Panasonic Lumix DC-S1

      Photo Review 9.0

      In summary

      Panasonic’s first ‘hybrid’ camera with 24-megapixel stills and support for 4K 10-bit video with the V-Log picture profile along with up to 6 stops of Dual I.S. stabilisation.

      While both Panasonic S-series cameras are designed for professional photographers, the S1 has a lower price tag and is a bit more versatile. It’s better suited to video recording, where it offers full sensor readout in 4K at 30p/25p/24p, which retains the original viewing angle of the lens. A software upgrade key is promised for later this year to add 4:2:2 10-bit 4K 30p/25p internal video recording and 4K 60p/50p via HDMI output as well as Panasonic’s V-Log picture profile.

      The S1 also has better low-light capabilities, covers a wider ISO range and has a much larger buffer capacity for burst shooting as well as a slightly higher battery capacity, largely because its files are smaller.


      Full review

      Back in September 2018, Panasonic announced its attention to produce two ‘full frame’ mirrorless cameras, the 47-megapixel S1R and the 24-megapixel S1, both designed to use the Leica L mount. Both were developed for professional photographers, with the ‘S’ designation standing for ‘specialised’ and Photo Review has just received both cameras and the three lenses released at the same time to review. This review will cover features common to both cameras but concentrate on the S1 camera. Readers interested in the S1R will be provided with links for swapping between the two reviews.

      Angled view of the Lumix DC-S1 camera with the Lumix S 24-105mm f/4 Macro O.I.S lens. (Source: Panasonic.)

      With respect to features and resolution, the S1 competes directly with the Nikon Z6 and Sony’s α7 III models but has marginally lower resolution than the Canon EOS R. At an RRP of AU$3599, it’s more expensive than all of its rivals. We received the review camera in kit format with the Lumix S 24-105mm f/4 Macro O.I.S lens, which is reviewed separately. We also received the Lumix S PRO 70-200mm f/4 O.I.S and Lumix S PRO 50mm f/1.4. These lenses have been reviewed separately.

      Key Features
      There are some significant differences between the Panasonic S1 and its competitors, with a few placing it ahead and some showing it to have some limitations. The following list highlights the key differences:

      1. The S1 and S1R have the largest and heaviest bodies in the group.
      2. The S1 and S1R have by far the highest EVF resolution at 5,760,000 dots, compared with 3,680,000 dots for the Canon and Nikon cameras and 2,360,000 dots for the Sony model.
      3. The shutter in the S1 and S1R is rated for 400,000 cycles, double the ratings for its rivals’ shutters.
      4. The S1 is the only camera that supports 4K 25p with full sensor readout. But, it’s the only one that requires you to pay extra for Log recording capability. Both S-series cameras also offer 4K 50p video recording with frame cropping. The others are limited to 4K 25p.
      5. The S1 and S1R have dual image stabilisation with in-body 5-axis IS (a feature also provided in the Nikon and Sony cameras) that can integrate with in-lens stabilisation to provide better shake correction.
      6. Only the Canon camera has a fully-articulated LCD monitor; the other cameras have tilting screens, with the S-series models offering three-way tilt. All four cameras include touchscreen controls. The S1, Canon and Nikon screens have 2,100,000-dot resolution, while the Sony camera’s screen has less than half as many dots.
      7. The S-series cameras rely upon contrast-based Depth from Defocus autofocusing technology whereas the other three cameras have on-sensor phase-detection AF sensors, which combine high speed with high accuracy.
      8. Only the S-series cameras have backlit buttons to make the camera easy to use in dim lighting.
      9. The Sony camera is the only one without a top panel data display.
      10. The Sony camera has the best battery capacity at 710 shots/charge with the S1 next at 400 shots/charge and the Canon camera the worst at 370 shots/charge.
      11. The S-series and Sony cameras have two card slots, whereas the Canon and Nikon cameras have single slots. The Sony camera has dual SD slots, while the S1 and S1R have one SD slot and one XQD slot.
      12. The S-series cameras are the only ones that provide film panorama (65:24) and 2:1 aspect ratio settings, in addition to the regular 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratios.

      Who’s it For?
      While both Panasonic S-series cameras are designed for professional photographers, the S1 has a lower price tag and is a bit more versatile. It’s better suited to video recording, where it offers full sensor readout in 4K at 30p/25p/24p, which retains the original viewing angle of the lens. A software upgrade key is promised for later this year to add 4:2:2 10-bit 4K 30p/25p internal video recording and 4K 60p/50p via HDMI output as well as Panasonic’s V-Log picture profile.

