 x 54.2mm
Weight: 375g (Body only with battery and card)

The increase in size is in order to accommodate the NP-FZ100 battery, the same battery used by Sony’s APS-C flagship model, the A6700, as well as most of its recent full-frame E-mount cameras. This also means the memory card slot has been shifted over to the left of the camera body, sandwiched between the microphone and USB-C port at the top and the headphone and micro-HDMI socket at the bottom. The door cover of the UHS-II card slot locks into place and is easy enough to unhinge, even if you’re wearing gloves.

Its 3-inch flip-out articulated screen swings out smoothly and slaps back into place with a reassuring clasp. However, I didn’t like the fact that when the display is flipped all the way out it doesn’t sit flat – it’s at a slight angle. This means the screen doesn’t directly face you when flipped forwards, and it makes composing straight images at extreme perspectives frustratingly inconsistent. Another slight annoyance for me is that I found that some of the buttons and the zoom toggle are too easy to activate by accident, which occasionally led to missed shooting opportunities when trying to capture unanticipated fleeting moments. I do really like the dedicated photo / video / S&Q mode switch at the top of the camera though.

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Sony ZV-E10 II on reflective surface and white background

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II on reflective surface and white background

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II on reflective surface and white background

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II on reflective surface and white background

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II on reflective surface and white background

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)

A lot of useful and commonly used settings are buried within the menus, but fortunately Sony makes it relatively easy to curate a custom page under ‘My Menu’. Another positive is the fact that many of the camera’s buttons can also be customized for both photo and video modes, which gives you a lot of flexibility, and some time spent configuring your buttons and creating your own menu should pay dividends in improving your experience of using the ZV-E10 II. A final design touch that I’m a fan of is the inclusion of a red tally lamp on the front of the camera, just above the alpha logo, which turns on automatically when you press record. There’s also a red frame indicator that can be turned on and off to reassure you that you’re recording.

  • Design score: 3.5/5

Sony ZV-E10 II: features and performance

  • Best-in-class phase-detection autofocus
  • Solid battery life
  • No sensor-shift stabilization
  • Overheats when recording 4K/60p
  • Unique 3-capsule microphone array

The Sony ZV-E10 II stands on the shoulders of one of Sony’s most popular Alpha models ever, in the original ZV-E10 – and given that its predecessor doesn’t have a lot of competition, Sony arguably didn’t have to release an update this year. However, while there are a good few meaningful improvements overall, the ZV-E10 II isn’t perfect. Let’s start with the challenges.

As a compact camera with no fan, I wouldn’t expect the ZV-E10 II to deliver unlimited recording at maximum resolution and frame rates, and it turns out that it doesn’t. I found that the camera consistently overheated and shut down while recording 4K/60p video after 24 minutes, even with the screen flipped out which can help to disperse heat. I was able to get it to start recording again by rebooting the camera, and it rolled for another five minutes before stopping for a second time, then it would cut out repeatedly after a minute or two until it was left to cool down. When the overheating issues began the camera became very hot to the touch, and it wouldn’t function normally until it had cooled down; for reference the ambient room temperature was 70F / 21C. I experienced no overheating issues when filming in Full HD resolution.

Sony ZV-E10 II on reflective surface and white background

(Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)

Now that we’ve got the drawbacks out of the way, let me say that the ZV-E10 II shines when it comes to autofocus, although that’s a given when it comes to Sony cameras. The AF is quick and reliable, which means you can focus on capturing the content you want, whether it’s stills or video, and the camera will take care of the rest. It’s also much easier to shoot remotely and share your content, thanks to improvements Sony has made to the Sony Creators’ App experience. When paired, the ZV-E10 II has the ability to transfer content between the camera and your mobile device via 2.4GHz or 5GHz Wi-Fi. The process is quick, and far less frustrating than previous iterations of Sony camera/app file transfer that I’ve used.

When shooting Raw+JPEG you can get 30 frames at 11fps with AF-C in continuous burst mode, before buffering begins to kill your joy while you wait for the camera’s single UHS-II card to write – this is a camera that will be suitable for capturing brief bursts of action, but not extended sequences. If you want an easy way to slow down longer action sequences, shifting the camera into its dedicated S & Q (slow and quick) function is as simple as flicking a switch. The S&Q mode allows you to capture and view slow-motion video in camera, without sound. However, I’m disappointed that the ZV-E10 II maxes out 4K at 60fps, while its higher-end stablemates, with the same sensor and processor, offer up to 4K/120p.

I was impressed by the staying power of the ZV-E10 II. I could comfortably get through a day's photo and video capture thanks to the inclusion of the larger FZ-NP100 battery. It’s a cell that’s rated for roughly 550 shots, which is a lot for a camera in this class. The previous ZV-E10 was already a standout performer when it came to battery life, and the new model raises the bar further still.

  • Features and performance score: 4/5

Sony ZV-E10 II: image and video quality

  • Same 26MP sensor as pricier FX30 and A6700 models
  • Much improved video codecs
  • No in-body image stabilization means shakier video footage

The ZV-E10 II’s 26MP sensor delivers beautiful JPEGs in good light, and usable images in low light, while its raw files provide a good amount of dynamic range for pushing shadows and recovering highlights when needed.

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Sony ZV-E10 II sample image buzz lightyear toy in studio at ISO 50

ISO 50 (Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II sample images of buzz lightyear toy in dark studio taken at different ISO settings

ISO 50 (Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II sample images of buzz lightyear toy in dark studio taken at different ISO settings

ISO 640 (Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II sample images of buzz lightyear toy in dark studio taken at different ISO settings

ISO 1600 (Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II sample images of buzz lightyear toy in dark studio taken at different ISO settings

ISO 6400 (Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II sample images of buzz lightyear toy in dark studio taken at different ISO settings

ISO 16000 (Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II sample images of buzz lightyear toy in dark studio taken at different ISO settings

ISO 32000 (Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II sample images of buzz lightyear toy in dark studio taken at different ISO settings

ISO 51200 (Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II sample images of buzz lightyear toy in dark studio taken at different ISO settings

ISO 102400 (Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)

In terms of its movie mode results, the introduction of 10-bit video, something that most of the competition offers, is a great benefit for people who have the time to grade their footage. Having greater color flexibility, including the addition of the S-Cinetone picture profile and log recording, opens up this camera for more professional uses, and I would happily use it as a B-roll camera, mixing in clips with footage from a higher-end Sony camera. At its best, 10-bit 4:2:2 4K/60p footage out of the ZV-E10 II, oversampled from its 6K readout, is reasonably gradable and looks clean when the ISO is kept below 6400. In video mode the ZV-E10 II has a maximum sensitivity range of ISO100 to 32,000, but beyond ISO6400 color shifting and noise starts to get distracting.

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Sony ZV-E10 II sample images of tree in a park

Highlights can be blown in scenes like this, which also force the camera's meter to slightly under expose (Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II sample images of model wearing bright red clothes

This backlit portrait shows that the ZV-E10 II still focuses on faces well in challenging high contrast situations (Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II sample macro images of an insect on a plant

The ZV-E10 II paired with the 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 II is a great everyday combination for subjects big and small (Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II sample images of a skyscraper on overcast day

The ZV-E10 II offers a range of picture profiles that will allow you to capture your shots in whatever look you're interested in portraying (Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)
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Sony ZV-E10 II sample images of a skyscraper on a sunny day

The ZV-E10 II shines in good light, delivering punchy colors and vibrant tones (Image credit: Future | Jon Devo)

The lack of sensor-shift image stabilization is a miss here. However, when the camera is paired with an OSS Sony lens, footage is respectably stable, even if it can’t match the steadiness of a Lumix or Olympus alternative. Sony does have an ace in its hand with its Catalyst Browse desktop software though, and if you have the time and inclination you can achieve footage that’s stable enough to rival video captured with a dedicated gimbal.

  • Image quality score: 4/5

Sony ZV-E10 II: testing scorecard

Should I buy the Sony ZV-E10 II?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Sony ZV-E10 II: also consider

How I tested the Sony ZV-E10 II

  • I attended a pre-brief presentation, followed by one-week review period
  • I paired the camera with the new Sony 16-50mm PZ OSS F3.5-5.6
  • I connected the camera to the Sony Creators’ App

I had a short week with the ZV-E10 II, so my testing opportunities were slightly limited. However, I have experience with its predecessor, as well as the Sony A6700 and FX30, which share the same sensor, processor and battery as the ZV-E10 II, so I’m familiar with the capabilities and limitations of its core components.

The first thing I did when receiving the camera was conduct my endurance tests, which include battery run-downs and heat management. I set the camera up on a tripod in an ambient temperature environment of 70F / 21C, and left it filming continuously while connected to mains power and on battery power alone.

I took the camera out with me on a couple of walks and to a couple of daytime and evening events, using the Creators’ App to transfer and share images on the go. I performed sound-quality tests in a small studio environment, as well as in the street.

First reviewed July 2024

Panasonic Lumix S9 review – small, simple, powerful, flawed
7:06 pm | May 22, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Panasonic Lumix S9: two-minute review

There's much to like about the Panasonic Lumix S9. It inherits superb video features from its pricier sibling, the Lumix S5 II, and squeezes them into a smaller, colorful body. 

It boasts a 24.2MP full-frame sensor, open gate 6K video recording (taken from the full height and width of the 3:2 aspect sensor), the option to automatically set a 180-degree shutter angle, and one of the best performing image stabilization systems for shooting video on the move. 

Beyond its bigger sibling, the Lumix S9 also brings Panasonic's lesser-known Real Time LUTs color profiles to your fingertips. Fujifilm's Film Simulations have been trending, but Real Time LUTs color profiles are next-level, with no restriction on the look you want. 

Once you're connected to the new Lumix Lab app, you can import a number of Real Time LUTs profiles directly on to the Lumix S9, including a variety of excellent looks made by Panasonic's network of professional creators. This is color grading made easy for photo and video. 

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

With the Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 lens attached, which by the way is one of the smallest L-mount lenses available in 2024. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Design-wise, the Lumix S9 is primarily a video camera, and at $1,500 / £1,500 (Australian pricing TBC) it offers incredible bang for buck. The reason Panasonic has been able to drop the price from the $1,999 / £1,999 Lumix S5 II is simple – this is a much simpler body, and a colorful one at that, designed to appeal to young creatives. 

This is no photographer's tool, despite the excellent-quality 24MP stills: the Lumix S9 doesn't have a built-in viewfinder, or a hotshoe for mounting optional accessories, such as a flash or EVF. The coldshoe is instead limited to other accessories such as an external mic, or even a top handle.  

I missed having a viewfinder. Much of my testing was conducted in bright sunny weather and the flip-out touchscreen isn't the easiest to see under such conditions. 

In bright conditions you can't be fully sure if the Lumix S9 has locked focus on to your subject, you just have to trust it does. To be fair, for the best part it does – the S9 has Panasonic's best ever autofocus system, with human and animal subject detection and both with options for face and eye detection only, or for bodies, too. 

We're missing a headphone jack to monitor audio, which feels like a misstep for a video-focused shooter. You can activate on-screen audio monitoring which gives some indication of audio levels, but there's no easy way to properly monitor sound.

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

The Lumix S9 is a much bigger package with any lens attached, such as the Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 pictured here. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

In essence, this is a full-frame camera for beginner filmmakers who want to point-and-shoot and trust that the camera will capture excellent visuals and audio, and for the whole experience to be as close to using a smartphone as possible.

To an extent, the Lumix S9 is successful in its mission. It's visually appealing, small and simple, brings lovely photo and video color profiles to your fingertips and the app is a nice touch, even if it could do with some refining.

However, considering the target market, I'm not entirely convinced this should be an L-mount interchangeable lens camera, rather a fixed lens compact with a tiny wide-angle fast aperture prime lens – much like the Fujifilm X100VI.

It's really hard to make tiny full-frame lenses, and the new pancake lens announced on the same day as the S9, plus the compact zoom in the pipeline, hardly excite. The smallest fast aperture L-mount prime lenses dwarf the camera and I'm not sure beginners will want to mess around with multiple lenses in the first place.

Design-wise, Sony's ZV-E10 feels like a better bet – with its smaller APS-C sensor and lenses, plus a decent grip. All being said, the Lumix S9 does a lot of things really well, new things, too, and we'll have to wait and see if it hits the mark with young creatives.

