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Panasonic Lumix S1R Review - Performance

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Panasonic Lumix S1R 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 S1R Other sample images

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 better than ever. There is pleasing background blur, and bokeh, although those with keen eye-sight might find the "onion" rings in some of the background highlight distracting. Exposure and dynamic range are very good, with the camera very 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. Additional photos can be found in the EQDB.


Panasonic LUMIX S1R Lens test images

Lens Performance - The provided 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 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 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. You can use APS-C Leica L-Mount lenses, and this will give you a 20mp image. Focus was reliable, and we had a high success rate. 


Panasonic LUMIX S1R ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise starts to creep in at ISO1600, and at ISO3200 there is a slight loss in fine detail. This continues at ISO6400, with an increase in noise, and the loss of more detail. We'd still be happy to use images shot at these speeds. At ISO12800 detail drops again, but colour saturation remains good. At ISO25600 colour saturation drops, as does detail, and we'd probably recommend this setting not be used, unless you're going to resize or process the noise further. ISO51200 (High) 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...

As expected, the S1R does not quite match the performance of the Sony A7R III (with 42mp BSI CMOS sensor), and Nikon Z7 (with 45.7mp BSI CMOS sensor), with the Z7 offering much better colour saturation at ISO25600. The other cameras offer lower noise, and slightly higher usable ISO speeds.



Panasonic LUMIX S1R 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 S1r 47mp Vs 187mp

High-res mode... 

The high-res mode needs a sturdy tripod, and can produce 187 megapixel images! This works by moving the sensor at a sub-pixel level, taking 8 shots, and then combining them in to one large raw file. You’ll need a large memory card, as these are 330mb in size. To convert this to a JPEG image, you need to use Silkypix 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.

This is beyond what any other camera offers, and if you want higher resolution images, you’d need to look at a Hasselblad H6D-400c MS – a 100mp medium format camera, that can use a multi-shot function to produce a 400mp image. However, one of these cameras will set you back £43,500. 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).



Panasonic LUMIX S1R Digital filters

Colour settings - examples of the different colour settings available are shown above. 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. 


Video - The S1R will record 4K UHD (3180x2140) video at 60, 50, 30, 25, 24fps, and there is a slight crop of 1.09x. There is a 15 minute limit on 4K video recorded at 60fps, 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 output clean 4K video through the HDMI connection at 4:2:2 8-bit when recording 4K at 30fps or less.

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." 

There are numerous options and settings available, including colour profiles. The colour profiles available include Cinelike D, Cinelike V, Like709 (with Knee), as well as all of the standard colour settings 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 powered mic, mic, or line in, and there is XLR support. The full ISO range is available.

You can view additional videos from the S1R on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel


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rhody 17 2.8k 2 United Kingdom
5 Apr 2019 7:07PM
Thank you very much for a review I have been wanting to read since the news broke. I am with Panasonic on matching the ergonomics of a DSLR with this flagship camera. The size of DSLR's and SLR's has been honed to perfection for decades so I can see the logic in keeping the size and form of DSLR sizing to match high performing, wide aperture lenses.
I am a big fan of FF mirrorless although I still take my Micro Four Thirds gear on a long day out.
Good Luck Panasonic - looks like a winner in the making.

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