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Panasonic Lumix S1 Hands-On Review

Panasonic S1

Introducing the brand new Panasonic Lumix S1, not only a brand new, full frame mirrorless camera but a brand new system from Lumix, the ‘S’ system. We were lucky enough to be able to take the S1 out for the week to see if it can live up to the hype.

PANASONIC LUMIX S1 VIDEO REVIEW

IMAGE QUALITY


So let’s get a little bit of spec out of the way; the S1 is sporting a brand new 24.2 Megapixel full frame sensor with no low pass filter and the image quality is outstanding. We primarily used the 24-105mm f/4 lens (which you can get as a kit with the camera) and I was very happy with how the pictures were coming out.

In particular, something that really stuck out to me as impressive was the dynamic range. The amount of detail in the shadows and the highlights was mind blowing, I was able to pull so much out of the shadows and actually shoot into the sun while having a decent exposure on the sky, the shadows, everything.

What was particularly impressive was that I was able to do that while shooting JPEG which is crazy, the amount I was able to pull and push these JPEGS was unbelievable.

Something else that stuck out to me was the tone and colour that I was getting from these pictures. Some of these were taken on a day when the sky was just a uniform grey, it was just not an interesting day, light wise; but the tones I was able to get with this camera and the colours that were being captured were lovely.

It can also shoot 9 frames per second in continuous shooting or you can shoot 6K photos at 30 frames per second or 4K photos at 60 frames per second which means, if you’re shooting fast moving subjects or you really need to nail a specific moment, that’s some serious speed to be able to shoot at.

Sticking with photo for a second, there’s also a high resolution photo mode which takes a series of photos while the sensor moves inside the camera to create one high resolution raw file approximately 4 times the resolution of a normal file which is great for fine detail or landscape photography.

It can also shoot in HLG which works so well for displaying on HLG televisions to give a much more natural render to subjects prone to washout and improved textures in high brightness situations.

AUTOFOCUS

In terms of autofocus, the S1 has 225 focus areas and it’s so easy to use the joystick to move your focus point while your eye is up to the viewfinder or use the touch screen to select your focus point.

While we’re talking about autofocus, it’s also able to focus right down to -6ev which is very dark, so it’s great for low light shooting.

IMAGE STABILISATION

Something else which helps with low light is the image stabilisation. This camera features 6 stop 5 axis dual IS and the image stabilisation system has been completely redesigned. It works incredibly well meaning that you can easily shoot with slower shutter speeds and it helps for shooting handheld video.

There’s even a Boost IS for video that you can turn on which helps further if you’re shooting handheld especially if you’re zooming in or out.

VIDEO


Speaking of video, as you’d expect from a Lumix, this camera is outstanding for video use.

It will shoot 4K at up to 60 frames per second and up to 150MBps. There’s no crop when shooting 4K at 24, 25 or 30 frames per second.

Now this is the part of the review where I would usually say that it also shoots 1080p at up to 120 frames per second but… Lumix have really added in some outstanding specs here and it will shoot FullHD 1080p at up to 180 frames per second giving you up to 6x slow motion.

Now, it switches to manual focus only when you go into the high frame rates but that is an incredibly useful tool for creative shooting.

BUILD AND FEEL

The camera itself definitely has a pro feel. It rides the line between the smaller size of mirrorless cameras and a slightly larger system. Personally, I really like this, it makes it feel like a pro camera and it’s extremely nice to hold. Part of that comes from the big, comfortable grip.

It’s a solid build as well, it’s got a splash, dust and freeze resistant design and it feels strong.

The viewfinder is another area where Lumix have excelled. It’s a 5760 dot LVF with resolution close to the human eye. It looks great, it doesn’t look like a typical electronic viewfinder. It’s also running at a 120 frames per second display speed which means it’s super smooth, and coming from someone who doesn’t often like electronic viewfinders, this one was a joy to use.

There’s also a 3.2 inch LCD touch screen and this uses RGBW which includes white dots to show a clear image even in strong sunlight.

It’s also worth mentioning that it has two card slots, one for SD UHS II and one for XQD.

 

LENSES


This camera is being launched with three lenses, the 24-105mm f/4 which we used extensively with the camera. The 70-200 f/4which we had the chance to try out and the 50mm f/1.4 which we haven’t had the chance to use but it looks lovely.

On top of that, there are the Leica L lenses which are compatible and we even tried the M mount adapter with frankly, fantastic results.


You can watch our video at the top of this page to see more of our impressions.
 

WHICH CAMERA TO BUY, THE PANASONIC GH5, S1 OR S1R?

There are advantages to each of the different cameras, if you are unsure of which one is right for you, check our handy comparison table below.
 

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PANASONIC GH5, S1 AND S1R?

Specs

Panasonic GH5

Panasonic Lumix S1

Panasonic Lumix S1R

Effective Pixels

20.3 Million

24.2 Million

47.3 Million

Image sensor

4/3" (Micro Four Thirds) Live MOS sensor

Full Frame CMOS (No low pass filter)

Full Frame CMOS (No low pass filter)

Image-processing engine

Venus Processing Engine

Venus Processing Engine

Venus Processing Engine

Storage media

Dual SD UHS II

SD UHS II + XQD

SD UHS II + XQD

Viewfinder

3,680K dot

5,760K dot LVF - 120fps display speed

5,760K dot LVF - 120fps display speed

Shutter speed

Up to 1/8000 to 60s

Up to 1/8000 to 60s

Up to 1/16000 to 60s

Continuous shooting speed

12fps AF-S / 9fps AF-C / 6K Photo 30fps / 4K Photo 60fps

9fps / 6K Photo 30fps / 4K Photo 60fps

9fps / 6K Photo 30fps / 4K Photo 60fps

ISO Sensitivity

100 - 25,600

100 - 51,200

100 - 51,200

Maximum AF points

225 AF Areas

225 AF Areas

225 AF Areas

High Resolution Mode

N/A

96 MP

187 MP

Image Stabilisation

5 Stop 5-axis Image Stabilisation

Up to 6 stop 5-axis Dual IS

Up to 6 stop 5-axis Dual IS

Video Specs

4K 60p @ MP4 - 4:2:0 8-bit

4K 30p @ MP4 - 4:2:2 10-bit

FHD1080 180p

4K 60p @ MP4 - 4:2:0 8-bit

4K 30p @ MP4/HEVC - 4:2:2 10-bit

FHD1080 180p

4K 60p @ MP4 - 4:2:0 8-bit

4K 30p @ MP4 - 4:2:0 8-bit

FHD1080 180p

Video Features

 

Optional VLOG Upgrade

HDMI Output at 4K 50/60p

No crop factor at 4K 24/25/30p

HLG Recording

Nor Record Time Limit

 

Monitor

3.2" Free-Angle 1,620K dot

3.2" Triaxial Monitor 2,100K dot

3.2" Triaxial Monitor 2,100K dot

Communication

Wifi, Bluetooth

Wifi, Bluetooth

Wifi, Bluetooth

Battery Life

Up to 410 images

Up to 400 images

Up to 380 images

Dimensions

138.5 x 98.1 x 87.4 mm

148.9 x 110 x 96.7 mm

148.9 x 110 x 96.7 mm

Weight

725g

1,017g

1,016g

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By Park Cameras on 01/02/2019