After making Micro Four Thirds cameras for over a decade, Panasonic has entered the full frame market with a bold statement. Michael Topham got to test the Panasonic Lumix S1R

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Panasonic Lumix S1R

Features:
Build/Handling:
Metering:
Autofocus:
AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
Image quality:
LCD viewfinder:

Product:

Panasonic Lumix S1R review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£3,399.99 (Body Only)

Panasonic Lumix S1R: Features

The Lumix S1 and Lumix S1R share an identical body design, but employ different sensors to cater for different audiences. The 47.3-million-pixel CMOS sensor located behind the S1R’s large diameter L-mount doesn’t break the 50-million-pixel barrier, but its high 8368×5584 pixel count places it above its high-resolution rivals such the 45.7MP Nikon Z 7 and 42.2MP Sony A7R III.

Panasonic Lumix S1R

The Lumix S1 and S1R are Panasonic’s first models to use the large diameter L-mount

The high-resolution possibilities don’t end here. Enormous 187-million-pixel images can be produced using its high-resolution mode, which stitches together image information recorded from eight exposures taken as the in-body image stabilisation system makes subtle adjustment to the position of the sensor. Panasonic has refined this mode too, introducing Mode 2 that’s designed to minimise motion blur associated with moving objects such as greenery landscape scenes. More on this later in the review.

The S1R’s standard sensitivity range of ISO 100-25,600 is expandable to ISO 50-51,200 equivalent, and with Panasonic’s new Venus Engine processor on board it can shoot up to 9fps with fixed autofocus (AFS), or 6fps using continuous AF (AFC). If this isn’t fast enough there are the S1R’s 6K/4K Photo modes to fall back on. These can be used to extract 18-million-pixel JPEG images at 30fps, with 4K Photo offering sequences at 30fps or 60fps at a lower 8-million-pixel resolution.

Panasonic Lumix S1R

The rear screen displays a crisp and clear image. Note the more advanced two-tier menu, which does take  a bit of getting used to coming from a Panasonic G-series camera menu system

Switching from the mechanical shutter (60secs-1/8000sec) to the electronic shutter (60secs-1/16,000sec) permits silent shooting, with a direct silent mode setting also available from the menu. 

Another familiar feature is the 5-axis Dual I.S II image stabiliser, which offers 6 stops of compensation to counteract camera shake when shooting stills or movies. It works in the same way as the Dual I.S II system found inside the Lumix G9, combining 2-axis stabilisation from the lens with 5-axis stabilisation in the camera. Added to this, Panasonic has introduced what’s called an I.S. Status Scope to help photographers identify camera shake easily by displaying a graphic interpretation of the vibration.

Panasonic Lumix S1R

The S1R has a nice textured grip, which extends to the rear of the camera. The circular eye cup that is supplied can be replaced with the DMW-EC6 eyecup, which offers a full 360-degrees of rotation with click stops every 90-degrees

For autofocus, Panasonic has used its formula of contrast detection and Depth From Defocus (DFD) technology again, with the Venus Engine, CMOS sensor and Lumix S lenses all communicating at a rapid 480fps. The lock-on acquisition speed of autofocus (0.08secs) isn’t as quick as the Lumix G9 (0.04secs), but the focus tracking has been refined with ‘advanced artificial intelligence technology’ that can now detect the difference between humans, cats, dogs and birds. The camera’s low light performance also boasts an impressive AF working range of -6EV to 18EV.

Panasonic Lumix S1R

This view clearly shows the rather peculiar position of the on/off switch. It’s not as easy or as intuitive to turn on and off as cameras that merge the on/off switch with the shutter button

The S1R presents 4K video recording at 50/60p, with high-speed video options to record 2x slow motion at 60fps in 4K and settings down to 6x slow motion in Full HD at up to 180fps. The S1R’s sister model, the Lumix S1, offers better the better video spec for moviemakers, allowing full-pixel readout using the full width of the sensor at 30p and 4K 60/50p 4:2:0 8 bit recording direct to an SD or XQD-card.

Panasonic will also provide a paid-for software key later this year for the Lumix S1. This will unlock the option to record 4K 60/50p 4:2:2 10 Bit via HDMI-output and 30/25/24p in 4:2:2 10 Bit internal, with V Log included.

Panasonic Lumix S1R

Below the mic socket and headphone port are the S1R’s USB-C and HDMI out interfaces. The 2.5mm remote port is located above and has its own rubberised flap

Back to the camera in question, the Panasonic Lumix S1R provides a 2.5mm remote port, with a 3.5mm mic socket and headphone port located behind a separate hinged door. Advanced audio quality is available too using Panasonic’s optional DMW-XLR1 microphone adapter, allowing pro-spec microphones and XLR input sources to be connected. It’s good to see the S1R providing dual-card slots (SD and XQD) and it’s UHS-II compatible too. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity options are also present and let you pair and transmit images to smartphones running Panasonic’s new Lumix Sync app that’s available for iOS and Android.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Panasonic Lumix S1R: Features
  3. 3. Panasonic Lumix S1R: L-mount lenses
  4. 4. Panasonic Lumix S1R: Build & Handling
  5. 5. Panasonic Lumix S1R: Viewfinder & Screen
  6. 6. Panasonic Lumix S1R: Autofocus
  7. 7. Panasonic Lumix S1R: Performance
  8. 8. Panasonic Lumix S1R: Image quality
  9. 9. Panasonic Lumix S1R: Verdict
  10. 10. Panasonic Lumix S1R & S1: First Look
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