Panasonic S1R Review

Panasonic S1 and S1R



Almost eleven years have gone by since, in 2008, Panasonic and Olympus joined together to release the MFT standard, Micro Four Thirds, , to design and develop a system of cameras, cameras and optics " mirrorless ”, that is, without a tilting mirror, frosted glass and pentaprism that the DSLRs have inherited from analogue reflexes. The first Panasonic “mirrorless” MFT camera was the G1, which was immediately appreciated for its qualities, although it lacked a feature that cannot be renounced today on a digital camera, that is the possibility of recording videos. Thus was born in 2009, the Panasonic DMC-GH1, a G1 extended to Full HD video functions, which was the first of a "species", a camera with great attributes for making videos.

Ten years after GH1 and a series of success stories, made with five and half generations of GH cameras, Panasonic tries to change the rules again, with three strong and heavy, full frame, mirrorless cameras, S1R for picture, S1H for video and S1 hybrid to match both "worlds".

 Waiting to test the S1H, ExpertDonkey master tester, Paolo Castellano, made for us a very detailed review of both S1 and S1R.

S1 and S1R are identical externally, as they share the same brain, sheleton and skin, the only difference is the heart, i.e. the full frame CMOS sensor. They are big and heavier than one of the best SLRs currently on the market, such as the Nikon D850. It is clear that Panasonic has in its sights all those photographers and videographers who to date have not made the transition to the mirrorless, precisely because they are too light and compact, and proudly declare "I must feel in my hand the camera".
Internally, the three sisters differ only in the sensor and in the resolution of the latter, which on S1 and S1H stops at 24 megapixels, while that of the S1R is a good 47.3 MP effective, the most resolute of the whole panorama 35mm full format. Along with the hardware, of course, a part of the management software also changes, which obviously tends to penalize the video performance of the S1R, paving the way for the use of videomakers to the S1, which  will be able to take advantage of an upgrade for payment of the video codecs that at the moment, curiously, is not foreseen for the S1R.

Continuing the discussion on differences, both machines can shoot 4K UHD videos up to 50 / 60p; the S1R can do it with the same minimum crop factor, 1.09x, at any frame rate, while the S1 exploits almost all the useful surface of the sensor only up to 4K UHD up to 25 / 30p, while setting the maximum frame rate , only a part is exploited, which therefore adds a fairly consistent magnification factor.
The use of almost all the sensor size, even at 50 / 60p has on the S1R however a price, which is called pixel binning, that is a part of the information captured by the sensor is eliminated before being processed, as we had seen on Nikon's Z7. We will see that this renunciation translates into some artifacts, probably because the Venus processor can't manage the "monstre" resolution of the S1R.


Created by Paolo Castellano on Jul 09, 2019