Panasonic S1R Review: Worth the price?

  • Published: 26 July 2019
  • Is the S1R worth $3,700? If you had asked me this even a month or two ago, I would have said yes. However, Sony’s incredible new 61-megapixel A7R IV has put me in a tight spot here, based on the brief look we had. For $200 less, you get a lot more, including much higher resolution, phase-detect autofocus with incredible AI powered eye detection, and video features on par with the S1R.

    Sony simply hasn't given Panasonic an inch in performance, and has a proven track record with three previous A7R models. It’s a shame, because the S1R is a pretty incredible camera, but like Canon and Nikon, Panasonic is simply getting lapped by Sony in the mirrorless race.

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Comments • 44

  • Robert Moushi
    Robert Moushi  1 weeks back

    So bought the Panasonic s1r and the raw files are smaller than d850 and a7r3 which it didn t make sense and there is no raw options. For instant. Lossless rae or uncompressed or even 14bit or 12 bit. Most cameras have that these days. Maybe I m not looking at the right please in the settings. Do you guys know anything about this. Or maybe there is just raw. A compressed one.

    • Gabe Cuello
      Gabe Cuello  1 weeks back

      Would you suggest that the S1 is a better option for Vlogging?

      • No more
        No more  2 weeks back

        Jesus, you over exposed the low light shots and complained about noise

        • Tigerex966
          Tigerex966  2 weeks back

          Panasonic phase detect, is a must.
          In the future TOF sensor focus and Lidar sensor focus will be great.
          Contrast focus is a huge nono at this price range.

          • Mark Metternich Photography, LLC

            This camera DOES have a vertical and horizontal flip screen! This is incorrect on the video. It just does not flip backward.

            • CHEVY CAMARO68
              CHEVY CAMARO68  3 weeks back

              Excellent review...thank you. S1 and S1R prices have dropped and at $2998, the S1R is an attractive system. Optional L-mount lenses include a few from kipon (?) about $670, but they are manual.

              • Photo Mania
                Photo Mania  4 weeks back

                S1r produce shit image quality

                • kane01337
                  kane01337  1 months back

                  Best thing I've seen from Engadget in years - Steve Dent bringing high Quality reviews / edits - I didn't think Engadget would ever get back from many years ago.

                  • Fellow Citizen
                    Fellow Citizen  1 months back

                    x1.09 S1R
                    x1.50 S1
                    x1.90 X-T3 (poss GH5S)
                    x2.00 G9, GH5

                    • The Faustian Man
                      The Faustian Man  1 months back

                      How is a real world review vs. a marketing release anyway valuable to people. This guy wears shirts too tight around his armpits. Never trust a guy who wears shirts this tight.

                      • Tom Ohle
                        Tom Ohle  2 months back

                        While the Sony A7riv looks to be a fine camera. I feel that this review has gotten caught up in the hype and the S1R comparison to the Sony is reading off a laundry list of Sonys A7riv marketing brochure without critically evaluating the details or worse yet, validating Sony's claims.
                        The only area that I currently agree with you where the Sony betters the Panasonic offering technologically is in absolute resolution outside of this there are many many significant areas where the Sony isn't in the same ballpark and still playing significant catch-up.
                        The comment on dynamic range being better from Sony is highly questionable once you factor in banding/striping where you start to approach those 15 stops figures. The sample tests performed by Tony Northrup shows the footage to look much worse on the A7riv compared with the A7riii when pushing shadows and significantly so. According to DXO the a7riii, S1R and D850 are neck and neck which would suggest that in reality the A7riv is actually trading resolution for dynamic range and likely worse than the A7riii in real world usage.

