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Andrew Reid

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

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On 9/26/2019 at 10:40 AM, currensheldon said:

Well, just got my S1H yesterday and shot some test-footage this morning. I have to say, it is pretty eye-poppingly good. I am actually surprised at how good it is. The 6K is especially sharp and the 10-bit is as good as the 10-bit 4K on my EVA-1. Colors look wonderful. 

In general, the camera is pretty incredible. It is big because this thing is packed full of beautiful features. The top LCD screen is so nice to have, where you can monitor audio, all of your main settings, timecode, etc. The amount of codecs, frame rates, and features is really amazing. IBIS is as good as you'd expect from Panasonic - easily best in class. 

The focus peaking has been fixed for the S1 (where it would get less pronounced once you hit record). It now keeps its strength whether you are recording or not. That's a huge fix and welcome. Looking forward to setting up a shoot so I can shoot an entire video with the camera. 

I shot a bit of 6K this morning. Feel free to download here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/40a70off03uacf4/S1H Test.mov?dl=0 - Shot in 10-bit 420 5.9k 24p, V-Log. Down-resed to DCI 4K in Premiere Pro. Graded with Varicam LUT, Aggressive 709 and then just some very minor adjustments on individual clips. 

Curren, I have an S1 and is, to my knowledge, fully updated in firmware. And the focus peaking is FAR from "fixed." In fact, I can't find anywhere in the S1 firmware updates the peaking problem is even mentioned by Panasonic. I love the S1, but for run and gun hand held video the peaking, as it is, is absolutely unusable to track focus during a shot because of the all-but vanishing focus peaking. (I am told, by the way, that the peaking does not diminish when shooting in 1080p---only when shooting in 4k).

Can you tell me where you got the news the focus peaking is fixed and where is the firmware fix available---I sure can't find it in my searches.

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9 hours ago, tomsemiterrific said:

Curren, I have an S1 and is, to my knowledge, fully updated in firmware. And the focus peaking is FAR from "fixed." In fact, I can't find anywhere in the S1 firmware updates the peaking problem is even mentioned by Panasonic. I love the S1, but for run and gun hand held video the peaking, as it is, is absolutely unusable to track focus during a shot because of the all-but vanishing focus peaking. (I am told, by the way, that the peaking does not diminish when shooting in 1080p---only when shooting in 4k).

Can you tell me where you got the news the focus peaking is fixed and where is the firmware fix available---I sure can't find it in my searches.

Sorry if it wasn't clear but I was referring to the S1H.  The S1 still has the focus-peak dropping out problem, for sure. If I ramped it up as high as it would go, once I hit record, it was about where I like it - but then when you aren't recording, it's waayyyy to high, which is annoying.

But the S1H does not have this problem in 6k or 4k. 

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5 minutes ago, newfoundmass said:

Probably a dumb question, but do Minolta Rokkor MD lenses cover the entire full frame sensor? I've only ever tried on M43 cameras. 

Yes, they were made for 35mm cameras, which is the same as full frame digital. A lot of them will actually cover medium format sensors as well. 

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16 hours ago, currensheldon said:

Sorry if it wasn't clear but I was referring to the S1H.  The S1 still has the focus-peak dropping out problem, for sure. If I ramped it up as high as it would go, once I hit record, it was about where I like it - but then when you aren't recording, it's waayyyy to high, which is annoying.

But the S1H does not have this problem in 6k or 4k. 

Sheldon, thanks for your prompt response. This peaking issue, for fully manual shooters like me, is a BIG deal. So, just to make sure I'm asking are you absolutely sure the peaking issue is fixed in the S1H? I'm asking for certitude because the S1, as it is, is unusable for me in run and gun video; poor, undependable AF (which I never use anyway), and the Amazing Vanishing peaking---it is, IMO, unacceptable in a Camera of this status.

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2 hours ago, tomsemiterrific said:

Sheldon, thanks for your prompt response. This peaking issue, for fully manual shooters like me, is a BIG deal. So, just to make sure I'm asking are you absolutely sure the peaking issue is fixed in the S1H? I'm asking for certitude because the S1, as it is, is unusable for me in run and gun video; poor, undependable AF (which I never use anyway), and the Amazing Vanishing peaking---it is, IMO, unacceptable in a Camera of this status.

I have an S1H and I have not seen any focus peaking issues. I only use manual focus lenses, so I would definitely notice. Camera is wonderful. 

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1 hour ago, crevice said:

I have an S1H and I have not seen any focus peaking issues. I only use manual focus lenses, so I would definitely notice. Camera is wonderful. 

Crevice, thanks so much for your response. I'm assuming you are familiar with the MF problems on the S1?!? I find it unacceptable and incredibly difficult to use when rolling.

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3 minutes ago, tomsemiterrific said:

Crevice, thanks so much for your response. I'm assuming you are familiar with the MF problems on the S1?!? I find it unacceptable and incredibly difficult to use when rolling.

