Panasonic S1H gets anamorphic RAW and 6K RAW via HDMI to Atomos Ninja V

Above you can see an advert for RAW on the S1H shot in my home town of Manchester. Coincidentally these streets were where I shot with the Panasonic GH1 for the first time. I have fond memories of 10 years ago in the months leading up to EOSHD’s first blog post, taking my GH1 out on the same streets as featured in the Atomos video. Always great to see how cinematic the city is.

Now at the start of yet another decade, Panasonic is upping image quality again with HDMI RAW on the S1H. What makes this implementation of RAW unique is that it has an anamorphic RAW mode. The Canon EOS R5, 1D Mk III, Sigma Fp and Nikon Z6 aren’t anamorphic enabled in RAW mode.

The 6K RAW mode is full frame, 12bit ProRes RAW to the Atomos Ninja V (full specs of the recorder-monitor here).

Frame rates in 6K are 23.97p, 25p and 29.97p. Note that the 24p is 23.97p, to be precise. Panasonic should consider 24.00p in the final firmware.

The 4K RAW is up to 50p and 59.94p (60p) in Super 35mm mode.

3.5K anamorphic RAW mode is also Super 35mm, in 4:3 aspect ratio.

Full-Frame 5.9K (5888×3312) 29.97p/25p/23.98p 16:9 12-bit
Super 35mm 4K (4128×2176) 59.94p/50p/29.97p/25p/23.98p 17:9 12-bit
Super 35mm Anamorphic 3.5K (3536×2656) 50p/29.97p/25p/23.98p 4:3 12-bit

I will be getting a pre-production firmware for the S1H, to shoot with on this blog, hopefully within the next week. I’m particularly interested in getting my anamorphic lenses out for some RAW shooting.

During RAW HDMI output, the camera’s standard dynamic range monitor switches to V-LOG only, but you can monitor the wide dynamic range image from the HDR display of the Atomos Ninja V recorder itself, and monitor with your own LUTs.

Firmware 2.0 is free of charge from Panasonic and will be available for download in May on their website.

It is a good time to buy the Ninja V at B&H as it’s on sale for $499.

Version 2.0 also completely disables noise reduction in V-LOG mode when recording 10bit footage internally to SD card. There are other tweaks as well, which I’ll get into when I receive the firmware.

The Panasonic S1H is in-stock for $3997 at B&H.

The S1H RAW is clearly a superior solution to the Nikon Z6 ProRes RAW update, where you have to send the camera in and pay $200 for the update! Panasonic have done it the right way unlike Nikon who teased us for what felt like forever (over 1 year in fact!) before asking us to stump up another $200 and sending in our cameras. What a hassle.

Great though the S1H RAW is, in the future I would like to see an internal RAW solution to compete with Canon and Blackmagic. With the Canon EOS R5’s 8K RAW being internal, it’d have been nice to see the S1H get 4K 10bit RAW to UHS II SD card. Far more practical than 8K and cheaper memory costs than Canon. I am more of an internal recording guy, however there really are pros and cons to both approaches. On the Canon EOS R5, file sizes are going to be impractical for 99% of people in 8K RAW and the number of CFexpress cards you’ll need may end up costing you an extra $1000-3000 depending on the shoot.

The Atomos Ninja V is a bargain at the current sale price of $499 and gets you a much better codec in ProRes RAW and is more cost effective on the memory side… Plus you actually get to monitor in HDR. For internal RAW recording on all mirrorless cameras, the codec is the issue. We are missing a high quality compressed RAW codec to compete with RED. Panasonic should hire Graeme Nattress and license RED’s patent. The thing is, RED understood VERY early-on the value of Mr Nattress and his patent, and probably won’t ever let them go to a competitor.

There’s also the Magic Lantern approach which had a lot of merit on the older hardware… 2K or 3.5K 10bit RAW in-camera as raw sensor data then unpacked to compressed DNG on a PC. Worked great. Fantastic image. Let’s see a bit more flexibility and creativity from the camera companies when it comes to RAW options in future.

The Panasonic RAW firmware update will be available here for the Panasonic S1H on 25th May 2020.

The Atomos Ninja V is usually $649 but B&H currently has it on sale at $499 here.