                        Regarding video performance, the Panasonic offering supports Full Frame 4k 60p with no crop (albeit with pixel binning) and higher 1080p frame rates than the A7riv with higher bitrates to boot.
                        Speaking to video AF performance, check out Richard Wongs comparison with the A7iii and S1r in video - the S1R focus was superior for tracking in latest 1.2 firmware where the camera is set to higher framerates (it can sample from the sensor much faster than the Sony sensor + lens inherently so benefits the Panasonic CDAD + DFD + machine learning AI AF system).
                        Regarding the Panasonic AF system, it's unfair to simply view it as super charged CDAF and wrong to see PDAF as an advantage. Rather it's a different approach with it's own pro's and con's. Regardless Panasonic uses a combination of traditional CDAF + lens profile Depth from defocus (this generates a series of depth maps for analysis to replicate the effect one would usually get from PDAF photosites), object recognition and vector motion analysis tied to deep learning reference image models in order to predict continuous tracking. In short, it is likely a more future proof approach given software and processing evolution over time that will only get better and better over the life of the S1/S1R (seen the size of the heatsink on those beasts).
                        Regarding the burst rate, looking at the small print again, Sony are advertising 10fps at 12bit RAW compression. Their competitors (including Panasonic, Nikon, Canon) advertise based on 14bit raw files. By that logic the Z7 is actually pushing more data per frame relative to the competition with the S1R behind. Heck if Panasonic were to come out and advertise 30fps at 6k (18mp) - it would be technically be true and would look better on the spec sheet but coming from 8bit file ;) Marketing games.
                        Other areas where the Panasonic is providing more features to the Sony - focus stacking, stop motion, 4k burst stills image capture, 6k 30fps stills capture, pixel shift in camera without necessitating post processing in computer, vastly superior IBIS performance owing to the larger size, a buffer that clears much faster and doesn't lock up the camera, top plate lcd for working photographers to see their settings in low light, buttons that light up in low light, Sony's own XQD card slot for future proof support of compact flash express and faster media cards etc...
                        Please don't take that I don't think the Sony 61mp camera is not a great achievement. It is, but the second coming of cameras it is not ( in my opinion anyway) and still in many ways catching up to the S1/S1R.

                        • VHS
                          VHS  2 months back

                          In the last 7 years I've never seen anyone use a Panasonic for photos. Not a single one.

                          • der Ryk1
                            der Ryk1  2 weeks back

                            I use Lumix GH5 and G85 all the time for my pro work in the field for both video and photo. I'm very much satisfied with the photo results and most importantly so are my clients. The photo quality for the type of images that those cameras take are great and the video of the GH5 still kicks butt. So I don't know what places you go to but we are out there with our Lumix cameras.

                          • Harold6643
                            Harold6643  1 months back

                            you must not got out much . the G9 is a pretty popular caneras , especially those who need long focal lengths while travelling

                          • CC
                            CC  2 months back

                            Yes, PANASONIC is now in the game, yes they do not care about mirrorless till now. I think it´s good for the market having PANASONIC trying to compete, is good for SONY to push the market. And in this close future and even now DSLR will die and MIRRORLESS and computational photography with AI will remain. So the future is MIRRORLESS although you don´t like it, I own DSLR and MIRRORLESS and the difference is huge in terms of new tools to help the photographer to do his job. And for me hybrid systems are quite better option than a only DSLR camera that does only good photos and not video. This is my point of view and nothing more. Future looks like MIRRORLESS for me, hybrid inteligent systems with AI, amazing autofocus features (SONY) that help the videographer and photographer to do a better job. Nothing else, the rest marketing shit and the ones that say "there´s nothing better than my NIKON D5", stupid idea without even test the A9 from SONY that costs $2500 less and do hell of better than flagship sport camera from NIKON. So what we should do is analyze cost and results not marketing moovs or love to gear like a blind fan.

                          • Keith Goreham
                            Keith Goreham  2 months back

                            And I’ve never seen a Sony Alpha of any type out in the wild. Nor have I ever seen a Canon/Nikon mirrorless (aside from one fixed-lens P900) outside of the camera store. I almost always see APS-C Canon DSLRs when I go out. But (usually older) Nikon/Canon full-frame DSLRs only show up at weddings and at portrait shoots.

