Basic Specifications
Full model name: Panasonic Lumix DC-S1
Resolution: 24.20 Megapixels
Sensor size: 35mm
(35.6mm x 23.8mm)
Kit Lens: 4.38x zoom
(24-105mm eq.)
Viewfinder: EVF / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 51,200
Extended ISO: 50 - 204,800
Shutter: 1/8000 - 60 sec
Max Aperture: 4.0 (kit lens)
Dimensions: 5.9 x 4.3 x 3.8 in.
(149 x 110 x 97 mm)
Weight: 36.0 oz (1,021 g)
includes batteries
Availability: 04/2019
Manufacturer: Panasonic
Full specs: Panasonic S1 specifications
L Mount 35mm
size sensor
image of Panasonic Lumix DC-S1
Front side of Panasonic S1 digital camera Front side of Panasonic S1 digital camera Front side of Panasonic S1 digital camera Front side of Panasonic S1 digital camera Front side of Panasonic S1 digital camera

Panasonic S1 Review -- Now Shooting!

by Jaron Schneider and Jeremy Gray
Posted: 02/01/2019
Last updated: 06/06/2019

02/01/2019: Hands-on impressions added
02/20/2019: First Shots from Beta unit posted
03/12/2019: Hands-on Part II added
03/19/2019: First Shots from production unit posted
06/06/2019: Performance test results posted

Click here to jump to our in-depth Panasonic S1 Overview


• • •


Panasonic S1 Hands-on Part II

A versatile and impressive all-around full-frame mirrorless camera

by Jeremy Gray |

The Panasonic S1 is a well-rounded and versatile camera. It is very well-designed and ruggedly built, proving to be a very comfortable and enjoyable camera to use. While photographers looking for the ultimate in image quality may find more to like with the S1R, those wanting the best S series video features and performance will look toward the S1. Neither camera is like the hybrid beast that is the GH5(S), but the S1 is definitely packed with a bit more video punch.

Whether you are shooting stills or video, the autofocus and overall performance of the S1 is impressive. And while 24 megapixels is not as impressive as 47, the S1 offers sharp image files and very good low-light performance. There is a lot to like with the Panasonic S1 and I am excited to see how it performs in our lab.


• • •


Panasonic S1 Review -- Overview

by Jaron Schneider

In an effort to grow their business beyond the dedicated fans of the Lumix Micro Four Thirds system, Panasonic has decided that in order to respond to the needs of customers seeking higher picture quality and creative control, they needed to create entirely new cameras. The Lumix S1 is one of two cameras built to answer the call, and is aimed at existing Lumix users as well as both professional and high-end enthusiast photographers.

Featuring a full-frame 24.2-megapixel sensor, 5-axis Dual IS 2 image stabilization with up to 6 stops of compensation, HLG shooting capabilities as well as 4K 60p/50p ultra high definition video, the S1 is a blend of photo and video capture features the likes of which Panasonic has never made and that the market has never seen. Featuring a totally new body design, autofocus powered by artificial intelligence, and a fully weather-resistant body, Panasonic's new S1 aims to be a dynamic camera capable of capturing just about anything a photographer can imagine.

Design & Ergonomics

Panasonic has expressed that the S1 uses an elegant style that is proportioned to accentuate the lens, with vectored lines that complement the dominant circle of the lens. With a natural, well-balanced feel, the S1 features a substantial, stable grip that was designed to be held and used for long periods of time.

The viewfinder is the highest resolution electronic viewfinder available on an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera, with a 5,760k-dot OLED panel. This high-speed display has a minimum lag time of 0.005 seconds and refreshes at a rate of 120 frames per second, and the EVF overall offers a 0.78x magnification and a 21mm eye point. While certainly large, the S1's 0.78x EVF isn't as large as some other modern mirrorless cameras, such as the 0.83x EVF of the Lumix G9 and Olympus E-M1X.

Panasonic S1R Product Image showing the tilting LCD design

Similar to the rear screens of the Fuji X-T3 and GFX 50S, the rear touchscreen LCD is a "triaxial tilt" design that offers both landscape up/down tilting as well as flip-out design in portrait orientation. The S1's rear display is 3.2-inch, 2,100K-dot, RGBW touch monitor with adjustable brightness and is said to offer high visibility in bright conditions.

