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Andrew Reid

Panasonic S1H review / hands-on - a true 6K full frame cinema camera

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I had a hands-on with the S1H at a camera store today and I have to say, it is a beast. I was really impressed with the OLED display on top -- has some cool features like displaying audio waveforms, stuff like that, and I also love how easy it is to pick framerates, compression and codec of choice, etc.  I thought it would seem substantially bigger than the S1 with the addition of the fan and extra screen hinge, but it felt very good in the hand. The new 24-70 2.8 is smaller and lighter than I thought it would be as well. The Panasonic employees were very friendly and knowledgeable and had a couple interesting tidbits to say -- non officially -- about the S1 possibly getting that pesky high framerate auto-exposure issue fixed in a future firmware update. I hope so! I tried to get some tidbits about raw outpout with Atomos, supposedly they're going to display fully-functioning raw out of the S1H at IBC, so that should be interesting. 

All in all, it got me even more excited about this monster of a camera, if the long life of the GH5 is any indication, it's going to be a very worthwhile investment for the next 3 to 4 years at least.

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14 hours ago, Parker said:

I had a hands-on with the S1H at a camera store today and I have to say, it is a beast. I was really impressed with the OLED display on top -- has some cool features like displaying audio waveforms, stuff like that, and I also love how easy it is to pick framerates, compression and codec of choice, etc.  I thought it would seem substantially bigger than the S1 with the addition of the fan and extra screen hinge, but it felt very good in the hand. The new 24-70 2.8 is smaller and lighter than I thought it would be as well. The Panasonic employees were very friendly and knowledgeable and had a couple interesting tidbits to say -- non officially -- about the S1 possibly getting that pesky high framerate auto-exposure issue fixed in a future firmware update. I hope so! I tried to get some tidbits about raw outpout with Atomos, supposedly they're going to display fully-functioning raw out of the S1H at IBC, so that should be interesting. 

All in all, it got me even more excited about this monster of a camera, if the long life of the GH5 is any indication, it's going to be a very worthwhile investment for the next 3 to 4 years at least.

I'd almost bet my life that Sony will NOT try and challenge the S1H. It's simply WAY over spec'd for Sony to ever want in an Alpha camera. Instead, I think they will attack the S1 and "try" to match 10bit 4k and 60p and "maybe" unlimited record times in a smaller body with the new A7S-III. (I think XDCAM will give in and allow Alpha to match the S1) 

Sony will say; "We can match the S1 future for feature but we give you Sony phase detect AF for the same S1 price" 

Lumix S1H?  Yeah,....right...XDCAM will NEVER,.....EVER,....allow ANY Alpha model to be THAT extreme!!!  I suspect that Sony's XDCAM division has more to lose than Panasonic's Varircam division.

CT

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1 hour ago, Cliff Totten said:

I'd almost bet my life that Sony will NOT try and challenge the S1H. It's simply WAY over spec'd for Sony to ever want in an Alpha camera. Instead, I think they will attack the S1 and "try" to match 10bit 4k and 60p and "maybe" unlimited record times in a smaller body with the new A7S-III. (I think XDCAM will give in and allow Alpha to match the S1) 

Sony will say; "We can match the S1 future for feature but we give you Sony phase detect AF for the same S1 price" 

Lumix S1H?  Yeah,....right...XDCAM will NEVER,.....EVER,....allow ANY Alpha model to be THAT extreme!!!  I suspect that Sony's XDCAM division has more to lose than Panasonic's Varircam division.

CT

They may have little choice, especially after hyping up how extreme the A7S3 will be. But meanwhile, in the real world... I also am skeptical.

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On 8/28/2019 at 12:57 AM, newfoundmass said:

Sony is far from focusing solely on FF. They've released like 7 APSC cameras in the last 4 years it feels like. 

That's not really how you measure "focusing".

Is Sony trying to grow and improve their APS-C cameras as they are doing with their FF? No, not even close.

