Gear

Panasonic S1R v Nikon Z 7

Theses days, photographers have a decent range of full-frame mirrorless cameras to choose from – in fact, there’s now nearly as many mirrorless options as DSLR options. Of course these options vary, both in the resolution they offer and features that can help your photography, but also how much damage they’ll do to your wallet.

Two of the very best full-frame mirrorless options on the market are Nikon’s Z 7 (the first ever full-frame mirrorless from Nikon along with the Z 6) which was released in August 2018 and Panasonic’s S1R, which is also (alongside the S1) the brand’s first-ever full-frame mirrorless camera when it was brought to market in February 2019. Both cameras share many specifications, but there’s also key features that sets the cameras apart from each other. We’re drilling down into the specs sheets to help you make an informed choice, so let’s get started…

Design and build:

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The Panasonic S1R features a 47-megapixel full-frame sensor.

Let’s start with the Panasonic S1R, which is built around a 47-megapixel full-frame mirrorless sensor and uses Panasonic’s new L-mount, which was born out of a partnership with Leica, Sigma and of course Panasonic. Retaining the DSLR-like body shape, the S1R weighs in at 898g, which is actually heavier than some DSLR alternatives such as the Canon 5D MkIV (890g). Meanwhile, the Nikon Z 7 is built around a 45.7-megapixel full-frame mirrorless sensor and the new Z-mount, which Nikon debuted with the Z 7 and Z 6 cameras. The Z 7 also retains the shrunken down DSLR body shape, but at 675g the Z 7 is both lighter and smaller than the Panasonic S1R.

The cameras share a number of specifications; for example, each model boasts a large 3.2-inch touch-sensitive LCD with a tilting design to help with awkward low/high compositions. Both cameras also include an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), although the Panasonic’s version has a higher resolution. Both cameras feature weather-sealing, making them suitable for professional use and ensuring that you don’t have to stop shooting when the rain starts to fall.

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The Z 7 was Nikon first big-megapixel full-frame mirrorless camera.
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Despite both cameras featuring massive resolution, each model is fairly speedy as both cameras feature a maximum burst rate of 9 Frames Per Second (FPS) which, although this may fall a little short for out and out professional wildlife or sports photographers, is certainly good enough for everyday action sequences. There are some big differences to the design of each camera that may sway a photographer’s buying decision. One of the biggest is the fact that the Panasonic features two memory card slots (one SD, one XQD) compared to the Nikon Z 7’s single XQD slot. Professionals will bemoan the Nikon’s single card slot as it denies the ability to make an instant back-up or chose to shoot stills to one card and video to the other. {text}

Both cameras have similar battery capacity, with the Panasonic S1R offering 360 shots on a single charge, compared to 330 from the Nikon – these figures are more or less in line with other rival full-frame mirrorless cameras. When it comes to autofocus, the Nikon Z 7 strikes back, offering 493 AF points compared to 225 from the Panasonic S1R – although it should be noted that both these figures fall below another full-frame mirrorless rival (the Canon EOS R) which offers 5655 AF-points.

Image Quality:

When it comes to image quality, both cameras have all the features and technology needed to create incredibly impressive photos that are more than suitable for professional use. The slightly higher resolution S1R offers a maximum file size of 8368×5584 pixels, while the Z 7 serves up a maximum file size of 8256×5504 pixels – this means both cameras can produce huge prints, easily in excess of A3 in size. Alternatively, all that resolution also means that photographers can crop heavily into a frame without overly compromising image quality.

As you’d expect from professional-level cameras, each model shoots RAW files along with JPEGs and feature impressive ISO ranges with the S1R boasting a native range of ISO 100-25600 (expandable to ISO 50-51200), while the Nikon Z 7 has an ISO range of 64-25600, expandable to a massive ISO 102400 so both cameras will allow photographers to keep on shooting in very low light.

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Both cameras feature a 3.2-inch titling LCD that is touch-sensitive.

Another feature that will help with image quality is the presence of In Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS) in both cameras. While many Panasonic cameras (such as the GH5 and G9) feature IBIS, this was a first for Nikon. Both camera’s systems use a 5-axis set-up, with the Panasonic S1R’s Dual IS system buying back up to 6-stops of compensation and the Z 7 offering 5-stops of compensation. With IBIS, camera shake will be less likely, especially during low light conditions that can typically catch out photographers and this should result in higher image quality.

Video:

Along with the impressive stills photography specifications, both the Panasonic S1R and Nikon Z 7 have plenty to offer videographers, too. Both cameras can film ultra high-quality 4K footage, although the Panasonic offers this at 60p, while the Z 7 is restricted to 30p. This is important as Panasonic users will be able to use that 4K 60p footage at half speed for a slow motion effect.

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Both cameras can capture ultra high-quality 4K footage.

Those not wishing to (or needing) to shoot in 4K can shoot at various speed in Full HD and both cameras offer a high frame rate so that super slow motion can be recorded. Both cameras offer ports for an external mic and headphones so enhanced audio can be both captured and monitored.

 Panasonic S1RNikon Z 7
Price:$ 3,629.00 
Resolution:47-MP45.7-MP
IBIS:  
Card slots:21
Burst rate:9FPS (Frames Per Second)9FPS (Frames Per Second)
LCD:3.2-inch tilting touchscreen3.2-inch tilting touchscreen
Video:4K 60p4K 30p
AF points:225493
Weight:898g675g

Additional features and verdict:

It’s clear from the specifications sheets that these cameras are fairly closely matched. Sporting the same burst rate, more or less the same resolution and the same size tilting LCD along with similar battery capacity. That said, we’ve already highlighted key areas that could affect a buying decision; for example, the addition of an extra memory card slot on the Panasonic could be enough of a deal breaker to sway photographers who are used to backing up on the go using the second card slot.

Alternatively, the Z 7 has over double the AF-points than the Panasonic, so those who intending to shoot more action-based photography may prefer the smaller, lighter and arguably more portable Z 7. It should be noted that Nikon also sell an adapter that will enable Nikon DSLR users to use their F-mount lenses on Z-mount cameras, which may also be enough to keep photographers loyal to the Nikon brand rather than see them swap systems.

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Nikon F-mount lenses can be used on the Z 7 via an adapter.

Those without brand loyalty may also value the Panasonic’s higher 4K 60p frame rate as the wiser choice if they intend to shoot a lot of video but, ultimately, both the Z 7 and S1R are highly impressive full-frame mirrorless options, packed with cutting-edge features suitable for professional use.