The top of the camera features a variety of physical buttons and controls, including white balance, ISO and EV buttons behind the shutter button. Unlike many mirrorless cameras, the S1 (and S1R) offers top-deck status LCD for confirmation of camera settings. The rear of the camera features a handy joystick control that allows for diagonal directionality. The S1 features front and rear command dials as well as a multi-directional pad on the rear that doubles a rotating dial. The rear buttons can also be illuminated, making them easier to use in the dark.

The body construction features a fully die-cast magnesium alloy frame that's extremely durable and lightweight. The body itself is dust and splash resistant and is rated to function even at -10° Celsius (14° F). Further, the S1's shutter unit is rated for 400,000 cycles.

Storage, Power & Connectivity

The S1 features two card slots, a traditional SD slot and an XQD slot (which can be updated with firmware to support CFexpress). The SD slot is UHS-II V90 compatible, and the data writing speed of XQD currently supports up to 400 MB/s read and 440 MB/s write, with CFexpress in the future offering transfer rates as high as 1400 MB/s.

In addition, the S1 implements a feature that helps prevent the loss of data due to user error. An alarm will sound when the card door or battery door is opened during camera operation, in addition to providing a card access lamp.

Power is supplied by a new 7.4V 3050mAh (23Wh) battery pack, and both USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) and in-camera charging are supported. CIPA battery life is rated at 360 shots with the EVF or 380 shots with the LCD when using an XQD card. This increases slightly to 380 and 400 shots respectively with an SD card. In Power Save LVF mode, the EVF ratings increase to a generous 1,100 or 1,150 shots with a one second sleep mode timeout. An optional DMW-BGS1 battery grip will also be available which accepts one battery in addition to the one in the body, roughly doubling battery life.

Wired connectivity includes a full-size (Type-A) HDMI port, a USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 port, a 3.5mm stereo microphone jack (MIC (Plug-in Power) / MIC / LINE selectable), a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack, a 2.5mm remote jack, a PC sync socket and a dedicated hot shoe that supports an XLR microphone accessory. Wireless connectivity is provided by built-in Wi-Fi (2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n and 5GHz 802.11ac) and Bluetooth LE (v4.2).

Sensor & Image Quality

The Panasonic S1 features a 24.2-megapixel full-frame sensor with an AR (anti-reflective) coating and no optical low-pass filter that can capture 14-bit raw photos and has the ability to output 12-bit video. The image processing system provides both high resolution and high sensitivity, with a native ISO range of 100 - 51,200 that can be extended to ISO 50 - 204,800, and Panasonic promises that the S1 can capture super high sensitivity images with low noise.

Thanks to an additional High Resolution Mode, the S1 can also produce 96-megapixel raw files by capturing eight slightly shifted frames in quick succession and optionally stitching them together in-camera, however there's no hand-held mode and a tripod is recommended.

Panasonic's new Venus Engine allows them to offer both high image quality and high performance. The new image processor allows for "Intelligent Detail Processing" to realize more natural, high-resolution expression and improve color moiré suppression. "Three-dimensional Color Control" improves color reproduction of bright and shadow areas. The camera also utilizes "Deep Learning Technology" in the form of human body and animal recognition AI, which the Venus Engine processes through a huge number of reference images programmed into the Engine itself.

Performance & Autofocus

Panasonic claims the S1 as having the fastest autofocus acquisition of any camera before it, able to do so in just 0.08 seconds with the new Depth from Defocus (DFD) autofocus system. Because of the shallower depth of field that can be created by the full-frame sensor, the autofocus system had to be overhauled to be more precise than that of Panasonic's previous Micro Four Thirds cameras. The S1 (and S1R) is quoted to achieve fast and accurate autofocus by combining the DFD AF and 480 fps control, and promises a diversity of AF modes to respond to precise focusing needs.

The new AF system is said to offer accurate focusing even in low lighting conditions down to -6EV (AF-S mode at f/1.4 and ISO 100), and even down to -3EV with 10% contrast (low contrast) subjects. Panasonic says that means it will shoot accurately even in foggy or misty scenes.