Panasonic Lumix S9: release date and price

  • Body-only price is $1,499 / £1,499 / Australia TBC
  • Available from June 2024
  • Launched alongside the Lumix S 26mm F8 pancake lens, which costs $219 / £219

The Panasonic Lumix S9 is available in four colors: Dark Olive (pictured, below), Classical Blue, Crimson Red and Jet Black, and costs $1,499 / £1,499 body-only, or $1,799 /£1,799 with the decent 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, and $2,249 / £2,249 when bought with Panasonic's new travel lens, the 28-200mm f/4-7.1. The camera is available from June 2024, and Australia pricing for all of those options is TBC. 

There's no word yet if the Lumix S9 will be available as a bundle with either of the newly announced lenses, the new 26mm f/8 pancake lens or the 18-40mm F4.5-6.3 compact zoom in development. The pancake lens, which only weighs 2.04oz / 58g, costs $219 / £219 and also ships from June 2024, while the compact zoom is coming later.

At launch, the Lumix S9 is Panasonic's cheapest full-frame camera yet, although the Panasonic Lumix S5 II / S5 II X that shares much of the same tech but in a higher-spec body, is often on sale for a similar cost.

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

You can take off the lens to easily pack the Lumix S9 away in a small bag. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Panasonic Lumix S9: design and handling

  • Newly designed body is Panasonic's smallest full-framer yet
  • No viewfinder, hotshoe or headphone jack
  • Vari-angle touchscreen
  • New compact lenses on the way

The Lumix S9 is Panasonic's smallest full-frame camera yet, measuring 126 x 73.9 x 46.7 mm / 4.96 x 2.91 x 1.84 inches. It's not the smallest full-frame camera around – that award goes to the Sigma FP, plus the Sony A7C II is smaller by a whisker.

The body might barely be a handful, but it still needs a lens, and even the smallest full-frame L-mount lenses currently available – excluding the new 26mm F8 pancake – dwarf the Lumix S9. Throw on the excellent 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 and the depth is increased to 133.9mm / 5.28-inches. 

A thumb grip goes some way in providing a secure hold, but with no hand grip you'll probably need to support the camera with both hands, or kit it out with a third-party grip. Relatively chunky lenses are the challenge in handling small full-frame cameras like this – the all round feel is better with a camera like the full-size Lumix S5 II. 

In an ideal world, the Lumix S9 would have a fixed prime lens around the size of Panasonic's new pancake lens, but with a much faster maximum aperture – the Fujifilm X100VI approach. Panasonic could then also install a built-in ND filter, and ultimately create a truly compact video camera that also shoots much better video than your phone.

Still, if you don't mind the size of lenses like the 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 and 50mm F1.8 – both of which I had with the camera for this review – then you can make some excellent quality video.

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

The Lumix S9's Dark Olive color variation looks the part.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

There's the question of which tasteful color variation you will pick: green, red, blue, or an all-black option for those playing it safe. For now, Panasonic's lenses remain all-black; there's no color-matching kit lenses.

Panasonic Lumix S9 key specs

Sensor: 24.2MP full-frame CMOS
AF system: Hybrid with phase-detect
EVF: N/A
ISO range: 100 to 51,200 (ISO 50-204,800 extended range)
Video: 6K/30p 'open gate' 4:2:0 10-bit internal
LCD: 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, 1.84m-dots
Max burst: 8fps (continuous autofocus), 30fps burst
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 5GHz, Bluetooth 5.0
Weight: 403g (body only), 486g incl battery and card

Control layout is super simple and beginner-friendly: on the top there's a shooting mode dial, video record button, exposure compensation, shutter button and control dial. We get a limited number of ports: mic, USB-C and mini-HDMI, but no headphone jack.

As a small, video-focused camera, there's no viewfinder nor the option to add one, while the coldshoe mount can hold an accessory like an external mic, but it won't connect directly to a hotshoe flash.

The 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen is decent, albeit hard to see in bright light. I couldn't find the option to activate a red border to clearly indicate when the camera is recording video, or even a tally lamp – inexplicable omissions for a small, video-focused camera.

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

The S9 body is tiny, but it still needs a lens, which adds considerable depth. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

In-camera menus are fairly-well laid out. If you select the video mode on the top dial, then all of the photography settings disappear in the menu, helping you access video options much quicker.

You'll want to customize video options to get started, for example setting the 'Shutter Speed / Gain Operation' to prioritize shutter angle to automatically apply the 180-degree shutter angle for smooth video footage. This handy option is not available on a lot of other pricier video cameras.

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

The vari-angle screen can flip around for selfies, although the camera lacks a clear indicator when recording videos, for instance a tally lamp or red border around the screen.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

A new LUT button on the rear gives quick access to the unmatched variety of color profiles, which can be uploaded to the camera via the Lumix Lab app in addition to those already included. I went for 'Platinum Steel' by Sam Holland for a moody vibe with soft skin tones, among others.

Panasonic wants to create a camera and app experience that's easier than ever. From my brief time using the Android version of the Lumix Lab app, the jury is still out. Connection is faster than most, but the app can still be awkward to navigate, and appears to be limited to file transfers and uploading LUTs profiles. There could be more than this, including remote control.

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

The Lumix S9's control layout is pared back and beginner-friendly. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Panasonic Lumix S9: features and performance

  • Superb in-body image stablization
  • Panasonic's best phase detection autofocus 
  • Battery life is a respectable 470-shots (depending on lens)
  • Single UHS-S II SD card slot
  • New Lumix Lab app

The Lumix S9 is well supported by Panasonic's best ever autofocus and image stablization performance, both inherited from the Lumix S5 II. 

The S9's bigger sibling was the first Panasonic camera to utilize a hybrid autofocus system, with snappy contrast detection autofocus primarily for stills, and smooth phase-detection autofocus for video, featuring subject detection modes that cover human, animal, car and motorcycles. 

Human and animal detection autofocus can switch between prioritizing face and eye only, or face, eye and body, and in general works really well. 

Image stabilization performance is outstanding. It's possible to shoot sharp photos handheld with shutter speeds in the seconds, while handheld video footage on the go is super smooth – smooth enough for moderate action that you can avoid using a gimbal. 

Panasonic Lumix S9 camera in Dark Olive color on a rich red reflective surface

Connection between the Lumix S9 and Lumix Lab app proved quick and reliable using a Google Pixel 6 phone.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

There's just a single SD card slot with support for the faster UHS-II type, and you can capture up to 120 images in the continuous high burst shooting setting, which maxes out at 8 frames per second with continuous autofocus employed. This is no action photography camera, but it's hardly a slouch. 

Battery life is also decent, especially considering the diminutive size of the camera. According to its CIPA rating, the S9 can squeeze out up to 470 shots from a fully charged battery, or 100 minutes of continuous 4K / 60p video recording. 

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High contrast London street photo taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 and custom Real Time LUTs applied

A 'Platinum Steel' Real Time LUT profile (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

The original standard color profile (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Then there's the Lumix Lab app, which at the time of writing is compatible only with the Lumix S9. In my experience using a Google Pixel 6 and the Android version of the app, pairing the camera is quicker and more reliable than most other rival apps. 

In the app you get quick access to a range of Real Time LUTs color profiles. A number of Panasonic's creators have loaded some of their own publicly available and free to download LUTs in the app's Creator gallery, and I've found a look for just about every scenario. 

I've included a high-contrast street photo taken in London with the Lumix S9's standard color profile, and then applied a free 'Platinum Steel' LUT which suited the scene (see above).

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Screenshot of the Lumix Lab app and LUT color profile options

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Screenshot of the Lumix Lab app and LUT color profile options

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Screenshot of the Lumix Lab app and LUT color profile options

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Screenshot of the Lumix Lab app and LUT color profile options

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Screenshot of the Lumix Lab app and LUT color profile options

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Sadly, video capture times are severely limited, capped at just 15 minutes, and further reduced to 10 minutes when shooting in 6K. This is presumably to avoid overheating given the Lumix S9 lacks an internal fan, as opposed to any limitations in the camera's performance, including its processor power and card's read and write speeds.

Most people won't shoot individual clips for longer than 15 minutes, but knowing that you can in any situation is one less thing to worry about, whether that's recording speeches at an event or lengthy vlogs.

Panasonic Lumix S9: image and video quality

  • Superb video features including open gate video recording up to 6K / 30p
  • Real Time LUTs color profiles are supremely versatile
  • New MP4 Lite file format
  • Up to 14-stops dynamic range in V-log color profile

With practically the same sensor and video spec as the Lumix S5 II, you can be assured that the Lumix S9 captures superb quality video, plus sharp and punchy 24MP stills. You can read more about the image and video quality to expect in our Lumix S5 II review.

What the Lumix S9 tries to do differently is bring Panasonic's Real Time LUTs to the fore, through quick access via a direct button on the camera's body and the Lumix Lab app, through which you can easily upload any one of a vast array of color profiles for just about any shooting scenario. 

You can create your own color profiles and save them to the camera, or simply take advantage of the profiles already available through the Creator's gallery in the app.

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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Sample photos taken with the Panasonic Lumix S9 of London street photography

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

There's also the matter of a new MP4 Lite video format. It maxes out at 4K, 10-bit 4:2:0, but produces files that are around 40% smaller than regular MP4 files, which are also available in the S9. However, for best quality video, you'll probably want to shoot in .MOV format in 4K 4:2:2 10-bit or 6K 4:2:0 10-bit, even if the file sizes are much bigger. 

Whether it's a light and easy ready-made MP4 Lite video with Real Time LUT applied, or 6K 10-bit video in the V-log color profile with 14-stops of dynamic range that needs to be graded afterwards, there's video quality for every level of ability and shooting scenario. 

How I tested the Panasonic Lumix S9

  • Two brief sessions, including a street photography walk 
  • Paired with the 26mm pancake, 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 and 50mm F/1.8 lenses
  • Paired with the Lumix Lab app

I've had a fairly brief time with the Lumix S9 so far, including a London street photography session and a more leisurely time at home and on launch day. I still have the camera at home and will be continuing to use it ahead of the full review. 

I've been shooting both photos and videos, and tried pairing the S9 with the Lumix Lab app to play around with various Real Time LUTs color profiles and making quick edits to photos, among other things. 

During the London session I was briefly able to use the S9 with the only copy of the pancake lens available in the UK, plus I've had more time using the camera with the 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 and 50mm F1.8 Panasonic Lumix L-mount lenses. 

First reviewed May 2024

Fujifilm GFX100S II review – worth switching from full-frame?
11:28 am | May 17, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Fujifilm GFX100S II: two-minute review

Fujifilm has bucked the trend by launching a new camera that is actually cheaper than its predecessor, despite three years of inflation and the improved features on board. There is, therefore, more to the new Fujifilm GFX100S II than its upgraded features – it's priced aggressively to grab the attention of pro photographers teetering between the best full-frame cameras and medium-format. 

Costing around 10% less than the GFX100S was at launch, the GFX100S II is available for $5,000 / £5,000 / AU$8,700, which is a similar price to what you'd pay for comparable full-frame mirrorless cameras – a sensor format Fujifilm isn't making cameras for, but a market it clearly wants a piece of.

And with a whopping 102MP sensor creating high-resolution images exceeding those from any full-frame model, even those shot with the class-leading Sony A7R V, there are plenty of pros who could be better served by the GFX100S II's larger medium-format.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera no lens attached

The grip of the GFX100S II is supremely comfortable. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Not only has Fujifilm priced the GFX100S II aggressively, but it has trickled down some of the most powerful features the format has ever seen from the pricier GFX100 II flagship, including 7fps burst shooting and AI subject detection autofocus.

It might not be quite as fast as the GFX100 II overall, but the GFX100S II is no slouch and goes some way to put to bed the notion that medium-format is simply slow and confined to a small number of scenarios, such as studio portraiture.

During my hands-on time with the GFX100S II, I've taken photos and videos of animals in a wildlife reserve and been super impressed by the details in those images, but also by the overall speed and autofocus performance in what were pretty challenging scenarios, such as shooting through foliage and enclosure fencing.

The question now for pro photographers considering a larger medium-format camera is less about budget and more about needs. Yes, the GFX100S II is still slower in general than a camera like the Sony A7R V, but not by a lot. And with it you get higher-resolution images with true-to-life colors that are noticeable to pros – at times making full-frame camera image quality feel ordinary.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera in the hand

GFX100S II with GF 100-200mm F5.6 lens attached. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

For balance, we do need to consider the system that a camera is part of. Thankfully, there are numerous decent Fujifilm GF lenses for the GFX100S II. However, in general they are pricier and chunkier than full-frame equivalents.

