Panasonic S1 Review

September 25, 2018 | Mark Goldstein |
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  1. News
  2. Hands-On
  3. First
    Impressions
  4. Preview
    Images
  5. Ease
    of Use
  6. Image
    Quality
  7. Sample
    Images
  8. Product
    Images
  9. Product
    Specs
  10. Rating &
    Conclusion
  11. Comment

Panasonic S1 First Impressions

The Panasonic S1R and Panasonic S1 are two new full-frame mirrorless cameras, offering 47 megapixels and 24 megapixels respectively and using the Leica L-mount. In development for the last 4 years, the Lumix S Series promises to offer ““Full frame without compromise”.

We were shown a very early prototype version of the S1R/S1 last week by Panasonic. We weren’t allowed to take any photos of the camera or presentation slides, such was the high level of secrecy.

Read on for our first impressions of the Panasonic S1R and S1 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras...

Panasonic S1R First Impressions

Panasonic have been targeting professionals with their high-end Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras, the GH5s, GH5 and G9, but they feel that they still have some room to expand upwards, hence this development announcement of a completely new system camera with a new sensor format (for Panasonic).

Panasonic haven’t forgotten their 10-year-old Micro Four Thirds line-up though, promising to focus on both categories, which will co-exist and grow simultaneously.

Prototype versions of the S1R and S1 will be displayed under glass at Photokina 2018, with a promised simultaneous launch date for both models of “early 2019”.

Panasonic S1R and S1 Headline Specs

Panasonic S1R First Impressions

Panasonic aren’t giving too much away about their new cameras just yet, but they confirmed to us that the S1R and S1 will have completely new image sensors, a new Venus Engine processor, dual image stabilization (lens and body), an Artificial Intelligence deep learning system for fast and accurate auto-focusing, 4K 60P video recording, and high-quality lenses.

Panasonic S1R and S1 Design

Panasonic S1R First Impressions

The S1R and S1 are identical in their external design, differentiated only by their name badges.

Each camera has an XQD and SD dual memory card slot, a 3-axis tiltable LCD touchscreen, a perfectly sized grip, optimum button layout, and a market leading electronic viewfinder (EVF). They will have an extremely durable shutter, 100% weather sealing, and low temperature resistance (down to -10 degrees).

The Panasonic S1R/S1 is a physically big camera, and the 50mm f/1.4 is a physically big lens. Panasonic’s new full-frame system is quite a lot bigger than Sony’s and Nikon’s, being more akin to Canon’s in size with regards to both the body and the lens.

Note that no official measurements or weights have yet been provided, and the design may change before final launch.

All of the control dials, buttons etc were glued into place and the camera didn’t turn on, so we can’t comment on the operation of the S1R/S1 yet.

Panasonic S1R and S1 Key Controls

Panasonic S1R First Impressions

The key controls on the Panasonic S1R/S1 prototype include:

  • Top-panel LCD screen that can be backlit
  • WB/ISO/EV buttons
  • On/Off switch
  • Front/rear control dials
  • A lockable shooting mode dial, with the usual PASM modes, C1,2,3 modes and Panasonic’s point-and-shoot iA mode
  • A drive mode dial, which sits underneath the shooting mode dial
  • A S/C/MF dial which surrounds the AF point button
  • On the rear, there’s a Lock button on the left, Playback button, Movie record button, AF On, AF Joystick, Quick menu button, circular scroll wheel, Menu/set button, Back button , Display button, and Delete button
  • 2 Function buttons on the front of the camera, and a 1/2 switch to potentially toggle some of the other button settings
  • V.mode button on the pentaprism
  • A physical aperture ring on all 3 lenses

Panasonic Lumix S 50mm f/1.4, 24-105mm and 70-20mm Lenses

Panasonic S1R First Impressions

Panasonic have also unveiled three new lenses for their full-frame system, called the Lumix S Series of lenses. There will be a 50mm f/1.4, 24-105mm and 70-20mm available at the same time as the launch of the S1R and S1 cameras (no aperture info has yet been provided for the two zooms).

They will offer ultimate high resolution, high speed auto-focusing, Dual image stabilization, and impressive solidity and bokeh. All three will have a physical aperture ring, although there was no obvious way to de-click it for video use on the early prototype of the 50mm f/1.4.

Panasonic are also publishing a lens roadmap, with 10 lenses in total due for release by the end of 2020, a promising start.

L-Mount Alliance

But that’s not all. In an exciting and rather unprecedented move, Panasonic have joined forces with Leica and Sigma to form the L-mount Alliance. All three companies will develop full-frame cameras and lenses that use the Leica L-mount standard.

Along with Panasonic’s three new Lumix S lenses, Leica already have eight native L-mount lenses (five primes and three zooms), along with a range of adapters that allow Leica TL, M, S, R and Cine lenses to be used on L-mount cameras.

With Sigma also introducing their own L-mount lens range, this ensures that there will be many lenses available for the Panasonic S1R and S1 from day one, at a wide range of price points, which gives them a distinct advantage over Nikon’s and Canon’s fledgling full-frame systems, and allows them to quickly play catch-up with the market leader, Sony, who now have 30 native e-mount lenses.

Panasonic also told use that more companies may follow and join the L-mount Alliance, if they apply and meet the standards.

Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Lens

Panasonic haven’t forgotten their loyal MFT users, announcing the development of the world’s first constant aperture f/1.7 wide zoom lens, the Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7.

Lumix Pro

Lumix Pro is a brand new global marketing platform - www.lumix-pro.com – which also launches at Photokina. With the strapline “Pro is more than product”, Panasonic will offer 5 different tiers of support to their users – Basic, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Black – via a truly global programme. The company are also set to refresh their Global Ambassador program in the next few weeks.

 So what do you think? Leave a comment on the new Panasonic full-frame mirrorless system below...

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  1. News
  2. Hands-On
  3. First
    Impressions
  4. Preview
    Images
  5. Ease
    of Use
  6. Image
    Quality
  7. Sample
    Images
  8. Product
    Images
  9. Product
    Specs
  10. Rating &
    Conclusion
  11. Comment