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Panasonic Lumix S1 Review

The Panasonic S1 is the more entry-level model of the two cameras used to launch the still-young S system by the firm. The S1 is practically an exact clone of its older and more experienced S1R sister, but it has a sensor with a lesser resolution and a lower price point. This is analogous to how the Nikon Z6 is to the Z7.

As a result, it appears more likely to appeal to people looking for a solid all-around full-frame mirrorless camera than it would to people who want to increase their megapixel count.

While the business, along with Canon and Nikon, is attempting to catch up to Sony in the battle for full-frame mirrorless cameras, Panasonic is receiving assistance from its L-mount partners Sigma and Leica in developing the system to its full potential.

That means you may use lenses made by one manufacturer on cameras made by a different manufacturer, and with all three manufacturers contributing to the system, there is no question that it will thrive in a short amount of time.

If Panasonic adopts the same approach with its newest range of products as it did with its previous Micro Four Thirds system of G-series cameras and lenses over the past decade, we could be in for a real treat.

Panasonic Lumix S1 Features

The Panasonic S1 has a bigger full-frame sensor that is proportioned to a 3:2 aspect ratio, in contrast to the Micro Four Thirds G-series cameras that Panasonic is known for producing. It has a total of 25.28 megapixels and an effective resolution of 24.2 megapixels, which places it on par with the Sony A7 III and the Nikon Z6 and only a hair behind the 26 megapixels of the Canon EOS RP.

This sensor has a sensitivity range of ISO100-51,200, but you can alter it to be comparable to ISO50 or up to ISO204,800 if you need to. The default option is ISO100, but you can change it to anything you want.

The sensor collaborates with an updated version of the Venus Engine. If you find that 24.2 megapixels aren’t enough, you can switch to the brand-new High-Resolution option. This makes it difficult for the sensor-based image stabilization technology – more on that in a moment – to take eight shots simultaneously, adjusting the position of the sensor slightly between each one and then combining all of those images into a 96MP (12,000 x 8,000 pixel) composite image.

The fact that they are delivered as raw files rather than JPEGs is a particularly welcome discovery since it means that you may continue to process them in the same manner as you would any other raw file.

Panasonic Lumix S1 Build Quality

The Panasonic Lumix S1 has details that are both angular and rounded, and it has certain elements that are reminiscent of Panasonic’s G9 mirrorless camera, such as the red ring that is located under the mode dial. In some ways, the Panasonic Lumix S1 looks quite similar to the Panasonic G9. Many things are different, but many things are reassuringly the same.

The top plate has a mode dial perched on the drive mode collar. This mode dial has a button in the middle of it that must be pressed for the mode dial to revolve.

It is a matter of personal preference whether you prefer to hold it down whenever you want to turn the dial, as is the case here, or press this button down once to free it and then press it down again to lock it, as is the case on other cameras; however, this locking system is arguably more secure than the other.

The dial clicks between positions, which isn’t quite as nice as the more fluid movement from the dials on models like the Nikon Z6, Pentax K-1 Mark II, and other similar models. However, the fact that the dial has the drive mode collar at its base means it stands proud enough from the top plate for comfortable operation.

Panasonic Lumix S1 Autofocus

The focusing mechanism of the Panasonic Lumix S1 looks to be comparable to the one that Panasonic has employed in its most recent G-series cameras: a 225-point contrast-detect system with Depth From Defocus (DFD) technology. However, this comparison is only superficial.

At a time when hybrid phase- and contrast-detect AF systems are becoming the norm on mirrorless cameras, it may come as a surprise to some people to learn that Panasonic has chosen to stay with a more traditional contrast-detect AF configuration.

However, the business asserts that the system, in conjunction with the power of the Venus Engine, image sensor, and compatible lenses, communicates at a rate of up to 480 frames per second, which makes it possible to focus in as little as 0.08 seconds.

Additionally, Panasonic claims that the S1 can continue to focus down to -6EV, which is the same number that Canon claims the EOS R can achieve. Because of this, the camera should, at least in theory, perform somewhat better than many of its competitors while shooting in low-light environments.

Panasonic Lumix S1 Performance

Since the Panasonic Lumix S1 is loaded with endless choices for tweaking and modifying, it is perhaps best that Panasonic has updated the user interface compared to what we are accustomed to seeing on other cameras. The business believes that this is more organized and easier to use than previous versions, with the features that are utilized most frequently being easier to reach.

It is lovely to see that you still have the opportunity to construct your collection of options that can be found within a tab that can be customized and that you still have the option to arrange these options in the order of your choosing. Both of these features are fantastic.

This is still a relatively complex menu system with perhaps too much information crammed into it, but happily, everything is laid out quite clearly, and the Disp. Displays the report in a way that is easy to understand.

