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My First Impression on Panasonic Lumix S1

Updated: Jul 3, 2020

Last week, I rented the latest full frame mirrorless camera from Panasonic (Lumix S1) with the portrait prime lens 50mm F1.4. I will talk about some of my thoughts on this new camera.

My First Impression

Here are some of my quick points after my first couple shoots with Panasonic (Lumix S1) w/ 50mm F1.4.

  • This camera has a nice grip. The button layout overall feels great.

  • However, the weight is pretty heavy. The body plus the lens together is a very heavy camera combo. (6 pounds total) I think it is the heaviest camera combo I have ever used.

  • Pretty decent battery life. It lasted two shoots in a day, but I felt like the Sony A7iii or Canon EOS R has better battery life in comparison.

  • 50mm F1.4 lens is nice and sharp. (Below is another image on backlight using 50mm F1.4) Only one thing I didn't like is the aperture ring. The turning order is different than other lens and I didn't like how the 1.4 is at the most left next to Auto. I accidentally moved the ring from 1.4 to 2 multiple times during a shoot and I had to check the F stop consciously to make sure it was at 1.4 all the time.

April
Model: @illmindofapril Lumix S1, 50mm, ISO100, F2, 1/640s

April S1
Model: @illmindofapril Lumix S1, 50mm, ISO100, F1.4, 1/800s

Auto Focus

Recently, many firmware updates from different brands are all focusing on the improvements on auto focus. I was curious on how the Panasonic S1 stack up against the competitions. I turned on the Eye AF as I walked through the camera setting in the video below.

Overall, auto focus was decent and eye AF caught the eye most of the time. However, as many of you might know that I shoot a lot of backlight, sometimes, the camera was focusing on the background if there is a tree behind and the sunlight was through the tree.


In order to re-produce this scenario, the model needs to be about couple feet away from the tree while the sunlight is coming through the tree branches. If the model is far away from the tree, the camera face detection will work.


I was disappointed since I use a lot of tree for bokeh in the background. I had to step closer to the subject and used the touch screen to point to the model's face, then the camera will re-focus on the face again.


So if you don't shoot a lot of backlight, the auto focus is fine. Hopefully Panasonic will address this in a firmware update or this is the limitation of the sensor type. Below is a video of the shoot with Victoria plus a quick AF test:

Colors

Based on the blind test in the video above, Panasonic S1 color profile is very close to Fujifilm X-T3 in terms of auto white balance. Panasonic S1 is leaning more toward the green while Fujifilm X-T3 leaning more toward the magenta. If you are interested to see how the colors compared to other brands, below is another video on the auto white balance:




Conclusion

In conclusion, if you ask me if I will spend 2.4k on the body plus 2.2k on the 50mm F1.4 lens, I will say I won't invest 4.6k dollars into this mirrorless system. The backlight focusing accuracy is very important to me and the lens aperture ring design needs to improve in my opinion.

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