Also, for most users interested in the format, there might not be enough reason to upgrade from the GFX100S II's predecessor, the GFX100S, which despite being phased out is still available to buy and now at cut prices – just $4,399 at B&H Photo or £3,499 at WEX – and with which you still get 102MP photos.

All being said, if you weren't already sure about the sensor format, the GFX100S II is the most compelling case for medium-format yet.

Fujifilm GFX100S II: release date and price

  • Body-only price is $4,999 / £4,999 / AU$8,699
  • Available from June 17
  • Optional metal grip available, but no vertical battery grip
  • Launched alongside the GF 500mm f/5.6 lens, which costs $3,499 / £3,499 / AU$6,099

Fujifilm is clearly going after those teetering between full-frame and medium format, aggressively pricing the GFX100S II. It's actually cheaper than the GFX100S was at launched by around 10%, despite three years of inflation and the improved features added. 

At $4,999 / £4,999 / AU$8,699 in body-only form, the GFX100S II is going up against some of the best full-frame cameras, such as the Nikon Z8 and Sony A7R V, and is a decent alternative for those that need the best image quality over outright speed. 

Unlike the flagship GFX100 II, you can't buy a vertical grip for the GFX100S II, which would improve the ergonomics with larger lenses and increase battery life. However, you can buy a standard metal hand grip for $120 / £135 / AU$245. There's no word on kit bundles yet, but we do know the sales start date, which is June 17. 

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera in the hand no lens attached

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Fujifilm GFX100S II: design and handling

  • Same body layout as the GFX100S, but with 'bishamon-tex' leather exterior
  • Improved 5.76m-dot non-removable EVF
  • Two-way tilt touchscreen great for shooting at awkward angles

It might look different to the GFX100S, but the GFX100S II has pretty much the same control layout and form factor. The key difference in the looks department is the camera's finish, which is Fujifilm's 'bishamon-tex' leather, as first seen in the GFX100 II (see photo, below). 

The leather finish is a departure from Fujifilm's retro roots and steps into a modern aesthetic that I'm a fan of. Otherwise, it's as you were with its predecessor, meaning a rugged DSLR-style camera with deep and comfortable grip, plus generous displays that include an improved EVF, versatile multi-angle touchscreen and generous top LCD display.

The latest model is actually slightly lighter than the first one, at 1.95lb / 883g, yet remains well-balanced even with Fujifilm's chunkier GF lenses, such as the 100-200mm f/5.6 R LM OIS WR and new GF 500mm f/5.6 that I had during my hands-on.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera's textured grip

The bishamon-tex leather finish that is the hallmark of Fujifilm's medium format cameras today.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

The camera is akin to a mid-size full-frame camera such as the mirrorless Nikon Z8 or the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR, and lighter than a sports-style shooter like the Canon EOS R3. With a GF lens attached, it's not the sort of setup you can comfortably carry for hours on end, but it's easy enough to operate.

Fujifilm GFX100S II key specs

Sensor: 102MP medium format CMOS
Image processor: X-Processor 5
AF system: Hybrid with phase-detect
EVF: 5.76-million dot OLED
ISO range: 80 to 12,800 (ISO 40-102,400 extended range)
Video: 4K/30p 4:2:2 10-bit internal
LCD: 3.2-inch multi-direction tilting touchscreen, 2.36m-dots
Max burst: Up to 7fps
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Weight: 883g (body only)

Fujifilm has been able to improve on the GFX100S without encroaching too closely on the current flagship GFX100 II. For example, the EVF has a decent bump in resolution at 5.76m-dots, with a healthy 0.84x magnification, while the pricier GFX100 II has a 9.44m-dot EVF and 1x magnification, plus its viewfinder can be removed or modified using a tilt adaptor.

While the EVF specs are a step down, the display in the GFX100S II is wonderfully big and bright, though like with a lot of EVFs you get lag in low-light conditions.

What remains the same – and needed no real improvement – is the rear LCD, which is a two-way tilt touchscreen. It can't be flipped around for selfies, but it can be tilted in both vertical and horizontal orientations, making it a breeze to view and to operate from virtually any position.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera in the hand

The large top LCD displays exposure information but can be customized to display other info such as a histogram.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

The backlit top LCD is super-handy, too. It displays exposure information by default, but you can change that to show the histogram among other things. These are the kind of tools that pro photographers appreciate, making the GFX100S II a particularly good landscape photography camera.

For a camera this size, there are relatively few buttons and controls, making each one easy to find, and in general the tactile response of each control is spot on, although the joystick is a little stubborn.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera's rear screen tilted two ways

The two-way tilt touchscreen makes shooting from awkward angles a breeze, though you can't use it for selfies.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

By design, the GFX100S II is a photography-first camera, although there's all the basics to support video recording, including a dedicated stills / movie switch, plus mic input, headphone jack and on-the-go USB-C charging.

We also get twin card slots, although both slots are SD card only. It's another differentiator from the flagship model, which can also hold the faster CFexpress Type B card type to better support powerful features, and we'll get onto those next.

Fujifilm GFX100S II camera viewfinder

The viewfinder is fixed, whereas the one in the GFX100 II can be removed.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Fujifilm GFX100S II: features and performance

  • Decent Hybrid AF with AI subject detection
  • Up to 7fps (electronic) for almost 200 JPEGs
  • Dual SD UHS-II slots but no CFexpress Type B support
  • In-body image stabilization specs are optimistic

Fujifilm upped the bar with the GFX100 II, delivering never-before-seen medium-format performance. We can't expect the same power from the much cheaper GFX100S II, but it's no slouch. 

The same X-Processor 5 engine can process 102MP files at 7fps for up to 184 JPEG images or 30 compressed raw files. Those burst-shooting sequences aren't quite as lengthy as you'll get on the GFX100 II, though if you don't mind dropping to 4.1fps then you'll get a huge bump in the number of frames you can capture. 

A comparable full-frame camera such as the Sony A7R V can shoot at 10fps, but we should remember the huge file sizes that the GFX100S II is creating: the full- resolution raw files are around 200MB a pop and measure 11648x8736 pixels. 

Burst-shooting sequences and buffer performance is compromised because the GFX100S II records on to SD UHS-II cards only, with dual card slots, while the GFX100 II can record to much snappier CFexpress Type B cards.

Bear taken with Fujifilm GFX100S II and GF 500mm F5.6 lens

102MP images at 7fps means you can capture superb detail and the best moment. I've heavily cropped into the full-resolution version of this image, shot through a fence with the 500mm F5.6 lens. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Fujifilm says in-body image stabilization (IBIS) performance is improved, with up to 8-stops of stabilization depending on the lens in use. IBIS is possibly the single most important feature of a high-resolution camera like this, compensating for camera shake when shooting handheld to ensure sharp detail.

It's IBIS that enables a 102MP camera like the GFX100S II to break free from a tripod and truly be a handheld camera. Frankly, I found 8-stops a tad optimistic. First impressions are that Panasonic's IBIS in the full-frame Lumix S5 II performs better, as does the Hasselblad X2D 100C. With the new GF 500mm F5.6 lens I was reliably getting more like 4-stops stabilization, but in-the-field tests are hardly scientific and I'll run more diverse tests during a full review.

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Bear taken with Fujifilm GFX100S II and GF 500mm F5.6 lens

Animal detection autofocus nailed sharp focus on the bear's eye (scroll for closeup) (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Bear taken with Fujifilm GFX100S II and GF 500mm F5.6 lens

Animal detection autofocus nailed sharp focus on the bear's eye (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

What you do get, though, is the best autofocus performance of any medium-format camera. Of course, being in a wildlife reserve I mainly stuck with the AI animal detection autofocus mode, and on the whole found it to be sticky and reliable, with visual confirmation that the subject's body and eye is being tracked. I have photos of bears with pin-sharp focus on the eyes (see above).

The Sony A7R V's autofocus is quicker and more intelligent, better able to recognize not just subjects but also its posture. In the low light of an enclosure I found the GFX100S II regularly mistook a gorilla's ear for its eye, whereas I'm sure the A7R V would've nailed it. There were also times that it simply couldn't autofocus at all through a fence, but these are challenging situations for any camera.

Gorilla taken with Fujifilm GFX100S II and GF 500mm F5.6 lens

This scenario often tricked the GFX100S II's animal detection autofocus, which often mistook the gorilla's ear for an eye and therefore focused on the ear.  (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Fujifilm GFX100S II: image and video quality

  • Incredibly detailed photos
  • ISO 80-12,800 sensitivity range can be expanded to ISO 40-102,400
  • Only 4K / 30p video, but with internal 4:2:2 10-bit
  • Slightly slower sensor readout than the 'HS' sensor in the GFX100 II
  • 20 film simulations

You're buying a 102MP camera like the GFX100 II because detail matters, and you get it in spades – all 11648x8736 pixels of it. Those 4:3 aspect ratio images made with one of Fujifilm's sharp GF lenses are breathtakingly detailed, especially in good light. This camera is an absolute dream for landscape photography.

What's more, such detail gives you immense cropping power, effectively extending your lens, which proved super-handy with the 500mm lens shooting wildlife photography. You can see the full image of a bear in the gallery below and a cropped version of the same image, which would still look great blown up large on screen or print.

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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

I could crop tight on the gorilla from the full scene and still have pixels to spare. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

(Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Bear photo taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II and 500mm F5.6 lens

The full picture. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Bear photo taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II and 500mm F5.6 lens

The kind of cropping that you can easily do with such a vast number of pixels. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

Image quality isn't just about detail – color matters, too, and I'm a fan of Fujifilm's straight-out-of-the-box standard color profile in this sensor format. Of course, it being Fujifilm you also get the full range of Film Simulations – color profiles inspired by Fujifilm's film, such as Astia and Velvia and most recently, Reala Ace.

I'm not sure how good image quality will be in low light, having just a few examples from my day with the camera. Photos of the gorilla in an enclosure (see below), shot at F5.6, 1/500sec and ISO 12,800, gave me the closest indicator, with detail not nearly as clean as when shooting at ISO 1600 or lower.

The GFX100S II has decent lenses to choose from – I've used a fair few GF lenses down the years and have always been impressed by their quality. They're quite capable of resolving intricate detail, but also of superbly controlling distortion and flare. 

Wildlife photos taken with the Fujifilm GFX100S II

At ISO 10,000, contrast is reduced and detail less clean, but for such big files is possible to mitigate the adverse impact of noise. (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

We can't expect the GFX100S II to pack all the same features as its pricier sibling the GFX100 II, and filmmakers in particular will feel the compromises the most. Where the flagship model shoots 8K video, the GFX100S II only records 4K up to 30fps, with no slow-motion option. Still, it's not all bad news, because you can record in superior 10-bit 4:2:2 internally, plus output raw video to an external recorder.

Fujifilm told us that the sensor is a variation of the 'HS' sensor used in the GFX100 II, and its sensor readout is a little slower. This means more potential for rolling shutter in video and in fast action photos, which can look ugly. I'll be checking this out more when I get my hands on the camera again.

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Gorilla photo with various Fujifilm GFX100S II film simulations applied

Velvia Vivid Film Simulation (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Gorilla photo with various Fujifilm GFX100S II film simulations applied

Reala Ace Film Simulation (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Gorilla photo with various Fujifilm GFX100S II film simulations applied

Classic Negative Film Simulation (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Gorilla photo with various Fujifilm GFX100S II film simulations applied

Eterna Bleach Bypass Film Simulation (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)
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Gorilla photo with various Fujifilm GFX100S II film simulations applied

Acros Film Simulation (Image credit: Future | Tim Coleman)

How we tested the Fujifilm GFX100S II

  • 24 hour period
  • Mostly animal photography in a wildlife reserve
  • Paired with the 100-200mm F5.6 and 500mm F5.6 lenses

I had the Fujifilm GFX100S II for a 24-hour period, during which time it was used extensively in a wildlife reserve taking pictures and videos of exotic animals large and small, out in the open and in enclosures, through foliage and with clear sight. 

The camera was paired with the GF 100-200mm F/5.6 and new GF 500mm F5.6 lenses and various focus modes employed including animal detection autofocus. 

First reviewed May 2024

Leica SL3 review – the modern Leica workhorse
5:00 pm | March 7, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Leica might be best-known for its legendary M-series rangefinders, but for the past decade it's also been building a modern full-frame mirrorless system called the SL series – and the new SL3 is its most fully-evolved model so far.

