Panasonic Lumix S1 review

The Lumix DC-S1 is among a pair of full-frame cameras launched this season by Panasonic. It includes a stabilized 24MP image sensor, top-end 4K video features, and an extremely durable build. But its autofocus system isn’t quite as speedy as competing models, and it costs even more. We continue to suggest the Sony a7R III as our Editors’ Choice full-frame camera since it offers a more curved feature set for less overall.

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Panasonic Lumix S1: Price

Panasonic Lumix S1: Image Sensor

Full-frame cameras have put into two directions-versions with sensors around 24MP and the ones with sensors settling in around 45MP roughly. The S1 falls into the former group, and, although it doesn’t offer as many pixels as pricier models, it delivers enough quality for a multitude of photographers, and is capable of capturing images at higher ISO settings.

The S1 delivers picture quality that’s very much consistent with its closest competitors, the Sony a7 III and Nikon Z 6. It captures photos with little noise and strong detail through ISO 12800 when shooting in JPG format. There’s some lack of detail at ISO 25600, but images are still quite useable. They display a bit more blur at ISO 51200 and 102400, but really do not fall apart until you can the very best ISO 204800 setting.

Furthermore to standard JPG catch, the S1 offers in-camera HDR, leveraging an HLG profile. It’s useful when shooting moments with an array of illumination, as it could curb shiny highlights and open up the shadows. That is all done with no need for Raw processing or multi-shot bracketing.

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The camera has a multi-shot mode. It requires multiple exposures in succession, shifting the sensor on a pixel level between each shot. They’re mixed into a 96MP image, in your choice of Natural, JPG, or both forms. It’s only effective for static subjects, and requires a durable tripod, but has some appeal, specifically for landscape and macro function.

Raw images offer a lot of ability to adjust exposure, recover highlights, start shadows, and make adjustments to color. In addition, they allow you to manage the noise decrease. We process Raw pictures using Adobe Lightroom Common CC with default develop configurations enabled for evaluation.

Raw images show small noise and very strong fine detail through ISO 12800. There’s a small amount of noticeable grain at ISO 25600, but fine lines remain crisp. Images certainly are a small rougher at ISO 51200, but it isn’t until ISO 102400 where grain is obtrusive. Pictures are grainier still at the very top ISO 204800 setting.

Panasonic Lumix S1: 4K Video

The S1 has a number of the strongest video capabilities in this price course. It supports 4K recording in the selection of H.264 or H.265 (HEVC) compression. There’s a noticeable (1.5x) crop of sensor width when working at 60fps, however, the complete width of the frame is offered by 24 and 30fps.

It records at 10-bit quality internally when working with HEVC at 24 or 30fps with an HDR profile only. Nonetheless, it can output a clean 10-bit 4:2:2 transmission over HDMI to a recorder at up to 60fps together with your selection of profile. Internal 60fps is available but is bound to H.264 compression and the 8-little bit quality that is included with it.

Recording at 1080p can be a choice, with standard frame prices available up to 60fps. You can also set it for slow-motion capture, at up to 180fps. You will have to set the Setting dial to the video set up to gain access to slow-motion and 10-bit HDR recording.

A few of these features with excellent in-body stabilization and you have a camera that is definitely one of the better in class when it comes to video. It offers 60fps catch at 4K, which is usually something we’ve not really seen on full-frame cameras from other brands, and generally, the video quality is definitely superlative.

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Panasonic offers a paid upgrade-priced at $199-for video specialists using the S1. It will not be accessible until July. It provides internal 10-little bit recording for non-HDR content, V-Log and V-Gamut profiles, waveform monitors, and support for improved sound when paired with XLR tools. The upgrade is free of charge for clients who buy and sign-up their S1 before July 31, 2019.

The Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 is among those cameras that will actually appeal to video professionals. It’s on a somewhat higher level compared to the Sony a7 III-which facilitates HDR video, but doesn’t provide 60fps 4K capture-and the Nikon Z 6 that provides a 10-bit result, but also doesn’t record at 60fps. The S1 promises increased flexibility via a paid update, although that will further extend the purchase price gap between it and its own very able competition, the a7 III and Z 6, both of which are costed $500 lower.

And the S1 doesn’t outperform either the Nikon or Sony with regards to autofocus. Its contrast program tops out at 6fps when monitoring subjects-versus 12 and 10fps for the Z 6 and a7 III. It isn’t the slower acceleration that troubles me just as much as the result the viewfinder displays when tracking actions in AF-C mode-the feed wobbles in and out clearness as the focus system works.

Panasonic Lumix S1: Performance

Big body, big lenses, big performance too, best? Panasonic makes some considerable claims about the S1, which includes its autofocus system’s capability down to -6EV.

We’ve found the AF set up to be lightning quick in great light and largely effective in low-light – although certain scenes in an exceedingly dark bar did trigger the system to search for focus, as the built-in illuminator lamp didn’t always highlight a subject as successfully as we want because of the lenses’ scale. As a result, some dark scenes are occasionally going to pose a concern – something the f/1.4 50mm lens will help with! – and having utilized the S1 for an extended time period we’ve discovered this to ring accurate for low-light situations.

Panasonic has long delivered a variety of modes because of its focus program in its MFT digital cameras, with the S1 picking right up those from the Lumix G9: there’s automatic full-area concentrate, adjustable area focus over a number of points, 1-area concentrate, 1-area+ focus (a more substantial second region keeps eyesight out for moving topics), along with Pinpoint AF (for single autofocus just, which zooms into 100 % for precision focus). Many of these work very well whether you’re using the toggle control or choose to tap, pinch-to-expand, or drag a finger around the screen. It’s very easy and incredibly versatile.

The big new setting is Eye AF, arranged to rival Sony’s comparable feature – something the Sony A6400 provides, with the A9 established to follow. Change this on and it automatically recognizes a topic, drawing a white box around them. For faces, it’ll secure to the eye for precision focus without you having to do a lot more than direct your subject matter. We shot some versions on a check shoot and the setting worked flawlessly – quickly obtaining concentrate and producing sublime sharp results. There’s even an Animal Recognition on/off choice within this mode, for anyone who is shooting non-human subjects.

Panasonic Lumix S1: Key Features

  • 24MP full-frame CMOS sensor
  • Depth from Defocus contrast-detect AF system
  • 5-axis in-body ‘Dual IS’ system
  • Fully weather-sealed
  • Multi-shot 96MP ‘High Res’ mode
  • 6 fps bursts with continuous AF
  • 5.76M-dot electronic viewfinder
  • 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 V-Log
  • One XQD and one SD card slot
  • 380 shots/charge using LCD
  • USB charging, including from laptop/tablet chargers and portable power banks

Panasonic Lumix S1: Conclusion

The Panasonic Lumix S1 can be a formidable full-frame offering that’s filled with features and potential. Its only problems? That zoom lens mount makes for substantial optics and there are minor hiccups with low-light autofocus being slow or hunting just a little.

The home window onto high-quality Leica lenses may be enough to entice in a whole new market seeking top-notch quality for stills and video, but with your competition offering new mounts somewhere else – both Nikon and Canon possess launched already – this means the S1 does not have anything truly extra special to provide in this regard. It is rather good, but so maybe the competition.

All stated, the Panasonic Lumix S1 is a full-frame feast. It’s something that’s hard to criticize provided its overall features and wide-ranging feature set, with great picture quality and functionality that matches and occasionally betters its contemporaries. Whether that’s plenty of to draw from the Nikon and Sony establishment, however, is a complete other question.


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