If you do not have the manual on hand but want more explanation of any function, you can use the button on the rear plate. An occasional issue is that the camera will only inform you why an option is unavailable for selection half the time. It won’t tell you why something else isn’t selectable the other half of the time. This happens around half of the time.

Panasonic Lumix S1 Image Quality

The amount of detail in the photos produced by the 24-105mm lens is relatively high, to the point that moiré patterns start to appear in regions of highly tiny repeating detail. After stopping down the lens to provide better uniformity across the frame, there is little doubt that tiny details are visible from the center-right to the borders and corners of the frame.

It is encouraging to see photographs shot at ISO6400 and 12,800 are as clean and free from noise as they are. Detail remains good even as the ISO setting increases, and it is encouraging to see that. It is evident that this is a high-quality sensor; hence, it would be unexpected if it were omitted from succeeding camera models.

It would appear that there are no problems with exposure because the obtained photographs had an excellent equilibrium between the highlights, mid-tones, and shadows.

There is a vast selection of Photo Styles to accommodate any circumstance; individuals who frequently transition between photographing commonplace situations and more dramatic ones are likely to find the different black-and-white alternatives, in particular, to be particularly satisfying.

Although the results produced by the Standard Photo Style are appealing, there is a chance that some users may wish to modify the settings to get a more dynamic look. The Vivid Photo Style, on the other hand, does a fantastic job at giving natural scenes rich color while yet being true to the topic.

Panasonic Lumix S1 Specs

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution6000 x 4000
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels24 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors25 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (35.6 x 23.8 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorVenus Engine
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 100-51200 (expands to 50-204800)
Boosted ISO (minimum)50
Boosted ISO (maximum)204800
White balance presets5
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Image stabilization notes5-axis; combines with in-lens stabilization for increased shake reduction
CIPA image stabilization rating6 stop(s)
Uncompressed formatRAW
File formatJPEG (Exif v2.31)Raw (Panasonic RW2)HLG (CTA-2072)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points225
Lens mountLeica L
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size3.2″
Screen dots2,100,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.78×
Viewfinder resolution5,760,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed60 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic)1/8000 sec
Exposure modesProgramShutter priorityAperture priorityManual
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe or flash sync port)
Flash modesAuto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On/Red-eye Reduction, Slow Sync, Slow Sync w/Red-eye Reduction, Forced Off
Flash X sync speed1/320 sec
Continuous drive9.0 fps
Self-timerYes
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedHighlight-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4, H.264, H.265
Modes3840 x 2160 @ 60p / 150 Mbps, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 50p / 150 Mbps, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 150 Mbps, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 72 Mbps, MP4, H.265, AAC3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 150 Mbps, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 72 Mbps, MP4, H.265, AAC3840 x 2160 @ 23.98p / 150 Mbps, MP4, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 23.98p / 72 Mbps, MP4, H.265, AAC1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 100 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 100 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 100 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p / 100 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesXQD + SD card slots; UHS-II supported
Connectivity
USBUSB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
USB chargingYes (can be charged with high-power laptop/tablet chargers or portable power banks)
HDMIYes (4:2:2 8-bit output (except 4K/60p))
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11ac + Bluetooth
Remote controlYes
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionDMW-BLJ31 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)380
Weight (inc. batteries)899 g (1.98 lb / 31.71 oz)
Dimensions149 x 110 x 97 mm (5.87 x 4.33 x 3.82″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
GPSNone

Panasonic Lumix S1 Verdict

Putting first-generation devices like the Panasonic S1 through their paces in a test environment is always an exciting prospect. They occasionally show enough promise to drive the entire market in a specific direction, but most of the time, they only bring something new that gets other producers’ attention. Where exactly does the S1 go after that? Most likely, anywhere in the middle of the two.

This is a first model that is, in many ways, more assured and professional than we may have anticipated for its first outing. For instance, it has been awarded the accolade of having the electronic viewfinder image that is the most true-to-life of any camera now available. This is an honor that it shares with its brother, the S1R, which was created using the same unit.

There is little question that other manufacturers will eventually catch up, but for the time being, Panasonic has every reason to feel superior to its competitors.

Panasonic Lumix S1 Pros & Cons

Good For
  • An efficient approach for the stabilization of images
  • Superb video quality
  • Extremely customizable and adaptable
  • Excellent buffer depth
  • Excellent constructional quality and resilience to the elements
Need Improvements
  • A few little problems with the ergonomics
  • A large and ponderous body
  • There is no support for DCI 4K, and the V-Log upgrade costs extra.
  • The eyecup may obstruct the view of the LCD.
  • The focusing system falls behind its rival

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value

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The Panasonic S1 is the more entry-level model of the two cameras used to launch the still-young S system by the firm. The S1 is practically an exact clone of its older and more experienced S1R sister, but it has a sensor with a...Panasonic Lumix S1 Review