      The S1 also has better low-light capabilities, covers a wider ISO range and has a much larger buffer capacity for burst shooting as well as a slightly higher battery capacity, largely because its files are smaller. Typical sizes for Large/Fine JPEGs range from about 2.8MB to 9.3MB, depending on the amount of detail in the shot. Raw files average around 34MB.

      Neither camera is ideal for shooting sports or rapid action, partly because they’re designed as general-purpose cameras and there aren’t any really suitable lenses yet but also through limitations in handling the large image files of the S1R. A stand-out feature of both cameras is the inclusion of a High Resolution multi-shot mode that uses pixel shifting to deliver 96-megapixel images in the case of the S1 or a jaw-dropping 183 megapixels for the S1R, all from an eight-frame stack. Both cameras must be tripod-mounted when using this mode.

      The S1R, which is reviewed separately, offers higher much resolution and is more suitable for stills photographers. It will suit commercial photographers who require very large image files when shooting images that will be reproduced with high resolution.

      Potential purchasers could include wedding and portrait photographers, studio photographers who shoot fashion and/or products and landscape photographers who require very high resolution. The table below compares key features of both cameras.

      S1 S1R
      Effective resolution 24.2 megapixels 47.3 megapixels
      Max image size for stills 6000 x 4000 pixels 8368 x 5584 pixels
      Max. video capabilities Full sensor readout: UHD 4K 30/25p
      1.5x crop: UHD 4K 60/50p
      1.09x crop:  UHD 4K 60/50p

      With pixel-binning

      Log modes HLG 10-bit plus 4:2:2 10-bit 4K 30p/25p internal and 4K 60p/50p via HDMI  via optional software key n.a.
      High-res stills mode 12,000 x 8,000 pixels 16,736 x 11,168 pixels
      HLG Photos 5,888 x 3,312  pixels 7,680 x 4,320 pixels
      Continuous shooting (stills) 9 fps (AFS) or 6 fps (AFC)
      Buffer capacity > 999 JPEGs, > 90 RAW files >50 JPEGs, >40 RAW files
      Battery capacity 380-400 shots/charge (1,150 shots in PowerSave LVF mode with SD card ) 360-380 shots/charge (1,150 shots in PowerSave LVF mode with SD card )
       Body dimensions 148.9 x 110.0 x 96.7 mm
      Body weight 899 grams (1.021 kg with battery) 898 grams (1.0201 kg with battery)
      RRP (AU$) $3599 $5299

      Both cameras will be offered with the Lumix S 24-105mm f/4 Macro O.I.S. lens as well as in body-only configuration. Both cameras are supplied with the 7.4-V 3,050 mAh high-capacity battery, which can be quickly charged via USB PD (USB Power Delivery), using the bundled USB3.1 Type-C cable. The DMW-BTC14 Battery Charger complies with USB PD and enables quick power charging in approximately two hours. The camera can be used while charging via the Battery Charger adaptor.

      New accessories include Remote Shutter (DMW-RS2), Eyecup (DMW-EC6) and Battery Grip (DMWBGS1). Both cameras are compatible with the following Panasonic External Flash units: DMW-FL580L / FL360L / FL200L.

      Build and Ergonomics
      Apart from the model name on the front panel, both camera bodies are essentially identical and both are relatively large and heavy for their type (mirrorless full-frame cameras). We’re not sure where the one gram difference in body weights comes from but it doesn’t appear to be an error as we checked several overseas websites and all showed the same information.

      This illustration confirms the bodies of the S1  and S1R are virtually identical. (Source: Panasonic.)

      Both cameras have weather-sealed magnesium alloy bodies that are splash-resistant, dust-resistant and freeze-resistant down to -10 degrees Celsius. They also boast professional-quality durable shutter units that are rated for around 400,000 releases.

      Perhaps surprisingly, given it lacks a mirror box, the S1 body is a bit deeper that an equivalent DSLR (like the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV or Nikon D850), although otherwise its external dimensions are similar. It has a generous grip moulding, making it comfortable to hold. The front control dial is semi-embedded into the top of the grip, just below the shutter release button.

      Front view of the
      Lumix DC-S1 camera with no lens fitted. (Source: Panasonic.)

      As usual, the front panel is dominated by the lens mount, which is based on the Leica L-mount and has an inner diameter of 51.6 mm and a flange depth of 20.0 mm. Between the lens mount and the grip are three buttons, the top two being programmable function (Fn) buttons, with the lower of them also accessing depth of field preview. The lowest is the lens release button.

      On the opposite side of the lens mount is a lever switch, which is also programmable. A registered function can be set for when this switch is set to mode 2. The default setting is Silent Mode. Directly above this lever near the top of the camera body is a flash synchro socket with a screw-on cap. Opposite this socket a self-timer/AF-assist LED is embedded into the camera body.

      The top panel of the
      Lumix DC-S1 camera with no lens fitted. (Source: Panasonic.)

