According to rumours… Panasonic S1H with 6K 10bit codec set to debut at Cinegear

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I just bought a Panasonic S1. Is that bad timing?

Very soon Panasonic are set to announce a new Lumix camera at Cinegear, which they have been teasing. As usual, the rumours sites and forums have been spoon fed a trickle of information from people who are supposed to be under NDA with Panasonic. Not entirely ethical, but there you go.

We now know the S1H will shoot 6K 24p with a 10bit codec and share a similar (perhaps the exact same) full frame sensor to the $2500 Panasonic S1. However, this is no Panasonic GH5 when it comes to the price – at least according to the rumours. Expect to pay between $5000 and $6000. Perhaps I have not made a mistake going with my S1 after all?

If the pricing is true, that puts the S1H in some serious pro video territory… But actually in pro CINEMA territory it is still very cheap.

Unlike most pro camcorders it is full frame.

I am sure Sony will have a reply, maybe even at the same show on May 31st. Whether this will be in the form of a A7S III or something else, remains to be seen. A price of $5000 would be a major break in tradition for the A7S series, but there is a clear demand for full frame from professional cinematographers now.

The Panasonic S1 is $2497 currently, which I think is very good value for money especially if the V-LOG and 10bit codec upgrade is kept under $200. I hope Panasonic can shine a light on this at Cinegear too, as we’ve been waiting quite a while for it since the S1 announcement.

The S1H is probably the reason why!

Clearly Panasonic held a few things back from the S1 for the sake of this much more expensive camera, and in future I am sure the GH6 will continue to provide Fuji X-T3 style value for money under $1700.

The S1H is not set just to be an S1 with a firmware update though. On the hardware side, the rumours say it’s a big leap. Built in ND filter and a slightly larger body than the S1 to help with cooling. The build quality is said to be tank-like.

The camera also does 4K/60p but it isn’t known if this entails a Super 35mm crop like it does on the S1, or a drop to 8bit.

The codec promises 14 stops dynamic range in V-LOG but we’ve heard 15 stops from S-LOG before so take that with a heavy pinch of salt. You don’t usually get a usable 14 stops dynamic range from a 10bit codec… More like 12. Still good though.

What isn’t rumoured yet, is anything about ProRes. I really do hope the internal codec is not H.264 based.

Allegedly, IBIS has made the cut – very good news. Also, expect there to be some form of anamorphic mode.

Speculation

Of course, all this is unofficial and until confirmed, don’t sell any cameras or your grandmother.

Now, some speculation of my own. What will the market for full frame mirrorless cameras look like for filmmakers after Cinegear if what I think will happen, happens?

The Sony A7S III might be announced, and if Sony keep their usual pricing it will be $3500. If they go mental and add 8K or built in NDs, maybe the electronic one from the FS5, plus 10bit and ProRes, all that is going to raise the price I think. Then we’ll be looking at two very high end full frame mirrorless cameras at $5000 to $6000 – one from Panasonic, one from Sony. That changes things. It means prosumers miss out, or have to sell a kidney, or wait for the Panasonic GH6, Fuji X-H2 or just buy a Panasonic S1.

I think the S1 is going to stand up very well against the A7S III and S1H for prosumer use, and maybe people will start to cotton-on to the bargain it actually is at $2.5k when the only better alternatives cost double.

The big question for me is Sony. Will they split the A7S line into two cameras – one stripped down version in the usual region of $3k (or even cheaper now the competition has heated up in full frame mirrorless) and one full fat version for pros only at $6k?

Tune into Cinegear on 31st May and hopefully we’ll get some answers.

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