Did Sony release new weather-sealed versions of their old lenses or high-end cameras to pair with the expensive lenses? No, people are still waiting for the NEX-7's substitute - plenty of people asking for an A7000 out there... hahaha...

Is Sony's APS-C system development comparable to Fuji's APS-C in the same timeline? Not really, even with Fuji releasing larger format sensor, they still have a pretty good line up for APS-C, the X-T30 being the latest. Fuji just needs to find a way to implement IBIS on more cameras and solve the heat problem so the cameras are not limited to 10 or 15 min in 4K.

I think it's pretty fair to say Sony is NOT focusing on APS-C as they are on FF. Like I said, they are just making low-maintenance release just to show they are still there - and because it still selling well, I suppose. But it's not worth the R&D for a higher-end tier when they have FF for those people. 

With the rumors of the FX cameras coming soon, I doubt Sony will push new video feats in their A9II or the A7SIII. The original A9 was already weirdly crippled in video, historically Sony has been doing that for video, they save it for their video cameras, so I don't see why all of sudden they will change that. It would be a nice surprise, but it just seems unlikely. Despite the A7SIII being a more video-oriented camera, with the FX cameras coming, it doesn't feel like Sony will be sharing its video feats with the A7SIII and so far, there is no sign that the A7SIII will be coming anytime soon.

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On 9/4/2019 at 5:31 PM, Cliff Totten said:

Exactly,...so for the blue channel clipping, yes we have seen this for decades on many camera models. Some camera's are more resistant that others. However, with the S1 and S1H, we are seeing these cameras having an EXTREME sensitivity to blue lights. More than any camera I have ever seen.

Oddly enough, the same blue light test scene is 100% FINE when switching to HLG. And, going further, the exact same blue light does NOT hurt the GH5 VLog-L or HLG. 

Even B&H's S1H promo sales video is riddled with severe blu channel clipping. That was a terrible way to highlight the S1H. Those guys spread blu light all over their shots! If I was Panasonic, I would BEG B&H to take their promo video down!

I "think" Panny can fix this, but of they can't, people MUST know that if you have blue light in your shot, like a stage show or wedding reception...DO NOT USE VLOG....you need to switch to HLG. Once that blu channel gets smashed, it cannot be repaired in post.

We need to raise public awareness about this. If you are doing a paid project, VLog could totally ruin you footage before you are able to switch to HLG.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO GET BURNED BY VLOG!

 

  

I get the same clipping in HLG. i can lower it a bit in post but is terrible when you have that blue points all around :(

 

 

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4 hours ago, omega1978 said:

I get the same clipping in HLG. i can lower it a bit in post but is terrible when you have that blue points all around :(

Trust me, if you would've shot this in V-Log you wouldn't even be able to recognize her face. It's that bad. :(
Thinking about getting rid of my S1 already again - it's unusable in many situations.
Even applying a yellow gel on a LED light causes posterization.
Blue shirt in sunlight, clipping.

Etc...

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9 hours ago, omega1978 said:

I get the same clipping in HLG. i can lower it a bit in post but is terrible when you have that blue points all around :(

 

 

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Fascinating! In my tests, the exact LED and test scene would NOT clip in HLG. Not even a little bit. In fact, I was at Disneyland two weeks ago. I shot a water, laser and LED light show called "World of Color". This show is LOADED with INTENSE multicolor LED lights and projections 100 yards wide. On my S1 in HLG, not one single clipped blue!!!. I got plenty of white clipping as normal for all cameras but blue looked perfect. None of that blue "smothering" effect that VLog is doing. HLG is the safest gamma the S1 and S1H has.

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At least HLG is available in pretty much all modes and framerates on the S1H. On the S1 it is limited to just 24/25/30p. Really wish it was there for 60p! Then I wouldn't even need V-log, which B&H is still taking its sweet time to ship 😢 

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I think Matt Allard is one of the best reviewers out there ... and his impressions do not sound that great for the camera.

I may cancel my preorder ... the IQ out of my P6K is so good that I hate to accept a lesser file for all the convenience in

the S1H.