Unlike the Leica M11 and Leica Q3, which are built around a compact, tactile shooting experience, the SL3 is a modern brute that wants to be your professional workhorse. It still has classic Leica hallmarks, like minimalist menus and a design that harks back to the Leica R3 SLR, but it combines all of that with modern all-rounder specs.

The main upgrades from 2019's Leica SL2 include a 60MP full-frame CMOS BSI sensor, a Maestro IV processor, phase-detect autofocus, a tilting touchscreen, 8K video, a CFexpress Type B card slot (alongside an SD UHS II one) and a slightly smaller, lighter body.

Leica says that its 60MP sensor is the same as the one in the Leica M11 and Q3, but is engineered slightly differently – which means it has a base ISO of 50 (going up to 100,000), rather than 64. In other words, the SL3 is like the Q3's bigger brother, with its studio-friendly body giving you access to the dozens of lenses available for its L-mount.

The Leica SL3 sat on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

But since the original Leica SL arrived in 2015, the full-frame mirrorless camera space has become fiercely competitive. So with incredible cameras like the Nikon Z8, Sony A7R V and Canon EOS R3 all vying for your attention, is the gravitational pull of that red dot still as strong for pro shooters in 2024?

I spent a couple of days with a Leica SL3 in Wetzlar, Germany to find out – as always, the answer depends very much on your priorities (and your bank balance)... 

Leica SL3 release date and price

  • The Leica SL3's body-only price is $6,995 / £5,920 (around AU$11,435)
  • The SL2's launch price was $5,995 / £5,300 / AU$9,900
  • It's available to buy right now at Leica stores and its online store

As always with Leica, the SL3's cost-of-entry is high. And like most cameras, it's quite a bit higher than in 2019, when the SL2 first landed.

The SL3's body-only price is $6,995 / £5,920 (around AU$11,435), which is somewhere between 12%-16% pricier than the SL2's original price, depending on where you live.

Hands holding the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

The SL3 is by no means the most expensive Leica camera around – the Leica M11 Monochrom, for example, costs $9,195 / £8,300 / AU$14,990 (body only) and only shoots in black and white. But this does mean that the SL3 is now much pricier than the Leica Q3 ($5,995 / £5,300 / AU$9,790). 

That's a completely different kind of camera, but the SL3 is also battling for your attention alongside full-frame Nikon Z8 ($3,999 / £3,999 / AU$6,999 body-only), which looks like a comparative bargain.

Leica SL3: design and handling

  • New 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, but no fully-articulating display
  • Leica SL3 design tweaks make it 69g lighter than SL2
  • Still has magnesium alloy body with IP54-rated weather sealing

Leica's SL series have always felt reassuringly expensive in the hand and the SL3 is no different – it feels like could survive a run-in with a Cybertruck. 

It's a bit of a functional brute compared to stablemates like the Leica Q3, but if you need a hybrid workhorse for stills and video, the SL3 is now one of the best camera bodies around.

Leica SL3 key specs

Sensor: 60MP full-frame CMOS sensor
Image processor: Maestro IV
AF system: Hybrid with phase-detect
EVF: 5.76-million dot OLED
ISO range: 50 to 100,000
Video: 8K at 30p, C4K & UHD at 60/50/30/25/24p
LCD: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 2.3m dots
Max burst: Up to 15fps
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Weight: 769g (body only)

Leica has made a few tweaks to the SL series' design in this third-generation, mostly for the better. For a start, it's shaved off some weight – the SL3 is 69g lighter than its predecessor. At 769g, it's still a pretty weighty mirrorless camera, but that puts it somewhere in between a Sony A7 IV and Nikon Z8.

The biggest departure from the SL2 is the arrival of a tilting 3.2-inch touchscreen. Leica hasn't gone as far as adding a fully-articulating display, which it said could have compromised the SL3's bomb-proof build quality.

The top of the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

While videographers might be disappointed about that, the tilting screen is a welcome addition for photographers, giving you the option of shooting from the hip and low angles. It's just a shame it only tilts in landscape orientation, and not when you flip the camera round for portraits.

In the hand, the SL3 is still a satisfyingly solid hunk of metal. Mirrorless cameras don't come built any better than this – the magnesium and aluminum chassis balances nicely with some of Leica's weighty glass (like the Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 I tried it with), and the tweaked grip and its rubberized indent still feel great in the hand.

The SL3 still has IP54-rated weather sealing too, which means it can handle being sprayed or splashed with water. I haven't yet taken one to Antarctica, but there really aren't any weather conditions where you'll have to worry about the SL3.

Two hands holding the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

Beyond its new screen and lighter weight, the only other design changes are more minor future-proofing tweaks. There's now a new CFexpress Type B slot (alongside a standard UHS-II SD slot) to support 8K video, plus an HDMI 2.1 Type A port for video shooters. 

Inside, there's also now a larger capacity battery (2,200mAh, compared to 1,860mAh one inside the SL2), but this doesn't translate to more shooting time. In fact, with a CIPA standard rating of 260 shots (compared to 370 shots on the SL2), battery life is one of the SL3's main weaknesses.

In more positive news, the SL3 retains the 5.76-million dot OLED EVF (with 0.78x magnification) from its predecessor, and that certainly hasn't dated. It's still an impressive part of the shooting experience, helping you stay connected to the scene with its clarity, color reproduction and 120fps refresh rate.

The Leica SL3 camera sat on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

On the top of the SL3, there's a new dial on the left and a very handy 1.28-inch monochrome display for quickly previewing your shooting settings. Round the front of the camera there's arguably the most important design feature of all – the L-mount bayonet. This gives you access to a huge range of lenses from Leica, but also the likes of Panasonic, Sigma and Samyang – in total, there are now 84 lenses to choose from.

One other nice design touch is the new illuminated power button on the back, which replaces the traditional switch. This doesn't serve any great functional purpose other than making the SL3 feel more modern, but it's the kind of attention to detail you don't often get from other manufacturers.

Similarly, the SL3's refined menu system (complete with new icons) is an example for others to follow. It's clean and simple, with nice touches like the separate photo and video modes, and is a stark contrast to Sony's 'kitchen sink' approach to software menus.

Leica SL3: features and performance

  • 60MP CMOS BSI full-frame sensor, like the Leica Q3 and M11
  • New phase-detect AF system, alongside contrast/object detect AF
  • Can now shoot 8K video and ProRes (in 1080p)

Given the Leica SL2 was launched back in 2019, you'd hope that its successor would get a sizable imaging upgrade – and that's certainly the case. 

The SL3 has a 60MP CMOS BSI full-frame sensor, which is a tweaked version of the one inside the Leica Q3 and M11. While that resolution is handy for cropping later, you also get 36MP and 18MP modes to help boost the buffer during continuous shooting and save on memory space.

Leica says this sensor gives you an extra stop of dynamic range compared to the SL2 (15 stops, compared to 14), but a more obvious upgrade is the Maestro IV processor and its improved autofocus system.

The Leica SL3 camera sat on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

The SL series has never had class-leading autofocus, partly due to Leica's close relationship with Panasonic (which, until last year's Panasonic Lumix S5 II, had refused to embrace phase-detect autofocus). But the SL3 finally offers a hybrid AF system, combining phase-detect AF (good for video and moving subjects) with contrast-detection and object detection. 

In my brief time with the SL3, its subject-detection worked well and reliably locked onto human eyes, producing a good hit-rate. But animal detection was still marked as being in 'beta' on my sample, so this will need more testing – and overall, it's fair to say that Leica is still playing catchup with the likes of Sony for autofocus, rather than surpassing it.

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A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

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A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

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A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

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A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

The other benefit of that Maestro IV processor is that it supports the camera's CFexpress Type B card and, consequently, some video upgrades. The SL2 was already Leica's best ever video camera and the SL3 steps things up with 8K video capture. 

This will be a pretty niche mode, though, as it tops out at 30fps with 4:2:0 10-bit color sampling. More useful will be the SL3's 4K/60p and 4K/120p video modes, which you can shoot with 4:2:2 10-bit color sampling for editing flexibility. Combine that with the camera's full-size HDMI port for external monitors and timecode interface, and you have a powerful, professional video camera – which hasn't been very common in Leica world, until now.

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A sample photo of a car taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a car taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

Another bonus for shooting handheld video (and stills) is the Leica SL3's five-axis image stabilization system, which gives you five stops of compensation. That's far from the best we've seen – the Sony A7R V's system is good for a claimed eight stops – but it is still an important difference from the original SL, which had no stabilization. It's also ideal if you want to use an SL3 with Leica M glass using the M-L adapter.

In my tests, I was able to shoot handheld down to 1/4s and get usable results, so it's definitely a useful feature, particularly for shooting in low light. Another quality-of-life upgrade are the SL3's speedier wireless transfer speeds, which use a combination of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi MIMO tech to fire full-size DNGs to your phone in only two or three seconds.

That's quite a big jump up from the SL2, which took around 20 seconds to transfer a DNG file, and it worked well in my tests (as you can see above). The Leica Fotos app itself is a suitably premium experience that's a cut above the efforts from most camera manufacturers, and these transfer speeds make it a breeze to get a raw file onto your phone for a quick edit.

The SL3 isn't a sports camera – and despite having a larger buffer capacity than the SL2, its top speeds for continuous shooting have taken a slight dip compared to its predecessor. 

Its top speed is 15fps, which can manage for a few seconds before the buffer fills up, but it can naturally go for longer if you drop down to 9fps or 7fps. You can also get better results by choosing the 36MP or 18MP resolution modes, so there are options – just don't expect it to match a Canon EOS R3.

Hands holding the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

My biggest disappointment with the SL3 was its battery life. I'll need to do some more controlled tests, but during my brief time with the camera I was barely getting above 200 shots (plus some video) per charge. Its official CIPA rating is 260 shots per charge and Leica is rolling out new firmware (version 1.1) soon, so hopefully that might improve things. But prepare to carry around a USB-C charger or spare batteries.

One other strange anomaly is that the SL3 doesn't support Content Credentials, a new industry standard for protecting the authenticity of digital images. That's a little odd considering the older Leica M11-P debuted the feature last year, but Leica told us that "the reason is that the development of the SL3 was already advanced when this technology became mature".

Because Content Credentials requires a dedicated chipset, this also can't be added to the Leica SL3 via a firmware update. But Leica did add that for "future cameras it's our aim to integrate" the AI-combatting tech.

Leica SL3: image and video quality

I took the Leica SL3 for a spin with the Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 lens, which is a sharp, fun partner for the camera. The option of using Leica glass is clearly one of the main draws of the SL3, but whatever you pair it with, you'll get some hallmark Leica character in your images.

Like the Leica Q3, the SL3 captures tons of detail in its 60MP DNGs. I'll need to spend some more time with them to see how far they can be pushed in editing, but the early signs suggest you can recover an impressive amount of shadow detail from the SL3's raw files.

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A sample photo of the Leica HQ building taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a model taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of the Leica HQ building taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of the Leica HQ building taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a saxophone player taken on the Leica SL3 camera

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A sample photo of a dog taken on the Leica SL3 camera

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A sample photo of the Leica HQ building taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a shed taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)
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A sample photo of a car taken on the Leica SL3 camera

(Image credit: Future)

Those files also have bold, vibrant colors, more so than the JPEGs, although they're also a touch noisier than some full-frame rivals. In my early test shots, noise starts to appear from ISO 1600 and is particularly noticeable at ISO 6400. Still, this isn't necessarily a problem – in fact, the grain is frequently attractive (depending on your tastes) and gives the SL3's photos a filmic look.

Video quality looks similarly pin-sharp at lower ISOs, although the SL3's autofocus seemed to struggle a little more with moving subjects in this mode. I'll need to test this more on final firmware, alongside the 8K mode, before making any conclusions. But my early impressions are that the SL3's image and video quality will be comparable to the Leica Q3's, which is certainly no bad thing.

Leica SL3 early verdict

The Leica SL3 camera sat on a wooden bench

(Image credit: Future)

The full-frame mirrorless camera world has changed a lot since the original Leica SL landed in 2015 – and while the competition is now red-hot between Sony, Canon and Nikon, the Leica SL3 still manages to carve out a unique spot for itself.

While it can't match a Nikon Z8 for outright performance or value, the SL3 is a refined, professional workhorse with incredible build quality. Its simple, clean user interface puts most other cameras to shame and it's now a very competitive – if not class-leading – modern hybrid camera for shooting photos and video.

The special sauce of Leica's distinctive image rendering and lenses are added bonuses, although I hope its disappointing battery life is improved in later firmware updates. Right now, you'll need at least two batteries to last you a full day of intense shooting.

