The Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H was first revealed at the start of Cine Gear on May 31, 2019. Three months later, August 27, the full details were announced.
The S1H is a Full-Frame, 36mm x 24mm sensor, 24p, 6K 10-bit video camera “hiding” in the body of a DSLM. The shape makes it great as a grab camera, handheld, on rigs, gimbals, drones, or fully outfitted with a studio rig. This is the camera when you want to capture video and not look like a filmmaker but rather a street photographer.
Panasonic now provides 3 Full-Frame L-Mount LUMIX S Series Digital Single Lens Mirrorless cameras: S1R (47.3 MP), S1 (24.2MP) and now the S1H (24.2 MP, 6K video). Think of the “R” model as “Resolution” and the “H” as in High Performance, High-End and Hybrid. The S1H is color-matched to the rest of the Panasonic VariCam line. It has a dynamic range of more than 14 stops.
If there were one sentence to get an audience applauding, they did it with this: “Panasonic is proud to present a new Full-Frame mirrorless camera, the LUMIX S1H, with 6K/24p (3:2) recording capability.”
Panasonic’s Matt Frazer describes the S1H as “a camera that speaks three languages: still, video and filmmaking.”
Let’s begin with its compelling capabilities for filmmaking since the S1H has also been called “a DSLM (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless) approaching ‘A’ camera image quality.
The new 24.2-megapixel Full-Frame CMOS sensor (35.6mm x 23.8mm) has an active image area of 6,024 x 4,016 photosites. It has an OLPF (Optical Low Pass Filter.)
The S1H has Dual-Native ISO which will be familiar, along with the concept of shot noise, to VariCam and EVA1 users. You can switch from LOW ISO 640 to HIGH ISO 4000 with imperceptible changes in noise or picture quality. Further adjustments within each range offer (LOW) ISO 640-5000 and (HIGH) ISO 4000-51200 sensitivities.
The S1H offers 6K Full-Frame 4:2:0 10-bit, 4K Full Frame 4:2:2 10-bit, and 4K Super35 4:2:0 10-bit internal video recording (among many other choices.) An HDMI Type A connector outputs 4:2:2 10-bit 4K 60p/50p and other things that we’ll get to in another story.
You can shoot high speed up to 60 fps in 4K and 180 fps in Full HD. Helpfully, audio can be recorded even in high speed modes.
Designers and engineers from the Panasonic VariCam team contributed to the S1H development. This is evident in the color science, 14 stops of dynamic range and V-Log/V-Gamut.
Time Code IN/OUT connects with a special BNC to flash synchro terminal cable. So, you can jam-sync the S1H with VariCam cameras and audio recorders on set.
In-Camera Body I.S. (5-axis sensor stabilization) working together with O.I.S. (2-axis in-lens stabilization) can make handheld shots look like they were done on a tripod. It works in both still and video modes. If you’re using non-stabilized cine lenses (and most aren’t) with a L-Mount adapter, the 5-axis Body I.S. will still compensate for shake and camera movement.
The S1H can shoot video non-stop. This was confirmed with pre-production models even in the desert. Panasonic installed a small cooling fan behind the sensor towards the rear of the camera’s rugged die-cast magnesium alloy body. The fan is very quiet, dust and splash resistant, and keeps things cool for almost unlimited shooting—until you have to reload SD cards, battery, or the AD calls “Lunch One Hour.”
The 7.4-V 3,050 mAh onboard battery runs the camera for about 2 hours. It can be quick-charged (and you can keep shooting) with the included USB3.1 PD (USB Power Delivery) Type-C cable. This is the same cable to be used for high-speed data transfer from camera to computer.
There are two SD Memory Card slots, with a choice of Relay Recording (after one card fills up, records to next one), Backup Recording (files cloned on second card) or Allocation Recording (e.g. video and photo files on separate cards).
Panasonic calls the EVF an LVF (Live View Finder) and it is a gorgeous 5,760k-dot OLED display that pushes the boundaries of what was previously possible. It is switchable between 60 fps and 120 fps for jitter-free viewing. Latency is almost zero (.005 sec) and contrast approaches 10,000:1. You can switch the finder magnification ratio from 0.78x to 0.7x or 0.74x.
The 3.2-inch, 2,330K-dot touch screen (touch shutter, touch AF) rear monitor has dual hinges for all kinds of viewing permutations. It tilts up and down in the usual way and also swings out to the left, up and down to avoid interfering with cables and connections.
The Status LCD on top of the camera is large (1.8-inch), high resolution, and switchable with backlight for black or white text. MIP (Memory In Pixel) technology ensures that the display is always visible, even when camera power is off. Critical values for still or video are shown, including recording time remaining, battery status, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, white balance, etc.
Oh, and yes, the S1H is still a high performance still camera.
Of course, the LUMIX S1H also shoots stellar stills up to 6000×4000 JPEG and 14-bit RAW. The High Resolution mode approaches Medium Format quality by shooting 8 consecutive pictures while shifting the sensor half a pixel for each frame. The Body I.S. mechanism evens out any shake and a 96-megapixel equivalent (12,000 x 8,000-pixel) image is processed inside the S1H. This could be excellent for shooting background plates, art work or pictures destined for massive enlargement.
Panasonic’s Contrast AF with DFD (Depth from Defocus) technology gets the shot in focus with 0.08 seconds. Face and eye detection works in both still and video modes, locking in and following an eye—whether human, animal, cat, dog or bird. Advanced Artificial Intelligence Technology keeps the shot in continuous focus even when someone or some critter turns away from camera.
The S1H camera body will be available for $3999.99 at the end of September.
Microphone Adaptor (DMW-XLR1),
Remote Shutter (DMW-RS2),
Battery Grip (DMW-BGS1),
Battery Charger (DMW-BTC14) and more.
Panasonic, SIGMA and Leica are partners in the L-Mount Alliance. The L-Mount has a flange focal depth of 20mm and an inside diameter of 51.6 mm. You can attach PL, LPL, PV and other lenses by using mechanical adapters.
The L-Mount system diversifies choices since Panasonic, Sigma and Leica all share this mount system. You can mix and match cameras and lenses and lens mount adapters. (L-Mount is a registered trademark of Leica Camera AG.)
Mr. Yamane announced that more than 46 interchangeable L-Mount lenses will be available by the end of 2020, including 11 or more LUMIX S/S PRO lenses from Panasonic, 17 from Sigma and 18 from Leica.
One of these L-Mount LUMIX lenses was announced concurrently with the new camera.
LUMIX S PRO 24-70mm F2.8
The LUMIX S PRO 24-70mm F2.8 (S-E2470) is a high resolution and high contrast lens with an 82mm front filter thread, 11-blade circular iris and beautiful bokeh. Breathing is minimal.
There are 18 lens elements in 16 groups, three aspherical lenses and four ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lenses. A UHR (Ultra-High Refractive Index) element ensures uniform image quality from the center to the edges while keeping the physical size of the lens to a minimum.
The focus system combines linear and stepping motors for fast, precise AF. The focus clutch mechanism switches from AF to MF (manual focusing).
The LUMIX S PRO 24-70mm lens will be available in October for $2199.99.