                        • BananaCake26
                          BananaCake26  2 months back

                          There's more to a camera system than resolution and specs. Cameras are tools, not graphic cards. Ergonomics and controls are hugely important, and this is where Sony continues to fail. Gigantic lenses on tiny bodies, flimsy grips and controls. But Engadget is a tech site, so specs is all they know. Go to a store, handle the camera, pick the one that feels best, image quality is fantastic on all cameras today.

                          • Reldies
                            Reldies  2 months back

                            @BananaCake26 "The advancements in Sony AF is basically mirrorless catching up to DSLRs from 10 years ago." this sentence is so wrong that it starts to hurt, I am sorry that you get this message so late but the AF system in the newer sony systems are better than anything that DSLRs ever had.

                            And I was talking about PROFESSIONAL photography, everytime your camera misses it costs money.

                            If your SD card fails, although the chances are slim, it costs money.

                            "Gigantic lenses on tiny bodies" is also quite a funny statement considering that the 600 f4 is the smallest and lightest 600 f4 EVER.

                          • BananaCake26
                            BananaCake26  2 months back

                            @Reldies "Miss rate" of what? The advancements in Sony AF is basically mirrorless catching up to DSLRs from 10 years ago. All cameras on the market today are more capable than 95% of the user base.

                          • Reldies
                            Reldies  2 months back

                            @BananaCake26 With your logic we all would be still using film photography. Yes ofcourse you can make great pictures with older cameras,
                            but if you are doing this professionaly then every percent of a lower miss rate maters.

                          • BananaCake26
                            BananaCake26  2 months back

                            @Reldies The less talent a photographer has, the more specs matter. ;-) Check photography awards, wildlife, portraiture whatever. Most use cameras that are many years old.

                          • Reldies
                            Reldies  2 months back

                            Cameras are tools, thats exactly why specs do matter.

                        • Ronald Karr
                          Ronald Karr  2 months back

                          Given that diffraction (a function of basic physics) limits the resolving power of a perfect lens at F8 to 50 megapixels, it isn't clear that there is an actual reason to have more pixels than the S1R. Raw files from the Sony A7R IV are arguably 20MB larger than serves any purpose much of the time.

                          But indeed, DFD is a nearly complete fail, at least for video. It works poorly enough on m43, which is relatively forgiving versus full frame. Which is a shame because every other aspect of Panasonic photo cameras as movie cameras beats everyone. But, if you have a choice between little to no focus hunting and 4k60p 10bit VLOG, I guess I'll take the little to no focusing hunting. When Canon or Sony finally do match Panasonic on video specs, the game will probably be over.

                          • Keith Goreham
                            Keith Goreham  2 months back

                            Given the micro-blurring that current high-MP cameras like the D850 are subject to, it’s become apparent to me that anything over 24MP is going to be more trouble than it’s worth for users who don’t have a specific use case for that kind of resolution.

                          • Keith Goreham
                            Keith Goreham  2 months back

                            The S1/S1R DFD focus system was somewhat disappointing at launch. But after the 1.2 firmware update it’s now Sony-competitive. The difference is like night and day.

                        • PoMan_911
                          PoMan_911  2 months back

                          So true about Sony kicking the crap out of the rest: I stopped buying Nikons in 2009 because they stopped giving me what was possible. I will never go back to those dinosaurs that thought they knew better than the customer.
                          I started with a GH4 mirrorless in 2014 because it has the best image quality for video. then I started noticing all the auto focusing issues in video. Tried a Sony a6300 in 2015 and never looked back. I moved to full frame in 2018 because I wanted the low-light and even better image quality. The Sony GM line or the Zeiss Batis lenses are stellar and nothing in the Lumix line can match them in image quality and focusing accuracy and speed.I now have the a6500, a7III, a7r3 and hopefully a new a7S3 soon. I bought 6 Sony cameras in 6 years whereas 5 Nikons in 20 years. Sony strategy is working.
                          Not having 4K60 is a disappointment though.