If that isn't a deal-breaker for you, then the SL3 could be the combination of modern mirrorless power and classic Leica minimalism you've been waiting for (even if your bank manager feels very differently). We'll bring you our full review very soon.

Leica SL3: how I tested

  • A day-and-a-half of shooting at Leica Park in Wetzlar, Germany
  • A mix of studio, low light and environmental shooting

I used the Leica SL3 for just over a day continuously during a visit to Leica's HQ in Wetzlar, Germany. I've taken sample photos in raw and DNG formats, although I'll need to spend a bit more time with the latter (on the SL3's final firmware) for our full review. 

I took a variety of handheld shots are different shutter speeds to test the effectiveness of its in-body image stabilization, and also took its new phase-detect autofocus and buffer for a spin during a fashion photo shoot.

My only lens during testing was the Summicron-SL 50mm f/2 lens, which was a great companion if not ideal for all shooting scenarios. I also ran the battery down to empty to test its stamina shooting a mix of photos and videos. 

Fujifilm GFX100 II review: it’s medium format, but faster
1:00 pm | September 12, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off

You don’t need a lot of time with the Fujifilm GFX100 II to conclude that it’s the most powerful, responsive and versatile medium-format camera available – I gained such an impression during half a day shooting with the new flagship model ahead of its global announcement.

During those few hours with the GFX100 II, I was majorly impressed by the autofocus speed and maximum continuous shooting speed, especially given that the camera's sensor format is traditionally a landscape, portrait and studio-based one – in other words, controlled scenarios. I can easily see the GFX100 II being genuinely useable for a wider range of subjects and everyday photography. 

Never before have I been able to shoot with a medium-format camera at a rate of 8fps with reliable subject detection autofocus that includes human eye AF. That’s no mean feat for a camera that shoots 102MP photos whose size dwarfs that of images from most other mirrorless cameras. 

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Fujifilm GFX100 II on wooden table with no lens attached

(Image credit: Future)
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Fujifilm GFX100 II on a wooden table

(Image credit: Future)
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Side profile of Fujifilm GFX100 II

(Image credit: Future)
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Side profile of Fujifilm GFX100 II with LCD screen tilted

(Image credit: Future)
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Fujifilm GFX100 II rear screen displaying Reala Ace film simulation

(Image credit: Future)
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3-way tilt screen of Fujifilm GFX100 II

(Image credit: Future)

Historically, professionals would have to choose between image quality and speed, but the GFX100 II goes a long way towards offering both, being faster than any other GFX camera, and matching the kind of speed we’d expect from enthusiast full-frame cameras. 

The GFX100 II is also a highly-capable video camera, with 8K / 30p video and ProRes raw recording, LUT color profiles, compatibility with an external SSD, and a cooling fan to extend record times.

It’s not the sexiest Fujifilm around, but the GFX100 II is by all accounts the most capable, and it comes with a sensible list price.

Fujifilm GFX100 II: Release date and price

The GFX100 II will be available from September 26, with a list price of $7,499 / £6,999, while the optional VG-GFX II grip costs $499 / £479. That’s somewhere between the launch prices of the Fujifilm GFX100 and Fujifilm GFX100S, around what we would expect given the camera’s features, and immediately the most sensible GFX camera for most people.  

Alongside the GFX100 II, Fujifilm announced three new medium-format GF lenses; the GF 55mm F1.7 R WR, priced at $2,299 / £2,249, plus two tilt-shift lenses - the GF 30mm F5.6 TS ($3,499 / £3,499) and 110mm F5.6 TS ($3,999 / £3,999). The same ‘Fan-001’ made for the Fujifilm X-H2S, X-H2 and Fujifilm X-S20 is also compatible with the GFX100 II, which will be a useful accessory for those making the most of the GFX100 II's 8K video recording capability.

Fujifilm was unable to provide Australia prices at the time of writing, but we'll update this article when we have them.

Features and performance

  • Continuous 8fps for more than 1,000 JPEGs
  • X Processor 5 for fastest GFX performance yet
  • 8-stops in-body image stabilization

Fujifilm says the 102MP sensor is newly designed, and different from the one found in the identical-resolution GFX100 and GFX100S. So what’s new? For one, it has a quicker read-out speed, paired with the latest X Processor 5 engine to deliver the fastest performance in a GFX camera to date. And that includes the kind of autofocus speed we expect from the Fujifilm X-T5, one of the best cameras overall, for human and animal subjects.

Another aspect of the sensor redesign is at the photodiode level. (Bear with us here.) Each micro lens has a 30% extended capacity of the photodiodes, which improves dynamic range and realizes a base ISO 80 sensitivity setting, lower than the ISO 100 of the GFX100. Essentially, if good light is available, the GFX100 II will provide the best dynamic range in the series yet. 

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Window light portrait, photo using the Fujifilm GFX100 II and GF 55mm F1.7 lens

(Image credit: Future)
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Window light portrait, photo using the Fujifilm GFX100 II and GF 55mm F1.7 lens

(Image credit: Future)
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Window light portrait, photo using the Fujifilm GFX100 II and GF 55mm F1.7 lens

(Image credit: Future)
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Lady in an art gallery, photo using the Fujifilm GFX100 II and GF 55mm F1.7 lens

(Image credit: Future)
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Portrait of a lady in an art gallery, photo using the Fujifilm GFX100 II and GF 55mm F1.7 lens

(Image credit: Future)

The on-sensor in-body image stabilization unit has been redesigned, too, upping the maximum effective stabilization to eight stops from the six stops we can get with the GFX100. Powerful image stablization is game-changing for a large-sensor, high-resolution camera such as the GFX100 II, where softness caused by camera shake is all the more obvious. You won’t need a tripod as often with the GFX100 II.

You also get up to 8fps with continuous AF for what is essentially an unlimited number of JPEG photos, when recording onto a CFExpress card, or around 75 images in raw format. That number of JPEGs is reduced to a little under 200 images onto a SD card. In short, this is the most capable medium-format camera yet. 

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Top plate of the Fujifilm GFX100 II

(Image credit: Future)
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Closeup of top LCD of Fujifilm GFX100 II

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Closeup of Fujifilm GFX100 II's viewfinder

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Closeup of connection ports of Fujifilm GFX100 II

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Close up of memory card slots of Fujifilm GFX100 II

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Closeup of Fujifilm GFX100 II's battery

(Image credit: Future)

Design

  • Similar size to the GFX100S
  • Compatible with optional grip and EVF adaptor
  • Best-in-class 9.44m-dot EVF

Fujifilm was keen to make it clear to me that the GFX100 II succeeds the $10,000 / £10,000 GFX100 and not the half-price GFX100S, but the reality is that the GFX100 II does the job of both, which is actually great. 

We get the smaller form factor of the GFX100S, but now with the option to bulk it out with the optional VG-GFX II vertical grip for portrait format shooting and increased battery life. The GFX100S cannot be paired with a grip, nor in fact with the EVF-TL1 tilt adaptor accessory. The GFX100 II, on the other hand, has a removable 9.44m-dot EVF compatible with the tilt adaptor for those that like the waist-level viewing synonymous with medium format.

The viewfinder display is a healthy 0.64-inches, with a 1x magnification, and that 9.44m-dot resolution is only equalled by the Sony A7R V. In plain speak, this is the largest and sharpest electronic viewfinder around, although to gain the best possible refresh rate, you’ll need to switch to the 0.5-inch display setting with 5.76m-dot resolution.

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Fujifilm GFX100 II in the hand

(Image credit: Future)
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Fujifilm GFX100 II in the hand

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Fujifilm GFX100 II in the hand with rear screen tilted

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Fujifilm GFX100 II in the hand with rear screen tilted

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Fujifilm GFX100 II in the hand

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User holding the Fujifilm GFX100 II's viewfinder up to their eye

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Smaller doesn’t mean small - this is medium format, after all. By way of comparison, the GFX100 II, with the new GF 55mm F1.7 R WR lens attached that I had for this hands-on, is like an advanced DSLR such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. It sits in the hand comfortably enough, but if we’re purely talking design I still prefer the experience with the Hasselblad X2D 100C.

The GFX100 II still handles really well, though, and I’m a fan of the generous back-lit top LCD displaying key exposure information. It also boasts an improved battery life, despite using the same WP235 battery as the GFX100, up 20% and rated to 540-shots.

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Flowers on a wooden table with Reala Ace Fujifilm film simulation

Reala Ace film simulation (Image credit: Future)
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Flowers on a wooden table with standard Fujifilm film simulation

vivid film simulation (Image credit: Future)
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Flowers on a wooden table with black and white Fujifilm film simulation

black and white film simulation (Image credit: Future)

Image quality

  • New 102MP sensor with improved light intake
  • 8K / 30p and 4K / 60p video
  • New Reala Ace color profile

I haven’t had nearly enough time with the GFX100 II to draw any conclusive opinions on its image quality – including how discernible the new sensor improvements are over the previous-gen – but on paper, image quality will be unmatched. After all, this is a camera that succeeds the already excellent GFX100. 

I’m also keen to take the high-res shot mode for a spin. It combines four 100MP images into one 400MP image, and is now supposedly useable handheld, thanks to improved sensor speed and image stabilization. A sharp, handheld 400MP image would be quite the feat.

And who doesn’t like a Fujifilm film simulation? The array of color profiles – inspired by Fujifilm film stock – now has another addition; Reala Ace. It’s a natural yet rich profile, with plenty of tonal detail in highlights (see above, compared to other film simulations), and an excellent addition to the now 20 choices you have (albeit that number includes two black and white profiles each with four different filter effects). 

There can’t be too many more film simulations left for Fujifilm to add now, and first impressions are that Reala Ace is an excellent addition. 

Fujifilm GFX100 II with no lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

Early verdict

The GFX100 II looks like the best medium format camera for most people, if you can afford it. I prefer the user-experience with the simplified Hasselblad X2D 100C, but the GFX100 II is the most powerful camera in this sensor format available, and blows away all other GFX models, even if it has the same 102MP photo resolution. 

Based on my time with it so far, the combination of superb photo quality, speedy performance across the board and powerful in-body image stabilization take medium format to new heights. The question for Fujifilm will be how many people demand the best of both worlds enough to lay down the cash. 

Sony FX30 review: pro-level video at a cheaper price
5:18 pm | April 10, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

Sony FX30: One-minute review

The Sony FX30 is the cheapest of the company's Cinema Line cameras, offering a value-for-money route into professional-level videography while retaining the ability to capture stills imagery. 

The good news is that the FX30 hits the sweet spot on both levels: this is a well-built camera that is easy to use, and that's capable of producing premium video footage - but it also holds its own against more stills-focused rivals. And it does this while costing around half of the price of the Sony FX3, the next model up in the Cinema Line range.

That reduced price does come with some limitations compared to the top-of-the-line models, not least that it has an APS-C sensor, rather than the full-frame one you'd find on the FX3. However, if video is your priority it definitely offers some advantages over more stills-focused, or hybrid, cameras such as the Sony A7R IV and Sony A7 IV

That said, it is a different beast from most of the best Sony cameras, so it will take a little bit of ‘re-learning’ to get the most from it. Although the FX30 can shoot stills in JPEG and RAW formats, its primary function is to capture video and it comes with a special handle with XLR ports to control the audio captured alongside the movies. The absence of a mode dial and viewfinder could also be a dealbreaker to those who lean towards stills imagery.

Make no mistake, though, the Sony FX30 is a powerhouse product squeezed into a tiny body. It's out on its own in terms of pricing, and specifications, and is a strong contender to join our list of the best vlogging cameras and best video cameras - and indeed, the best cameras overall. 

We spent some time with it to find out if it deserves a place in your kit bag.

Sony FX30: Price and availability

  • How much does it cost? $1,799 / £2,1000 / AU$2,999 (body only)
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Worldwide

The Sony FX30 was released in September 2022 and is available in two versions. 

In body-only guise it will set you back $1,799 / £2,1000 / AU$2,999, which places it between the Sony A7C and Sony A7 IV full-frame cameras, and way above any of the brand's APS-C models such as the Sony A6600

Add the XLR handle unit and that price jumps to $2,199 / £2,500 / AU$3,699.

Still, you're getting a lot for your money here and compared to other cameras in Sony's Cinema Line range, it's a steal.

