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Solomon Islands with the Panasonic S1

Text and video by Hergen Spalink

Panasonic's full-frame S series of cameras follows a trend that is becoming more and more common of creating several versions of a camera model that meet the ever more diverse needs of the modern image maker.  With the S1, a full-frame mirrorless system that is built around the Leica-designed L-mount, Panasonic has to-date released or announced three separate versions.  Bearing the unmodified moniker, the S1 is squarely aimed at the hybrid shooter with equally capable 4K 60p video and 24.2MP photo specs.  Sharing the same body, the S1R is the 47.3MP high-resolution photo-centric sibling.  Announced but not yet released is the S1H which features 6K video recording and is clearly going to appeal to the video shooter.

While the S1H has the most impressive video specs, the S1 can record UHD 4K from a Super35 crop of the sensor at 60p with 4:2:0 chroma subsampling and 8-bit color depth.  When paired with a supported external recorder such as the Atomos Ninja V, the S1 will output up to 10-bit 4:2:2 4K at 60p*.  

The benefits of using an external recorder are three-fold.  In addition to having an a super-bright 1000nit 5" HDR screen and higher color resolution recording, you also get to capture your footage in edit-friendly ProRes or DNxHR format.

The NA-S1R housing, which supports both the S1 and S1R bodies, is equipped with the M28 bulkhead for the HDMI 2.0 cable system.  This pass-through configuration allows for the transmission of the full 4:2:2 10-bit 4K at 60p to the NA Ninja V housing.

The video below is a combination of both internally recorded 4K 4:2:0 8-bit 60p H.264 footage and externally recorded 4K 4:2:2 8-bit 60p ProRes.  Lighting is provided by a set of Keldan 8x CRI92 13,000 lumen LED torches using the refreshed AF-6B Ambient Filters.  These ambient filters work in conjunction with a custom white balance to simulate the color of the available light at a depth of around 6m.  Lenses were a mix of the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | A behind the WACP, a Canon 16-35mm F2.8L III USM, and a Canon 100mm F2.8L IS USM Macro along with the Sigma MC21 EF-L adapter.  The NA-S1R is designed to use either native L-mount lenses or EF-mount lenses with the MC21 adapter.  When using the system with the MC21, the same port configuration can be used as on native EF-mount systems such as Canon DSLRs as the MC21 is contained within the housing.