Panasonic Lumix DC-S1

Panasonic Lumix DC-S1

The Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 is a near-perfect full-frame mirrorless camera. By near-perfect we mean its features are outstanding, but like cameras from other brands and other models from Panasonic, it does have a few pitfalls that are not all that user-friendly.

But still, if you fancy a rugged waterproof camera with dual high-speed card slots and clear EVF with a 24MP sensor that can shoot up to 9 fps, then the Panasonic might just be the right option for you.

There are many more impressive specs from this camera including its high-resolution electronic viewfinder that matches that of its sibling the S1R.

Pros

  • OLED viewfinder with 5,76M dots
  • Sturdy design
  • Impressive image and video quality
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization system

Cons

  • Contrast-detect Autofocus tracking is unreliable
  • Bulky

Specifications

  • Sensor: 24MP full-frame CMOS
  • Viewfinder: OLED viewfinder with 5,76M dots, 120 fps refresh rate, .005 sec display lag time
  • Screen: 3.2-inch dual-hinged LCD with 2.1M dots
  • Video Capture: UHD 4K at 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p
  • Body Size: 148.9 x 110.0 x 96.7mm
  • Autofocus: Depth From Defocus (DFD) contrast AF
  • Connectivity Options: Wifi, Bluetooth
  • Memory Card: One SD card slot, one XQD slot
  • Charging Options: USB Charging

Build Quality and Design

Weighing 1,021g (with battery and memory), some might consider the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 too thick and bulky, but that extra weight is what makes the camera one of the most rugged and durable options on the market. It features a tough, weather-sealed body that should last twice as long as models from competitors.

Its big size also makes room for bigger controls and a sturdy grip. With this camera, you won’t always have to take your eye from the viewfinder to find the right buttons. On the back, you can find several manual dials buttons and a control wheel. With these controls, you can easily set the camera or adjust your settings without having to go through the menu.

The most impressive feature when it comes to design is the viewfinder. The S1 features a 5.76 M-dot OLED viewfinder which is way better than the 3.69M-dot panels found in most rival models. Right beside the viewfinder is an eye-sensor. The eye-sensor acts as a battery-saving feature. When set, it goes into sleep mode some seconds after you shift focus. To wake the camera up, all you need do is half-press the shutter.

Taking up much of the space on the back camera is the 3.2-inch dual-hinged LCD screen with 2.1M dots. The screen can be tilted to the needed direction when shooting landscape or in portrait.

Battery

A camera of such size would require a big battery to keep it running and the S1 doesn’t fail to meet up to expectations. The camera packs a large capacity Li-ion battery rated at 3050mAh. With this battery capacity using an XQD memory card, you can easily achieve 360 images per charge on LVF mode, 380 images using the rear monitor (LCD), and 1,100 images on power save LVF mode.

These values are even better when using an SD memory card. The image capture rate goes as high as 400 on the rear monitor with a single charge. Compared to other models like the Nikon Z6 which features a smaller battery capacity, the S1 isn’t really remarkable. Still, you should expect to get more shots on a single charge than the official values above.

Performance and Image Quality

On paper, the S1 comes off as a premium device that can shoot high-quality images. In reality, it actually makes the cut. It features a quick .08 second focus lock-down time, and a 6 fps continuous AF mode. Even better is that it can achieve speeds of 9 fps in single AF mode.

Once again, the S1 just fails to meet up with rivals, its features are remarkable, but its AF mode falls short when it comes to tracking moving subjects.

Moving on, you can get more accurate shots with its face and eye-tracking feature. This feature is driven by deep-learning AI and works pretty well from our area. It should be able to lock on instantly regardless of the face structure of the subject (whether it’s a person, dog, or chicken).

You will also enjoy a 24MP full-frame sensor that provides a balance in detail level and noise visibility allowing for excellent image capture and video recording.

The image quality on this camera is pretty much outstanding. JPEGs displays look very much natural and pleasing with well-judged sharpening and perfect detailing.

What’s more, the S1 features a 5-axis IBS system that compensates for shifting and shaking movements allowing for high-quality shots without any camera blur.

Video Recording

The Panasonic S1 combines three features to produce spectacular high-quality videos: 24MP CMOS Sensor, 4K technology, and Venus Engine. Together, these features deliver QFHD 4K 60p/30p/25p/24p video (3840 x 2160 MP4) in a full-frame format.

Conclusion

The Panasonic S1 comes off as an affordable option in Panasonic’s lineup of mirrorless cameras. Considering its affordable price, it is quite sturdy and features a premium build, high-quality video and image specs, and other impressive specs that make it a worthy contender against other models from Sony, Canon, and Nikon.