The "deep learning" that Panasonic has quoted as part of the Venus Engine processor uses human body and animal recognition (dogs, cats and birds). The AI combines three aspects of the system: DFD, Face/Eye detection, and the deep learning of human bodies and animals. By combining the focus of the lens and sensor (which calculates at 480 frames per second) and the DFD calculations, Panasonic believes the autofocus will be excellent even without the now-typical on-sensor phase detection AF technology. A scene's information is constantly retrieved while monitoring, and spacial information is continuously updating while shooting. According to Panasonic, the camera can then determine the distance to the subject at the instant the shot is taken, and based on that information can adjust for quick and accurate autofocus.

The S1's top shutter speed is 1/8,000 seconds in both mechanical shutter and electronic shutter modes for stills, and an electronic first curtain shutter (EFCS) mode is also available, but its top speed is limited to 1/2,000 seconds. Bulb mode exposures as long as 30 minutes are supported with mechanical or EFCS shutter, and up to 60 seconds with the electronic shutter. While recording movies, the electronic shutter speed range is 1/25 to 1/16,000 seconds. Interestingly, Panasonic claims the world's fastest flash sync speed of 1/320s (for a full-frame mirrorless camera), though that figure is qualified with reduced flash power (similar to what some high-end Nikon DSLRs can do). We've asked Panasonic for the maximum x-sync speed at full flash power, and will update this section once we find out.

The S1 can continuously shoot at up to 9 frames per second in AF-S mode and record with a buffer of 90 photos (or more) in RAW, and 70 photos (or more) in RAW+JPEG. In JPEG only, Panasonic rates the buffer to handle 999 photos or more. In AF-C mode, the S1's frames-per-second rate drops to 6 per second.

If you don't mind a drop in image resolution, the S1 offers both 6K PHOTO and 4K PHOTO burst shooting with at 18MP and 8MP image sizes, respectively. 6K PHOTO captures images at 30fps, while 4K PHOTO mode is offered in both 30fps and 60fps. 6K PHOTO mode can continuous capture up to 10 minutes, while 4K PHOTO mode goes up to 15 minutes.


The Panasonic S1 is in many ways a more video-oriented camera than its brother, the S1R. Though the S1R can also capture full-frame 4Kp60 video just like the S1, it cannot do so in great enough bit-depth to where Panasonic was confident in giving the camera the ability to use V-Log. The Panasonic S1 will also be able to capture HDR video, which the S1R cannot. Unlike the GH5 and GH5s, the S1 and S1R come in NTSC and PAL region versions.

Without additional video upgrades, which can be purchased as an add-on, the S1 captures 4K video in MP4 in 60p/50p/30p/25p/24p in 4:2:0 8-bit. In the higher frame rates (60/50p), the S1 can record 4K video for 29 minutes and 59 seconds. In lower frame rates (30/25/24p), the recording time is unlimited.

Out of the box, the S1 will ship with Cinelike D, Cinelike V and Like709 video profiles. The S1 cannot capture 4Kp60 in full frame, instead cropping to an APS-C frame size in order to achieve it. However, at 30/25/24p frame rates, 4K video uses full-pixel readout without pixel binning.

If you opt for the additional video upgrade, the S1 becomes a much more formidable video capture device. In addition to gaining the Like2100 (Hybrid Log Gamma) and V-Log video profiles (Panasonic has stated V-Log will never be available on the S1R), the S1 will also be able to record 4:2:2 10-bit video internally without any pixel binning in 30p/25p/24p. The S1 can also capture 4K 60p/50p 4:2:2 10-bit via HDMI out. Internal 4Kp60 capture is written in 4:2:0 8-bit.

In Full HD mode, the S1 can record at up to 180 frames per second with High-speed video mode in addition to the typical range of standard video framerates, ranging from 24p up to 60p depending on the video file format. Full HD at 24p (23.98fps) is only available with AVCHD format. With the optional video upgrade, Full HD can be recorded with a bit rate up to 100 Mbps. (Without the upgrade, Full HD video at 60p/50p is recorded at 28Mbps for MP4 and 20Mbps for 30p/25p.)

