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
Panasonic Lumix S1R: Image quality
To maximise the fine level of detail the Lumix S1R’s sensor is able to record it goes without an anti-aliasing filter and employs aspherical micro lenses over each pixel to enhance its light-gathering ability. The level of fine detail the sensor resolves when it’s used with incredibly sharp lenses such as the Lumix S Pro 50mm f/1.4 is quite astonishing when you start to zoom in and inspect images closely. Editing many raw files after converting them using Adobe DNG converter revealed that the sensor has a wide dynamic range, offering good leverage when it comes to returning detail to the deepest shadows in a scene. Noise is also very well controlled right up to ISO 12,800, preserving excellent detail in high ISO images.
Panasonic Lumix S1R: Resolution
With Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom yet to support the S1R’s .RW2 raw files at the time of testing, Adobe DNG converter was used to convert the files first. A detailed look at the S1R’s raw files tells us its 47.3MP sensor achieves approximately 5000 lines per picture height at ISO 50, which is a spectacular result for a full-frame chip and is on par with the figure previously recorded by the Nikon Z 7 at its base ISO 64 setting. This figure drops as the ISO is raised, but detail still remains extremely high. At ISO 3200 and ISO 6400 it resolves an extremely high 4400 l/ph, with 4200 l/ph being resolved at ISO 12800. At the top standard setting of ISO 25,600, the S1R registers in excess of 3600l/ph.
Panasonic Lumix S1R: ISO and noise
Inspecting the S1R’s raw files after converting them to .DNG files shows that sensor generates wonderfully clean and detailed images with rich, faithful colour between ISO 100 and ISO 800. When you reach ISO 1600, luminance noise is traced, but is only obvious when images are inspected very closely at 100%. Shots taken at ISO 3200 and ISO 6400 are entirely useable, though I did find myself applying a touch of noise reduction to counteract the increased, but still relatively minor amount of luminance noise. Even the highest standard setting of ISO 25,600 could be used as a last resort with some extra noise reduction applied, but I’d keep ISO 6400 or ISO 12,800 as my upper limit when working in Auto ISO. The extended ISO 51,200 setting should be avoided and I noticed a green tinge starts to appear in the darkest shadowed regions.