      Many key controls are located on the top panel. Working from left to right we find the shooting mode dial, which sits atop the lever-operated drive dial. Next comes the EVF housing, which has dual microphone holes for stereo audio recording embedded into its top, just in front of a flash hot-shoe. A speaker slot is located to the rear of the hot-shoe.

      Buttons for accessing the EVF/LVF switch and viewfinder display magnification settings are located on either side of the housing just behind the speaker slot. A dioptre adjustment wheel lies below the LVF button.

      To the right of the EVF housing lies the LCD status panel, with a button switch for illuminating it beside it. The power on/off switch lies between this button and the strap eyelet on the edge of the camera body. In front of the power switch at the rear of the grip moulding lie three buttons, which provide direct access to the white balance, ISO and exposure compensation settings. Behind the switch is the rear dial control.

      The rear panel of the
      Lumix DC-S1 camera. (Source: Panasonic.)

      The two main features on the rear panel are the EVF and the LCD monitor. The EVF is highly-specified, with a resolution of 5,760,000 dots and a magnification of 0.78x. It has a maximum refresh rate of 120 fps and a 21 mm eyepoint, which combine to make it one of the best viewfinders we’ve used.

      The 3.2-inch monitor screen has a 3:2 aspect ratio with a resolution of 2,100,000 dots and supports  static touch control. It supports three-way tilting, with the normal high-angle and low-angle positions plus a lever on the left hand side, which is pushed up to free the screen for angular adjustments. It can’t be set to face fully forwards or left or reversed to face into the camera body.

      Above the monitor screen on the left side of the EVF housing are the operation lock lever and the playback button. The former can be set to disable functions like the cursor buttons, joystick, touch screen or control dials. To the right of the EVF housing is the video recording button, which is distinguished by a red dot.

      Further right we find a cluster of controls that includes the AF mode  and AF on buttons, with the joystick control just below them. Further down lies the Q button for opening the Quick Control menu. Below it is another control dial with an arrow pad in its centre. A Menu/SET button sits in the middle of the arrow pad. Below the arrow pad/dial are three more buttons, which handle cancel/back, display and delete functions.

      The dual card slots accept SD and XQD cards. (Source: Panasonic.)

      On the right hand side of the camera body is the memory card compartment, which has a sliding lever lock. The top slot is for SD cards and both cameras support UHS-II SD cards. The lower slot is for  XQD cards and will eventually support CFexpress cards. A small LED adjacent to the lower edge of the card compartment glows when a card is in use.

      The left hand side panel is dedicated to the main interface ports and has three separate compartments, each sealed with a flexible rubber cover. The top compartment holds the socket for the optional wired remote control; below it is the compartment with the microphone and headphone sockets. The USB and HDMI  ports occupy the lowest compartment.

      The base plate of the camera has a metal-lined tripod socket, which is located in line with the lens axis. Beside it is the connector port for the optional battery grip, which has a similar rubber cover to the interface ports. The battery compartment is located in the usual position with its lid opening below the grip moulding. A rubber cover on this lid protects the DC coupler. The battery cover has a lever lock.

      Noteworthy Features
      1. Menu design:
      Panasonic has always done a good job with menu designs and this carries over into the two S1 cameras. Functions are organised into three ‘columns’ with easily-recognisable icons to identify them. On the left side you’ll find identifiers for specific groups of functions with icons for stills and movie shooting, settings, card handling, personalisation and playback.

      The middle column drills down to individual functions like exposure mode, Photo Style, metering, recording format and quality, focusing adjustments, audio recording, display and  stabilisation/image are settings. The next column accesses individual settings for each function.

         2: Autofocusing: Panasonic has relied on its proprietary depth From Defocus (DFD) system in most of its cameras over the past few years and this system is used in the two S1 cameras. Because it relies on contrast detection, focusing speed depends on how quickly the lens motor can span the focal range and how precisely it can stop when maximum contrast is detected.

      New ‘deep learning’ object detection and recognition algorithms have refined this system considerably by enabling lens parameters to be taken into account to minimise hunting. The latest system can quickly determine how much out of focus the lens is, and in what direction. Focus is achieved by comparing two images captured in rapid succession, with a small adjustment between them. The differences between the images drive the focusing motor, dramatically reducing the fine-tuning needed to obtain sharp, accurate focus.

      We found the system in both cameras worked well under a wide variety of shooting conditions, including with fairly low-contrast subjects after dark. But it wasn’t always easy to see in the viewfinder whether the shot was sharply focused just before you pressed the shutter button (although in most cases, chimping showed it was). This could be disconcerting at times and that failure in camera-to-user interaction was the main problem we experienced.