  • Price: 4/5

Sony FX30: Specs

Sony FX30: Design

  • Small form factor that’s unmatched by peers
  • Robust and weather sealed against the elements
  • Lack of EVF and video-focused controls setup won't be for everyone

As we’ve mentioned, the design of the FX30 will be new to users who have never picked up a Cinema Line camera before. 

Although similar in size to a regular mirrorless Sony, such as the A7 IV, the design is simpler and more open to modular set-ups. For example, there is no mode dial; instead there is a small mode button on the back of the camera and you follow the menu interface on the LCD to switch between modes such as Aperture-priority and Video. 

This does slow operation, especially if you need to switch between stills and movie, but a little context is needed here as it’s likely that if you are on location, you’re probably going to be there to shoot a bunch of video footage or to capture stills, rather than to do both concurrently, so I don’t see this as a huge issue. 

The camera is turned on/off via a flick switch on the rear of the camera and, if I was Sony’s designers, I would have swapped the placement of the Menu and Mode buttons for ease of use.

Sony FX30 Cinema Line camera buttons on rear

(Image credit: Future)

Hidden to the left side of the camera are ports for headphones, microphone, charging and HDMI, while on the other side of the camera you can find not one but two card slots that can take SD or Type A CF Express. The presence of dual cards is highly useful and enables users to create an instant back-up of their work or record stills to one card and video to the other. Use a CFExpress card and you’ll be able to make the most from the high-resolution video, as you always run the risk of slower SD cards not being able to keep up with the fast transfer of data.

Sony FX30 Cinema Line camera showing open card slot

(Image credit: Future)

The FX30 is available with an optional audio handle complete with inputs for XLR to connect to audio devices such as additional mics, plus dials to control the levels of the audio. 

This handle slides into the hotshoe ports and is secured by two bolts, and connecting it completely changes the feel and balance of the camera. However, while it makes for an ergonomic hold, I can also see why some photographers may prefer to use the camera without the handle, particularly if they intend to just shoot stills; without it, the camera feels like a more portable package that you can use to get down low and shoot ground-level compositions with. 

Sony FX30 Cinema Line camera with XLR handle

(Image credit: Future)

There’s a big dedicated record button on the top plate, and around the shutter button you’ll find a zoom in/out button that will allow powerzoom-equipped lenses to zoom in and out with the flick of a switch. Somewhat more familiar is the D-Pad at the back of the camera, with options for Display, Zebra, Peaking and Shutter, along with a control wheel. 

The flip out, vari-angle screen makes short work of awkward high/low compositions, but is sometimes hard to view, especially if you are shooting video in a flat profile. Other features include plenty of mounting points for additional accessories, which will appeal to videographers looking to add cages, extra monitors and mics.

Sony FX30 Cinema Line camera from above

(Image credit: Future)

The FX30 uses Sony's E mount, which means there’s a wealth of compatible lenses to be used with it; you certainly won’t be short on choice when it comes to picking a new optic. Remember, though, that this is an APS-C sensor camera - so each lens will take on a 1.5x crop factor, giving a 50mm prime an equivalent focal length of 75mm, for example.

  • Design: 4/5

Sony FX30: Features & performance

  • Excellent autofocus
  • 5-axis IBIS
  • Dual ISO system

Make no mistake, the Sony FX30 is packed with advanced, cutting-edge features that make this camera even more of a bargain. 

Front and center, as with all Sony cameras, is its superb autofocus system. It’s remarkable how accurately the FX30 locks on to a target, until you know what the secret behind it - namely that it has 759 phase detection points, spread across the entire frame so that the accuracy doesn’t drop off should a subject near the edge of the frame. 

Real-Time Eye AF is available, not just for humans to make portraiture easier, but also for animals and birds - great news for wildlife shooters, and also for those of us who just want to take nice shots of the family pet.

The FX30's Dual Base ISO system does what you might expect: it offers one ISO system that starts at ISO 800 and one that begins at ISO 2,500. This enables users to select an appropriate noise floor, while maximizing the FX30’s dynamic range when shooting in both bright or low-light conditions.

There's also an optical 5-axis In Camera Image Stabilization (IBIS) system, which make use of a precision gyroscope to detect and measure movement before applying the appropriate compensation. This serves to not only keep shots shake free, which can be a problem when using a slow shutter speed in low-light conditions, but also aids when shooting video and helps to produce smooth handheld footage.

  • Features & performance: 5/5

Sony FX30: Image and video quality

  • Excellent, colorful 26MP stills
  • Superb 4K video
  • Packed with useful video-shooting options

It should come as no surprise that, despite the (relatively) modest price tag, the FX30 really does serve up the goods when it comes to image and video quality. 

Let’s talk about the stills quality first. Users can capture these in JPEG format for ‘straight out of the camera’ results or they can shoot in RAW, making the most of all that tonal data captured by the 26-megapixel Backside Illuminated CMOS sensor. The results show good color rendition without any ugly colour casting that would require additional time in RAW processing software such as Adobe Lightroom to remove.

However, it’s the video quality that really impresses. The FX30 takes 4K footage from a 6K crop using 20-megapixels of the sensor’s resolution in a ‘Super 35 format’, so there’s an excess of data. This results in a sharp, punchy and high-resolution picture. At 4K 120p, there is a 1.6x crop, though, so users will need to be aware of this when capturing slow-motion sequences at up to 5x slowed down. 

The FX30 offers 10-bit Log options along with Sony cine profiles including the acclaimed S-Cinetone profile, which is an excellent choice to use when filming scenes with people, as it’s very sympathetic to skin tones. One issue I did encounter was the visibility of the screen when shooting in flat profiles and in lighting with low contrast, but many other users are sure to pair the FX30 with an external monitor such as the Atomos Ninja or similar, so this may not be a deal breaker.

The FX30 can shoot 10-bit 4:2:2 video internally (16-bit RAW can be captured via an HDMI set-up), meaning more colors are available to record and this results in a more faithful capture of the scene. Also present is the XAVC HS format, which roughly doubles the usual compression; this is important, because it enables you to capture high-quality video without filling up your memory cards too quickly. What’s more, low-bitrate proxy files can be recorded alongside the high-resolution versions, meaning you have the option to edit with the proxy files but export your final video to the full-res versions. This makes life a lot easier on your computer and will prevent you from using too much RAM and slowing the process down. 

Sony FX30 Cinema Line camera buttons on rear

(Image credit: Future)

When capturing footage, recording is confirmed not only by red tally lamps on the front and rear of the FX30, but also a red frame appears on the outside of the LCD display to show that the camera is definitely recording. Those creatives out there who shoot a lot of content for social media will be pleased to hear the FX30 offers various aspect markers to check your framing, so that everything lines up.

Personally, I preferred to work with just the small footprint of the camera in hand and not with the optional extra XLR handle. As this is the entry-level Cinema Line camera from Sony, it’s likely that most of the users will not opt for XLR connection but will instead use radio kits, such as the DJI Mic, or Rode Wireless Go II systems. In this case, it’s better to just link the transmitter to the mic port on the side of the camera and you’re good to go. 

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that the FX30 features a built-in fan and a heat sink designed to dissipate the warm air away from the camera. I tested the FX30 in all video modes and didn’t have any overheating problems at all; having this feature integrated in the camera elevates it over rivals such as the Fujifilm X-H2S, where this is an optional extra.

  • Image and video quality: 5/5

Should you buy the Sony FX30?

Sony FX30 Cinema Line camera from front

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Sony FX30: Also consider

Before you leave our Sony FX30 review, it's worth considering these alternatives that offer some of the same advantages for either stills or videos (or both).

How I tested the Sony FX30

I tested the Sony FX30 over three weeks, capturing both stills and video footage in a range of different lighting conditions. Stills were compared between JPEG and RAW files captured in the same locations and video footage was shot in multiple recording modes with and without Log Profiles.

As a professional photographer, filmmaker and former photography magazine editor, I have tested a huge amount of camera gear over the years, ranging from entry-level bodies to consumer equipment, right up to professional-level cameras and video gear.

First reviewed April 2023

Sony A7R V review
4:06 pm | January 16, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers Gadgets Mirrorless Cameras | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: January 2023
• Sony's best AI-powered autofocus performance
• Launch price: $3,899 / £3,999 / AU$5,899 (body only)
• Official price now: $3,199 / £3,699 / AU$5,499 (body only)

Update: February 2024. The full-frame A7R V's max 61MP resolution is only matched by Sony's own A7C R and various Leica cameras including the Q3. Put simply, in this sensor format you won't get better detail in your pictures. Furthermore, it's autofocus is powered by a dedicated AI chip for improved subject detection, and that's still the best AF performance in any Sony camera, now matched by the A9 III. It's one of the best professional cameras that has also dropped in price on Sony's website since its January 2023 launch, making it better value, too. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Sony A7R V: Two-minute review

Sony released the first high-resolution full-frame mirrorless camera – the A7R back in 2013 – and we’ve had an updated model every couple of years since, culminating in the fifth iteration of the series, the A7R V. A lot has changed in the cameras since then in terms of the ergonomics, handling and, of course, the technology employed. But with more rivals on the scene now, the A7R V is up against some stiff competition from the likes of the Canon EOS R5 and Nikon Z 7II.

The Sony A7R V on a table straight from above with lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

Being the newest model on the block, and offering some impressive specs, the A7R V ultimately has little to worry about, despite not providing the highest performance in all areas. Features include a new 61MP sensor and Bionz XR processing engine, up to eight stops of in-body image stabilization, increased burst shooting and AI-powered subject recognition to improve autofocus. Then there’s video capture up to 8K at 24fps and 4K up to 60fps.

Sony A7R V specs

Sensor: 61MP BSI full-frame CMOS
Processor: Bionz XR (with AI processing unit)
Autofocus: 693-point phase-detection
AF subject recognition: human, animal, bird, insects, car, train, automobile
EVF: 9.44-million dot Quad XGA
In-body stabilization: up to eight stops
Continuous shooting: 10fps
Continuous shooting buffer: 184 raw (compressed)
Video: 8K/24p, 4K/60p, 10-bit 4:2:2

Image quality is, as you’d hope, excellent for both photos and video. But with the high-resolution sensor, you’ll need to use Sony’s best lenses in the G and GM ranges with the resolving power to complement the camera. It’s unlikely that you’d be using lower-end lenses if you’re prepared to pay approximately  $3,900 / £4,000 / AU$5,900 for a camera body so it shouldn’t be a problem, but if you’re upgrading from a lower-resolution A7 model and already have some cheaper lenses, it’s certainly something to bear in mind.

Sony A7R V: Release date and price

  • Went on sale in December 2022
  • Launched with a list price of approximately $3,900 / £4,000 / AU$5,900
  • Price close to medium format

The A7R V was announced in October 2022, and was available to buy from December 2022, costing approximately $3,900 / £4,000 / AU$5,900. We might have expected a slightly higher price given the launch price of the A7R IV and the consequent rise in camera prices over the last year or two.

The Sony A7R V on a table straight on front

(Image credit: Future)

That said, the cost of the camera is getting close to that of medium-format models. For instance, the Fujifilm GFX 100S costs approximately $6,000 / £4,800 / AU$9,300 body-only. Those shooting faster subjects such as sport and wildlife, and/or video, the A7R V is undoubtedly the better option, but landscape, portrait and studio photographers could benefit from the larger sensor (1.7x) and higher 100MP resolution of the GFX 100S.

  • Price Score: 4/5

Sony A7R V: design

  • Versatile 4-axis articulating touchscreen
  • Moderate 10fps continuous shooting
  • Dual SD/CFexpress Type A card slots

The overall design of the A7R V is extremely similar to that of previous models, with most innovations occurring under the hood, although there are a few design tweaks that improve upon the A7R IV. Current Sony users will almost certainly feel at home, and newcomers should be able to navigate the main settings with little to no problems. 

On the back of the camera is a new 4-axis 3.2-inch articulating touchscreen, which allows the screen to be tilted and flipped out sideways, and twisted to face forwards; perfect for both stills photography and video. This makes the screen slightly bulkier than on the previous two models, which only had a tilting screen, but this doesn’t impact overall handling. The electronic viewfinder is the same one as on the A7S III, and features an excellent 9.44-million dot resolution with 0.9x magnification.

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The Sony A7R V on a table from above with screen flipped out

(Image credit: Future)
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The Sony A7R V on a table with dual hinge screen flipped out

(Image credit: Future)
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The Sony A7R V on a table straight on back with screen on

(Image credit: Future)

Moving up to the top of the camera, the exposure compensation dial is now unmarked, and like most of the buttons and dials it can be set to perform another function if users wish, although having it set to exposure compensation is the most convenient option, despite the almost infinite ways in which you can customize Sony cameras. 

