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Panasonic Lumix S1 Review - Performance

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Panasonic Lumix S1 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.


Panasonic Lumix S1 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Face and eye detection has resulted in a high success rate for our portrait session, and colour reproduction, as well as skin tones,  are looking very good. There is pleasing background blur, and bokeh, particularly with the 50mm f/1.4 lens.

Exposure and dynamic range are very good, with the camera rarely needing any exposure compensation to be dialled in. There are a number of options to increase the dynamic range recorded, including iDynamic Range (we had this switched off), plus contrast, highlight, and shadow settings. You can also shoot raw images and process these either in-camera or on your computer. 

Colour settings - examples of the different colour settings available can be found in the S1R review. You can also customise these with options for contrast, highlight, shadow, saturation, hue, sharpness and noise reduction. There are further options of colour tone, filter effect, and grain effect when shooting monochrome images. 



Panasonic Lumix S1 Lens test images

Lens Performance - The Panasonic Lumix S 24-105mm f/4 features optical image stabilisation (O.I.S) and performs well, becoming slightly softer at the telephoto end, more so into the far corners of the frame. The lens is capable of producing very sharp, detailed images, and some may find the sharpness levels a little too high. The close focus distance of 30cm is very good, with it possible to get a good close-up image of small objects.

The Lumix S Pro 50mm f/1.4 lens performs extremely well, with sharp images, as well as the option to control the aperture from the lens. The bright f/1.4 aperture allows for pleasing subject separation and beautiful background blur and bokeh. 

The camera has options to correct for vignetting (we had this switched on), and diffraction compensation (we had this switched off). Vignetting (darkened corners) was not a problem. We rarely spotted lens flare, except when shooting with a very bright light source in the frame (such as the sun). Distortion appears to be under control. Focus was reliable, and we had a high success rate. 


Panasonic Lumix S1 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise starts to creep in at ISO6400, and at ISO12800 there is a slight loss in fine detail. This continues at ISO25600, with an increase in noise, and the loss of more detail. We'd still be happy to use images shot at these speeds. At ISO51200 detail drops again, and colour saturation drops. At ISO102400 colour saturation drops further, as does detail, and we'd probably recommend this setting not be used unless you're going to resize or process the noise further. ISO204800 shows the highest levels of noise, low colour saturation, and low detail, and is best avoided. You can adjust the noise reduction setting from -5 to +5, with half steps in between. 

Noise compared to the competition...

Compared to the Nikon Z6 (24mp), and Sony Alpha A7 III (24mp), the Nikon and Sony both give better noise performance, due to using a BSI CMOS sensor, with better results at ISO25600. Compared to the Canon EOS RP (26mp) the results aren't hugely different in terms of noise, although the Panasonic Lumix S1 images are definitely sharper in comparison, and we'd say that the S1 has a slight edge at higher ISO speeds of ISO25600 and ISO51200. 



Panasonic Lumix S1 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - There is a standard Auto White Balance (AWB) option, and there are also AWB Cool and AWB Warm options. These are particularly effective under Tungsten lighting. The AWB gives a slightly warm result under tungsten lighting, with the AWB Warm setting giving a warmer result. AWB Cool gives a more neutral result, as you would expect. AWB gives a reasonably good result under fluorescent lighting, and there is no fluorescent preset available. The camera gives a warm result under mixed lighting. It's quick and easy to set a custom white balance, and there are 4 custom white balance settings available, as well as 4 Kelvin settings available. 



Panasonic Lumix S1 24mp Crop

24mp crop - 100% view

Panasonic Lumix S1 - 96mp - 100% Crop

96mp crop - 100% view

High-res mode... 

The high-res mode needs a sturdy tripod, and can produce 96-megapixel images! This works by moving the sensor at a sub-pixel level, taking 8 shots, and then combining them into one large raw file. You’ll need a large memory card, as these are 172mb in size. To convert this to a JPEG image, you need to use Silkypix (or Adobe Photoshop) on your computer. Results can be very impressive, but any movement caused by camera shake, or an unstable tripod will result in the image not working properly.

The Panasonic Lumix S1R offers 187mp images, with its multi-shot mode. If you want higher resolution images than the S1 can provide, you need to look at the 100mp Fujifilm GFX100 or a Hasselblad H6D-400c MS. The H6D-400c MS is a 100mp medium format camera, that can use a multi-shot function to produce a 400mp image. Sony’s multi-shot function in the A7R III gives you 4 shots combined to produce a 42mp image, with more detail, and better colour accuracy than a single 42mp shot.



Video - The S1 will record 4K UHD (3180x2140) video at 60, 50, 30, 25, 24fps, and at 30fps or less, the camera uses the full width of the sensor. At 60 / 50fps the camera crops into the centre of the sensor, using an APS-C sized area. There is a 30 minute limit on 4K video recorded at 60/50fps, video is unlimited when recording at other frame rates. 

60 and 50fps video is recorded at 150mbps (4:2:0 8-bit), with lower speeds recorded at 100mbps. You can record HDR (HLG2100) MP4 HEVC UHD video at 30/25/24fps, at 72Mbps (4:2:0 10-bit, LongGOP) internally, or upgrade the internal/external recording to 10bit 4:2:2 with a free* software update (*free for a limited time only).

There are numerous options and settings available, including colour profiles. The colour profiles available include Cinelike D, Cinelike V, Like709 (with Knee), plus HLG2100 MP4 HEVC. You can also select the same colour settings that are available in Photo mode. These can all be customised.

There are options to use the full-frame, APS-C (Crop), or Pixel|Pixel (Crop). You’ll also find options for flicker reduction, and wind noise reduction to name a few. You can set the microphone socket to power mic, mic, or line in, and there is XLR support, and there is a headphone socket, as well as the microphone socket. ISO 100 to ISO 51200 can be set as lower and upper limits for Auto ISO, or the full ISO range can be selected manually. 

Video quality is excellent, with plenty of detail visible. Image stabilisation works well, even on default settings. There are additional options, including e-stabilisation (electronic), and "Boost I.S." 

You can view additional videos from the S1 on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel


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