      Built-in facial recognition and eye-AF were particularly effective for obtaining sharp images of human subjects when shooting both stills and video. With video, tracking moving subjects was usually handled well, although we found focusing locked on faster with subjects that were moving towards the camera than those moving away from it. Panasonic should be able to address these issues through firmware updates as focusing algorithms are further refined.

         3. Stabilisation: Built-in 5-axis stabilisation is a feature of both cameras and Panasonic claims it is capable of providing up to 5.5 stops of shake correction. When a stabilised lens is fitted to the camera, the proprietary Dual IS 2 technology will kick in and the two systems will work together to increase the effectiveness by roughly half a stop because the stabilisers in the lens add pitch and yaw correction.

      Electronic stabilisation is also available when shooting video clips. Because the frame is cropped slightly with this process, the angle of view of the lens becomes narrower. You can also boost the effectiveness of the image stabiliser for recording video to provide a more stable composition from a fixed perspective. However, this function can’t be used in combination with Dual IS 2.

         4. High Resolution Mode: The High Resolution mode in the S1 combines a succession of eight shots taken while shifting the sensor in a rotary pattern to record an array of 12,000 x 8,000 pixels with the 3:2 aspect ratio as a 96-megapixel raw file. (The image size will vary with different aspect ratios.) This file must be converted into JPEG format post-capture since it can’t be processed in the camera.

      The camera uses the electronic shutter and exposures can range from one second to 1/8000 second. The minimum aperture defaults to f/16 and the maximum sensitivity is restricted to ISO 3200. Only the AF-S and manual focus modes are available and recordings must be made with ‘full frame’ lenses.

      The camera must be tripod mounted when shooting with this mode to manage the relationship between sensor and scene and minimise potential camera movements. Users can set the delay time from when the shutter button is pressed to when the exposure begins. They can also select from two Motion Blur Processing modes, one of which prioritises high resolution while the other reduces after-image blurring.
         5. Communications: Both cameras come with built-in secure 5GHz Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11ac) plus Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy connections to ensure fast data sharing with other devices as well as remote control of key camera functions. a new Lumix Sync application for iOS and Android devices makes it easy to connect wirelessly with a smartphone or tablet.

      Lumix Tether software for USB-tethered shooting lets users control the camera and view shots on the computer’s screen while shooting, a useful capability for commercial photo shoots where continuous confirmation is required. Tethered shooting can also support start and stop controls for video recording and enable users to access 6K Photo and 4K Photo modes.

      Sensor and Image Processing
      The 24.2-megapixel sensor in the S1 is partnered with the latest Venus Engine processor that enables the camera to support 4K video recording. Native ISO sensitivity settings range from 100 to 51200 for silent shooting with the electronic shutter, with extensions to ISO 50 and ISO 204800 available when the mechanical shutter is selected. Movie settings are restricted to ISO 100 to 102400.

      Raw files are recorded in Panasonic’s proprietary RW2.RAW file format. RAW+JPEG capture is supported and users can choose between fine and standard quality settings for the latter. Six aspect ratio settings are available: 3:2 (the default), 4:3, 16:9, 1:1, 65:24 and 2:1, the latter two being panorama formats.

      Picture sizes will change, depending on whether a ‘full frame’ or APS-C lens is used. The table below shows typical resolutions for the 3:2 aspect ratio for both options.

      Picture Size for Full frame lenses Resolution Number of recordable images on a 32GB card
      XQD card SD card
      [L] 24 megapixels 6000 x 4000 2400 2460
      [M] 12 megapixels 4272 x 2848 4410 4520
      [S] 6 megapixels 3024 x 2016 7750 7940
      Picture Size for APS-C  lenses
      [L] 10.5 megapixels 3984 x 2656 3600 3690
      [M] 5.5 megapixels 2880 x 1920 6615 6780
      [S] 3 megapixels 2064 x 1376 11,625 11,910

      The two panorama formats can only be recorded with the Large [L] image size, with the 65:24 aspect ratio delivering 13-megapixel (6000 x 2208 pixel) files and the 2:1 aspect ratio producing 18-megapixel (6000 x 3000 pixel) files. Picture size adjustments are not supported with raw picture quality and in the 6K/4K PHOTO and Post Focus shooting modes, the High Resolution Mode or with multiple exposures.

      The S1 provides two ‘burst’ settings, which can be configured to enable  high-speed burst recording or 6K/4K PHOTO recording, at the user’s discretion. The default setting is I for high-speed burst and II for 6K/4K PHOTO.

      The  highest burst rate is nine frames/second (fps) with the AF-S and MF modes and no focus adjustment  available while recording. This rate applies to both the mechanical and electronic shutters. With AF-C recording, the rate drops to six fps. The medium-speed mode records at five fps, with the low-speed mode at two fps.  The buffer memory can store up to 999 standard JPEG images, 90 compressed RW2.RAW images or 70 RAW+JPEG pairs.