Just like previous A7R models, there are two card slots on the side of the grip that can be set to record in several different ways when two cards are installed. On the A7R V, the card slots can take both SD and CFexpress Type A cards, with the latter being the faster of the two options. This is great if you prefer the cost and capacity benefits of SD cards, but to realize the full speed potential of the camera, considerably more expensive CFexpress Type A cards are a must 

The Sony A7R V close up of the ports

(Image credit: Future)

Shooting speed has also been improved, and the buffer is also larger, with a continuous shooting speed of 10fps available. Sony claims that up to 583 compressed raw images can be captured in Hi+ mode with compressed raw files. For testing, we used a 128GB Kingston Canvas React Plus SD card with transfer speeds of up to 300MB/s. This allowed us to separately shoot 170 JPEGs in Fine quality, 100 Compressed raw files and 50 uncompressed raw files before the camera began to stutter. It’s a far cry from the claimed buffer performance, but is still respectable, and more than most photographers would ever need.

This card was absolutely fine for shooting 8K video, and the camera was able to shoot for 30 minutes. The camera body did heat up during recording in a 64.5F / 18C room, which wasn’t an issue, but in warmer temperatures when shooting outdoors this could be problematic. One way to aid heat dissipation in warmer temperatures when shooting video is to open the battery door on the bottom of the camera, although this presents obvious risks. 

  • Design 5/5

Sony A7R V: features and performance

  • Subject-recognition autofocus
  • 8-stop image stabilization
  • Improved Pixel Shift Multi Shooting

While the A7R IV didn’t offer a great deal more to entice A7R III owners to upgrade, the A7R V aims to address the deficiencies of its predecessor, and is a much more well-rounded camera overall. The improvements Sony has implemented, alongside the inclusion of some welcome new features, make it significantly more attractive, whether you’re upgrading from an earlier model or switching to Sony from another brand.

One new feature, which is designed to address sensor dust complaints from A7R IV users, is the ability to have the shutter close when the camera is switched off. This might work, but after only using the camera for a few weeks it’s impossible to test this claim. Although, given that  DSLR shutters close after each shot has been taken, and these cameras still suffer from sensor dust, whether it’ll be effective is questionable. 

The Sony A7R V on a table without a lens

(Image credit: Future)

Image stabilization has been improved, with up to eight stops of compensation available when shooting stills. During testing, it was easy to shoot sharp handheld images with a shutter speed of around 1/8 sec, and with a particularly steady hand it was even possible to shoot as slow as one second. For video, Active Mode image stabilization aids smooth handheld shooting, and can be paired with some lenses that feature optical image stabilization for even smoother video.

Pixel Shift Multi Shooting has also been improved. In this mode the camera captures 16 frames, with the sensor position shifted slightly between each, which can then be merged into a huge 240.8MP image that’s claimed to be better corrected for minor movement in scenes. This requires Sony’s Image Edge Desktop software to be used, but it would be much more convenient if these composite images were merged in-camera.

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The Sony A7R V on a table angled front with lens

(Image credit: Future)
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The Sony A7R V on a table straight close up of top controls

(Image credit: Future)
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The Sony A7R V on a table straight from above with lens attached

(Image credit: Future)

The A7R V features 693 AF points and offers Real-time Recognition AF, enabling you to select from Human, Animal/Bird, Animal, Bird, Insect, Car/Train and Airplane. The Human option is much more advanced than simply eye or face detection, and can identify people in wider scenes. The feature generally works well across subjects, but it’s not perfect, and turning off subject recognition requires delving into the camera menu. The best way to switch Real-time Recognition AF on and off is to include this in My Menu, which is the camera’s custom user menu.

My Menu is incredibly useful overall, because Sony cameras are infamous for their labyrinthine menu systems. Another feature worth including here is Bulb Timer Settings. With this, when shooting in Bulb mode you can select any exposure duration from two to 900 seconds, which is incredibly useful when shooting long exposures. With this setting turned on, you can use the self-timer to release the shutter and the camera will time the exposure for you – fantastic when using a Big Stopper.

The Sony A7R V on a table straight on back with screen on

(Image credit: Future)
  • Features and performance 4/5

Sony A7R V: image and video quality

  • New 61MP Exmor R sensor boasts 15 stops dynamic range
  • Impressive ISO handling
  • Sharp video up to 8K video

Image quality in many respects comes down to the optics you attach to the camera, with higher-quality lenses naturally offering the best possible image quality. And with the A7R V, this is certainly the case – you’ll get the best results using higher-quality Sony G lenses such as the 20mm F1.8 and 90mm F2.8 Macro and the flagship G Master lenses. The high-resolution sensor is unforgiving when the camera is paired with cheaper and lower-quality optics, so you do need to avoid these if you want the A7R V to achieve its potential.

With high-quality lenses, image quality for both stills and video is excellent thanks to the new 61MP Exmor R sensor and Bionz XR processing engine. Dynamic range is advertised at 15 stops, and you can certainly increase the exposure of underexposed raw files considerably before image degradation becomes problematic. Photo capture is available in 14-bit raw, compressed raw, HEIF and JPEG, so you’ve got plenty of options.

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A long exposure seascape taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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Details of a bridge against a sunny sky taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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Details of crumbling wall taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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A modern building on a sunny day taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)

ISO performance is impressive within the native ISO 100-32,000 range, with the expanded range taking settings from ISO 50-102,400. The best quality comes at settings up to ISO 1600, with images shot at up to 6400 still looking reasonably good, and those taken at up to ISO 25,600 providing usable results. Beyond this, noise and color loss become very evident, leaving images pretty much unusable.

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Inside an abandoned building taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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Beach homes in the sun taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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A river and sunny landscape taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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Details of crumbling wall taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)
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A cityscape reflected in water on a sunny day  taken with the Sony A7R V

(Image credit: Future)

Video quality is equally impressive, with 8K video available at 24fps, 4K up to 60fps, and FHD up to 120fps in NTSC or 100fps in PAL, with a 4:2:2 10-bit color depth available. Color profiles include S-Cinetone and S-Log3 among others, so there’s plenty to keep hybrid stills/video shooters happy. Videographers will find the A7S III is a better camera overall for shooting video; you could certainly shoot professional video with the A7R V, but it’s not the best Sony A-series camera for the job.

  • Image and video quality 5/5

Should I buy the Sony A7R V?

The Sony A7R V on a table angled front with lens

(Image credit: Future)

Don't buy it if...

Also consider

If our Sony A7R V review has you wondering about alternatives, here are two rivals to consider.

Sony A7R V: testing scorecard

First reviewed: January 2023

Canon EOS R5 review
8:07 pm | April 28, 2021

Author: admin | Category: Cameras Computers DSLRs Gadgets | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Editor's Note

• Original review date: April 2021
• No new model released
• Launch price: $3,899 / £4,199 / AU$6,899
• Official price now: $3,399 / £4,299 / AU$6,349

Updated: February 2024. When Canon announced the EOS R5 in July 2020, it made headlines and it's still a popular camera nearly four years on, staying put in our best camera roundup. There are rumors of a Mark II coming in 2024, but details are thin on the ground. Despite now being a few years old, the price for the body hasn't changed a great deal, dropping most in the US and a little in Australia, but is strangely listed for a higher price in the UK on Canon's official site and retailers like Jessops. Retailers, however, regularly discount this camera and, going by what we saw during Black Friday 2023, we think you shouldn't be paying more than $2,999 / £2,300 / AU$4,500 for the EOS R5. The rest of this review remains as previously published.

Canon EOS R5: two-minute review

A lot has happened in the camera world since we first reviewed the Canon EOS R5 in August 2020 and labelled it 'Canon's best ever stills camera'.

That statement still stands and the EOS R5 remains the best mirrorless camera that Canon has made so far. It's almost certainly the best Canon camera on the market right now too. But with the Sony A7S III and Sony A1 now here, and Canon responding with firmware updates for the EOS R5 and the announcement of the Canon EOS R3, is it already on the verge of being overshadowed?

Not quite yet. We've tested the Canon EOS R5's firmware upgrades, and they improve the camera and smooth out its rough edges, albeit without fundamentally changing its character. It's a fantastic stills camera, one of the best you can buy, but the verdict on its video skills is a little more nuanced. 

In short, if video is your priority, you should test out the Canon EOS R5 in situations that are as close as possible to your real-world workflow - you may still find it to be one of the best video cameras you can buy. Those looking to shoot long, extended takes might be better served by the Sony A7S III. But if you look at the Canon EOS R5 as a stills camera that you'll occasionally use to shoot high-quality video, you'll likely never run into any overheating problems.

Canon EOS R5 articulating screen

(Image credit: Future)

For stills photographers, though, there isn't much wrong with the Canon EOS R5. The combination of a next-generation autofocus system, excellent image quality and fast 12fps/20fps continuous shooting means this is a camera that is just as comfortable (and capable) in professionally-lit studios as it is shooting breaking news stories at dusk.

The EOS R5's autofocus deserves a special mention. Its eye-detection is incredibly accurate and sticky, while its subject-detection and tracking is similarly impressive. As we found on our wildlife shoot, the animal detection is simply mind-blowing and a huge selling point on its own, if you regularly indulge in that kind of photography. 

What about battery life? If you're coming from a traditional DSLR, this is an obvious constriction. But we managed about four hours of very intensive shooting, while using the EVF. On a standard shoot, this means going through two (or, at a push, three) batteries in a day. With spares easy and relatively cheap to come by, plus backwards compatibility with the older LP-E6N battery, it’s not quite the impediment it firsts appears.

If you’re a high-volume, high-speed filmmaker, you might find the EOS R5's heat constrictions a little onerous. But during our half-day documentary shoot, where we shot in a variety of formats, we didn't see any overheating warnings. 

The video footage was also sharp and flexible for color grading, while a recent firmware update has added the Canon Log 3 (or C-Log 3) format to help its footage slot into cinematic workflows. The combination of stabilized RF-mount lenses and in-camera image stabilization (IBIS) also makes it possible to get reasonably smooth shots without a gimbal.

Canon EOS R5 Animal Eye AF in action

(Image credit: Future)

As you'd hope at this price, the Canon EOS R5 brings lots of smaller treats, too. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is superb and practically indistinguishable from the optical ones found in DSLRs, at least to our eyes. And weather-proofing is right up there with the 5D series, if not quite as indestructible as the Canon EOS 1DX Mark III.

Canon has pulled out all the stops with the EOS R5, but it had to. It was relatively late to the mirrorless party and the competition at the pro level is now fierce. But it's Canon's best camera for stills shooters, and a more-than-capable hybrid option for those who like to mix that up with some video, too. 

Professional filmmakers who are looking for a small, hybrid camera whose priority is 4K video shooting should consider the Sony A7S II instead. And non-professionals of any kind should check out our Canon EOS R6 review. But even if, like us, you can't afford justify the Canon EOS R5's price, it's certainly an exciting example of what happens when Canon fully commits to mirrorless.

Canon EOS R5 review: price and release date

The Canon EOS R5 was released on July 30, 2020 with a body-only launch price of $3,899 / £4,199 / AU$6,899.

It was initially difficult to find stock, with demand outstripping supply for the first few months of its life, but the EOS R5 is now widely available worldwide.

Canon EOS R5 ports

(Image credit: Future)

Of course, that price tag is a big investment, but it's in the ballpark of its nearest rivals. It's only a shade more than the lower-resolution, 4K-only Sony A9 Mark II and the Sony A7S III in most regions, and is also very much in the region of the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV's original pricing, which started at $3,499 / £3,599 / AU$5,060 when it launched in 2016.

Is the Canon EOS R5 expensive? Yes. Unjustifiably so? Probably not...

Canon EOS R5 review: design and handling

  • Weighs 738g without a lens
  • Rear AF joystick instead of Touch Bar
  • Impressive 5.76-million pixel EVF

Design-wise, we’re not looking at a game-changer with the Canon EOS R5. But given the usability of the Canon EOS R, which it's heavily based on, that’s no bad thing. 

In terms of width and height, the EOS R5 is all-but identical to that latter camera; three mysterious millimeters have been added to its depth, and 70g has been added to its weight. 

Significantly, the EOS R’s touch bar – the touch-sensitive strip on the top-right of the camera – is gone, perhaps testament to its lukewarm reception. In its place is a chunky, knurled joystick for navigating autofocus points and menus, along the lines of the control on Canon’s other high-end cameras. 

