The Panasonic S1R is a step up from the S1 and that step isn’t just big improvements in specs but also in its price. The S1R supposedly stuns with its new and improved 47.3MP CMOS sensor – a big leap from the 24MP on the S1. While the sensor-shift mode on the S1 would give you an image boost of 96.0 MP, you get almost double that on the S1R at 186.9 MP.
The new Panasonic S1R is a powerful camera no doubt. The high-resolution, DSLR-styled mirrorless camera features a rugged design and great handling through an impressive 5-axis stabilization system. Though it comes with many premium features, it’s price tag could be a turn off for many users which is a thousand dollars more than rival models like the Sony A7R III.
- 47MP CMOS sensor
- OLED viewfinder with 5,76M dots
- Rugged and sturdy design
- UHD 4K video coverage
- Exceptionally image and video quality
- Lowly contrast-detect Autofocus features
- Sensor: 47MP full-frame CMOS
- Handling System: 5-axis stabilization system
- Viewfinder: 5,76M dots OLED EVF
- 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
Just like the S1, the S1R packs a lot of weight. With an SD memory card and battery, the camera weighs approximately 1,016 or 2.14 lb. The extra weight means you’d have a hard time carrying it around, but it also means the camera is more likely to last than most of its competitors.
The huge body of the S1R makes for a bigger grip reducing the chances of the camera slipping out your hands while in use. The large size also allows Panasonic to squeeze in more controls and allows for bigger-sized control buttons.
On the front and back of the camera, you can find pretty much everything you need: dials, joystick, and ISO controls in the right places. You can easily set and adjust your focus and shooting setting using dedicated buttons rather than going through the menu on the screen. The build quality of the S1R is just as superb and rugged as the S1. It features a sturdy, weather-sealed, well-built body that boosts its overall appearance and durability allowing the camera to function at temperatures of -100C (140F).
What’s more, the OLED electronic viewfinder sits at the top of its specs. Featuring 5.76M-dot display, 120 fps refresh rate, and an astounding .005-second of lag, Panasonic does make a loud statement with this camera.
Another notable spec that places the S1R ahead of the competition is its slots. With this camera, photographers can shoot on SD UHII and XQD slots at once. The XQD slot is lightning fast at 440 MB/s which would be a plus for videographers.
There is no change in the battery capacity of the S1R and the S1. As a matter of fact, the S1R performs poorly compared to the S1 at the same battery level. This could be due to the extra load the S1R has to deal with but still, the official figures are very much impressive.
Using an XQD memory card, you can achieve 360 images per charge on the rear monitor and 340 imagers using LVF. These figures shoot up to 380 and 360 respectively when using an SD memory card on the device.
Performance and Image Quality
The Panasonic S1R sports a new and improved 47MP CMOS sensor allowing for impressive image capture with an ISO sensitivity of 100-25,600 (expandable range: ISO 50 – 51,200). The sensor features an impressive signal-to-noise ratio allowing for excellent ISO image quality.
Another big improvement in the S1R is the contract-detect autofocus. In the S1, the AF seemed to have a problem with locking on focus, especially on moving subjects. Worse still, it performs even poorer in low light conditions and video shooting. The problem is next to inexistent in the S1R. Though it uses a hunt to focus system rather than the phase-detect system which locks onto focus directly.
When it comes to its face-and eye detection autofocus system, the S1R does amazingly well. The AI-powered feature is very fast and powerful at tracking animals and people well enough.
The S1R can shoot videos at 180 fps HD with a video output of 4K 60 fps. These features are way better than that of rivals like Sony’s A7R III and Nikon’s Z7. It also features a 5-axis image stabilization system that works pretty well. You should expect less camera blur even if you shake or move too quickly while filming.
For an upgrade worth a lot more than its sibling, the S1, there are not really many improvements to go by in the S1R. While you get a better, high-quality sensor, important features like battery capacity and build quality are very much the same. Still, if you’re a professional photographer that places a lot of value on image and video quality, the S1R does make a worthy buy.