Photography News Issue 70

Big test

PANASONIC.CO.UK Panasonic Lumix S1

PRICE: £2199 BODY ONLY

Panasonic kicked off itsmirrorless full- frame Lumix S series with twomodels: the S1R and the S1. They are essentially the same camera, but with some fundamental differences, including resolution and price

THE EVF HAS A RESOLUTION OF 5.76 MILLION DOTS, AND THE IMAGE IT SUPPLIES IS EXCELLENT: BRIGHT AND FULL OF DETAIL with the Panasonic Venus image processing engine, giving a native ISO range of 100-51,200, expandable to ISO 50-204,800. The large body means there’s room for both SD (UHS-II supported) and XQD card slots. Explore the Lumix S1’s body and you’ll find it rich in buttons and controls. The on/off switch is on the right, placed for a forefinger push, and ranged behind the shutter release are dedicated buttons for altering white balance, ISO and exposure compensation. With different surface finishes, using these controls while the camera was held up to the eye was easy. Speaking of the viewfinder, the EVF has a resolution of 5.76 million dots, and the image it supplies is excellent: bright, crisp and full of detail. There’s no smearing during panning and it’s among the very best EVFs around. Round the back of the camera, there are no fewer than nine buttons for adjusting AF zones, bringing up menus, scrolling through the camera’s display options and more. Delve into the extensive, but well-structured main menu and there’s huge potential for user customisation and a host of photo and video features. Although the body is busy, it’s not demanding or confusing to use. Within a short period, I found the Lumix S1 an intuitive camera to use and easy to navigate around. That said, I kept things simple and stuck with the default set-up rather than be too ambitious and make it a memory test.

WORDS AND IMAGES BY WILL CHEUNG

THE FULL-FRAME, mirrorless camera market is on the up, fuelled by Canon, Nikon and Panasonic. With the leader in that market, Sony, very active and Sigma soon to jump on the bandwagon, there is much to be excited about. Panasonic launched two full-frame cameras earlier in the year, the S1 and S1R, and took a different approach to its products. Where rivals have taken the opportunity to downsize their cameras – although not necessarily their lenses – Panasonic’s full-frame mirrorless cameras are large; as big as non-gripped 35mm DSLRs. This is due to Panasonic’s no-compromise approach: weighty, robust bodies that are freeze, dust and splash proof, with shutter mechanisms designed to last more than twice as long as rivals, with a claimed 400,000 actuations. Add two card slots, video features, a button-rich design and the five-axis in-body image stabiliser that, with firmware v1.2, gives a 6EV benefit and that reaches 6.5EV with Dual IS2, and you have credentials that will surely appeal to photo and video users. One small fly in the ointment is that the S series uses the Leica-developed L-Mount – Panasonic being in the L-Mount alliance with Leica and Sigma. That lens pool is relatively small at the moment, but that will change quickly. The Lumix S1 is a 24.2-megapixel camera with a body price of £2199. By comparison, the S1R has 47.3 megapixels and sells at £1200 more. The Lumix S1’s sensor is a full-frame (35.6x23.8mm) CMOS sensor that is free of an optical low-pass filter for maximum detail resolution. It works

42 Photography News | Issue 70

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