Panasonic LUMIX S1H (2 Years Later) : Still Relevant In 2022?

After spending some time getting to know the Panasonic GH6 not long after its release, realising how good LUMIX cameras were for shooting video got me questioning an awful lot as to why I was never intrigued by the brand, despite the many kudos it's received amongst the videographer community ever since the GH5 made some leaps amongst competitors being able to record in anamorphic modes, 5 stops in-body stabilisation, and a relatively affordable price when it first came out.

Although the Panasonic LUMIX S1H might just be a follow up to its predecessor the LUMIX S1, but with internal specs of a 24.2MP full-frame sensor ​​leveraging on a dual-base ISO setting to minimise noise and maximise image quality from low to high sensitivity, recording modes of C4K/4K 60p/50p, 6K/24p 4:2:0 10-bit in 3:2 and 5.9K 30p/25p/24p 4:2:0 10-bit in 16:9, Anamorphic 4K and not to mention RAW video outputs for external recording — its hard to distinguish what else they could improve upon when it comes to image outputs.


Despite the overqualification, Panasonic still felt like they had to give film creators 14+ stops of dynamic range and a wide colour spectrum, heat management improvements by adding a cooling fan which supports unlimited video recording, a dust & splash-resistant body design made of magnesium alloy full die-cast frame, while sealing every seam, dial and button designed for usage temperatures as low as -10°C, and also the newly developed tilt and free-angle rear monitor, which can now also be found in the GH6.


Other features include dual record buttons on the top and bottom left side of the body and more familiar button placements that resemble the GH6. To which may have been the true catalyst for its birth, considering how similar the two are albeit one being a full-frame and the other of an APS-C sensor.


My experience with the LUMIX S1H really felt like it was performing with one hand tied behind it's back, provided that this camera truly could spread its wings when rigged to the fullest with external monitors, cinema lenses, XLR outputs, and probably a V-mount battery to combat the sub-par 3050mAh 1 hour 35 minute running time I managed to get.


Even when pinning the S1H amongst other full-frame flagships such as a Sony A7Siii and the latest Nikon Z9, low-light performance managed to outperform both when it came to retaining shadows, yet may have suffered more when pushed up to 51,200 ISO — while in some situations, colours turned out to be undersaturated or muted in Standard picture profile.


Among other faults I discovered such as Contrast Autofocus being very inconsistent or how it would've been nicer to test image qualities with different L-mount lenses aside from the 35mm f/1.8 I had with me, the LUMIS S1H has truly set the bar for itself as the flagship to live up to when it comes to image outputs. Then again, I have a feeling a new Panasonic full-frame might already be in the works and might come out sooner than we realise.

 

Written by Fitri Aiyub


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