Camera brands know that the full-frame mirrorless market is where the real battle if currently being fought in today’s photographic world and now shooters have a lot of options to choose from, with Canon, Nikon, Sony and Panasonic all offering excellent options. The Canon R was launched in September 2018 and was Canon’s first ever full-frame mirrorless model – a camera many Canon shooters had been waiting a long time for and the first to be seen as a genuine alternative to the brand’s excellent range of professional-level DSLRs.
The S1 also marked another first – this time for Panasonic, who launched the S1 along side the higher resolution S1R in early 2019. The S1/S1R marked Panasonic’s first-ever full-frame mirrorless camera and the first to use the new L Mount set up. So, we’ve got two full-frame mirrorless models, but which is best in various areas? Well, we’re digging deep into the specification sheets to find out…
Design and build: Let’s start with the Canon R, which of course features a full-frame CMOS sensor that serves up 30-megapixels of resolution. The EOS R body is compact, measuring just 135.8 x 98.3 x 84.4mm tipping the scales at just 580g (body only), but is fully weather sealed, making it suitable for professional use by landscape photographers who often have to work out on location when the rain starts to fall. Along with being the first Canon full-frame mirrorless camera, the EOS R was also the first to use the all-new RF mount, which carries its own range of excellent lenses. Existing Canon users can however still use their EF lenses on the EOS R via the use of an adapter.
|Canon EOS R||Panasonic S1|
|Price:||$ 1,859.00||$ 2,559.00|
|Video||4K @ 30p||4K @ 60p|
|Weight||580g (body only)||899g (body only)|
The Panasonic S1 is also built around a full-frame CMOS sensor, though the S1 is the lower resolution of the two Panasonic cameras, serving up 24-megapixels compared to the higher resolution 27-megapixel S1. Also weather-sealed, the S1 (and S1R) was the first Panasonic camera to use the new L-mount design, which originated from a partnership between Sigma, Panasonic and Leica. Measuring 148.9 x 110.0 x 96.7 mm, the S1 is heavier than the EOS R at 899g (body only).
The two cameras are actually fairly closely matched, but potential buyers should be aware of a number of key differences that could sway any decisions. Let’s start with the exterior of the camera, the Canon features a 0.5-inch OLED colour Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) with 3.69 million dot resolution, though photographers can also choose to use the 3.2-inch LCD, which features a fully articulating design that will appeal to videographers. The Panasonic also features an Electronic Viewfinder and a 3.2-inch LCD, though this is a tilting design rather than a fully articulating system.
The Panasonic does strike back when it comes to memory storage as, while the Canon EOS R only offers a single SD card, the S1 features two card slots – one for SD and one for XQD. Dual card slots are of appeal to professionals who may choose to make an instant back-up to the second card or write stills to one card and video to the other.
When it comes to speed, the numbers are close, with the Canon R capable of 8 Frames Per Second (FPS) and the Panasonic S1 shooting 9 Frames Per Second, but when it comes to focus points the Canon pulls ahead, offering a massive 5655 focus points, compared to 225 on the Panasonic S1. Again, the S1 strikes back by offering a 5-axis IBIS (In Body Image Stabilisation) system – a feature completely missing on the EOS R that will leave Canon shooters relying on IS technology in their lenses to steady shots. The S1 also offers a marginally better battery capacity, which is good for 380 shots on a single charge compared to the EOS R’s 370 shots.
Image Quality: Both cameras are capable of producing excellent images quality and shoot both JPEG and RAW files. The Canon R produces a maximum file size of 6720x4480pixels compared to the Panasonic S1’s max file size of 6000×4000 pixels, but both cameras will easily be able to produce prints up to A3 or enable photographers to crop in on images without compromising image quality.
When it comes to ISO levels, The S1 has a native ISO range of 100-51200, which is expandable to 50-204800, while the EOS R features a native ISO of 100-40000, expandable to 50-102400 – meaning both cameras will enable photography to keep shooting in low light conditions. To improve image quality, the ROS R ‘s 30-megapixel sensor is paired with Canon’s latest DIGIC 8, while the Panasonic’s 24-megapixels sensor is paired with the latest Venus Engine.
Video: While both these cameras will appeal to stills photographers, they also have plenty to offer videographers too. Both cameras can shoot ultra high quality 4K video footage, although while the Canon tops out at 30p, the Panasonic can shoot 4K at 60p, which is important as it will enable videographers to use the high quality 4K 60p footage at half speed for a slow motion effect. Speaking of slow motion, the Canon does offer fast frame rate of 120 FPS, but only at 720p, while the Panasonic offers a 180FPS high frame rate at Full HD, giving Panasonic the edge.
As you’d expect, both cameras feature ports for headphones and an external mic so that enhanced audio can be captured and monitored. The Canon R’s fully articulating screen and lightweight dimensions will appeal more to Vloggers, while the superior frame rates of the Pansonic are likely to be of more appeal to aspiring film-makers.
Other features and verdict: Both of these full-frame mirrorless cameras are absolutely packed with technology and features, but there’s additional areas where the two cameras differ. The Panasonic S1 features a flash sync port and illuminated button – both missing from the EOS R, however the Canon features a wider range of lenses, especially when used with the adapter that enables the operation of EF optics.
Photographers looking to buy a full-frame mirrorless camera will face a tricky decision between these two models. On one hand the Canon has larger resolution, a more sophisticated autofocus system and a more video-friendly LCD. On the other hand, the Panasonic S1 boasts IBIS, higher ISO levels, dual card slots and better video frame rates. It’s likely that existing Canon shooters may be swayed by the EOS R thanks to the ability to make use of their EF lenses, while those with less of a loyalty to the brand may prefer the features of the S1. Both are exceptional cameras that will find a great home in any photographer’s kitbag.