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Panasonic officially launches the Lumix S1 and S1R

We’ve known these cameras were coming since Photokina (September 2018) but this is the first sight we have of the full specs for the new cameras. Panasonic showed off pre-production versions of its new models at a global press event in Barcelona on January 31 2019, together with the three new lenses which are going to kickstart the Lumix S full frame mirrorless camera system.

Panasonic Lumix S1

This is the cheaper of the two new cameras and comes with a 24-megapixel CMOS sensor (the Lumix S1R has almost double the resolution at 47 megapixels). In practically every other respect the two new models are practically identical.

Key features included a Dual I.S. image stabilisation system, with a 5-axis Body I.S. stabiliser offering up to 5.5 stops of shake compensation working in conjunction with a 2-axis O.I.S system in the Lumix S lenses. This offers combined shake compensation of up to 6 stops.

The S1 also has the world’s highest-resolution EVF to date, with 5.76 million dots, and a 2.1 million dot 3.2-inch tri-axial rear touchscreen that can flip sideways as well as up and down.

As you’d expect from Panasonic, video takes a front seat, and both cameras can capture 4K video at up to 60/50p. The Lumix S1 can record 4:2:0 8-bit video internally to a memory card or 4:2:2 video to an external recorder via HDMI. A software upgrade will follow to allow 4:2:2 10-bit recording internally at 30p/25p/24p and 4:2:2 10-bit at 60/50p externally. The upgrade will also add Panasonic’s V Log mode for extended dynamic range.

Available: March 18 2019
Price: £2,199.99 (body only)
More information: DC-S1 LUMIX S Full Frame Cameras – Panasonic UK & Ireland

Panasonic Lumix S1R

The sensor resolution is the chief difference between the Lumix S1 and S1R. The S1R has almost twice the resolution and should appeal to commercial stills photographers, where the S1 may prove marginally more appealing to videographers.

Both cameras have a High Resolution mode which combines eight images with microscopic sensor shifts between each to produce images with approximately four times the native sensor resolution. On the S1R, this means huge 187-megapixel images measuring more than 16,000 pixels across, though this mode is designed for tripod use rather than handheld shooting, and if the camera detects subject movement between frames it may drop the affected frame(s) and produce a lower resolution result.

The S1 and S1R have robust die-cast magnesium alloy bodies, full weather sealing and a shutter life rated at 400,000 shots. They feel noticeably larger than rival full frame mirrorless cameras from Sony, Nikon and Canon, but this gives them good balance with larger lenses and more space for controls. These include dedicated external drive mode dials, focus mode dials and focus levers.

Interestingly, Panasonic has stuck with its DFD (Depth From Defocus) focus system rather than using the on-sensor phase detection systems of other makers, saying for now that its performance is fine for this application.

Available: March 18 2019
Price: £3,399.99 (body only)
More information: DC-S1R LUMIX S Full Frame Cameras – Panasonic UK & Ireland

Lumix S lenses

At the time of launch Panasonic has three Lumix S lenses: the LUMIX S 24-105mm F4 MACRO O.I.S. standard zoom (£1,299.99), LUMIX S PRO 70-200mm F4 O.I.S. telephoto zoom (£1,749.99) and the LUMIX S PRO 50mm F1.4 fast prime (£2,299.99). It says it will have a further ten lenses by the end of 2020 and says there will be 18 L-mount lenses from Leica and 14 from Sigma by the end of that period too.

While the price for the Lumix S bodies is in line with comparable models from Sony and Nikon, those lens prices look expensive. Panasonic is pitching the Lumix S firmly at the professional market, where users will make their buying decision from a business point of view, but amateurs and enthusiasts may be put off.

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