Panasonic’s general-purpose full-frame mirrorless camera is very capable, says Andy Westlake, but bulkier and slightly less refined than its competitors

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Panasonic Lumix DC-S1

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

Pros:

  • + Superb viewfinder and screen offers an unparalleled experience composing images
  • + 5-axis in-body stabilisation helps keep every image sharp
  • + Well-designed control layout places all key settings at your fingertips
  • + Comprehensive feature set
  • + Excellent video specification and 4K output

Cons:

  • - Large and heavy: as big as a high-end full-frame DSLR
  • - Extremely expensive native lens system
  • - Not quite as refined as its main competitors
  • - Slightly uninspiring JPEG output

Product:

Panasonic Lumix S1 review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£2,200.00 (Body Only)

Panasonic Lumix S1: At a glance

  • £2200 body only
  • 24MP full-frame sensor
  • 5.76m-dot OLED EVF
  • 3-way tilting touchscreen
  • 5-axis in-body stabilisation
  • 4K video at 60fps

When Panasonic announced its entry into the full-frame mirrorless sector in September last year, it re-affirmed the firm’s ambition to be taken seriously in the high-end photography market. Its Micro Four Thirds GH-series cameras have long been appreciated by videographers, but the perceived image-quality disadvantage of the smaller sensor has clearly limited their appeal to enthusiast and professional still shooters. So teaming up with Leica and Sigma to form the L-mount Alliance, with all three firms making full-frame cameras and lenses based around Leica’s mirrorless mount, looked like a logical step.

Panasonic S1 review

The S1 is based around the Leica L mount and a 24MP full-frame sensor

When the firm unveiled its initial product line-up earlier this year, it also looked perfectly sensible, at least on paper. Panasonic has adopted a similar strategy to Sony and Nikon in offering twin cameras with the same body design but different sensors, with the 24.2MP S1 playing the all-rounder to the 47.3MP S1R’s high-res specialist. These are joined by an initial lens line-up comprising a 24-105mm f/4, 70-200mm f/4 and a 50mm f/1.4. The big surprise, however, is the system’s high price and sheer bulk, exemplified by the 50mm f/1.4, which weighs 955g and costs a staggering £2300.

Panasonic S1 review

The Lumix S1 with its 24-105mm zoom is as large as a high-end full-frame DSLR

The first thing you notice when you pick up the S1, too, is its size and weight. Fitted with its 24-105mm f/4 standard zoom, it’s just as large and heavy as a high-end full-frame DSLR, such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with its equivalent lens. Compared to its main mirrorless competitors, the Nikon Z 7 and Sony Alpha 7 III, which offer the same resolution at a similar price point, it’s considerably bigger. In a market where one of the key advantages of mirrorless is considered to be reduced size and weight, does Panasonic’s approach really make sense?

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Panasonic Lumix S1: Features
  3. 3. Panasonic Lumix S1: Build and handling
  4. 4. Panasonic Lumix S1: Viewfinder and screen
  5. 5. Panasonic Lumix S1: Performance
  6. 6. Panasonic Lumix S1: Image quality
  7. 7. Panasonic Lumix S1: Verdict
  8. 8. Panasonic Lumix S1: Specifications
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