      In the 6K/4K PHOTO, the frame rate increases to 30 fps. Each frame in the 6K mode is equivalent to approximately 18 megapixels, while each 4K frame is roughly eight megapixels. In each case, recording is terminated after one to 1.5 seconds.

      The S1 also provides an HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) Photo Mode, which can record an image with Full Res (5312 x 3984 pixels) or 4K (2880 x 2160 pixels) resolution to encompass a wide dynamic range that compresses brightness. Recorded pictures can be output via HDMI to devices like TV sets that support the HDR file type.

      The actual picture size depends upon the selected aspect ratio, with the standard 3:2, 4:3, 16:9 and 1:1 settings available. Both JPEG and RW2.RAW images can be recorded and raw images can be converted into HLG format using in-camera processing.

      Panasonic was a pioneer in bringing of 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) video recording to its  cameras at both the consumer and professional levels. The S1 cameras can support 4K video capture at 25 fps using the full width of the full-frame image sensor with full pixel readout and no pixel binning to collect about 2.4x the amount of data (around 6K equivalent) required for 4K movies.

      The new camera supports two video file formats: MP4 and AVCHD, both at 8-bit depth. MP4  comes in two ‘flavours’ regular 8-bit and MP4 HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), which is a next-generation compression standard that supports Hybrid Log Gamma recording at 10-bit depth for playing back on compatible TV sets. MP4  is used for both 4K and HD resolution and captures more data than the alternative  format. AVCHD is used for Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) but recordings can only be made on SD cards.

      MP4 recordings can be made at bit rates between 150Mbps and 20Mbps, while AVCHD bit rates range from 17Mbps to 28Mbps. All recordings use Long GOP compression. Slow motion recording is now available at Full HD 1080p resolution and PAL users can record  in FHD/20M/25p quality at 150 fps, which can be played back at 1/6 normal speed.

      The table below shows the options available for PAL format movie recording.

      Movie format Resolution Frame rate Bit depth Bit-rate Audio compression
      AVCHD 1920 x 1080 50p 8-bit 28Mbps Dolby Audio
      50i 17Mbps
      50i (25 fps output) 24Mbps
      MP4 3840 x 2160 50p 150Mbps LPCM
      25p 100Mbps AAC
      1920 x 1080 50p 28Mbps
      25p 20Mbps
      MP4 HEVC 3840 x 2160 25p 4:2:0

      The S1 provides three options for selecting the recorded image area:

      • FULL  which records with the full sensor area
      • APS-C, which crops the frame to an area that corresponds with the APS-C image circle, and
      • PIXEL/PIXEL, in which one pixel on the sensor is equal to one pixel on the video.

      Depending on the resolution selected, the last two options will crop the frame. PIXEL/PIXEL is not available for 4K recording or in the High Speed Video mode.

      Users can select any of the P/A/S/M shooting modes and use the controls provided. The camera defaults to continuous AF in movie mode but users can adjust both AF speed and sensitivity as well as the luminance level and ‘knee’ of the exposure curve to control blow-out with over-exposure.

      Soundtracks are recorded in stereo and levels are adjustable across a range from -12dB to +6dB. A limiter is available to minimise crackling noises in recordings. A wind filter is also provided.

      Video recordings can be output to  an external device (monitor or recorder) via an HDMI cable. In most cases, recording parameters (format, quality, etc.) are controlled by the camera, although the bit rate will be determined by what the output device supports.

      Playback and Software
      Both S1 cameras support a standard suite of playback functions with the usual settings including display, protect, rotate and delete functions and well as index and calendar display and zoom functions. In-camera raw file conversion to JPEG format is available with support for adjustments to key parameters like contrast, noise reduction, dynamic range and saturation. Touch functions are supported in playback mode.

      Images recorded in Time Lapse Shot or Stop Motion Shooting modes are handled as group images and can be viewed, edited or deleted on a group basis. If two memory cards are loaded you can choose which card to use for playback and the camera complies with the latest Design rule for Camera File (DCF) system and Exif file format standards.

      Video playback is also standard and includes play/pause, stop, fast forward and rewind and well as frame-by-frame playback in both forward and rewind directions. Playback can be paused to allow individual frames to be extracted and volume controls are provided for adjusting audio playback levels.

      As is common in the latest crop of digital cameras, all software must be downloaded. So must the user’s manual, which is available in PDF format. Panasonic’s software offerings include PHOTOfunSTUDIO 10.1 PE,  which is a basic, Windows-based  image management application.

