Panasonic Lumix S1 and S1R with logos

Panasonic S1 and S1R Mirrorless Full-Frame Cameras Are Here… Almost


Panasonic’s S1 and S1R full-frame mirrorless cameras were announced last September at Photokina along with the “L-Mount” that it uses (the L-Mount is the product of a partnership between Panasonic, Sigma, and Leica), so it is no surprise that they were coming. But now, the specs for these cameras (along with their prices) have been released, and we can finally begin answering the question: does Panasonic have any hope in the suddenly crowded full-frame mirrorless market?

Let’s take a look.

Matthew Gore | Light And Matter

Who Are These Cameras For?

The first thing that jumps out at me is that they’re larger and heavier than their Sony & Nikon counterparts, and they cost a bit more. Here are some of the basic stats:

 Panasonic Lumix S1Panasonic Lumix S1RNikon Z6Nikon Z7Sony A7IIISony A7RIII
Price (Body)$2497$3697$1999$3397$1999$2999
Len MountL-MountL-MountZ-mountZ-mountE-mountE-mount
Sensor Resolution24.2 Megapixel47.3 Megapixel
(no low pass filter)
24.5 Megapixel45.7 Megapixel24.2 Megapixel42.4 Megapixel
ISO Range100-51200100-51200100-51200
(50-204800)
64-25600100-51200
(50-204800)
100-32000
(50-102400)
Autofocus Points (total)2252252734931118824
Autofocus Points
(phase)
Contrast AF system OnlyContrast AF system Only??693399
Autofocus Points
(contrast)
225225??425425
AF Light Level-5 to 19 EV (with f/2 lens)-5 to 19 EV (with f/2 lens)-2 to +19 EV (with f/2 lens)-1 to +19 EV-3 to 20 EV (with f/2 lens)-3 to 20 EV (with f/2 lens)
Frame Rate
(Mechanical Shutter)
9fps AF-S / 6fps AF-C9fps AF-S / 6fps AF-C
12fps
(12-bit RAW or JPG)
9fps
(12-bit RAW)
10fps
(14-bit RAW)
10fps
(14-bit RAW)
Buffer Size90+ RAW
999+ JPG
40+ RAW
50+ JPG
89 compressed RAW
40 uncompressed RAW
76 compressed RAW
28 uncompressed RAW
Built-In Image Stabilization5-axis, 5.5 stops5-axis, 5.5 stops5-axis, 5 stops5-axis, 5-stops5-axis, 5 stops5-axis, 5.5 stops
Anti-Flicker??NoNoYesYes
Shutter Speeds1/16,000 - 60
(1/8000 mechanical shutter)
1/16,000 - 60
(1/8000 mechanical shutter)
1/8000 - 30 sec1/8000 - 30 sec1/8000 - 30 sec1/8000 - 30 sec
Flash Sync Speed1/320 sec. 1/320 sec. 1/200th sec.1/200th sec.1/250 sec.1/250 sec.
Video Resolution4K (3840x2160), 1080p, 720p4K (3840x2160), 1080p, 720p4K (3840x2160), 1080p, 720p4K (3840x2160), 1080p, 720p4K (3840x2160), 1080p, 720p
Max 4K Framerate60fps60fps30fps30fps30fps30fps
Max 1080p Framerate60fps
High Speed Mode: 29.97p (Sensor output is 180fps / 150fps)]
60fps
High Speed Mode: 29.97p (Sensor output is 180fps / 150fps)]
120fps120fps120fps120fps
Video FormatMP4: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
AVCHD Progressive
MP4: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
AVCHD Progressive
MOV/MP4
H.264/MPEG-4
MOV/MP4
H.264/MPEG-4
XAVC S, AVCHD format Ver. 2.0
H.264/MPEG-4
XAVC S, AVCHD format Ver. 2.0
H.264/MPEG-4
Clean HDMI Out4:2:2 8bit (Except for [4K/60p]) / 4:2:0 8bit4:2:2 8bit (Except for [4K/60p]) / 4:2:0 8bitYes: 3840 x 2160 (24/30p),(4: 2: 2 10-bit HDMI output)(4: 2: 2 10-bit HDMI output)Yes: 3840 x 2160 (24/30p), YCbCr 4:2:2 8-bit / RGB 8-bitYes: 1920 x 1080 (24p), 1920 x 1080 (60p), 1920 x 1080 (60i), 3840 x 2160 (30p), 3840 x 2160 (24p), YCbCr 4:2:2 8-bit / RGB 8-bit
Log Profile??N-logN-logS-log2, S-log3S-log2, S-log3
Heaphone JackYes (3.5mm stereo)Yes (3.5mm stereo)Yes (3.5mm stereo)Yes (3.5mm stereo)Yes (3.5mm stereo)Yes (3.5mm stereo)
EVF Type5,760,000 pixel OLED5,760,000 pixel OLED1.3cm Quad VGA
3,686,400 pixel
1.3cm Quad VGA
3,686,400 pixel
1.3cm XGA OLED
2,359,296 pixel
1.3cm Quad VGA OLED
3,686,400 pixel
EVF Coverage100% @ .78x100% @ .78x100% @ 0.8x100% @ 0.8x100% @ .78x100% @ .78x
EVF Frame Rate120fps / 60fps120fps / 60fps60fps60fps60 or 120fps NTSC
50 or 100fps PAL
Rear LCD3.2"
2,1000,000
3.2"
2,1000,000
3.2"
2,1000,000
3.2"
2,1000,000
3" Touchscreen
921,600 pixel
3" Touchscreen
1,440,000 pixel
Swivel AnglesUp
Down
Right
Up
Down
Right
Up
Down
Up
Down
Up 107 degrees
Down 41 degrees
Up 107 degrees
Down 41 degrees
Body Size148.9 x 110.0 x 96.7 mm148.9 x 110.0 x 96.7 mm134 mm x 100.5 mm x 67 mm134 mm x 100.5 mm x 67 mm126.9 mm x 95.6 mm x 62.7 mm126.9 mm x 95.6 mm x 62.7 mm
Weight
(with battery and memory card)
1,021g1,020g675g675g650g657g
Media1 XQD Slot
1 SD Slot
1 XQD Slot
1 SD Slot
1 XQD Card Slot1 XQD Card Slot2 SD Slots (1 UHS II)2 SD Slots (1 UHS II)
Battery TypeLi-ion Battery Pack (3050mAh)Li-ion Battery Pack (3050mAh)EN-EL15b
or
EN-EL15a (shorter life)
EN-EL15b
or
EN-EL15a (shorter life)
NP-FZ100
(2280mAh)
NP-FZ100
(2280mAh)
CIPA Battery Life
(EVF Shooting)
~360 images~340 images~310 shots
10-15 min of movie recording
~330 shots
(EVF or Live View not stated)
!!!10-15 min of movie recording
~610 Shots~530 Shots
ConnectivitySuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C,
Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth
SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C,
Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5GHz), Bluetooth
USB-C, Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5GHz), BluetoothUSB-C, Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5GHz), BluetoothUSB-C, NFC, Wi-Fi (2.4GHz), BluetoothUSB-C, NFC, Wi-Fi (2.4GHz), Bluetooth