                          • CC
                            CC  2 months back

                            We could add to this the 52 lenses (only SONY), I think that lenses are not a minor thing because we need them to shoot. Do we have plenty of Panasonic glass there?, for me makes me out of PANASONIC world, sorry, the camera is amazing but this is a combo, a combo means, battery life, autofocus performance (SONY best no question about it), GLASS, and so on. L mount alience what do they prepared? Not yet a competitor for me I am talking about PANASONIC, but, they are doing great job to compete with SONY and it´s good for market prices. I won´t talk about CANON or NIKON, they are expensive for nothing.

                            • Fellow Citizen
                              Fellow Citizen  1 months back

                              The L Mount Alliance has all the Sigma ART primes, plus a new line of mirrourless ART/Sports and the MC-21 for Canon, Tamron and Sigma ART zooms. That's before you add the existing 15-20 Leica lenses and Panasonic's new line. Leica have adaptors for rangefinder, SLR and CINE manual lenses. Plenty to choose from, and plenty more to come, just got to assemble and distribute them. They're also generally cheaper and superior.

                            • Keith Goreham
                              Keith Goreham  2 months back

                              There will be no shortage of glass for the S1/S1R by this time next year.

                          • Nícollas Dias
                            Nícollas Dias  2 months back

                            I just hope Sony hasn’t given up on the A7SIII or the high end apsc model. Even though Sony is winning the Mirrorless game now, Canon, Nikon and Panasonic will catch up eventually. Pretty interesting years ahead for the camera nerds

                            • edan Stondus
                              edan Stondus  2 months back

                              I'm the only Sony's fan..?

                              • To Testimony Teapot
                                To Testimony Teapot  2 months back

                                Correct, it's 'more than' & not 'over'.

                                • ricky v
                                  ricky v  2 months back

                                  I've been considering going into the Lumix line for my future shooting needs. Seeing how they are pushing the envelope is certainly helping me make that decision.

                                  • NETVO TV
                                    NETVO TV  2 months back

                                    Does the 4K 60fps has crop?

                                    • Fellow Citizen
                                      Fellow Citizen  1 months back

                                      x1.09 = S1R
                                      x1.50 = S1
                                      x1.90 = X-T3 (+possibly the GH5S)
                                      x2.00 = G9, GH5
                                      unavailable = Sony, Nikon etc, Canon may have something on a very expensive camera

                                    • Fellow Citizen
                                      Fellow Citizen  1 months back

                                      @Nícollas Dias That is incorrect, there is no crop beyond the basic video frame of x1.09 (9%) in all standard modes including 4K60 (though there are options for x1.5 and x2 footage if you need the reach). You may be thinking of the S1 (non-R) version which has 4K60 at x1.5, albeit at higher quality.

                                    • Nícollas Dias
                                      Nícollas Dias  2 months back

                                      NETVO TV yes, the 1,5x crop is there

                                  • NETVO TV
                                    NETVO TV  2 months back


                                    • c c
                                      c c  2 months back

                                      ...9/11 Psyop Staged by the United Terrorist Snakes (War Criminal )& the World Elite.....

                                      • Outsider
                                        Outsider  2 months back

                                        I'm part of the World Elite. What's up, peasants?

                                      • King Kosa V
                                        King Kosa V  2 months back

                                        Agreed, but wrong video. The sheep will ridicule you if you make comments like this under these types of videos

                                    • B Lee
                                      B Lee  2 months back

                                      why bring Canon and Nikon into this discussion? they don't even have anything that can compete with the Panasonic... and definitely nothing close to the Sony.

                                      • Alejandro Terán
                                        Alejandro Terán  2 months back

                                        @Loy Bond Their mirrorless can't compete with the panasonic s1 or s1r (i have z7 and s1r)

                                      • Loy Bond
                                        Loy Bond  2 months back

                                        What are you talking about? Both Canon and Nikon have full-frame mirrorless cameras.