Panasonic announces new “box-style” video camera with the full-frame sensor from the Lumix S1H
posted Thursday, October 7, 2021 at 10:59 AM EDT
Panasonic today announced a new member to its unique "box-style" video camera line, the Panasonic Lumix BS1H. As you can probably guess from the model name, the new BS1H, is essentially a full-frame Lumix S1H mirrorless camera put into a small cube-like body. Like its Micro Four Thirds-based sibling, the BGH1, this new full-frame video-focused camera is purpose-built for several specialized video recording use cases, particularly live-streaming, remote and multi-camera video as well as cinema uses where a larger camera like the S1H might be impractical.
The inclusion of a full-frame sensor allows for improved image quality, especially in low-light, and offers "cinematic bokeh" for live-streaming video sitations compared to the MFT-based BGH1. It also offers improved dynamic range, and additional video resolutions the BGH1 doesn't offer, such as 5.9K and 6K recording resolutions. The BS1H also includes HFR (High Frame Rate) video up to 120p and RAW video support for Blackmagic recorders.
Physical design aside, when it comes to recording capabilities and the imaging pipeline, the BS1H is remarkmably similar to its standard Lumix S1H, as you might expect. The camera features the same 24.2-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor with optical low-pass filter and Dual Native ISO, paired with Panasonic's latest-generation Venus Engine processor. The camera has two base ISOs, a low base ISO of 100 and a high base ISO of 640 in normal shooting modes. The camera has a full native ISO range spanning 100 to ISO 51,200 -- or fully expanded from low ISO 50 up to ISO 204,800. The ISO range, however, varies depended on the recording mode. For V-Log, the dual native ISOs shift to 640 and 4000. In the low range, the ISO spans 640-51,200, expandable only down to ISO 320, while in the high range, it's 4000-51,200, with expandable down to ISO 2000. Similarly, HLG video mode spans ISO 400 to 51,200 and is only expandable upwards to ISO 204,800, while native ISO falls at ISO 400 and 2500. For Cinelike D2 and V2 footage, the standard range is ISO 200-51,200, with full expandable ISOs spanning 100-204,800, with native ISO at 200 and 1250.
The primary feature difference in terms of image capturing capabilities is the BS1H's lack of in-body image stabilization, much like the MFT BGH1 sibling model. As with other Panasonic Lumix cameras, the BS1H uses a DFD-based contrast-detect AF system.
Although the BS1H can capture still images (it's in JPEGs only and only when shooting tethered to LUMIX Tether for Multicam software), the obvious focus for this device is video recording. And as you might expect from Panasonic, the video features, formats, resolutions and framerates offered are extensive. Like the "standard" Lumix S1H, this box-camera verison offers 3:2 aspect ratio video recording at both high-res 6K/24p and 5.4K/30p. It also records 5.9K/30p in 16:9 aspect ratio. There is also numerous 4K video recording options, as well as Full HD. The camera offers both Cinema 4K (4096 x 2160) and 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) up to 30p with 4:2:2 10-bit and in 60p with 4:2:2 10-bit*. There is also Anamorphic 4K up to 30p (or 50p for PAL), as well as Variable Frame Rate modes from 2fps to 60fps at 4K resolution and up to 180p in Full HD. High Frame Rate (HFR) video is available up to 120p with sound and autofocusing capabilities.
*C4K/4K 60p 10-bit HEVC video uses a Super35 sensor area (cropped), while 4K30p 4:2:2 10-bit is recordable in H.264 using the full sensor width.
The BS1H also offers high-resolution video recording and RAW video capture via HDMI output. The camera records 4K 60p 4:2:2 10-bit out through HDMI as well as 5.9K, 4K and Anamorphic 4:3 3.5K in 12-bit RAW video over HDMI into an Atomos Ninja V (Apple ProRes) or a Blackmagic HDMI recorder in Blackmagic RAW.
As with the S1H, the BS1H inherits several features from Panasonic VariCam line of cinema cameras, including color science and dynamic range. The BS1H is said to offer 14+ stops of dynamic range when using V-Log; V-Log and V-Gamut provide a wide dynamic range and broad color capturing for enhannced control of the look of the footage in post-production. According to Panasonic, the BS1H's color gamut, known as V-Gamut, is wider than the standard BT.2020 color gamut.
In terms of physical design, the BS1H is largely similar to the Micro Four Thirds variant, with nearly identical physical dimensions -- though its weight is slightly heavier at 585g vs 545g. The camera uses a heat dissipating structure, and features an on-board cooling fan much like both the S1H and BGH1 cameras, allowing the compact cube camera to offer unlimited video recording capabilities even at high-resolution and high data-rate settings.
Although many of the video recording options are similar between the standard S1H camera and this new box-camera variant, the primary differences (apart from the obvious form factor) are the connectivity options the BS1H provides. On the exterior, the camera body offers an array of 1/4-20 sockets for attaching a number of accessories. The BS1H features a wide variety of ports and connection options not found on the S1H, including the popular motion picture and television 3G-SDI connector and built-in Ethernet (RJ-45) with support for PoE (power over ethernet). Additionally, there is a Type-A HDMI port and a USB3.1 Type-C port, though it does not offer USB Power Delivery like on the standard S1H.
Audio can be recorded via a 3.5mm audio input, while the camera is also compatible with the DMW-XLR microphone accessory to support XLR microphone inputs. The BS1H features double SD card slots (UHS-II) for backup recording or relay recording.
As the BS1H is likely to be used in various multi-camera setups, the design and features of the camera allow for easy syncronizing with multiple cameras as well as remote control operation. The BS1H features on-board Genlock IN and Timecode In/Out functions allowing multiple cameras to have their footage easily kept in-sync. The camera works with Panasonic's LUMIX Tether for Mutlicam, allowing for the control of up to 12 individual BS1H cameras -- a functionality also offered on the BGH1 but not on the standard Lumix S1H camera. The BS1H also supports wired LAN support for live streaming capabilties. The BS1H supports IP streaming (RTS/RTSP), with support for streaming video up to 4K 60p in H.265. Lastly, there is also on-board wireless connectivity, with 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth v4.2 (BLE).
Pricing and Availability
The Panasonic LUMIX BS1H is scheduled to hit stores in November with a retail price of $3,499.99.