Since releasing the world’s first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera in 2008, Lumix (Panasonic’s camera brand) has specialised in micro four-thirds format, producing some outstanding hybrid cameras like the GH5 and G9. The company’s eyes never seemed set on full frame…until now.
Revealed yesterday at Photokina and due for release next year, the new Lumix S Series could well be a game changer for not only Panasonic but also the camera industry.
Tailored towards enthusiast to professional photo and video shooters, the 47MP Lumix S1R and 24MP Lumix S1 will be the world’s first full frame mirrorless cameras to record 4K at 60p/50p, and the world’s first full frame cameras to offer image stabilisation in both the camera body and lenses.
Both cameras will benefit from a newly developed 35mm image sensor and processor, as well as incredibly fast and accurate AF utilising contrast AF, Panasonic’s DFD (Depth From Defocus) technology, and deep learning AI.
The S1R and S1 will also be 100% weather sealed, and operable in extreme cold (as demonstrated by one camera’s shooting assignment to the South Pole amid -40°C temperatures). Each camera body will incorporate a large EVF with the highest resolution and precision on the market (“close to human vision”, according to Panasonic); a robust shutter enabling ultrafast shutter and flash synch speeds; two memory card slots – one each for XQD and SD (which is sure to please consumers); a three-way tilting LCD monitor; and a top LCD display for swift viewing of settings.
Possibly even more exciting than all this is the S Series’ lens lineup. Sigma has now joined the long-time alliance between Panasonic and Leica to create a lens catalogue that will be as extensive as it will be impressive.
The S1R and S1 will both feature Leica’s L-mount, providing compatibility with eight existing premium Leica lenses plus three soon-to-come Lumix lenses: a 50mm f/1.4 prime, 24-105mm zoom and 70-200mm tele. Sigma L-mount lenses are scheduled for release in 2019 and seven more Panasonic L-mount lenses are due for development by 2020.
The plan, according to the new L-Mount Alliance, is for photographers to be able to mix and match any full frame or APS-C Leica, Panasonic or Sigma camera with any Leica, Panasonic or Sigma lens while retaining full quality and functionality.
Not content to stop there, Panasonic has also announced that it’s working on a new pro lens: the Panasonic Leica DG 10-25mm f/1.7 zoom lens (20-50mm equivalent). The world’s first f/1.7 wide angle zoom for micro four-thirds, it’s touted as the “ultimate photo/video-hybrid digital interchangeable lens”, sporting a compact design, constant aperture, clickless ring for smooth aperture control, and brilliant Leica optics throughout the zoom range.
Owners of the most recent G Series cameras can also expect firmware upgrades in late October. These will provide enhanced AF in the GH5, GH5S and G9; increased video recording performance in both the GH5 and GH5S; and more stability during HDMI output in the GH5S. GH5S, G9 and GX9 shooters can also expect better performance under certain lighting conditions (e.g. fluorescents).
Suffice to say that for us here at CameraPro, early 2019 (the S Series’ scheduled release window) can’t come quickly enough. If Panasonic’s full frame mirrorless debut is anything to go by, the future of photography looks pretty damn exciting.