- 24MP full-frame sensor
- 5-axis in-body image stabilization
- 6fps burst mode
- 5.76m-dot electronic viewfinder
- Dual-hinged 2.1m-dot touchscreen LCD
- 4K/60p video with 1.5x crop or 4K/30p video without a crop
- 380-shot battery life
- Super-Vario-Elmar-SL16–35 f/3.5–4.5 ASPH
- Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–90 f/2.8–4 ASPH
- APO-Summicron-SL 35 f/2 ASPH
- Summicron-SL 50 f/1.4 ASPH
- APO-Summicron-SL 50 f/2 ASPH
- APO-Summicron-SL 75 f/2 ASPH
- APO-Summicron-SL 90 f/2 ASPH
- APO Vario-Elmarit-SL 90–280 f/2.8–4
Photo by Anastase Maragos on Unsplash
When Panasonic’s first full frame mirrorless camera dropped a few years ago, nobody could stop talking about it. The Panasonic Lumix S1 was a pretty big deal, not only for Panasonic lovers, but because Panasonic unveiled this full frame mirrorless camera alongside a big lineup of incredible lenses.
When it comes to mirrorless cameras, not every manufacturer puts as much forethought into their lens lineup as Panasonic did and it was cool to see.
The Panasonic Lumix S1 also featured one of the highest resolution electronic viewfinders on the market when it came out. This is still true to this day.
Overall, the Panasonic Lumix S1 design is very appealing to still photographers, while the upgraded Panasonic Lumix S1H is the better choice for videographers. However, there is a cinematic firmware upgrade available for videographers wanting to save some money and purchase the Panasonic Lumix S1 instead.
But, since the Panasonic Lumix S1 came out a few years ago, we figured we should do a full Panasonic Lumix S1 review to figure out if this camera is really still worth it in 2020.
We’re going to cover the Panasonic Lumix S1 specs, build, video and lenses.
Panasonic Lumix S1 Specs
We already talked about the electronic viewfinder on the panasonic Lumix S1, which features 5.7m-dots, but there are plenty of other Panasonic Lumix S1 features that are just as impressive.
For example, the in-camera image-stabilization is one of the best on the market, as is its weather-sealing.
The Panasonic Lumix S1 also features a high res mode that allows you to shoot multiple shots at 96MP.
Other Panasonic Lumix S1 Specs:
Let’s do a deeper dive into some of our favorite specs.
In the video below by PanasonicUK, the weather-sealing on the Lumix S1 is tested by throwing dust and breaking multiple panes of glass on the camera. The creators of the video also submerge the camera in a box of ice, throw 4 liters of water at it, and douse the camera with what looks to be a flamethrower.
When we say the Panasonic Lumix S1 features full weather-proofing, we are not kidding around. It’s a phenomenal camera for an adventurous photographer, or a photographer who lives in an area where they can reasonably expect crazy weather.
Panasonic Lumix S1 Body & Design
We obviously already talked a little bit about the Panasonic Lumix S1 build, but the reason it can be so incredibly weather-proofed is that it’s pretty heavy. Weighing in at just over 2.25 lbs, the Panasonic Lumix S1 is definitely one of the heavier cameras in its category.
It’s also much bigger than similar cameras, but again that allows the camera to feel as sturdy as it does.
The entire camera is designed around the high-resolution EVF. There’s a button next to the EVF that allows you to set the EVF to go to sleep a specific amount of seconds after you take your eye away from it.
The EVF is surrounded by a large circular eyecup that must be rotated before you can take it off. The lag on this EVF is less than .005 seconds, which is just about the best you’ll find on the market.
The other portions of the Panasonic Lumix S1 are all highly customizable. For example, there is an eight-way rear joystick that controls the AF point (which is much better than the four-way joysticks featured on other Panasonic cameras).
Panasonic Lumix S1 Build & Handling
My favorite thing about the Panasonic Lumix S1 handling is that the buttons are all backlit, which you don’t see all too often with mirrorless cameras. This allows you to shoot in low-light environments with ease.
The LCD touchscreen is also very helpful. It’s double-hinged, like the LCD on the Fujifilm X-T2. You can either make it tilt up and down for shooting landscapes or tilt it up while shooting portraits.
While the battery life on the Panasonic Lumix S1 isn’t anything to write home about, at 400-shots it isn’t awful either. You can prevent running your battery low by using the LCD or EVF less often.
The most helpful tip I’ve learned about the battery life on the Panasonic Lumix S1 is that you can make it jump up to nearly 1,000 shots if you use that button next to the EVF I talked about to make the camera go to sleep immediately after you take your eye away.
Panasonic Lumix S1 Video Performance
Huge thanks to FinalCutProes for this Panasonic Lumix S1 video test.
The Panasonic Lumix S1 video performance isn’t as good as the video performance on the updated Panasonic Lumix S1H, but it’s still pretty impressive.
It allows you to shoot 4K at 60p with a small APS-C crop. If you want to avoid this crop you can by shooting in oversampled 4K at 30p. Additionally, you can shoot full HD at 180fps with an impressive output at either 50p or 60p.
I personally believe that once you shoot full-frame 4K video with this camera, you probably won’t ever shoot in any other video mode because it’s that good.
When it comes to the autofocus while in video mode, it’s pretty steady. It, of course, makes some mistakes, but none of these mistakes are going to make shooting video any more difficult for you. At this point, that’s just about all you can ask for with video AF.
If you’re a videographer hoping to use the Panasonic Lumix S1 body specifically for video, you’ll definitely want to purchase the DMW-SFU2 upgrade. For $200, this firmware upgrade allows you to shoot with Panasonic’s V-Log gamma profile. It also allows you to use 42:2 10-bit 4K/30p internal recording or 4:2:2 10-bit 4K/60p while using an external recorder via the HDMI.
Panasonic Lumix S1 Lenses
This video by The Raven Studio walks you through a few Panasonic Lumix S1 lenses, and you can watch it for some more information.
Panasonic, alongside Leica and Sigma, joined the L-Mount Alliance which means that the Panasonic Lumix S1 can use Leica’s L-mount. This is great news for anyone wanting to purchase this camera because the lens line is likely going to grow much faster because it has three invested manufacturers.
In fact, at the beginning of this year, Panasonic promised that 18 L-mount lenses would be dropping by the end of this year. While Panasonic hasn’t officially announced whether the coronavirus pandemic is going to affect this number, it likely will. Still, it’s nice to know that Panasonic is incredibly interested in providing us with all of the Panasonic Lumix S1 lenses that it can.
However, if you’re thinking about picking up a Panasonic Lumix S1 right now, then you’re probably wondering what L-mount lenses are currently available.
They are as follows:
If none of the above lenses appeal to you, though, you can also purchase an adaptor from Leica so you can use any R-mount, M-mount or S-mount lens with this camera.
Panasonic Lumix S1 Price
As impressive as this camera may be, it always comes down to the cost.
The Panasonic Lumix S1 price was well over $3,000 when it first dropped, but since you can now purchase this camera used, you’re going to save a ton of money.
If you think the Panasonic Lumix S1 may be the camera for you, you can pick a used one up on MPB starting at $1,900.
I often use MPB to sell my old gear, but I’ve purchased plenty of used cameras from MPB over the years. It’s a painless process, and since MPB inspects and grades each camera they list, I know that the camera I get in the mail will be the one I purchased.
MPB offers a six-month warranty on many items and has a top-notch customer service team to assist you with any problems you might have.
If you’re ready to upgrade your kit with a Panasonic Lumix S1, head over to MPB to get started!