How does the Panasonic S1H compare to other Lumix models?

Panasonic has the video world talking after teasing some of the top line specification of its forthcoming Lumix S1H mirrorless camera. The reveal was made at the recent Cine Gear Expo in Hollywood where Panasonic confirmed that the third model in the full-frame S1 range was in the works with an expected on sale date in the autumn. So far, the company has only highlighted key video functions, which include three world firsts, but this was enough to create frenzied excitement around model and its potential for serious videographers and broadcast users. But how does the new model size up against what the company already has an offer? Here’s what we know.

And then there were three… Panasonic is taking full-frame mirrorless very seriously!

Lumix S1H

Let’s start with a recap of the features that has got everyone so excited about the new model. The main headline is the camera’s 6K/24P recording capability in the 3:2 ratio, or 5.9K/30P recording in the 16:9 ratio; both world firsts in a digital interchangeable lens system camera. Then there’s the capability to capture 10-bit 4K or C4K/60p footage internally – another world’s first for a full frame model. There’s also an anamorphic 4:3 mode and all these recording options can run for an unlimited amount of time, although precisely how long this is depends on battery and memory card capacity. Ambient temperature is also a factor as once the camera reaches a certain temperature it will stop recording to prevent overheating. Finally, dynamic range is comparable to that from the company’s VariCam cinema cameras with V-Log/V-Gamut offering 14+ stops. That’s all we have so far. No details on resolution, although it’s widely expected to be 24.2 megapixels.

S1 owners will be able to get a free upgrade to the video specs until September

Lumix S1

Straight out of the box, this 24.2 megapixel model offers 4K/60P recording, although this is in 8-bit, there’s no C4K and there’s no anamorphic 4:3 ratio option. Those wanting to improve on the video specscan now do so by purchasing the new DMW-SFU2 software key, dubbed the ‘Filmmakers kit’ which does move the S1 closer to the S1H by broadening the camera’s dynamic range to 14+ stops and offering 10-bit internal recording up to 4K/30P. Record externally and the software key will provide 10-bit 4K/60P output. Additionally, the upgrade provides a Waveform Monitor to display brightness while recording and a high resolution 48 or 96kHz/24-bit sound recording in the MOV format when using Panasonic’s XLR microphone update. If you’re into your video, this is clearly a worthy upgrade, which is why Panasonic has also confirmed it will be offering this for free to S1 users from 8 July until the end of September. After that, it will cost £179.

Lumix S1R

The 47.3 megapixel S1R offers an identical video recording spec to the S1 with 4K/60P straight out of the box. The optional DMW-SFU2 Filmmakers kit is also available for this model, but in this case it won’t be free.

The video-focused GH5S still has much to offer if you don’t want full frame

Lumix GH5S

For many, this 10.28 megapixel Micro Four Thirds model offers the perfect blend of functionality and size and, indeed, it seems that the S1H takes the GH5S’s key video specifications and builds on them. 10-bit footage can be captured internally at 4K and C4K up to 30P, at 60P/50P it’s recorded in 8-bit, or 10-bit if you record externally. The anamorphic 4:3 option is also available in 4K and the GH5S offers the same unlimited recording option, so this is clearly still a video powerhouse!

It’s no wonder the S1H set tongues wagging at the Cine Gear Expo as the video specs certainly lay down a marker. Sony is also expected to launch the video-centric A7S III later this year so it will be fascinating to see what they do to counter Panasonic’s charge.