Here is the full list of features available with the optional upgrade for the S1 (the price of which is TBD):

  • 4:2:2 10-bit Recording
  • MP4 4K 30p/25p 150Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit, Long GOP, LPCM)
  • MP4 4K 24p 150Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit, Long GOP, LPCM)
  • MP4 FHD 60p/50p 100Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit, Long GOP, LPCM)
  • MP4 FHD 30p/25p 100Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit, Long GOP, LPCM)
  • MP4 FHD 24p 100Mbps (4:2:2 10-bit, Long GOP, LPCM)
  • V-Log
  • 4K60p 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI Live Output

Panasonic S1 Pricing & Availability

The suggested retail price of the Panasonic Lumix S1 is US$2,499 for the body only, and US$3,399 bundled with the 24-105mm f/4 OIS lens, and shipping should begin in early April. An optional battery grip will be available for US$349, which is one of many option accessories Panasonic will offer once the camera becomes available. The pricing for the optional video upgrade has not yet been announced, however Panasonic has stated that it's set to be released some time in 2019.

New L-series Alliance with Panasonic, Leica and Sigma

One of the major stories around these new Lumix S1R and S1 camera is the lens mount; they utilize the Leica L mount -- the same mount that's on the Leica SL. Panasonic and Leica have long had a strategic partnership, not only on lens designs and manufacturing but also sharing certain camera models. They've now taken the partnership to the next level, not only incorporating Leica's L mount into their cameras and lenses, but also bringing on famed lens manufacturer Sigma to form a new L-series Alliance.

It's a pretty strategic move on Panasonic's part. In launching an all-new camera system with a "new," or rather a different lens mount than their already-existing lens products (MFT), Panasonic isn't fresh out of the gate with a new camera system with little to no lens support, both natively or from third parties. By using the L-mount, the Lumix S1R and S1 camera can already take advantage of the current selection of Leica L-Mount lenses.

As mentioned, Panasonic will also design and build their own native L-mount lenses, starting with a 50mm f/1.4 prime, a 24-105mm f/4 standard zoom, and a 70-200mm f/4 telephoto zoom. They've also announced a broad lens roadmap, expanding the native S series lenses to more than ten different models by 2020.

As for Sigma's role in this new L-mount Alliance, we don't yet have specifics, but the company plans to release their 14 E-mount lenses in L-mount, as well as develop new ones.


• • •


Panasonic S1 Hands-On Shooting Experience, Part II

A versatile and impressive all-around full-frame mirrorless camera

by Jeremy Gray | Posted 03/12/2018

Panasonic 24-105mm f/4 MACRO OIS LUMIX S at 105mm, f/8, 1/20s, ISO 6400.
Click for full-size image. (Shot with a Panasonic S1 with Beta Firmware.)


While the Panasonic S1 and S1R aren't hitting store shelves until next month, we have already had two hands-on experiences with the cameras. My colleague, Jaron Schneider, went to Barcelona to try out the cameras at Panasonic's first launch event. Later, I headed to Austin, Texas to spend a day with the cameras and the three launch lenses.

During my time with the cameras, both the S1 and S1R had pre-production firmware, so I will not be able to go in-depth with my analysis of the camera's imaging or performance. However, I am able to generally discuss how I feel about the cameras and lenses. Further, raw files aren't supported in Adobe Camera Raw yet, so I cannot share processed raw files. The camera did offer in-camera raw processing, but I only had a day with the S1 and S1R, so I spent it shooting as much as possible, rather than tinkering with the menus.

With that said, my general plan is to write a detailed Hands-On Experience, much like my colleague William Brawley did with the Olympus E-M1X back in December. I will be covering some of the same ground as Jaron has previously in his hands-on experience but with my own personal spin. It'll be a "second opinion" type of situation. Further, as the S1 and S1R are identical in numerous meaningful ways, there will be considerable overlap with my written experiences for the S1 and S1R. For people interested in both cameras, I apologize for the redundancies. Without further ado, let's get into it and see what all the buzz is about with Panasonic's brand-new full-frame mirrorless camera system.

A somewhat large mirrorless camera, the S1 is very comfortable in the hands. The front grip is excellent and the function buttons on the front are conveniently located. Further, the shutter release position is excellent.

The Panasonic S1 and S1R cameras share identical camera bodies save for the model branding. Anything positive or negative I say in this section applies equally to both cameras.