      The ‘bundled’ raw file converter is Silkypix Developer Studio SE, which we refuse to use because of a long history of inferior results from this software. Fortunately, Adobe Camera Raw (our preferred file converter) supports both the S1 and the S1R cameras so, presumably other third-party converters do as well.

      Panasonic also provides a 30-day trial licence for the LoiLo Scope video editor, which is also Windows only. Other popular video editors should be able to handled either the MP4 or AVCHD video files from this camera because in each case, the format is not proprietary.

      The Lumix S 24-105mm f/4 Macro O.I.S lens supplied with the review camera is reviewed separately and rates as an ideal companion to either of the S1 cameras, although it’s slightly better suited to the lower-resolution S1. Size- and functionality-wise, this kit is a great walk-around combination for general shooting of stills or video and very pleasant to use.

      Test shots in JPEG format had natural-looking colour rendition and nicely constrained saturation, both factors confirmed in our Imatest tests. Raw files were easily converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw (our preferred converter). There was plenty of scope for editing the resulting files.

      The best JPEG images in our tests were capable of slightly exceeding expectations for the camera’s 24-megapixel sensor around the centre of the frame and coming close towards the frame’s edges. Equivalent ARW.RAW files converted with ACR provided resolution that was well above the expected resolution in the centre of the frame and slightly above expectations towards the edges.

      Resolution held up very well across the review camera’s sensitivity range, with fall-off starting from ISO 12800 for both JPEGs and RW2.RAW files. The graph below shows the results of our tests across the camera’s default sensitivity range.

      Long exposures at night showed no evidence of noise right up to ISO 12800 and although both noise levels and softening became visible and higher sensitivities, it wasn’t until ISO 51200 that noise became apparent. By ISO 104800 noise was obvious, even without enlarging the image but images remained fairly sharp. Both noise and softening increased with higher sensitivity settings but colour reproduction remained constant throughout the sensitivity range and was generally quite close to the subject’s normal range.

      Auto white balance performance was as good as the best of the cameras we’ve tested, particularly under fluorescent and warm-toned LED lighting, where images were rendered virtually cast-free. The camera provides three auto white balance settings, one of the additional ones skewed to a cool tonal rendition and the other to a warm tone.

      Interestingly, the camera seemed able to deliver the correct colour balance for fluorescent and warm-toned LED lighting, regardless of which auto setting was selected. Under incandescent lighting, most of the warm cast was corrected with all three settings, although the AWBc setting had a slightly greater suppression effect. With all three settings, only traces of the cast remained and these would be easily corrected either in the camera or in post-production with even the most basic editor.

      Panasonic doesn’t provide pre-sets for correcting fluorescent or LED lighting but we observed the normal slight over-correction with the incandescent lighting preset. Manual measurement delivered a neutral colour balance with all three types of lighting and there are plenty of in-camera adjustments for tweaking image colours on-the-fly. White balance bracketing across three frames is available.

      While we’d like to compare the DFD autofocusing system in the S1 cameras with other mirrorless cameras that use AF systems based on phase detection, it’s difficult to measure focusing speed objectively.  However, the camera performed flawlessly in our low-light tests, focusing almost instantaneously in the AF-S mode. In the AF-C mode with moving subjects, we noticed some hesitation in low light levels and with moving subjects, more when shooting video than we found when shooting stills.
      Our timing tests were carried out with a 64GB Panasonic SDXC U 3 memory card with a write speed rating of 250MB/s and a read speed of 280MB/s.  The review camera took roughly one second to power up ready for shooting. We measured an average capture lag of 0.1 seconds with single-area AF, which was eliminated when shots were pre-focused. Shot-to-shot times averaged 0.4 seconds.

      High-resolution JPEGs took 2.3 seconds to process on average, while RW2.RAW files were processed in 2.4 seconds and RAW+JPEG pairs in 2.6 seconds. Because of the high buffer capacity we opted to use a burst of between 50 and 70 frames for measuring continuous shooting times.

      In the high-speed continuous shooting mode the review camera recorded 60 Large/Fine JPEG frames in 7.9 seconds, which represents a little under eight frames/second. Processing was completed within four seconds of the last frame recorded.

      There was no change in burst speed when swapping to raw file capture, where the camera recorded 53 RW2.RAW  files in seven seconds. It took 16.9 seconds to complete processing this burst. With RAW+JPEG capture, we recorded 59 pairs of shots in 7.8 seconds. It took just over 26 seconds to process this burst.


      Please Login or Register to access the Conclusion.


