After giving us a tantalising glimpse of both cameras at Photokina 2018, Panasonic has revealed the complete specs and price tags of its exciting S1 and S1R full-frame mirrorless cameras.
We already knew that Panasonic would match Sony and Nikon’s equivalents by offering a cheaper, lower resolution 24.2MP version (the S1) alongside a pro-friendly 47.3MP beast (the S1R).
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But now we know the S series’ full features list and, consequently, how Panasonic plans to tempt DSLR owners and mirrorless upgraders into shelling out upwards of £2000 for a new camera.
Built around Leica’s existing L Mount, the two models have a lot in common. Both have the same DSLR-like body, which weighs a hefty 899g without a lens, and a 5.76-million-dot EVF with 0.78x magnification (that’s the highest resolution on any camera). Their 3.2-inch touchscreens can also tilt in three directions, though sadly don’t flip round to the front for vlogging to camera.
Strangely, both cameras also have the same burst shooting powers for capturing fast-moving subjects, with the ability to take snaps at 9fps (with the autofocus locked) or 6fps in continuous autofocus. That’s very decent for a full-frame camera, if slightly behind the Nikon Z6 and Sony A7 III.
Both cameras pack a bit more of a punch when it comes to shooting video. The S1, in particular, takes the baton from Panasonic’s excellent G9 and GH5 by letting you shoot 4K video at 60fps, albeit with a 1.5x crop that’ll, for example, give a 50mm lens the same field of view as a 75mm one. Shoot in 4K at 30fps, though, and it’ll use the full width of that lovely full-frame sensor.
These video credentials are boosted by the inclusion of Dual Image Stabilisation, which means the body and lenses can work together to give you six stops of support. That means you can handhold shots that’d normally need a tripod, while enjoying extra help in low light situations.
Panasonic is also claiming a series of “industry firsts” to go alongside the S series’ EVF, video powers and image stabilisation. There’s High Resolution Mode, which on the Panasonic S1R can produce a huge 187Mp image. That promises to be very handy for shooting still life photos and landscapes.
In a slight dig at Nikon and Canon, Panasonic is keen to highlight that both the S1 and S1R have dual card slots, one of which supports XQD and the other SD. That’s great for backups or shooting RAW + JPEG.
And rounding off an impressive specs list are both cameras’ weather-resistant designs, which can fend off dust, splashes and chilly weather that’s ten degrees below zero. So at least it’ll likely survive some freezing rain, even if you don’t.
Perhaps the only slight disappointment is that the autofocus system is still contrast-based rather than the newer on-sensor phase detection used by most of its rivals. That said, we found Panasonic’s DFD (Depth from Defocus) tech to be perfectly speedy and reliable on the Panasonic G9, so we’d expect the S Series to at least match that, if not surpass it thanks to its powerful new Venus engine processor.
So how much will it cost to add one of these feature-packed, full framers to your camera bag? Both cameras will be available from March 18, with the Panasonic S1 costing £2199.99 (body only) and the Panasonic S1R going for £3399.99 (also body only).
You’ll also be able to buy both with a 24-105mm lens – this bundle will cost £2999.99 for the Panasonic S1 and a somewhat painful £4199.99 for the S1R.
Read more: Best compact cameras
There will be two other new lens options at launch – a £2299.99 50mm f/1.4 prime and the £1749.99 70-200mm f/4 zoom lens. With Panasonic promising ten new lenses for the system by the end of 2020, and Sigma promising even more glass in the next two years, the S Series will apparently have an impressive 42 lenses by the time 2021 comes round. Whether or not it’ll have bankrupted you by then is another matter.
Look out for our hands-on first impressions of the Panasonic S1R very soon.
What do you think, is Panasonic’s S series a strong alternative to its Nikon, Canon and Sony’s rivals? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.