What’s Special About the Panasonic Cameras?

Panasonic is touting their 60 or 30 fps burst shooting modes, in which the camera shoots a video clip at either 4K / 60fps or 6K / 30fps for short bursts, and then photographers can extract a JPG from those clips at either 8 or 18 megapixels, respectively. This could certainly be helpful for sports photographers or journalists who need to capture a particular moment, even if the quality is reduced.

Panasonic is known for the video capabilities of their MFT cameras, so it’s no surprise that they are pushing the limits with the S1 and S1R, which can both shoot 4K video at 60fps (for a maximum of 15 minutes, as long as it’s not too hot out, with the S1R, 30 minute limit with the S1). The S1 has no time limit for 30p shooting at 4K, which is also a first, as far as I know.

The S1 and S1R both have electronic viewfinders with extraordinarily high resolution OLED displays. I don’t think that there was any demand for this, and it will decrease battery life. On the other hand, the new cameras’ AF system is supposed to function even at -6EV with an f/1.4 lens, which is practically pitch dark. That’s impressive, if true.

Like the others on the market (except Canon), Panasonic’s camera has built-in 5.5 stop image stabilization which can work in conjunction with their lenses’ stabilization for a total of about 6 stops of stabilization. They also have two memory card slots, an XQD and SD.

Three Lenses Available

There will be three Panasonic lenses available for the system initially: a 70-200 f/4, a 50mm f/1.4, and a 24-105 f/4, all pretty standard consumer-favorites rather than professional workhorses (perhaps the 50mm would fall into that category). The lenses are all weather-sealed and designed for video and photography.

Panasonic’s lens roadmap shows that they plan to offer 18 lenses by the end of 2020, with the next offerings being the golden-triad: 16-35 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8, and 70-200 f/2.8. Frankly, they should have started with those three if they are aiming at a professional market… or even a market of advanced amateurs who are willing to spend thousands of dollars on a camera body.

Matthew Gore | Light And Matter The 50mm and 70-200mm lenses both use a push-pull clutch on the focusing ring to switch between autofocus and manual, similar to the system we’ve seen in the past with Tokina lenses. The 24-105mm uses a standard AF/MF switch.

Several Leica L-mount full-frame lenses are also available, though the cheapest is probably the Summicron-SL 75mm f/2 lens for $4750 (an APO Vario-Elmarit SL 90-280mm f/2.8-4 Lens is available for $6395).

Initial Thoughts

These look like good, solid cameras and will almost certainly be suitable for professional use, according to their specs. The bigger question is: do they have enough to draw people away from Sony, Nikon and Canon?

I doubt it, but you never know what some people will buy. Panasonic is a newcomer to the full-frame market, which is a big initial strike against them to overcome… it took Sony five years of stagnation by Nikon and Canon to become a serious contender. The Lumix cameras are not less expensive. They don’t have more lenses to offer. Where their specs are better, they’re minimally better, or gimmicky (like the pull-from-video bursts stills).

Matthew Gore | Light And Matter It appears that the LCD tilts up, down, and to the right, but not forward. This will be a complaint, but it’s still better than Sony’s LCDs, which only tilt up and down.

And one of the reasons that people have moved to mirrorless is that they’re generally more compact than SLRs… but not in this case. The S1 series cameras are built like tanks: the Sony A7III weighs just over half (ok, 64%) as much as the Lumix S1. Battery life is worse than Sony and no better than Nikon.

But of course, time will tell. Sigma will almost certainly help by producing their lenses in L-Mount, and Leica

Prices and Availability

Panasonic expects to begin shipping the S1 and S1R on April 4th of this year, along with their three lenses. The S1 will cost and the S1R will be . If you’re ready to buy an f/4 zoom, the 70-200 f/4 will cost $1698 and the 24-105 f/4 will be $1298. The L-mount 50mm f/1.4 will be $2,298, one of the most expensive 50mm lenses I’ve ever seen that isn’t German.

These cameras and lenses are all available for pre-order now from B&H or Adorama.

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