The annual Camera Magazine Imaging Awards recognise excellence in the design and execution of imaging products. This year there are ten categories and to be eligible, products had to go on sale around Australia from 1 October 2018 to 30 September 2019. No surprises with the winner of our hybrid still/video camera category.
Hybrid Still/Video Camera Winner: Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H
Panasonic has had a bit of a mortgage on this category for quite a while, particularly with its GH series of M43 cameras which have become steadily more accomplished with every new generation, culminating in the all-powerful but still very compact GH5S… now the darling of many film-makers.
It was only logical that the same thinking would be applied to the full-35mm format Lumix S line, and the result is the S1H. There’s no doubt the main emphasis is on video-making here, but a huge amount of thought has gone into making this camera work for everybody from enthusiasts to pro cinematographers. To be honest, on paper the video features and specs look a bit daunting to the layman – more akin to a pro-level camcorder (which is intended, of course) than a hybrid mirrorless camera – but if you’re making films for a living, you’ll be licking your lips in anticipation.
While it may have a full-35mm format sensor, by pro camcorder standards, the S1H is laughingly compact and there are lots of benefits from having the bigger imager such as recording 6K/24p video in the 3:2 aspect ratio, 5.9K/30p video in the 16:9 aspect ratio, and 10-bit 4K in both the UHD and DCI resolutions at either 60 fps or 50 fps. All are firsts for this class of camera. Additionally, the C4K/4K UHD recording at 24p/25p/30p with 10-bit 4:2:2 10-bit colour is recordable in-camera, and the S1H simultaneously delivers a 10-bit 4:2:2 HDMI output. There’s a bewildering selection of formats, resolutions, codecs and compression regimes, but all of this equips the S1H for just about any video production requirement you care to think about. Then there’s in-body image stabilisation, V-Log/V-Gamut profiles (giving a dynamic range of 14+ stops), a huge choice of variable frame rates for slow-mo effects, a tilt/swing monitor with touchscreen, and full weather protection (including for sub-zero temps).
By the by, the Lumix S1H is also a pretty decent stills camera with some handy feature crossovers (such as high-res multi-shot derived from the IBIS), but this isn’t why you’d buy it. You’re going to be buying the S1H because the same video feature set – and performance – in any other configuration would be much bulkier and cost a lot more money… and it would be able to shoot stills!