When I first picked up the S1, I was immediately struck by the sheer size and weight of the camera. While other mirrorless cameras, such as the Sony A7 series, have emphasized a small, lightweight design, they've done so at the cost of usability and comfort in my opinion. Panasonic has taken a different approach with the S1R, perhaps at the cost of portability. Which direction is best is a matter of taste. In my opinion, Panasonic's approach is the better one in most cases. The camera has ample physical controls, including a lot of dedicated buttons (many of which can be reprogrammed).

The toll for these physical controls is that the camera weighs 2.25 pounds (1,021 grams), which is quite heavy. The camera is also nearly 6 inches wide, over 4 inches tall and nearly 4 inches deep at its maximum. It's a big camera and feels more like a full-frame DSLR than it does a full-frame mirrorless camera, generally speaking.

With that said, it's also remarkably comfortable in the hand. The grip is very well designed, and the shutter release is in an excellent location and even has a bit of an angle to it, allowing my index finger to rest naturally on the release. The release feels great too, which is something I really appreciate.

The top of the S1 has a mode dial, a great top display and important shooting controls, including dedicated white balance, ISO and exposure compensation controls within reach of your shutter finger.

Other controls and buttons feel great. Near the shutter release are white balance, ISO and exposure compensation buttons, which you can either hold and cycle with either of the two command dials or press to cycle through available settings. For example, if you hold the ISO button, you can spin a dial to go through available ISO speeds, or you can tap the button to move through speeds. Tap once to go from ISO 100 to ISO 200, tap twice to get from 100 to 400, etc. Three of the most important controls are located within reach of my shooting hand, which is great.

The rear of the camera has a wide array of buttons as well, including a dedicated autofocus joystick and a directional pad surrounded by a rotating dial. The focus joystick is nice for moving the autofocus point, but I did not like the directional pad. It's mushy and unresponsive and I found myself quickly opting instead for utilizing the AF joystick or touchscreen to navigate menus.

Speaking of the touchscreen, the touch implementation is great. However, the 3.2-inch display felt a little underwhelming in general. The triaxial tilt mechanism, which is very Fuji-like in design, works well for tilting when using the camera in landscape orientation but is limited when using the camera in a portrait orientation, as it does not tilt fully in that direction. A tilt-swivel display would be much more practical.

The back of the S1 is designed well, save for the mushy directional pad. The joystick, which controls focus point location by default, is much better. The electronic viewfinder is particularly good as well due to its superb resolution and overall smoothness during shooting.

The electronic viewfinder, on the other hand, is superb. It is a 5.76-million dot OLED LVF with 0.78x magnification. Other cameras offer similar magnification, but no other camera in its class offers this level of resolution. It is remarkably sharp. Sharpness is but one aspect of its appeal, it is also very smooth during operation, offering 120Hz refresh rate. It's a smooth and sharp EVF and frankly, probably the best I've ever used. The round eyecup is comfortable as well, which is great for extended use.

The S1 also offers a top information display, which looks good and does its job. Next to the information display is a button to illuminate not only the display, but a selection of critical buttons on the camera. Similarly useful in low light, when the camera senses dark conditions, it dims the rear display. There's also a dedicated night vision mode, which makes the display red to help preserve night vision. It may not be something many users will need, but the thoughtfulness of this feature is symbolic of the entire camera's design.

So yes, the S1 is big and heavy when compared to its full-frame mirrorless competition. But, with the heft comes not only ruggedness and weather sealing, but a bevy of physical controls and intelligent design. It's a very comfortable and enjoyable camera to use.

A Brief Word on Image Quality

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the S1 I used in Austin was not using production firmware. While I'm not sure how much will change with respect to image quality before the camera ships, it's possible that important adjustments to the camera's imaging performance will be made ahead of firmware version 1.0. With that said, I will not be able to make any sweeping claims about the S1's quality. Further, raw image processing is not yet available for files from the S1, so I will be withholding analysis of raw files for now.

Image quality is one of the few areas of distinction between the S1 and S1R cameras. The S1 has a 24.2-megapixel MOS image sensor which delivers a native ISO range of 100 to 51,200. The ISO can be expanded further to a 50-204,800 range.

