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

Andrew Reid

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Anyone here tried S35 60fps vlog (same for HD120fps)?

For some reason when I select it my files are H.265, and they appear as if they were already graded in Resolve’s Color page.
When S35 24fps is set, the files are H.264 and vlog looks pale as it is supposed to in Resolve.

Funny thing is I can open that H.265 in VLC player and it looks ok (pale). H.264 I cannot open in VLC player.

Any idea what I might be doing wrong? Tried changing data levels in clip attributes from Auto to both Video and Full, but it didn’t help. Not sure what else I could try.

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EOSHD Pro Color 5 for Sony cameras EOSHD Z LOG for Nikon CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Been testing the S1H for a few days and thought I'd share a few thoughts.

First impression was that this is a large, heavy camera! A couple of other colleagues were taken aback by the size too. However one colleague who is used to shooting stills with a Canon 1DX mkII thought it was fine and fit nicely in the hand, so I guess it depends what you're used to.

The menus are quite similar to what I remember from the GH5, although I sold mine about a year ago so it's not that fresh in my memory. At the moment I use a Canon C200 and have a Fuji X-T3 as my personal camera so it was a bit of an adjustment, and the S1H certainly lacks the tactile retro pleasure of the Fuji, and also lacks the video specific buttons of the C200.

I was pleased by the look and feel of the 24-105 F4 lens, which gives nice shallow DOF when required. It was silent and well made, although coming from Fuji lenses recently my first impression was that it's massive! Again, it's just because I'm not used to it.

Now for my worst thing about the camera - the autofocus is really a drag. I was so excited about this camera and initially the weird pulsing and searching autofocus took the wind out of my sails and gave me a very bad first impression. Even in stills it doesn't seem very precise or reliable, particularly in lower light. The face and person recognition sometimes works great, but is never reliable. You just never know when it's going to decide to defocus and start searching. Compared to Canon, Sony, and even Fuji AF, this feels like a massive step back. I hate the way it defocuses past the subject before snapping back, even in stills mode it really irritates me. I've learned to adjust to it a bit in the short time I've had with the camera (only a couple of days) and I'm sure I would learn to work around it, but it's a massive drawback, and I was really disappointed by the still performance, which is usable but just not at the level I'm used to.

And finally my favourite thing about this camera...

The image quality and colour is fantastic. Beautiful. Perfect 4k. I did try the 6k modes but only a little as it's not a big deal for me right now and also my Mac Pro choked on it! The colour in this new generation of Panasonics is strikingly good. I prefer it to Canon even. it's more realistic yet beautiful. Arri-like. And such crisp, beautiful unsharpened image quality. While I would say it still lacks the purely cinematic look of the old-school blackmagics or Arri, it's a wonderful modern image. I'd put it 2 leagues ahead of the GH5, Z-Cam E2 (which I owned for a short while) and way ahead of the Sonys. I don't know which I prefer between the S1H and C200 purely in image quality, but I think it might be the Panasonic. It's close, and I vastly prefer working with the S1H for it's form factor when run-and-gunning.

The V-log is just gorgeous. It's making me consider buying a S1 just for personal use, just when I'd vowed to get over my GAS!

So those are just a few quick thoughts. My bottom line is, if the autofocus was good this would be an essential camera. As it is, it puts this camera in a really tough spot. Yes the image is fantastic, and yes 'real filmmakers don't use autofocus', but most of us want and would use good autofocus. Once you've gotten used to it, it's very hard to go back! Especially for one man band operators like myself. It's so close to being perfect that I'm left quite frustrated. I guess the next generation is probably worth waiting for. But at the same time I'm haunted by how good that image is... It reminds me of how I used to feel when I looked at rushes from my Ursa Mini 4.6k. it's just pleasing and cinematic somehow. Satisfying for the IQ geek in me.

I just wish that the AF was better. Hoping for a firmware improvement, but it's pretty clear it will never be up there with the best in the class unfortunately, and when the new 1DX miii comes out, I would expect a big price drop on this camera.


I forgot to mention the slow motion. The 120-180fps isn't great to be honest, very soft compared to what I'm used to with the Fuji X-T3, which was another disappointment. Again, hoping for improvements in firmware, but not holding my breath. I think good crisp 120fps should be pretty much standard on a top level pro-sumer camera these days.

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22 hours ago, Lux Shots said:

You don't need the Ninja V to get 4K 60p 10-bit with the S1H. I record internal with that all the time.

I only get 8bit 4k60p internally.Can you pinpoint me where i can find that option please


22 hours ago, Trek of Joy said:

I think the 24-70/2.8 may be heavier. This is definitely a chunky camera.



Yous is 935g mine is 955g so yah yours is heavy? 

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1 hour ago, bristo said:

Hi everybody,

does anyone have news about ghosting issues with the S1H?

Is Panasonic concerned about it?

Yes we do.
Let's say they are aware but more interested in delivering their RAW update than fixing it... :(

In case you want to see what temporal noise reduction does in extreme cases (like on this camera - especially in 6K), watch this example:


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27 minutes ago, bristo said:

Thanks for your reply.

I really don’t understand why Panasonic do not try to fix it fast??

I think the advantage of S1h is to be used without any external recorder and  ghosting issues are really a problem to deliver professional results...

Exactly. Since I'm shooting in Nigeria and Bali quite soon, I want a proper image from the camera itself and not by adding another external piece requiring more batteries, rigging, redundant cables etc.

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Just wanted to chime in on this and say I've used the S1 and S1H recently and the autofocus when recording with v-log is much worse than you'd imagine. I'd say continuous autofocus it's basically unusable. It cannot focus on a static face in good light indoors across a table about a meter across.

Really hope they can pull out some improvement through firmware. The weird thing is the tracking box recognises the face and tracks it well, but the focus just went back and forth to extremes trying to focus. In other modes apart from V-log it's better, but not great. Given I bought the camera to use the V-log I'm quite disappointed that it can't do even basic shots. I wouldn't trust it even making home movies with my family, let alone a professional job.

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36 minutes ago, Mike Mgee said:

@deezid Don't hold your breath. If anyone getting RAW first it the z6...and that's about six months overdue. Also...what camera you going to choose for your trip?

Thinking about selling my stuff and get a pocket 6k again...


Just needs the new internal speedbooster with ir cut and olpf, stabilized lenses (24-105 F4, 35mm F2) and 2 SWX Powerbase and lots of Canon Lp-e6 batteries for gimbal usage.

2 minutes ago, HockeyFan12 said:

Can you just turn down noise reduction to fix this or is this a problem still? Is it a problem at every ISO or just high ISOs?

It's a problem at every iso setting in V-Log.

And it gets really bad in the 6k modes or higher ISO values.

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Just now, deezid said:

Renting the Pocket 4K atm for almost every shooting atm while the S1H stays home. ?

Every new panasonic cameras have shortcomings when released. There's a lesson to be learned there. Don't be a first buyer. I am keeping an eye on the S1H myself. But at the moment it really feels unpolished, especially at the asked price. I'll wait a bit. 

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