Yup, I am familiar, assuming you mean how the focus peaking dims after you hit record? I have not had that issue on the S1H - but just to make sure I am not crazy and spoke too soon, I will try when I get home tonight and report back with 100 percent certainty that this issue does not exist. 

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15 minutes ago, crevice said:

Yup, I am familiar, assuming you mean how the focus peaking dims after you hit record? I have not had that issue on the S1H - but just to make sure I am not crazy and spoke too soon, I will try when I get home tonight and report back with 100 percent certainty that this issue does not exist. 

Nothing like a sober reality check. I repeatedly have to convince myself I'm not crazy or mistaken on a number of issues. I look forward to hearing what you say. The dimming in the S1 makes me absolutely crazy. Who ever thought releasing a camera with unreliable AF and vanishing MF peaking was acceptable? My X-H1 is fantastic with peaking and punch in while rolling to do a focus check mid-shot. They have their video shooter's act together--good stabilization. They just need to offer waveforms. False color would be nice, but I can live without it.

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1 minute ago, tomsemiterrific said:

Nothing like a sober reality check. I repeatedly have to convince myself I'm not crazy or mistaken on a number of issues. I look forward to hearing what you say. The dimming in the S1 makes me absolutely crazy. Who ever thought releasing a camera with unreliable AF and vanishing MF peaking was acceptable? My X-H1 is fantastic with peaking and punch in while rolling to do a focus check mid-shot. They have their video shooter's act together--good stabilization. They just need to offer waveforms. False color would be nice, but I can live without it.

There is a waveform in the S1H 

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3 hours ago, crevice said:

There is a waveform in the S1H 

Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear. I was saying the X-H1 needs waveforms: "My X-H1 is fantastic with peaking and punch in while rolling to do a focus check mid-shot. They (Fuji) have their video shooter's act together--good stabilization. They just need to offer waveforms."

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4 hours ago, tomsemiterrific said:

Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear. I was saying the X-H1 needs waveforms: "My X-H1 is fantastic with peaking and punch in while rolling to do a focus check mid-shot. They (Fuji) have their video shooter's act together--good stabilization. They just need to offer waveforms."

Ah, my bad. Also wanted to check in and tell you that I tested the S1H focus peaking and it works as it should. There is no change or dimming when recording. The peaking remains the same and does not have the issue that the S1 seems to have. 

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12 hours ago, tomsemiterrific said:

My X-H1 is fantastic with peaking and punch in while rolling to do a focus check mid-shot. They have their video shooter's act together--good stabilization. They just need to offer waveforms

And deliver in Full Frame... I totally relate with your struggle with using manual lenses. Be aware that plenty of s1h  owners might be using  an external monitor so even though focus peaking is working they might not be using it in as much as you intend to. 

Thanks for sharing your experience with the S1, it confirms that it would be a awful purchase for me as well

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1 hour ago, Pedro said:

And deliver in Full Frame... I totally relate with your struggle with using manual lenses. Be aware that plenty of s1h  owners might be using  an external monitor so even though focus peaking is working they might not be using it in as much as you intend to. 

Thanks for sharing your experience with the S1, it confirms that it would be a awful purchase for me as well

Pedro, thanks so much for weighing in. But I'm afraid I may have left the wrong impression. Let me clarify:
Many of the greatest movies in the past were shot in Super 35. Full frame is a photographic, not a cinematic mode of shooting. Therefore, the full frame, is, IMO, not a requirement---a nicety, perhaps, but not a necessity--not by any means. Besides, if you must have the ff angle of view a Metabones .65 speed booster will give it to you. With or without it I can get great cinematic images with my X-H1. To the point I really am inclined to believe Super 35 IS the better video mode.

So, we differ here. Bigger isn't always better.

Second, I don't have the slightest problem using MF--that's all I shoot in for video. No AF, no problem. 

The problem I have is when the manufacturer STUPIDLY and inexplicably takes away the features (peaking and focus check punch-in) that facilitates the use of MF and makes it secure and possible.

The S1 is a wonderful camera. In-studio, on a tripod, with a good monitor shooting is a joy and the results are uniformly beautiful. I have no complaints whatsoever. The insanity of it all is what Panasonic decided to do to the focus peaking on the S1. But being forced to shoot run and gun hand held while schlepping around an external monitor is totally unacceptable. A Zacuto LCD viewfinder can work without much issue, but a monitor stuck on the top of my camera---nope. I  ain't going t do that and totally blow all my stealth shooting run and gun.

This is the bottom line: shooting with the S1 with the focus peaking fixed and functioning well would be fantastic---I wouldn't be looking into the SH1 if that happened, because, even though the peaking is okay on the SH1 and it has wonderful features, most are features I would seldom if ever use in my way of shooting.

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