A photographer’s view: using the Panasonic S1

We were lucky enough to spend some time with the Panasonic Lumix S1 and the standard kit lens, the 24-105mm f/4. With 6 stops of image stabilisation and a whole host of other features on offer, we couldn’t wait to get shooting.

Photos from the Lumix S1

We took the camera up to London to test its low light capabilities at the impressive Winter Lights Canary Wharf show, while our video guy Gareth took some shots while producing our video review in Brighton and Beachy Head.

If you’re after a more technical review, then we’ve got that here for you – including video footage shot with the Panasonic Lumix S1. This blog is focused purely on reviewing the quality of the photos we took, considering the practical applications of taking photos with the S1 and kit lens.

Find out more about the Panasonic Lumix S series - (S1, S1R & lenses).

Portrait Photography

Georgia, aka Skate Spice, Winter Lights. f/4, 1/160th, ISO 3200. Photo: Ashley Laurence

We loved the natural skin tones that the Panasonic S1 produced, and the resolution is on-point (try zooming into the eye).

The joystick on the back was conveniently placed, allowing for the eye to be selected without any fuss, even when shooting in portrait orientation.

Low Light Photography

Georgia, aka Skate Spice, Winter Lights. f/4, 1/50th, ISO 1600. Photo: Ashley Laurence

We’re really pleased with how this shot came out, considering the tricky circumstances – the lights, dangling from the sky, were constantly changing tone (and switching on/off), giving hundreds of distracting variations for the autofocus to choose from. Our f/4 lens did hunt more than we would like, but let’s be honest – if we were heading out to shoot low light portraiture we would be using a lens with an f/1.4 aperture. The 24-105mm coped remarkably well, the Dual Image Stabilisation shining throughout.

Georgia, aka Skate Spice, Winter Lights. f/4, 1/100th, ISO 3200. Photo: Ashley Laurence

The low light handling of the S1 is impressive – at ISO 3200 there was no issues with noise, which is even more impressive when you consider that this was a pre-production model, meaning that we were working only using JPGs.

Cityscape Photography

 Tower Bridge, f/4, 1/10th sec. ISO 1600. Photo: Ashley Laurence

Annoyingly we just missed ‘blue hour’, and arrived in London after the ambient dusk lighting had all but disappeared. So the flat colours in the sky are our fault. What we loved about the camera here was the 5-axis, in-body dual stabilisation (it’s in the lens too).

To let in as much light as we could we shot (handheld) at 1/10th of a second, and the results are pretty sharp. This IBIS will be working away in the background as a little photographer’s friend, helping to keep your images free from unwanted camera shake.

Colour tones

Winter Lights at Canary Wharf, f/4, 1/80th sec. ISO 1600. Photo: Ashley Laurence

Okay, so there isn’t too much that this picture shows, other than the Panasonic S1 can capture colour tones beautifully – the neon is offset against the more natural tones from the surrounding foreground pavement, and interiors of the office window which have rendered naturally.

Panasonic S1 Dynamic Range

So, a reminder that we were using pre-production, and therefore editing only JPGs. The ability to raise exposure levels and bring out details in the shadow without introducing noise is incredible – certainly at least on par with rival full frame mirrorless cameras that we’ve used.

St Pauls Cathedral, f/6.3, 1/250th sec ISO 200. Photo: Gareth Evans

The original picture was underexposed by 1 stop to prevent highlights in the sky (from the setting sun) from blowing out – a tip we learnt from cityscape photographer Ron Timmins on our cityscape adventure around London.

Landscape Photography

Beachy Head Lighthouse, f/11, 1/200th Sec. ISO 500. Photo: Gareth Evans

Both Gareth and I found the S1 instinctive to use, gave great tones and had an impressive dynamic range that offered a lot of scope for post/edits, even when working from the JPGs.

For a more technical breakdown of how the S1 performed, see our full review.

Photos by Park Cameras’ blogger Ashley Laurence and video expert Gareth Evans.

A big thank you to Georgia for braving the cold to model for us - check her Instagram.

You may also like:

Relive the launch of the Panasonic S1 

Photokina 2018 – all the news as it happened 

Sample images from the Nikon 14-30mm

Cityscape photography – our top tips 

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