Panasonic’s third Lumix S series mirrorless camera body – which was first revealed back in May this year – will go on sale in October and is primarily targeted at cinematographers. It’s packed with high-end video features, optimising its dedicated full-35mm format sensor.
The Lumix DC-S1H is the world’s first full-35mm format mirrorless camera capable of recording 6K/24p video in the 3:2 aspect ratio. It’s also the first to record 5.9K/30p video in the 16:9 aspect ratio, plus 10-bit 4K in both the 4K DCI and 4K UHD resolutions at either 60 fps or 50 fps.
The higher resolutions are achieved by using the full width of an all-new CMOS sensor with an effective resolution of 24.2 megapixels (not the same devices as is used in the S1) and which retains an optical low-pass filter which Panasonic says is “optimised for video”. The new sensor has Panasonic’s ‘Dual Native ISO’ technology which essentially delivers two base sensitivities, one at ISO 640 and the other at ISO 4000, thereby ensuring much lower noise characteristics at the higher settings. This is also available when shooting stills. The native sensitivity range spans ISO 100 to 51,200 with extensions to ISO 50 and 204,800.
The range of formats, resolutions, codecs and compression regimes covers a whole page in the S1H’s press release so, in addition to the 6K/24p and 5.9K/30p options, the other highlights include 10-bit 60p 4K/C4K HEVC video recording when using an image area equivalent to ‘Super 35mm’, or 10-bit 4:2:2 4K/30p recording in H.264 using the full area to give a bit rate of 400 Mbps with the All-Intra compression codec. Notably, 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 4K 4:3 anamorphic mode (still with a 10-bit colour option), and variable frame rate (VFR) recording with 2.5x slow in C4K/4K and 7.5x ‘super slow’ in 2K Full HD. Faster frame rates are available up to 100 or 120 fps while maintaining 10-bit recording and very high bit rates. Clip lengths are only limited by card capacity or battery power and, interestingly, the S1H body has active cooling via a built-in fan which runs silently. Despite the need for a fan vent, the S1H’s magnesium alloy body is still full protected against dust and moisture plus sub-zero temperatures down to -10 degrees Celsius.
Shooting in 6K enables provides the capacity to crop, pan or further stabilise 4K footage in post-production. V-Log/V-Gamut profiles deliver a claimed dynamic range of 14+ stops, and the S1H’s recorded footage is compatible with V-Log footage recorded by a VariCam series pro-level camcorder or V-Log L footage recorded using the GH5/GH5S M43 format mirror cameras, enabling an integrated post-production workflow for existing users of these cameras.
Another big plus for video-makers is the S1H’s in-body image stabilisation – Panasonic’s ‘Dual I.S.’ system – with five-axis sensor shifting (plus two-axis optical stabilisation with selected S lenses), giving up to 6.5 stops of correction for camera shake with both still photography and video recording. Panasonic takes sensor shifting further with a multi-shot ‘High Resolution’ capture mode for stills which delivers a 96 megapixels (12,000x8000 pixels) JPEG or RAW file. There’s also an ‘HLG Photo’ mode which optimises the contrast with still capture (5888x3312 pixels at 16:9) for display on 4K HDR panels.
The S1H has an OLED-type EVF with 5.76 megadots resolution (and a 120 fps refresh rate), and a 8.1 cm LCD monitor screen with 2.33 megadots resolution and a new multi-hinge arrangement to enable a rull range of tilts and swings (and, specifically, without the need to unplug either HDMI or USB cables).
Continuous shooting for stills is at up to 9.0 fps, but the various ‘4K/6K Photo’ modes are available for bursts captured at 30 or 60 fps for 4K resolution frames (8.3 MP) or 30 fps for 6K (18 MP). The S1H has the same ‘Depth From Defocus’ (DFD) contrast-detection AF as its siblings, operating at 480 fps and with a claimed speed of 0.08 seconds and a low-light sensitivity down to -6.0 EV (at ISO 100). AI-based subject tracking is available for humans and animals. The focal plane shutter has been redesigned and is rated to 400,000 cycles. There are dual SD card slots (both supporting UHS-II). In-camera battery recharging is available via USB-C, and the S1H can be fitted with the S system’s optional vertical grip (the DMW-BGS1) which adds an additional battery pack.
The Lumix S1H will be available in Australia from October and is priced at $5999 for the body only or $7599 when packaged with the Lumix S 24-105mm f4.0 Macro OIS zoom. On the subject of L Mount lenses, Panasonic says it expects there to be a total of 46 available by the end of 2020… 11 of its own Lumix S models, 18 from Leica and 17 from Sigma. For more information visit www.panasonic.com.au