Panasonic S1R review: Big, powerful and too expensive

The grip at the S1R is massive, larger than on another mirrorless digicam, by means of a ways. That gave me self belief I’d by no means drop it, even in slippery or chilly prerequisites. It’s additionally weather-sealed and qualified to function in temperatures from 14 to 104 levels F, and I shot a large number of pictures at across the latter temperature right through a heatwave in Paris. While it no doubt were given sizzling, it by no means stopped operating.

With the additional dimension, Panasonic used to be in a position to squeeze in heaps of guide controls and I discovered just about the entirety, just like the joystick, dials and ISO controls, to be in simply the appropriate position. I appreciated the truth that the point of interest and capturing controls have been on devoted buttons, moderately than buried in menus. The simplest factor I did not maintain used to be the location and operation of the on/off transfer, as it is too exhausting to search out by means of really feel and too simple to by accident bump.

The rear show will also be tilted and flipped out, however sadly, it cannot be flipped round 180 levels. Considering that the GH5/GH5s has an absolutely articulating display, I frankly do not see why the S1/S1R cannot have one, too. Even regardless that it is clearly now not a vlogging digicam (too heavy), it will nonetheless be a at hand function for solo videographers like myself.

On the plus aspect, that display is touch-enabled, letting you choose focal point, Q-menu and primary menu settings with out buttons. I discovered Panasonic’s menus to be very logically grouped into classes and subcategories. Everything could also be absolutely programmable, letting you tweak the digicam to paintings simply the way in which you wish to have.

Panasonic S1R full-frame mirrorless camera

Panasonic’s digital viewfinder (EVF) is very good, with superb optics, a 5.76-million dot OLED show, 120 fps refresh fee and .005-seconds of lag. It’s sharp and correct, which let me see temporarily if focal point and colour temperatures have been on level. This EVF (additionally discovered on Sony’s new A7R IV) just about destroys any ultimate arguments for an optical viewfinder.

The giant frame properties Panasonic’s superb 5-axis stabilization device. It delivers 6 stops of shake aid, or 6.Five with twin IS in case you have a supported, optically stabilized lens just like the Lumix 24-105mm f/4.zero type. It yielded sharp pictures all the way down to an 1/eighth of a 2nd or much less and video that used to be clean when shot hand-held, so long as I did not do anything else too loopy, like a hand-held monitoring shot.

Panasonic beats Nikon’s Z 7 and the Canon EOS R with two card slots, one for SD UHS II and the opposite XQD. Working photographers can shoot to each playing cards without delay for backup, and the short, 440 MB/s XQD slots might be a boon for video shooters. Eventually, the S1R will strengthen CFexpress playing cards, which can will let you switch media on your PC at as much as 1,700 MB/s and save critical quantities of time.

Like the S1, the S1R has each headphone and microphone ports and will strengthen skilled XLR audio enter/output by the use of a devoted hotshoe adapter. It’s were given a USB Type C port for knowledge transfers and charging, a full-sized HDMI port and strengthen for Bluetooth/WiFi transfers and digicam keep an eye on. Camera apps most often suck, however the Lumix Sync app is in fact lovely responsive and simple to setup and use.


Bucking the fashion to hybrid phase- and contrast-detect autofocus, Panasonic has caught with its complicated contrast-detect device that it calls “depth from defocus.” The thought is to maximise symbol high quality by means of getting rid of phase-detect pixels at the sensor, whilst nonetheless turning in constant autofocus efficiency.

I used to be not up to inspired with the contrast-detect AF at the S1, which tended to seek or now not lock on focal point, specifically in low gentle and right through burst and video capturing. The S1R looked as if it would carry out higher, on the other hand, most likely because of a contemporary firmware replace.

Panasonic S1R full-frame mirrorless camera

Unlike phase-detect programs, which is able to lock onto focal point without delay, the S1R wishes to seek for focal point (see a proof right here), which is distracting when you are having a look during the EVF. Luckily, I did get sharp pictures more often than not, even right through steady capturing, when the usage of space, topic and monitoring spot autofocus. The hit fee used to be decrease in low-light prerequisites, however now not unmanageably so.

The distinction stumble on AF is a plus for AI-powered face- and eye-detect AF programs, which do not use phase-detect pixels. I discovered the S1R’s topic, face and eye-tracking programs speedy and powerful, holding my eyes, frame and face locked underneath maximum instances. It additionally has an animal-detect device that tracked our canines simply nice, however used to be extra perplexed by means of the chickens.

Panasonic has achieved superb issues with intensity from defocus, however it is nonetheless not so good as hybrid programs, specifically on Sony’s A7 cameras. It did not hit focal point as persistently because the A7R III, specifically in burst capturing with steady autofocus enabled. That stated, the S1R is aimed toward panorama, architectural and portrait photographers, and for the ones other people, the AF device is solely nice.

With a brand new firmware unencumber, Panasonic has boosted the stabilization device (IS) from 5.Five to six stops, or 6.Five stops with twin IS enabled. I discovered it labored extraordinarily neatly, yielding sharp footage at low shutter speeds, even when I drank a number of cups of espresso. Tellingly, I shot a lot of pictures in low-light, and probably the most other people within the shot have been sharp whilst others (who moved) have been blurred. That method the IS device did its process.

The S1R has a large 23Wh battery, however the giant sensor, high-res EVF and symbol stabilization device take their toll. The S1R delivers simply 380 pictures in keeping with rate, in comparison to 530 for Sony’s A7R III and A7R IV. On the plus aspect, I used to be in a position to shoot video for roughly two hours earlier than converting the battery, which is superb for a full-frame digicam.

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