Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R
The S1R is particularly suitable for portrait and landscape photographers as well as pro photographers who shoot weddings, fashion and commercial products, particularly where high-resolution images are needed for making poster-sized enlargements.
Announced at Photokina 2018 and officially launched on 1 February 2019, the 47.3-megapixel Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R is the higher-resolution model of two professional-level full-frame mirrorless cameras from Panasonic. While the 24-megapixel S1 is a ‘hybrid’ stills/video model, the S1R is orientated more towards stills. Both models use the Leica Camera L-Mount, which is also supported by Sigma. The S-series cameras are supported by three new S Series lenses at launch, with ten lenses to be announced by 2020.
Angled view of the Lumix DC-S1R fitted with the Lumix S 24-105mm F4 MACRO O.I.S. (S-R24105) lens, which was used for this review. (Source: Panasonic.)
Photo Review was one of a number of journalists invited to the official Australian launch of the S1 and S1R cameras and the three lenses, which took place in Hobart between 11 and 13 March. We had to wait for almost a month before review units became available. Separate reviews have been published for the S1 camera and each of the three lenses.
Who’s it For?
The price tag (AU$5299 for the body alone or AU$$6899 for the body plus Lumix S 24-105mm F4 MACRO O.I.S. lens) will put this camera out of the reach of most amateur photographers, although it could represent a sound investment for a professional photographer who shoots mainly stills. Photographers who shoot a mix of stills and video will probably be better suited by the S1, which has better video capabilities.
The S1R is particularly suitable for portrait and landscape photographers as well as pro photographers who shoot weddings, fashion and commercial products, particularly where high-resolution images are needed for making poster-sized enlargements. It is not the best choice for sports and action photography.
Both cameras have a lot of similarities, starting with their weather-sealed bodies which have almost identical control layouts and ergonomics. Both models have CMOS sensors without low-pas filters and both are powered by the latest Venus Engine image processor. Neither of the sensors has an optical low-pass filter although both include an anti-reflective coating to reduce ghosting and flare.
Both offer a high-resolution shooting mode that combines eight frames to increase resolution. But, where the S1’s 24-megapixel sensor can deliver a maximum of 12,000 x 8000 pixels (96 megapixels), the S1R can output 16,736 x 11,168-pixel files with a resolution of 186.9 megapixels.
Build and Ergonomics
The body of the S1R is almost identical to the S1 body, with a weather-sealed magnesium alloy chassis and the same SD/XQD dual card slots. The class-leading 5.7 million dot OLED EVF and three-way tilting monitor screen are used in both cameras and both sport the same interface ports. For full details, check out our review of the S1 camera.
Front, rear and top views of the Lumix S1R camera with no lens fitted. (Source: Panasonic.)
Both cameras use the same DMW-BLJ31 battery, which in the S1R is CIPA rated at 340 shots/charge with the SD card when the monitor is used for framing shots or 360 shots/charge when using the EVF. As with the S1, battery capacity drops a little when images are recorded to the XQD card.
Using the supplied charger and AC adaptor, the battery can be recharged in roughly 130 minutes, depending on ambient conditions and how much charge it already holds. Like the S1, the S1R supports USB charging via the supplied cable or through any device that supports USB power delivery (USB PD). The status LCD on the camera will show when charging is complete.
Sensor and Image Processing
The sensor in the S1R differs from the sensor in the S1 in offering an effective resolution of 47.3 megapixels, with the largest files being 8368 x 5584 pixels in size. As far as we’ve been able to determine, the same Venus Engine processor is used in both cameras.
The S1R also includes the same High Resolution mode as the S1 and uses the same multi-shot capture strategy. But since the sensor’s resolution is much higher, in the S1R the 3:2 aspect ratio setting yields files that are 16,736 x 11,168 pixels in size, the equivalent to 187 megapixels.
Native ISO sensitivity settings in the S1R range from 100 to 25600, with extensions to ISO 50 and ISO 51200 available. Movie settings are restricted to ISO 100 to 6400. The High Resolution mode applies an upper limit of ISO 3200, while the High Dynamic mode sets a lower limit of ISO400. A lower limit of ISO 100 also applies for filter settings, multiple exposures and the Like709 Photo Style, while the HLG Photo style has a lower limit of ISO 320.
Like the S1, the S1R records raw files 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]||46.5 megapixels||8368 x 5584||1280||1310|
|[M]||23.5 megapixels||5952 x 3968||2440||2500|
|[S]||12 megapixels||4272 x 2848||4410||4520|
|Picture Size for APS-C lenses|
|[L]||20 megapixels||5504 x 3664||2200||2600|
|[M]||10 megapixels||3920 x 2608||3600||5000|
|[S]||5 megapixels||2784 x 1856||8600||8910|
The two panorama formats can only be recorded with the Large [L] image size, with the 65:24 aspect ratio delivering 26-megapixel (8368 x 3088 pixel) files and the 2:1 aspect ratio producing 35-megapixel (8368 x 4184 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 S1R provides two ‘burst’ settings on its mode dial, 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.
As in the S1, 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 five fps. The medium-speed mode records at five fps, with the low-speed mode at two fps. The buffer memory can store approximately 50 standard JPEG images, 40 RW2.RAW images or 35 RAW+JPEG pairs.
The 6K/4K PHOTO mode is the same as in the S1, with each 6K frame equivalent to approximately18 megapixels and each 4K frame is roughly eight megapixels. The 30 fps frame rate also applies the maximum recording time is two seconds.
Like the S1, the S1R includes an HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) Photo Mode, which can record an image with 8K (6464 x 4320 pixels) or 4K (3232 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.