      Image sensor: 35.6 x 23.8 mm CMOS sensor with 25.28 million photosites (24.2 megapixels effective), no low-pass filter
      Image processor: Venus Engine
      A/D processing: 14-bit (10-bit video)
      Lens mount: L-mount
      Focal length crop factor: 1x
      Image formats: Stills: JPEG (DCF, Exif Ver. 2.31), RW2.RAW, RAW+JPEG, HLG Photo (CTA-2072); Movies: MP4 (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC), MP4 HEVC, AVCHD
      Aspect ratios: 3:2, 4:3, 16:9, 1:1, 65:24, 2:1
      Image Sizes: For 3:2 aspect ratio stills – 6000 x 4000, 4272 x 2848, 3024 x 2016, 12000 x 8000 (XL High Resolution mode), 5184 x 3456 (6K PHOTO), 3504 x 2336 (4K PHOTO), 5984 x 4000 (HLG PHOTO  Full-Res), 3232 x 2160 (HLG PHOTO  4K-Res); Movies: 3840 x 2160 at 59.94p, 50p, 29.97p, 25p, 23.98p; 1920 x 1080 at 59.94p, 50p, 29.97p, 25p; 4:2:0 8-bit LongGOP available for 4K at max. 150Mbps, 4:2:0 10-bit LongGOP available for 4K at max. 29.97p/72Mbps; high-speed recording available for 4K at max. 60 fps or FHD at  180fps/150 fps; max. movie recording time 150 minutes
      Image Stabilisation: Image sensor shift (5-axis, 5.5 stops) plus Dual IS with compatible lenses (6 stops)
      Dust removal: Supersonic Wave Filter
      Shutter (speed range): Focal plane shutter rated for approx. 400,000 cycles; 60 to 1/8000 second plus bulb (max. 30 minutes); electronic shutter max. 1/16,000 second for movies
      Exposure Compensation: +/- EV in 1/3, 1/2 or 1EV steps (+/-EV for movies)
      Exposure bracketing: 3, 5 or 7 frames in 1/3, 2/3 or 1EV steps (max. +3EV)
      Other bracketing options: Aperture (3, 5 or all positions in 1EV steps), focus (1-999 frames, 10 levels), white balance (3 frames in B/A or M/G axis)
      Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay, 10 seconds delay, 3 images
      Focus system: Contrast AF with DFD Technology
      AF modes: Auto Detection (Face, Eye, Body, Animal), Tracking, 225-Area, Zone (Vertical, Horizontal, Square, Oval), 1-Area+, 1-Area, Pinpoint, Custom (x3; sensitivity, switching & moving object prediction adjustments))
      AF detection range: -6 to 18 EV (f/1.4, ISO 100, AFS)
      Additional modes: AF assist lamp, AF lock, Focus/Shutter priority selection, Quick AF, Continuous AF, AF-Pointy Scope Setting, AF+MF, MF  Guide, MF Assist, Touch AF/AE, focus peaking, Focus Ring Lock, Manual focus magnification
      Exposure metering:  1728-zone multi pattern metering, centre-weighted average and spot metering patterns, highlight-weighted
      Shooting modes: Program AE, Aperture-priority AE, Shutter-priority AE, Manual exposure
      Photo style modes: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, Flat, Landscape, Portrait, Monochrome, L.Monochrome, L.Monochrome D, Cinelike D, Cinelike V, Like 709, Standard (HLG),  Monochrome (HLG), Like2100, My Photo Style 1-10
      In-camera effects: Expressive, Retro, Old Days, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, Monochrome, Dynamic Monochrome, Rough Monochrome, Silky Monochrome, Impressive Art, High Dynamic. Cross Process, Toy Effect, Toy pop, Bleach Bypass, Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, Fantasy, Star Filter, One Point Colour, Sunshine
      Other settings: Function buttons, Fn Lever, Level Gauge
      Colour space options: sRGB and Adobe RGB
      ISO range: Auto (default): 50 ‐ 51200 plus extension to ISO 102400 or ISO 204800 available; adjustable in 1/3 or 1 EV steps
      White balance: Auto, AWBc, AWBw, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Incandescent, Flash, White Set (x 4), Kelvin Temperature adjustments (2500-10000K);  plus Blue/Amber, Magenta/Green bias adjustments
      Flash: External flashguns only
      Flash modes: Auto, Forced-On, Forced-Off, Slow sync.; 1st curtain/2nd curtain synch and red-eye reduction are available
      Flash exposure adjustment: +/- 3 EV in 1/3EV steps
      Sequence shooting: Max. 9 shots/sec. with locked AF , 6 fps in live View mode with AF-C; 30 fps for 6K PHOTO, 60 fps for 4K PHOTO
      Buffer capacity: > 999 JPEGs, > 90 RAW files
      Storage Media: Dual slots for XQD and SD cards, compatible with UHS-I, UHS-II SDHC/SDXC cards
      Viewfinder: OLED LVF with approx 5,760,000 dots with 120fps/60fps refresh rate, 100% frame coverage, 0.78x magnification, 21 mm eyepoint, eye sensor
      LCD monitor: Tri-axial tilting 3.2-inch, 3:2 aspect ratio TFT LCD with 2,100,000 dots, static touch control, 100% frame coverage
      Status LCD display:  Yes
      Playback functions:Magnify from AF Point, HLG View Assist(Monitor), RAW Processing, 6K/4K PHOTO Bulk Saving, Delete Single, Protect, Rating 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Copy, Rec/Playback Switch, LVF/Monitor Switch, Video Record, Night Mode, Card Slot Change, Wi-Fi, Send Image (Smartphone), HLG View Assist (HDMI), 6K/4K Photo Play, No Setting,/ Restore to Default
      Interface terminals: SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 1Type-C, HDMI Type A/VIERA Link, 2.5mm remote control jack, 3.5 mm stereo mini jack (microphone), 3.5 mm stereo mini jack (headphone)
      Wi-Fi function: Built-in (IEEE 802.11b/g/n)  plus Bluetooth v4.2 Low Energy
      Power supply: 7.4V, 3050mAh, 23Wh rechargeable Li-ion battery; CIPA rated for approx. 380-400 shots/charge (1,1000 shots in PowerSave LVF mode)
      Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 148.9 x  110.0 x 96.7 mm (excluding protrusions)
      Weight: Approx. 899 grams (body only); 1021 grams with battery and XQD card

