One of the selling points of mirrorless cameras is their compact size. But with the technology getting more traction among professionals, camera companies have started inducting new features such as full-frame sensors. The result is a mirrorless that looks and feels as hefty as a DSLR camera. Panasonic’s new Lumix S1 belongs to this new breed of big and rugged mirrorless cameras.
Design: Designed for rugged use, the Lumix S1 is splash resistant and can withstand temperature of up to -10 degrees Celsius. However, the heftiness can be a challenge for those not used to big DSLRs. The body alone weighs 899 gram. To provide ample support while shooting, Panasonic has made the hand grip wider than usual and it kind of feels reassuring to hold.
The camera body has buttons lined-up all over it. While it can get a bit overwhelming for first-time users, pros are likely to find it handy as it allows quick access to important settings. Also, it has two card slots for the faster XQD memory cards and the regular SD cards, which mean users won’t have to frequently free up space. It also offers full HDMI and has connectors for microphone and earphones.
LCD and Viewfinder: The LCD touchscreen is retractable which means greater flexibility while shooting videos. Then there is the huge viewfinder with one of the highest resolutions of 5,760 dots. This makes objects appear a lot clearer and sharper giving users a better idea of what they are looking at.
Performance: Lumix S1’s key takeaway is the full-frame, 35mm, sensor, which means, it can pull in more light to produce better quality shots than 24mm sensors. The camera has a high resolution photo mode that takes four shots and then combines them to produce a 96-megapixel photo.
It also includes the new autofocus technology called Depth from Defocus, which also factors in contrast to command the lens to get the right focus quickly. There is a face-tracking feature that locks focus on faces in videos, so even if a person is moving the face never goes out of focus.
The camera itself is fast and can capture images at 9fps in burst mode. Picture and video output are top notch with enormous amount of detailing and accurate colour tones. Low light images look impressive and good enough for social media posts.
Lenses: Lumix S1 supports the standard L mount interchangeable lenses made by Leica, Sigma and Panasonic for mirrorless cameras. Designed first by Leica, L-Mount allows photographers to combine cameras and lenses made by any of the three companies. Its advantages include the large diameter of 51.6mm and flange length (distance between mounting ring and sensor plane) of 20mm. The Nikon Z 7’s Z mount has a diameter of 55mm and flange length of 16mm. Shorter flange length allows lenses to be closer to the sensor and focus more quickly.
Verdict: The camera body costs ₹2 lakh, while with the 24-105mm F4 lens it will cost ₹2.68 lakh. It is pretty much on a par with rivals such as Sony’s full-frame mirrorless Alpha 7R II, which starts at ₹1.57 lakh. However, if you are looking for a more compact and lightweight mirrorless camera, you can go for Nikon Z 7, which has a full-frame 45-megapixel sensor but costs at ₹2.7 lakh.