Canon EOS R5 top display for shooting info

(Image credit: Future)

Pick up the EOS R5 and the first thing you’ll notice is that it practically floats in the hand. Its 738g weight with a card and battery compares extremely favorably to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV’s 890g, and even more favorably to the tank-like Canon EOS 1D X Mark III’s 1.4kg kerb weight.

The EOS R5 is still substantial-feeling, with a deep grip that makes it easy and comfortable to hold, but it’s also easy to tote around without it feeling burdensome. Weather resistance is said to be up to the standard of Canon's 5D series, which professionals will tell you means the R5 should withstand troublesome weather better than some photographers. We’d be confident in most situations.

Canon’s adroit touch when it comes to building cameras that are quick and easy to use is much in evidence. Along with that four-way joystick, which makes diddling through menus or selecting autofocus points a breeze, you also get a click-wheel on the back, plus a dial behind the shutter button and a ring around the mode dial. 

Don’t forget that RF-mount lenses also have a control ring, so getting the EOS R5 set up just-so is easy. If you’re coming from another of Canon’s cameras, the learning curve is basically flat – the R5 is easy to adjust to. Newcomers will find the menus responsive, intuitive, and powerful, whether you’re a power user or launching into photography for the first time.

A square display on the top right-hand shoulder of the camera displays your current shooting information. This is a good way to keep the rear monitor turned off between shots, and the secondary display has a backlight that you can turn on and off manually. The touchscreen monitor is a good ‘un, too, measuring a generous 3.15in and offering a 2.1MP resolution. It’s also vari-angle, which is handy for video.

But goodness gracious, the electronic viewfinder. The only thing that beats it for resolution right now is the 9.44-million pixel EVF seen on the Sony A7S III and Sony A1. And while the R5 might only offer 5.76-million pixels, in use we could barely distinguish it from the true optical viewfinders found in traditional DSLRs. 

Beautifully smooth and with an incredible amount of fine detail, it makes the normal bugbear of mirrorless cameras – being able to tell when an image with slim depth of field is actually focussed – a thing of past. It’s really easy to tell, and with focus peaking available in manual focus mode, it conspires to make the R5 very easy to use.

Canon EOS R5 had a standard SD card slot and CFexpress slot

(Image credit: Future)

Canon EOS R5 review: specs and features

  • 45MP (effective) full-frame sensor
  • Same DIGIC X processor as the EOS 1D X Mark III
  • 8K video recording

On paper, the EOS R5 might be the best hybrid mirrorless camera on the market. It’s both high resolution and full-frame, producing 8,192 x 5,464 resolution files that weighed in, on average, at about 60MB each. 

That means, at the R5’s fastest continuous motor mode, you’re shooting about 1.2GB per second. In other words, make sure you’ve budgeted for extra storage, both in your camera and at home.

Speaking of storage, the R5 brings a pro-level solution to the table, offering both a standard SD card slot and a CFexpress slot. This allows you to either boost your camera’s available storage, shoot to two cards for real-time backup, or shoot raw files to one card and JPEGs to the other.

Memory cards take on more of a bearing if you plan to use the R5’s movie-shooting abilities. Its higher-end video modes, including 4K 10-bit HEVC (which is what you’ll shoot in Canon LOG or HDR PQ), 4K ALL-I 50/60fps, 4K 100/120fps or 8K ALL-I or raw, all require a CFexpress card. We shot exclusively with SanDisk’s 512GB Extreme PRO card, which is rated at 1,400MB/s write speed, and found that the buffer refilled at virtually the rate it was depleted, making in-the-field workflow completely hassle-free.

Canon EOS R5 articulating screen

(Image credit: Future)

Powering everything is Canon’s DIGIC X processor. It’s the same chip as the one you'll find in the powerhouse 1D X Mark III and it kept everything ticking over as our EOS R5 voraciously gobbled up light and churned out data.

The sensor is a new model, and this is Canon’s first body to feature in-body image stabilization (IBIS). In combination with the high speed data throughput of the RF mount, this can combine with the image stabilization in a lens to offer, in the right circumstances, up to eight stops of image stabilization.

You get all the expected mod cons, and then some. Wi-fi is there, of course, but in exotic 5GHz as well as 2.4GHz. There’s an FTP client built-in, allowing press photographers to offload images to remote servers as they shoot. 

Just about the only thing not present is a proper Ethernet socket – the Sony A9 Mark II does have one of these and pro sports photographers might lament its absence here. If you want one, you’ll need to dig out your wallet for the Canon WTF-R10B –this upgrades the R5’s FTP client to one that supports SFTP, while also adding two MIMO antennae for stronger connections and a Gigabit Ethernet port. Those are pretty niche features that will only be desirable for full-time agency photographers, though.

Of more interest to the rest of us is the EOS R5's new battery – the LP-E6NH has about 14 per cent more capacity than the slightly older LC-E6N. Those who already own Canon kit should note that the older model of battery is still compatible with the R5. You can also use a Power Delivery supply to charge the R5 via its USB-C port, saving you popping the battery out when it’s time to recharge.

Flick the mode selector to video and you’re greeted with yet more out-of-this-world performance. 4K, naturally, but up to 120fps, and with the option of shooting raw. 

Or, the headliner: 8K video. Again, the option of shooting raw is there, at 30, 25, 24 or 23.98fps, and at a galactic bitrate of approximately 2,600Mbps. Opting to shoot H.265 files, at the same settings, lowers the bitrate to about 1,300Mbps, while H.264 lowers it further to 300Mbps. 

Of course, these headline figures are only part of the video story, and Canon was forced to subsequently recalibrate expectations a little by publishing estimated recording times for each of the EOS R5's modes. We've included that information in the table below.

Perhaps even more significant than these recording times, particularly if you're planning to use the Canon EOS R5 as your main video workhorse, are the 'cool down' recovery times it needs after shooting extended scenes. Most mirrorless video cameras overheat, but not as many need quite as long to recover as the EOS R5.

We re-tested the Canon EOS R5's video performance after the arrival of its 1.1.0 firmware update, which promised to "extend video shooting times in some situations". You can read the full results of our video tests here, but the short answer is that while it slightly improves recovery times in some modes and situations, it's not a radical change from the original figures quoted for the EOS R5.

For example, when shooting 8K/30p, a 10-minute rest will then give you only three minutes of recording time, while letting it cool for an additional 20 minutes will give you an extra eight minutes of recording.

That's fair enough for 8K, a mode that no other mirrorless camera offers, but even if you're shooting 4K/60p on the EOS R5, a 10-minute rest will only give you another 10 minutes of recording time. So for both of the EOS R5's most demanding modes, you're still restricted to relatively short bursts. 

Canon EOS R5 rear screen and controls

(Image credit: Future)

Canon EOS R5 review: autofocus

  • 5,940 AF zones
  • Animal and face-detection
  • 100 per cent horizontal autofocus coverage

The Canon EOS R5’s autofocus is very nearly unbelievable. Its eye-detection is practically infallible, grabbing hold of human faces and holding on even with subjects moving rapidly forwards or backwards through the frame. Subject detection and tracking is similarly impressive. 

The new animal detection mode is out of this world, as we raved about in our wildlife test, with the R5 detecting and tracking non-human eyes and faces in some very demanding circumstances.

The R5 uses a new version of Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus, which means focussing is done on the sensor itself. This allows you to manually choose from 5,940 different AF points across 100 per cent of the sensor’s horizontal dimension and 90 per cent of its vertical. 

You can cut things however you want; splitting the sensor into large autofocus zones, allowing it to pick entirely for itself, or opting for tiny individual autofocus points using either the joystick or by dragging your thumb across the touchscreen monitor. Once you’ve got a zone picked, the R5’s autofocus will blow you away.

The animal recognition currently works for dogs, cats and birds, but it naturally isn't blind to other species, too. We're looking forward to seeing where this autofocus system goes next, but Canon's certainly made a very impressive start on the EOS R5.

Canon EOS R5 card slots

(Image credit: Future)

Canon EOS R5 review: performance

  • 12fps mechanical shutter/20fps electronic shutter
  • Backwards-compatible batteries
  • High-speed video modes

With the Digic X processor on board, it’s fair to expect good things of the R5’s performance – and so it proved in our tests. 

With our SanDisk Extreme Pro card we found the buffer cleared almost as fast as we could shoot, writing multiple frames per second when we’d finished shooting a burst of raw files. The EOS R5 will shoot 12fps using the mechanical shutter, or up to 20 with the electronic shutter. 

Purists who are concerned about the jello-effect of electronic shutters can put their minds at rest – we saw very little evidence of it. It was possible, on frames with tall elements in them, to detect a very small amount of distortion, but even with incredibly fast subjects, frames shot with the electronic shutter were just as usable as with the mechanical option. Another plus: the electronic shutter is totally – literally – silent. Wedding photographers and wildlife photographers, rejoice.

Battery life gets a significant thumbs-up as well. It’s still well down on traditional DSLRs, of course, but we managed about four hours of extremely intensive shooting (approximately 2,000 raw frames, all shot using the power-sucking electronic viewfinder) on a single charge. 

On a fairly intensive shoot we’d anticipate going through perhaps two batteries in a day, maybe three at a push. Because the R5 is backwards-compatible with the LP-E6N battery – first seen on the 2009 EOS 7D – it’s possible that many upgraders will already have a few spares.

Canon EOS R5 review: video and image quality

Video performance

Video performance is excellent as well. We tested the EOS R5 on a small half-day documentary shoot (see above), capturing just over 240GB of 4K video for a total of a shade over 55 minutes overall. 

Of that, about just about 38 minutes was shot in 4K, All-I, 25fps in 10-bit Canon LOG, with the rest (a hair under 17 minutes) shot at 50fps, still in All-I and in LOG. Of note is that the shoot happened on the warmest day of the year with the ambient temperature resting at an uncomfortable 32-degrees. We didn’t see any overheating warnings. 

Canon’s own claim is that the R5 will shoot up to 35 minutes at 50/60fps before it overheats, at which point it will recover at the rate of one shootable minute per minute of cool down. Not ideal, perhaps, if you want to shoot a documentary at 4K and 60fps, but those shooting 24 or 25fps films with a smattering of 60p for slow motion clips it’s quite possible you could use the R5 fairly intensively and never see an overheating warning. Canon claims that 25/30fps full-frame 4K video has no heat limitation.

Putting those slightly overhyped overheating claims to one side, it's far more useful –and fun – to look at the results that the Canon EOS R5 is capable of. 4K video is gorgeously sharp and the LOG files we shot were incredibly flexible when it came to grading. 

It's also worth noting that a recent firmware update, version 1.3.0, has brought the very useful Canon Log 3 (C-Log 3) format, which lets you achieve wide dynamic range and means its slots nicely into workflows that also include footage shot on Canon's EOS Cinema cameras. The update also brings a slo-mo 120p option for Full HD recording, though sadly the 30-minute recording limit for video files remains. 

Still, the combination of stabilized RF-mount lenses and in-camera IBIS ensures that, if you tread softly enough, you can create reasonably smooth tracking shots on the EOS R5 without a gimbal. Our selection of RF-mount lenses – the RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM, RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM – all provided sound-free tracking autofocus. For single-crewed shooters, or those tasked with filming BTS (Behind the Scenes) or B-roll, the EOS R5 could be an incredible addition to any toolkit.

A quick note – if you’re shooting 10-bit files, you’ll be wanting a proper editor. Those using BlackMagic’s free version of Resolve will need to upgrade. We edited and graded with Premiere Pro on an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.

Image quality

As you'd hope for the price, the R5 shoots excellent images. Up to about ISO 4000 you should have very few concerns, which is incredible. Push further and you’ll find fine-grained speckling in your images – we suspect editorial photographers won’t mind it much, but those with an eye on producing art prints might be a bit more cautious. 

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Canon EOS R5

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For those dedicated to capturing once-in-a-lifetime moments, whatever the light, the R5 will shoot ISOs up to 102,400. We shot in anger up to ISO 51,200 and while the results were undoubtedly grainy, there was no color shift to contend with and there was plenty of detail. 

Having a camera that produces outstanding, high-resolution images in perfect light but which is capable of shooting usable shutter speeds in the dark again marks the EOS R5 out as an exceptional photographic tool. For a more in-depth look at the EOS R5's Animal Eye AF performance, check out our feature on a wildlife photographer's visit to a bird hide.

Should I buy the Canon EOS R5

Canon EOS R5 front

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

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