Panasonic has announced new firmware for the Panasonic S5II (buy here) and Panasonic S5IIX (buy here). The new firmware adds a handful of new features, but probably the biggest is that long exposures have been enabled for High Resolution Mode.
An AF-Point Scope mode has also been added, which magnifies the focus point during autofocus. You’re also now able to zoom in up to 20x with manual focus lenses to really ensure you’ve nailed focus.
Here is the complete list of changes coming in the Panasonic S5II v2.2and S5IIX v1.3 firmware updates:
S5II Firmware Version 2.2 / S5IIX Firmware Version 1.3
AF-Point Scope function
AF-Point Scope function to magnify the focus position during AF has been added.
High Resolution Mode
The shutter speed at high resolution mode can now be set to max. 8-second with the long exposure noise reduction applied. Thanks to the image stabilizer, [Handheld High-Res] mode has been added to enable recording pictures with higher resolution even without using a tripod.
Improved MF Assist
It is now possible to magnify the full screen mode display in MF Assist up to approx. 20x allowing more precise MF.
What is High Resolution Mode on the S5II/S5IIX?
High Resolution Mode is a feature that’s come to many cameras over the last few years. It’s essentially a way for a camera to take advantage of its IBIS system to take several shots with the sensor in slightly different positions and then blend them together into a single, larger image.
Shifting the sensor lets it see all the “in-between” data that is difficult or impossible to see in a single shot. For the Panasonic S5II and S5IIX, this means its 24-megapixel sensor is able to shoot 96-megapixel images with far greater detail than it can normally see.
High Resolution Mode is already available on both cameras, but the new update increases the maximum shutter speed for shooting handheld long exposures up to 8 seconds. This will be great for S5II/S5IIX landscape photographers who want to nip out for a quick handheld shot without the hassle of digging out their tripod – or those who go out and forget to take their tripod!
When can we get it?
As often seems to be the case these days, Panasonic isn’t releasing the firmware on the same date they announce it. I’m not sure why companies have started doing this, as there’s not really much reason to build hype for a free firmware update to cameras people already own.
Still, that’s where we’re at today, so the new firmware will be available to download on October 24th from the Panasonic website.