      Distributor: Panasonic Australia, Ph. 132 600;



      Based on JPEG files recorded with the Lumix S PRO 50mm f/1.4 lens.

      Based on RW2.RAW files recorded simultaneously and converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw.



      All shots taken with the Lumix S PRO 50mm f/1.4,  Lumix S 24-105mm f/4 Macro O.I.S and Lumix S PRO 70-200mm f/4 O.I.S lenses.

      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.

      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.

      Auto white balance with warm-toned LED lighting.

      80-second exposure at ISO 50, f/4, 50mm focal length.

      55-second exposure at ISO 100, f/4, 50mm focal length.

      10-second exposure at ISO 1600, f/5.6, 50mm focal length.

      5-second exposure at ISO 6400, f/7.1, 50mm focal length.

      5-second exposure at ISO 12800, f/10, 50mm focal length.

      2.5-second exposure at ISO 25600, f/10, 50mm focal length.

      1.3-second exposure at ISO 51200, f/10, 50mm focal length.

      1.3-second exposure at ISO 102400, f/13, 50mm focal length.

      1.3-second exposure at ISO 204800, f/18, 50mm focal length.

      105mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/800 second at f/4.

      105mm focal length, ISO 25600, 1/125 second at f/5.6.

      105mm focal length, ISO 5000, 1/125 second at f/5.6.

      64mm focal length, ISO 6400, 1/60 second at f/5.6.

      192mm focal length, ISO 4000, 1/250 second at f/5.

      67mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/80 second at f/5.6.

      48mm focal length, ISO 1600, 1/60 second at f/5.

      64mm focal length, ISO 2000, 1/80 second at f/4.5.

      Monochrome mode; 49mm focal length, ISO 2000, 1/60 second at f/5.6.

      105mm focal length, ISO 1000, 1/100 second at f/5.

      105mm focal length, ISO 640, 1/125 second at f/5.

      98mm focal length, ISO 1000, 1/125 second at f/4.

      103mm focal length, ISO 125, 1/125 second at f/10.

      26mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/320 second at f/10.

      24mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/8.

      103mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/125 second at f/4.5.

      24mm focal length, ISO 40000, 1/60 second at f/5.

      24mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/60 second at f/9.

      Still frame from MP4 4K/50p video recording at 150Mbps.

      Still frame from MP4 4K/25p video recording at 100Mbps.

      Still frame from MP4 FDH/50p video recording at 28Mbps.

      Still frame from MP4 FHD/25p video recording at 20Mbps.

      Still frame from MP4 HEVC 4K/25p video recording at 72Mbps.

      Still frame from AVCHD FHD/50p video recording at 28Mbps.

      Still frame from AVCHD FHD/50i video recording at 17Mbps.

      Still frame from AVCHD FHD/25p video recording at 24Mbps.

      Additional image samples can be found with our reviews of the Lumix S PRO 50mm f/1.4,  Lumix S 24-105mm f/4 Macro O.I.S and Lumix S PRO 70-200mm f/4 O.I.S lenses.



      RRP: AU$3599; US$ 2499 (body only)

      • Build: 9.0
      • Ease of use: 8.8
      • Autofocusing: 8.7
      • Still image quality JPEG: 9.0
      • Still image quality RAW: 9.0
      • Video quality: 8.9