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There’s a Weird Discovery in Our Updated Panasonic S5 Review


Our Panasonic S5 Review was just updated. Photographers who own one of the smallest full-frame cameras on the market are most likely enjoying it. It’s got weather sealing, good autofocus, and the CineLike image quality profiles. These help your photos look like Kodak movie-film without the need for a lot of editing. But the way they work is odd and makes complete sense at the same time. You can read all about it in our updated Panasonic S5 review at this link, or you can read the report below.

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In case you’re curious, the CineLike image quality is similar to what you’d get from a few other brands. Fujifilm has their film simulations that look like film. They also change the metering of your scene at times. Nikon has something similar with their Creative Picture Controls. And that’s what the Panasonic S5 does too. But with the Panasonic S5, these profiles were designed differently.

Can these problems be fixed in post-production? Sure. But that’s not the approach we like to take.

Here’s what we’re saying:

A while back, the Panasonic S5 got CineLike image profiles. These are different from the standard ones like vivid, neutral, etc. According to Panasonic, here’s the description: “The new CINELIKE D2 picture style…prioritizes dynamic range, the CINELIKE V2 picture style…prioritizes contrast.”

Basically, you can use these to get the look of something like Kodak movie film. And that’s wonderful. We really like what it does when you lock the white balance to Daylight or even Tungsten. But at the same time, Panasonic’s auto white balance does just as fine a job.

If you’re familiar with other camera systems like Fujifilm, you’ll also probably nice that color profiles can change the way camera metering works. And that’s what Reviews Editor Hillary Grigonis discovered as well. When testing both Sigma and Panasonic lenses using CineLike profiles, we found that the S5 wanted a stop more light. This was really odd because our JPEGs looked normal and our RAW files looked underexposed. So we got on the phone with Panasonic, and here’s what they said:

“Basically, from a technical standpoint, the closer you get to the HIGH circuit, the more gain is being added to the LOW circuit which creates noise. Once you flip over, the gain resets back to 0 on the new circuit, but the noise won’t be exactly the same as the LOW base ISO. My personal advice to users is that if you are shooting at the higher range of the low circuit, some users may find it better to click ISO over to the high circuit for a “cleaner” image if the main purpose is getting the maximum DR / noise ratio. This is all made more complicated since most users do not shoot for technical “perfection” and still shooting rarely offers the ability to force the ideal exposure settings outside of a studio or controlled lighting. Best practice is for photographers to carry out tests for themselves in their environments for best results since ‘Cleaner’ images can be interpreted subjectively in the real world.”

– Sean Robinson, stating that his opinion doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of Panasonic LUMIX

In our eyes, it makes sense and it doesn’t. If you’re a photographer, then the way you meter hasn’t fundamentally changed for years. If you’re shooting a photo and have the CineLike profiles applied to your RAW the way you did in-camera, then you’re fine. It’s when you change to post-production that things become a bit kooky. Sure, you can fix the exposure in post-production. But if you’re shooting with the Cinelike profiles, the idea is to do as little post-production as possible. And if you have to apply it all over again in post-production and then tweak the exposure, what’s the point?






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