It’s Here: Panasonic S1 and S1R Full Frame Mirrorless

  By Kaitlyn Kerr

After announcing the development of two full frame cameras last year at Photokina, Panasonic has now officially announced details for the S1 and S1R. Advertised as “full frame without compromise,” both cameras boast an impressive lineup of specs and use the L-mount, also announced at Photokina as an alliance with Leica and Sigma. Three new lenses with this mount have been announced as well: the 24-105mm F4, a 50mm F1.4, and a 70-200mm F4.

The S1R, the high resolution version of the pair, boats a 47.3 megapixel sensor with no low-pass filter, and a brand new Venus Engine processor to keep up with the incredible demands of this new camera. In addition to the great resolution, the sensor is equipped with an aspherical on-chip microlens to enhance light condensation while minimizing digital noise, even up to the maximum ISO of 25,600.

The S1 sits at a 24.2 megapixel count, but touts higher video specs. While the S1R is capable of 4K at 60p for up to 15 minutes, the S1 goes above and beyond. With 4:2:2 10-bit colour (at 4K/30p) internally, the camera can also record 4K/60p out via HDMI, with V-log (available with an upgrade key, sold separately and available soon) for professional videography. The camera also reads the full width of the sensor at 4K/30p, meaning no crop factor to deal with.

Both cameras use a dual-I.S. system, combining Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) built in the lenses and in-body stabilization, allowing for a maximum 6-stop difference when handheld in photo or video (when used with the 70-200 F4 per CIPA standard). This in-body stabilizer, combined with the new Venus Engine processor also enables a high-res mode, where the camera shifts the sensor around and takes eight shots in succession, then combines them into a single image, which results in a file equivalent to 187 megapixels in the S1R, or 97 megapixels in the S1.

From a handling and physical standpoint, the S1 and S1R are essentially identical. Both models are durable, ruggedly built with magnesium alloy front and rear plates with a shutter rated for 400,000 cycles. They feature dual card slots – one SD (UHS-II) and one XQD – and the same 3050 mAh battery. The battery can be charged via the included USB-C cable and/or AC adapter, and only takes approximately two hours to charge. The viewfinder, which at time of writing is the world’s highest resolution at 5.76 million dots, can be switched from 60fps to 120fps and has virtually no lag. The rear LCD sits at 2.1-million dots and has a mildly-backlit night mode, as well as Live View Boost for shooting in darkness. It also now tilts on both the horizontal and vertical axes. A 3.5mm mic jack, as well as a headphone jack, is included, and both cameras are fully compatible with the existing DMW-XLR1 adapter, for use with mics with an XLR connection.

Other popular features from Panasonic, like the 4K PHOTO or 6K PHOTO mode are also included. With 6K PHOTO, you can capture approximately 18 megapixel images at 30 frames per second, or 8 megapixel images up to 60 frames per second in 4K PHOTO. A new flat photo style has been added, as well as a new auto white balance setting to preserve rosy skin tones more effectively. Both cameras are also Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled.

Both cameras will be available at launch in body only or kitted with the 24-105mm F4. Pricing for the S1 and kit is $3499.99 and $4799.99 respectively, with the S1R and kit at $4999.99 and $6299.99. The cameras are expected to begin shipping spring 2019.

Dave, Ev, and Brendan from TCSTV had a quick trip to Barcelona to get their hands on this camera. Watch their first impressions below.

Kaitlyn Kerr

Kaitlyn Kerr

Kaitlyn is a craft beer enthusiast and self-labelled film nerd. Suitably, she is one of the hosts of Calgary's Beers & Cameras meetup group. She also drinks too much coffee and wants to see too many places. When not helping coordinate events or exploring whatever city, town, or backroad she can, she also works as a freelance photographer and assistant.