Panasonic 24-105mm f/4 MACRO OIS LUMIX S at 54mm, f/16, 1/20s, ISO 1600.
Click for full-size image. (Shot with a Panasonic S1 with Beta Firmware.)

I was pleased with the detail found in the S1's JPEG files. At low ISO settings, the images are sharp and look quite nice. The dynamic range appears to be good as well. When shooting in low light, the situation remains quite good. The noise is well-controlled and tonal transitions are smooth and pleasing to the eye.

While image quality could be further adjusted before the camera releases this spring, I have no concerns with the images produced by the S1. Files are detailed, clean and have pleasing colors.

Shooting Experience: Autofocus, Continuous Shooting and More


Autofocus is a particularly interesting area when it comes to the S1. Unlike other mirrorless cameras on the market, Panasonic has opted for contrast-detect autofocus rather than phase-detect or hybrid autofocus. This is a fascinating decision and one the company certainly didn't take lightly. As I headed to Texas, I had some concern about how the S1's autofocus would perform not only in general, but also with respect to continuous and low-light autofocus performance.

Panasonic 24-105mm f/4 MACRO OIS LUMIX S at 24mm, f/4, 1/50s, ISO 6400.
Click for full-size image. (Shot with a Panasonic S1 with Beta Firmware.)

As it turns out, not only does the S1 and its 225-area contrast-detect autofocus system work quickly and accurately, but it also performs well in subject tracking and continuous autofocus scenarios. Even in very dim light, the camera did a really nice job of acquiring focus with all three lenses I used, even the 50mm f/1.4 PRO, which was on firmware version 0.2.

The S1 offers a variety of autofocus area modes, including body/face/eye detect. The camera does a nice job locating a body in the frame and then dialing in on the face. Locking on the eye was a bit less reliable, although the camera did a good job when the face was moderately large in the frame. For example, the camera did well, even in low light, when shooting a portrait where the subject's upper half was filling the frame. However, it didn't do as well at finding the eyes when it was a full-body portrait. By tapping on different selected areas, which are highlighted with rectangles for body and face and lines for eyes, you can quickly swap between detected people in the frame.

For continuous focus, the body detect, subject tracking and single area modes I tested worked well. Body detect and subject tracking were particularly impressive. Obviously additional testing is needed, but first impressions in this area are certainly positive.

Panasonic 24-105mm f/4 MACRO OIS LUMIX S at 64mm, f/4, 1/1600s, ISO 10,000.
Click for full-size image. (Shot with a Panasonic S1 with Beta Firmware.)

Overall, my impressions of the autofocus performance are very positive. I had no issues and was generally impressed with the camera's capabilities.


The S1 delivers strong performance thanks to its Venus Engine Image Processor. The S1 shoots at 6 frames per second with continuous autofocus and 9 fps with AF-S. These are the same speeds as the S1R, but the S1 has an advantage when it comes to buffer depths. Both cameras have an XQD card slot and a UHS-II SD card slot and writing and buffer clearing felt fast during my hands-on time with the S1. We will need to put the camera through the lab with 1.0 firmware for a full picture, but the first impressions are positive.

Panasonic promises up to 90 raw files in a burst before the buffer fills or 999 JPEG files, making the S1 a notably better option for sports photography than the S1R. When shooting continuously with the S1, I never felt slowed down or hampered by the camera. Everything about it was fluid, responsive and quick.

Panasonic 24-105mm f/4 MACRO OIS LUMIX S at 64mm, f/4, 1/1600s, ISO 10,000.
Click for full-size image. (Shot with a Panasonic S1 with Beta Firmware.)

Menus and Usability

Not only is the S1 quick, but it's also really enjoyable to use. The menu system is well-designed and of the biggest compliments I can give to a camera is that I didn't have to think very hard about where to find certain settings. That was also the case with the S1R. Settings are where you'd expect them and the menu can be navigated quickly, even when you are not experienced with the camera. Further, touchscreen implementation works well, as does the Quick Menu.

Additionally, there are some physical aspects of the camera which are particularly impressive. For example, there are illuminated buttons, which is really nice. The electronic viewfinder, which I discussed earlier, is excellent in real-world use. It is very sharp and smooth and is poised to become the new standard-bearer in the industry. The top display is also a welcome addition.

