2019-08-27

Panasonic Lumix S1H Review


Introducing the brand new Panasonic Lumix S1H, the latest entry into Panasonic’s S Series of Cameras alongside the S1 and the S1R released earlier this year. The new S1H is focused heavily on video and has some extremely impressive specs and functions that professional videographers and filmmakers are going to be extremely excited about.

Overview

First things first, let’s talk about the specs of the camera. The S1H is housing a full frame, 24.2MP sensor with the venus engine making it nice and fast. That’s a decent amount of resolution and actually means that even though this camera is focused towards video, it’s still an excellent stills camera.



The dynamic range is outstanding as it was on the S1 and the newly developed Dual Native ISO (borrowed from Panasonic’s professional video cameras) means it has significantly better low light performance and allows very high sensitivity with truly excellent noise handling.

Photo

The image quality from this camera is fantastic and as I mentioned above, the dynamic range is particularly impressive.



There’s a high resolution mode in the camera which is great for landscapes or fine art, really anything where you might want maximum detail. It allows you to capture 96MP images by moving the sensor around using the Body IS to take 8 consecutive images and then synthesises them into a 96MP RAW image.

In terms of continuous shooting, it can also shoot at 9fps with AFS and 6fps with AFC. While that’s not blisteringly fast, it’s really video where this camera excels which we’ll get onto next.

If you do still need the extra photo speed, you can shoot in the High Speed Burst Shooting mode with 6K photos.



Video

This is where the S1H shines, it really is setting a high bar for video capabilities and Panasonic Lumix have really gone all out here.

You’ve got multiple formats and aspect ratios including:

6K24p 3:2
5.9K30p         16:9

That is some hefty resolution and it looks great. You’re able to shoot those at 4:2:2 10-bit for some incredible detail and versatility in post.

There’s also C4K and 4K at up to 60 frames per second and even if you downsample from 6K to 4K, the detail is absolutely incredible.



In terms of higher frame rates, as I mentioned above, you can shoot C4K and 4K at up to 60fps and Full HD at up to 180fps for some serious slow motion. It’s also worth being aware that high frame rate recording now features autofocus and audio recording as well.

The controls of the camera follow the same pro video pattern here, changing when you shoot in manual video mode. Shutter speed changes to shutter angle and ISO can be changed to gain. This is a really nice touch allowing for professional use and it means this camera can easily be integrated into a professional workflow.



The video capabilities of this camera are really some of the best we’ve seen without jumping to a cinema camera. This is very much designed as a professional system and I imagine it will become a go to camera for professional videographers and filmmakers.

Image Stabilisation

Following on from the incredible IS of the S1 and S1R, the S1H is certainly no slouch here. The 5-axis In Body IS gives 6 stops of stabilisation and this is most noticeable when shooting handheld video. It makes it significantly easier to do so and in addition, it helps with shooting in lower light situations where you might want to use a slower shutter speed.



Design and Feel

This camera is fairly big, there’s no getting away from it. It has exhausts built into it which I can only assume is to stop it overheating when filming at 6K resolution with all of the Image Stabilisation and processing that’s going on.

I never felt that it was too big or too heavy and I think that for what this is going to be used for, professional video use, this won’t even be a consideration. It’s still a lot smaller and lighter than a lot of pro video camcorders and offers a huge amount as a video system.

The layout of the controls feels very natural. There’s a lot of custom buttons to make it easy to change settings on the go. I particularly like the large movie recording button on the top of the camera. It’s the same size as the shutter button which makes it super easy to use while recording video.



It feels super comfortable to hold, the grip is nice and deep with custom buttons right where your fingers would be.

The viewfinder is extremely nice making it a viable option for shooting video or photographs and the LCD screen on the back is nice and bright and clear. The screen is able to flip out and twist which is fantastic. I imagine a lot of people will be using this camera with an external monitor but, if you’re using it with the LCD screen, it is extremely useful to be able to move it around as freely as this.



Ultimately, Panasonic Lumix have created a fantastic video focused system with the S1H, adding to the already impressive lineup of S series cameras. The S1 now sits as the hybrid camera for videographers and photographers, the S1R maintaining its position as the stills photography focused camera and now the S1H sits firmly as the video choice.

You can check out the full specs, pricing and full details of the S1H here.

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