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Our hands on look at the new Panasonic Lumix S Series mirrorless full frame cameras

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Panasonic has unveiled its first mirrorless full frame camera – the Lumix S1 and S1R – which offers class-leading photography and videography along with a rugged construction and ergonomics.

Tech Guide took a hands-on look at the camera during a special Panasonic launch in picturesque Hobart.

The S Series, which is designed for professionals and high-end enthusiasts, now includes a brand new Leica L Mount for new lenses that will be available from Panasonic and partners Leica and Sigma.

All up there will be 13 lenses for the S Series including three from Panasonic with the rest coming by 2020.

From launch next month Panasonic has these lenses for the S Series

LUMIX S PRO 50mm F1.4 (S-X50)
A large-aperture fixed focal length lens that forms the core of the LUMIX S Series of lenses

LUMIX S PRO 70-200mm F4 O.I.S. (S-R70200)
A telephoto zoom lens that features high resolution with stunning clarity across the entire zoom range

LUMIX S 24-105mm F4 MACRO O.I.S. (S-R24105)
A versatile standard zoom lens with macro shot capability covering wide-angle to medium telephoto

Under the hood is a new 35mm format sensor designed to offer impressive low-light performance and high dynamic range.

And for the first time in a full-frame camera, the S1 and S1R offers dual image stabilisation with up to six stops of stabilisation which enables handheld shots which would normally have required a tripod or gimbal.

Another first is High Resolution Mode which offers S1R users up to 187-megapixel resolution which is plenty of room to create some truly stunning images.

And with the new Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) Photo Mode, photographers can capture images in the HSP format for playback on the latest 4K HDR TVs which can display them accurately.

In the hand the S Series body felt solid and comfortable to hold.

The body is made of magnesium alloy and is splash resistant, dust resistant and freeze resistant to a temperature of -10 degrees Celsius.

This construction further highlights the Lumix reputation a sturdy choice for photographers and videographers where it can handle the toughest conditions in the field.

The S Series has two high-speed memory card slots with one supporting UHS-II SD cards and the other XQD.

What you can’t do with the S1 (which is more suitable for videographers and the S1R is record directly to a portable SSD (solid state drive).

Speaking of video, the S Series cameras can record 4K at 50fps (frames per second) and 60fps along with High Speed Video so you can record 4K and full high definition slow motion.

Image captured by Tech Guide editor Stephen Fenech with the Lumix S1R

The S1 has a full sensor readout in 4K 30p/25p/24p with no recording time limit.

Panasonic’s Lumix  S Series cameras have an incredible Live View Finder which is actually the highest resolution 5.7 million dot OLED display.

The quality of the Live View Finder (LVF) is exceptional.

Image captured by Tech Guide editor Stephen Fenech with the Lumix S1R

The back 2.1 million dot touch screen has a tilt design to help photographers frame and capture images and videos at difficult angles.

The S1R has a 47.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor (36mm x 24mm) and supports low-light shooting at up to ISO 25600.

Image captured by Tech Guide editor Stephen Fenech with the Lumix S1R

The S1 comes with a 24.2-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor (35.6mm x 23.8mm) and supports up to ISO 51200.

There’s even an AR coating on the sensor to minimise ghosting and flare when your subject is backlit.

Panasonic’s Dual Image Stabilisation uses 5-axis stabilisation along with OIS (optical image stabilisation) in selected lenses which means shooting a slower shutter speeds and ISO values is possible handheld with surprising results.

Image captured by Tech Guide editor Stephen Fenech with the Lumix S1R

In terms of ergonomics, the S Series cameras are excellent.

There’s a firm grip that places the control buttons literally at your fingertips so you can focus on shooting.

Image captured by Tech Guide editor Stephen Fenech with the Lumix S1R

The buttons are also now illuminated to increase visibility in low-light situations.

An LCD display located on the top edge of the camera puts all the information about your shot in an easy-to-view position.

There’s also an 8-direction joystick and an improved menu system and user interface to make it even easier to navigate and control.

Image captured by Tech Guide editor Stephen Fenech with the Lumix S1R

One or our only gripes was when our cheek made contact with the rear touchscreen and changed the focus point while we were looking through the LVF.

This meant we couldn’t capture another image till we re-centred the focus point manually.

On the connectivity front, the Lumix S Series has wi-fi and Bluetooth onboard which can be used to control the camera remotely using the Lumix companion app.

Users can also easily transfer images from the camera to the phone to share on social media.

Image captured by Tech Guide editor Stephen Fenech with the Lumix S1R

There’s also a huge 3,050mAH battery that can power the camera all day long.

The Panasonic Lumix S Series – the S1 and the S1R – is an exciting new camera that offers spectacular results.

I’m not a pro photographer by a long shot but even in my hands I was still able to come up with some amazing shots that can be seen in this story. Imagine what’s possible in the hands of a professional.

The Panasonic Lumix S Series will be available in Australia in April.

PRICING

LUMIX S1

DC-S1GN-K – Body only: RRP $3599
DC-S1MKIT- Kit with LUMIX S 24-105mm F4 MACRO O.I.S. (S-R24105): RRP $5199

LUMIX S1R
DC-S1RGN-K – Body only: RRP $5299
DC-S1RMKIT- Kit with LUMIX S 24-105mm F4 MACRO O.I.S. (S-R24105): RRP $6899

* Stephen Fenech travelled to Hobart as a guest of Panasonic.