Cameras

Avoid the Panasonic S1 and S1R Full Frame Cameras

Panasonic Lumix S1 S1R

Avoid the Panasonic S1 and S1R Full Frame Cameras (for video)

I’ve been a video content creator online for years now and I am a huge fan of the Panasonic GH5.  The GH5 transformed my channel from “just another YouTube channel” to standing out visually.  The Micro Four Thirds system is something I love for a number of reasons.  Whether you own a G7, G85, GH5, or a GH5s odds are you’re probably not in a huge rush to “upgrade”.

I am not moving to the new Panasonic full frame cameras for a number of reasons that I will cover in this article.  Panasonic have mentioned they are not discontinuing the Micro Four Thirds cameras from the lineup but some sources such as Tony & Chelsea Northrup believe it is on the way out.  The Panasonic S1 and S1R is something I am going to avoid entirely for video production.

There’s a lot of limitations and issues with the new Panasonic full frame cameras that I feel like is a step backward especially for videographers.  If you’re a photographer there might be some low light benefits to the full frame system but for video, it seems like an inconvenience.

Video Limitations

One of the best things about the G85, GH5, and GH5s is unlimited recording time.  This allows you to record as long as you like without the camera shuts itself off. The S1 and S1R have a finite recording time of 30 minutes.  Panasonic issued a warning saying the camera can/will overhead depending on the filming situation.  The GH5 and GH5 do not have these issues. 4k 60p will no doubt heat the camera up faster due to the intense CPU usage.

Another huge issue with the S1 and S1R is the crop factor in 4k video.  For whatever reason Panasonic decided to stop us from utilizing the full sensor size for 4k video.  Instead, we get an APS-C crop which isn’t really something that screams “buy me now”.  For the type of filming I do, it’s mostly long-form content the Panasonic S1 and S1R isn’t worth the upgrade.  The main reason for this 1.5x crop is actually CPU power of the camera.  When you have an almost 50-megapixel sensor translating all that full frame data to 4k video must be too much for the CPU to handle.  I can see why they made it a crop factor but at the same time the new series seems like a huge letdown.

Design Flaws

Everyone loves the fully articulating screen, right? Panasonic has downgraded this to one that doesn’t flip out.  Clearly, someone on the design team thinks this is a good idea but why on Earth would anyone downgrade the screen to one that doesn’t flip out is beyond me. One of the primary reasons I ended up with Panasonic cameras is the flippy-screen.

Price Structure of the S1 and S1R

Get this.  You release a camera with far fewer features and then you charge 25% more for it.  That’s essentially what has happened with the new S1 and S1R cameras. While pro photographers will opt for these cameras they are not an upgrade in terms of video features over the GH5s for example. Right now the lenses are overly expensive and there’s so very few available the system does not interest me in the slightest.

Panasonic S1 & S1R Features

Panasonic S1 Camera Body

  • FULL FRAME SENSOR – 24.2-megapixel full-frame (35.6mm x 23.8mm) MOS sensor that provides a wide dynamic range and excellent performance at high sensitivity. (ISO 51200 Max sensitivity).
  • 4K HDR VIDEO – 4K 60p, 4K 24/30P unlimited recording, 4K60P 29:59 min limited recording. HDR Mode and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG). V-Log with Internal 4:2:2 10-bit 4k30/24p (4K60p output only). available via optional software upgrade key.
  • 96MP HIGH-RESOLUTION MODE – A sensor-shift technology suitable for taking very high-resolution landscapes and fine art photos via tripod with toggleable motion correction capabilities.
  • LVF and MONITOR – 3.2” 2,100K-dot RGBW LCD monitor (3:2 aspect ratio) with triaxial tilt moving element, plus large 5,760k-dot high-resolution OLED eye viewfinder.
  • RUGGED MIRRORLESS CAMERA DESIGN – Dust/splash*/freeze-resistant design withstands heavy field use under harsh conditions for high mobility.

Panasonic S1R

Panasonic S1R Camera Body

  • FULL FRAME SENSOR – 47.3-megapixel full-frame MOS sensor that provides a wide dynamic range and excellent performance at high sensitivity (ISO 25600 Max sensitivity).
  • 4K VIDEO – Up to 4K 60p recording plus 6K Photo functions and HLG Photo.
  • 187MP HIGH-RESOLUTION MODE – A sensor-shift technology suitable for taking very high-resolution landscapes and fine art photos via tripod with toggleable motion correction capabilities.
  • LVF and MONITOR – 3.2” 2,100K-dot RGBW LCD monitor (3:2 aspect ratio) with triaxial tilt moving element, plus large 5,760k-dot high-resolution OLED eye viewfinder.
  • RUGGED MIRRORLESS CAMERA DESIGN – Dust/splash*/freeze-resistant design withstands heavy field use under harsh conditions for high mobility.

Will there be a Panasonic GH6?

Will there be a new Panasonic GH6? Who knows!? In terms of my video needs a GH5s with IBIS (in body stabilization) would be perfect.  The GH5s has good low light performance and for most of us, it’s sufficient. If you shoot in well-lit studio conditions the GH5 is fine.

If Panasonic ditch their GH series of cameras they are most likely going to lose a huge portion of their customer base. I believe a lot of people won’t be upgrading to these new cameras as well. This might be the beginning of the end for Panasonic if they put all their eggs in this one basket.  A huge shift like this could mean everyone looking for full frame will end up with a Sony.  The Sony cameras offer great low light performance and face detect auto-focus that actually works.

Sadly, if there’s no announcement of the GH6 in 2019 I will pull the trigger on a GH5s before it’s too late.  I love the GH5 for video. I use mine daily over all of my YouTube channels as well as for paid gigs outside of that.  The GH5s would be the perfect companion camera for lower light situations and gimbal use.