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3 minutes ago, docmoore said:

I think Matt Allard is one of the best reviewers out there ... and his impressions do not sound that great for the camera.

I may cancel my preorder ... the IQ out of my P6K is so good that I hate to accept a lesser file for all the convenience in

the S1H.

The big question is: What other camera is out there that is like the S1H? I own the S1 myself and it's dynamic range, sharpness and cleanliness is better than any other Sony camera I have ever used. VLog in daylight is stunning. HLG is fantastic in day and night. VLog in low light with blue lights involved?....Uggg!!!....OK, you got me on that one. I can always switch to HLG and get mostly around that problem. But, overall, in my opinion, they only things that compete with these cameras are MUCH more expensive models. For video, no Sony Alpha camera can touch the S1 and S1H.

If Panasonic could just nail down this smashed VLog blue channel issue with a firmware fix, then BANG!...they have a giant home run on their hands.  

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3 minutes ago, Cliff Totten said:

The big question is: What other camera is out there that is like the S1H? I own the S1 myself and it's dynamic range, sharpness and cleanliness is better than any other Sony camera I have ever used. VLog in daylight is stunning. HLG is fantastic in day and night. VLog in low light with blue lights involved?....Uggg!!!....OK, you got me on that one. I can always switch to HLG and get mostly around that problem. But, overall, in my opinion, they only things that compete with these cameras are MUCH more expensive models. For video, no Sony Alpha camera can touch the S1 and S1H.

If Panasonic could just nail down this smashed VLog blue channel issue with a firmware fix, then BANG!...they have a giant home run on their hands.  

problem is that it seems there are some issues with yellow as well and in hlg too

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VLog with the blue channel is probably an easy fix for Panasonic ... but limiting the camera to 10 420 h265 may be a bigger problem. Matt Allard suggested that

even moderate grades were problematic ... wish they gave us Raw 12bit across the board ... CF Express or USB C to SSD.

But for most may be a non-issue!

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Panasonic certainly needs to sort those issues out. It seems Panasonic did themselves no favors with the scenes they set up for people to test the camera with. 

Most opinions I've seen have been very positive, but you always need to take those with a grain of salt until people have really been able to spend some time with the actual camera released. That's one of my biggest problems with these press events: you can't tell a lot from spending 90 minutes with a camera, good or bad. You get a partial picture, but some of these reported issues, for example, are things people might've not noticed until having used the camera for a considerable amount of time. 

I have more faith in Panasonic than I have in a lot of other companies, but they definitely need to make sure these issues are resolved, if not by the time it's released (preferred), but shortly afterwards. 

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10 hours ago, Mmmbeats said:

Matt Allard has given a pretty underwhelmed first impressions piece on Newshooter.  Yikes!

https://www.newsshooter.com/2019/09/09/panasonic-s1h-footage-first-impressions/

 

That's discouraging. That said he's comparing this to cameras that are shooting RAW. H264 10 bit is never going to compete with RAW. 

The real issues are the clipping problems. Makes the camera almost useless IMHO. Not sure how the hell that got past their testings. 

Sounds like the issue isn't the same in every camera??

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Excellent news!  I was contacted by a Panasonic operations manager about this S1 and S1H blue channel clipping problem! He wanted me to be very aware that Panasonic has seen my video and they are very interested in this issue! I wont post my emails here but I will take one quote for you guys to see:  

"Rest assured that this issue has a lot of attention right now"....[from Panasonic] engineers.

During this time, be very carefull about shooting in VLog. Outdoors should be fine. Indoors and night shooting are very prone to deep blue channel saturation, even on blue light that is not very strong. HLG will be the much safer bet for the moment.

Lets cross our fingers that Panny will figure this out with a firmware fix. 

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On 9/9/2019 at 1:46 PM, docmoore said:

I think Matt Allard is one of the best reviewers out there ... and his impressions do not sound that great for the camera.

I may cancel my preorder ... the IQ out of my P6K is so good that I hate to accept a lesser file for all the convenience in

the S1H.

Did Blackmagic solve their red clipping issue? 

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