Both JPEG and RW2.RAW images can be captured in this mode, which supports all aspect ratios except 65:24 and 2:1. Photo Style settings are limited to Standard and Monochrome.
Like the S1, the S1R supports 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) video recording at up to 60p (NTSC) or 50p (PAL). But unlike the S1, it uses pixel binning, which means less detail can be recorded. The frame is also cropped by 1.09x. The S1R also lacks support for MP4 HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) and is restricted to 8-bit depth.
Aside from that, the two cameras have similar capabilities and both support the MP4 and AVCHD file formats. 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. All videos are recorded using Long GOP compression.
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 not available.
Playback and Software
Both are the same as in the S1 camera.
Our tests for the S1R were conducted with the Lumix S PRO 50mm f/1.4 lens, which is reviewed separately. The combination of such a fast lens with a high-resolution sensor proved challenging for our Imatest software but some characteristic of images and video clips shot with this camera were essentially that same as we found when testing the Lumix S1.
Colour rendition was natural-looking and saturation was nicely constrained, leading to both JPEG and RW2.RAW images that were easy to work with, post capture. This was particularly true with for the tonal range recorded, which was surprisingly wide.
Raw files were easily converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw (our preferred converter) since the camera is supported in the latest version of this plug-up (V. 11.2.1, which was released in April 2019).
The best JPEG images in our tests fell a little short of meeting expectations for the camera’s 47.3-megapixel sensor but equivalent ARW.RAW files converted with ACR provided resolution that was well above the expected resolution in the centre of the frame and close to expectations towards the edges.
Resolution held up very well across the review camera’s sensitivity range, with fall-off starting from ISO 6400 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 6400 and although both noise levels and softening became visible and higher sensitivities, it wasn’t until ISO 25600 that noise became apparent, although images shot at the three highest ISO settings remained fairly sharp. Colour reproduction remained constant throughout the sensitivity range and was generally quite close to the subject’s normal range.
Auto white balance performance was almost identical to the results we obtained from the S1, with images recorded under fluorescent and warm-toned LED lighting being rendered virtually cast-free. The three auto white balance settings delivered identical results to those we obtained from the S1. Any traces of colour casts would be easily corrected either in the camera or in post-production with even the most basic editor.
The DFD autofocusing system is the came in both S1 cameras and performed equally well in our low-light tests with the S1R, 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 the same 64GB Panasonic SDXC U 3 memory card as we used for the S1, It boasts a write speed rating of 250MB/s and a read speed of 280MB/s, which is more than adequate for both the burst speeds and video capabilities of both cameras.
The review camera took just over 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 0.48 seconds.
High-resolution JPEGs took 2.5 seconds to process on average, while RW2.RAW files were processed in 2.9 seconds and RAW+JPEG pairs in 3.1 seconds. Because the buffer capacity in the S1R is more modest than the S1’s, we opted shoot to full buffer capacity, which is approximately 50 JPEG frames, 40 raw files or 35 RAW+JPEG pairs for measuring continuous shooting times.
In the high-speed continuous shooting mode the review camera recorded 51 Large/Fine JPEG frames in 6.8 seconds before pausing. This represents a little under eight frames/second. Processing was completed within 8.8 seconds of the last frame recorded.
There was no change in burst speed when swapping to raw file capture, where the camera recorded 39 RW2.RAW files in 5.2 seconds. It took 11.9 seconds to complete processing this burst. With RAW+JPEG capture, we recorded 33 pairs of shots in 4.5 seconds. It took just over 16 seconds to process this burst.
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Image sensor: 35.6 x 23.8 mm CMOS sensor with 50.44 million photosites (47.3 megapixels effective), no low-pass filter
Image processor: Venus Engine
A/D processing: 14-bit (12-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 – 8366 x 5584, 5952 x 3968, 4272 x 2848, 16736 x 11168 (XL High Resolution mode), 5184 x 3456 (6K PHOTO), 3504 x 2336 (4K PHOTO), 6464 x 4320 (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 8-bit LongGOP available for 4K; high-speed recording available for 4K at max. 30 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): 100 ‐ 25600 plus extension to ISO 50 and ISO 51200 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: > 50 JPEGs, > 40 RAW files
Storage Media: Dual slots, one each 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: 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. 898 grams (body only); 1020 grams with battery and XQD card
Distributor: Panasonic Australia, Ph. 132 600; www.panasonic.com.au
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.
Most shots taken with the Lumix S PRO 50mm f/1.4 lens.
Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.
Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.
Auto white balance with warm-toned LED lighting.
30-second exposure at ISO 50, f/1.8, 50mm focal length.
30-second exposure at ISO 100, f/3.2, 50mm focal length.
8-second exposure at ISO 1600, f/5.6, 50mm focal length.
4-second exposure at ISO 6400, f/8, 50mm focal length.
4-second exposure at ISO 12800, f/11, 50mm focal length.
2-second exposure at ISO 25600, f/11, 50mm focal length.
1-second exposure at ISO 51200, f/16, 50mm focal length.
50mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/100 second at f/10.
Differential focusing; 70-200mm lens at 200mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/5.6.
Strong backlighting; 70-200mm lens at 70mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/160 second at f/9.
Backlit subject with spot metering; 50mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/1000 second at f/4.
70-200mm lens at 143mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/500 second at f/8.
70-200mm lens at 192mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/320 second at f/9.
70-200mm lens at 70mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/11.
50mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/4.5..
50mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/320 second at f/5.
Focus area selection with 70-200mm lens at 200mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/500 second at f/8.
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 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.
RRP: AU$5299; US$ 3699 (body only)
- Build: 9.0
- Ease of use: 8.8
- Autofocusing: 8.7
- Still image quality JPEG: 8.7
- Still image quality RAW: 9.0
- Video quality: 8.8