Panasonic S1/S1R Released

The Lumix S1 and S1R. Could they be the perfect solution for stills and video shooters like me?

Panasonic S1 and S1R

Both the Panasonic Lumix S1 and S1R are virtually identical on the outside. Most of the changes are internal with each camera being aimed at either a stills photographer or video shooter. Personally, I do both so on paper, the obvious choice for me is to buy both!

Saying that, I have no intention with parting with close to £10k for this set up until the cameras have been in the field for a while. I am normally an early adopter but on this occasion I will wait. My current combo of Canon 5D Mark IV/II and Panasonic GH4/5 is still doing just fine. For now.

Check out the video from B & H below and then read on for my thoughts...

Panasonic Lumix S1

The Panny S1 is geared more towards video shooters but by all accounts, is still a superb stills shooter. There are a few differences, the most obvious being the stills resolution. The​n there are others that are quite significant so here are the main features of the Panasonic Lumix S1.

Main Specs

  • 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • Leica L-Mount System
  • Depth from Defocus contrast-detect AF system
  • IBIS: 5-axis in-body 'Dual IS' system with 6 stops stabilisation using a compatible lens
  • Fully weather-sealed
  • 96MP 'High Res' mode
  • ​ISO 100-51200 (ISO 50-204800 extended)
  • Max shutter speed 1/8000th/sec
  • 6 fps bursts with continuous AF, 9fps with the autofocus locked
  • ​Up to 90 RAW files or 999 JPEGs in continuous mode
  • 4K Photo Mode = 60fps
  • 6K Photo Mode = 30fps
  • 5.76M-dot EVF
  • Dual-hinged 2.1M-dot touchscreen LCD
  • UHD 4K/60p video capture (1.5x crop); Oversampled 4K/30p with no crop
  • 10-bit HLG built-in, optional 4:2:2, 14-stop V-Log
  • No recording limit up to 4K 30p, with 30 minute limit at 4K 60p
  • One XQD and one SD card slot
  • 380 shots/charge using LCD
  • USB charging, including from laptop/tablet chargers and portable power banks

There is a lot to like there but my main concern in the autofocus. After the issues with the GH5/s, I am hoping the decision to stay with contrast detect is a good one. Time will tell and this is a major factor in my waiting before buying.

Sensor/Megapixels/EVF

24mp is more than enough for my type of work. However, when I need more resolution for landscapes, stock or product photography, the 96mp "high res" mode should help! Superb.

Coupled with the 6 stop, 5-axis, in body Dual IS system being retained, all very good so far.

Then comes the new 5.76M-dot EVF which is found on both cameras. This is the highest resolution EVF on any camera right now. Way to go Panasonic!

Video/Card Slots

Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R Rear Screen Card Slots

My initial thoughts on the video are good. However, the only downside is the 1.5x crop at 4K when shooting 60fps.

When you add in 10-bit, 4:2:2 internal recording with full V-LOG (not V-LOG-L), it kind of balances out for me : )

Dual card slots like my GH5 is welcome but now comes with one slot for SD cards and the other for XQD. Many people will be happy with this as it keeps many options open with super fast speeds.

Charging

For me, this is huge. I like to do very long time lapses up to 9 hours or so. Being able to charge and power the camera using external batteries into the USB Type-C is a very welcome touch.

Panasonic Lumix S1R

Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R

As the cameras are very similar in specs, I will just show the main differences below and not spew the same specs as the Lumix S1.

The Panasonic Lumix S1R is more of a stills shooter's camera. However, saying that, the video features are still very good.

  • 47MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • 187MP 'High Res' mode
  • Max shutter speed 1/16000th/sec
  • ​Up to ​40 RAW files or ​50 JPEGs in continuous mode
  • ISO 100-​25600 (ISO 50-​51200 extended)
  • Video recording limit of just 15 minutes in 4K 60p and just 10 minutes in high speed mode
  • No 10-bit recording
  • No V-LOG available
  • Full frame video readout even at 4K 60p
  • 360 shots/charge using LCD as per 380 shots on the Lumix S1

As a full frame stills shooter I think I will love the new Panasonic Lumix S1R for stills. Having bursts of 4K video will also help for shooting stock video too.

I love the stills features above and if the image quality is as I would expect (hopefully no low pass filter), I am in. This camera is superb for weddings, landscapes, commercial work and so on.

Rear Dual-hinged 2.1M-dot touchscreen LCD

My immediate thoughts on the rear screen was "why haven't they included the full articulating screen"!!!??? However, further research shows that Panasonic wanted the S1 and S1R to ooze quality and professionalism.

Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R Rear Screen

Therefore, they made the rear screen this way to be more durable. Apparently, you can lift the whole camera with just the screen...impressive!

My Thoughts

Both cameras look amazing to me. I like the bulk, I love the look, and I like the initial specs.

What I can't work out is why I would buy the S1R over the S1? For an extra £1200, you are getting lower ISO's but twice the stills resolution but with much less video features. ​Then you get less frames when shooting in continuous mode on the S1R...makes no sense to me.

​Sensor Crop on S1 for 4K Video: ​I must admit I am a bit gutted about the 1.5x sensor crop on the Lumix S1 when shooting 4K or 1080p at 180fps. A real bummer but at least there is no pixel-binning like on the S1R so the image quality should be superb. 


Maybe Metabones will bring out a Speedbooster soon that will alleviate some of this and allow me to use my Canon lenses.

As I mentioned earlier, I can get 96mp images from the S1 using high res mode so....confused? Maybe you can help me out in the comments below.

I have downloaded a sample 47mp still image from the S1R and I must say I wasn't blown away. Viewing at 100% it seemed a little mushy. I am going to put this down to the photographer.

I have made this judgement before with the 5D Mark IV and when I got hold of the camera and set it up myself, I was more than happy with the stills quality.

Whereas I was initially thinking to buy both the Panasonic S1 and S1r, I am now thinking 2 S1R's.

For me, the Panasonic Lumix S1 is beautifully close to my wish for a pure hybrid stills and video shooter. Time moves on and camera tech just gets better and better. 

Pre-order at B & H

About the author

Nick

Professional photographer and videographer for more than 30 years and all round photography, video and gadget geek. Shooting ground and aerial wedding, stock and commercial photography (and video) in the UK and Europe. Please note: As an Amazon Associate and affiliate for other companies, I earn from qualifying purchases from some links used in this website. You don't pay any more but the commissions earned means I can keep adding to the website and offer free training etc. I.e. they pay my costs. Thank you.


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