Panasonic 24-105mm f/4 MACRO OIS LUMIX S at 57mm, f/4, 1/60s, ISO 1000.
Click for full-size image. (Shot with a Panasonic S1 with Beta Firmware.)

Panasonic S1 versus S1R

Much of what I like about the S1R can be equally applied to the S1, including the excellent build quality and overall camera design, both in terms of hardware and software. The two cameras are very comfortable to use and feature many physical controls. They also utilize the same electronic viewfinder, which is one of the best I have ever used thanks to its industry-leading sharpness and fast refresh rate.

What separates the S1R and S1 perhaps the most are their respective image sensors. The S1R employs a 47.3-megapixel sensor, whereas the S1 delivers 24-megapixel images. In both cases, imaging performance is good. However, the sharpness and detail in the S1R files is notably good and while the S1 does a bit better at higher ISO speeds, I still prefer the look and overall quality of images from the S1R. It will be interesting to compare raw files later, but for now, I prefer the S1R's image quality.

Performance between the two cameras is pretty similar, although the S1 offers more buffer depth and feels a little bit faster in real-world use when shooting continuously. Both cameras offer really good autofocus performance as well.

Video is yet another one of the handful of differentiators between the S1 and S1R. Unlike he S1, the S1R does not have HLG Video recording. Further, the S1R doesn't record 4:2:2 video. Both cameras record 4K/60p video and can shoot Full HD video at up to 180 fps, but the S1 is definitely better-suited for video-intensive work.

When it comes to pricing, the S1 is, unsurprisingly, the more affordable option. However, it is still quite expensive, arriving in April with a price of $2,500. The S1R will cost $3,700, making it more expensive than both Sony and Nikon's high-resolution mirrorless cameras.

Panasonic S1 Hands-on Experience (Austin, Texas) Summary

Versatile and well-rounded full-frame mirrorless camera

What I liked:

  • Excellent camera design and build quality
  • Fantastic electronic viewfinder
  • Impressive image quality
  • Great low-light performance
  • Good all-around performance
  • A wider array of video features than the S1R

What I didn't like:

  • Tilting touchscreen doesn't tilt a lot
  • Mushy directional pad/buttons
  • Quite large and heavy

The Panasonic S1 is a well-rounded and versatile camera. It is very well-designed and ruggedly built, proving to be a very comfortable and enjoyable camera to use. While photographers looking for the ultimate in image quality may find more to like with the S1R, those wanting the best S series video features and performance will look toward the S1. Neither camera is like the hybrid beast that is the GH5(S), but the S1 is definitely packed with a bit more video punch.

Panasonic 24-105mm f/4 MACRO OIS LUMIX S at 105mm, f/8, 1/125s, ISO 400.
Click for full-size image. (Shot with a Panasonic S1 with Beta Firmware.)

Whether you are shooting stills or video, the autofocus and overall performance of the S1 is impressive. And while 24 megapixels is not as impressive as 47, the S1 offers sharp image files and very good low-light performance. There is a lot to like with the Panasonic S1 and I am excited to see how it performs in our lab.


• • •


Panasonic S1 Hands-on Part I

by Jaron Schneider |

I don't think it would be unfair to say that the S1 and S1R are two of Panasonic's most anticipated cameras ever. Though the world has only had a few short months to get hyped and excited about them as Panasonic did a very good job keeping their development under wraps until now, expectations are high for this newcomer to the full frame mirrorless game. But with that excitement comes expectation, so how well do Panasonic's cameras hold up to the hype?

As a note before you continue, the S1 and the S1R are nearly the same camera in just about every regard, from body design to autofocus functionality. With the samples we were able to spend a short time with, even the video features were largely the same (the more advanced video functionality of the S1 will require a paid firmware update after launch, and those functions were not available to test during our short hands-on session). As such, much of the following previews for each camera will be the same, with side notes in select sections branching off to discuss major differences.

Also, the cameras we were given to test for a very short time were pre-production builds, and as a result we won't be diving too deep or offering detailed opinions on image quality and other features. Raw files will also not be made available at this time.


Editor's Picks