Why the S1R is still one of the best cameras for landscape photographers


While the Panasonic Lumix S1R remains a dark competitor among its full frame mirrorless competitors, I believe Panasonic has made a strong entry into the market that still deserves to be considered against the more established and up to date competition. Check out this article to learn more about some great features the S1R has to offer landscape photographers.

Presentation and image quality

Although it was announced in early 2019 almost three years ago, the Panasonic Lumix S1R still deserves a top consideration for landscape photographers, especially when considering a ratio between dollars and image quality. Because the camera has not been as popular as its competition, it can often be found at online used camera retailers for well under $ 2,000. Regardless of the decline in popularity, the S1R remains a serious contender. The full-frame sensor delivers a stunning 47.3 megapixel, which remains within the reference range for high-megapixel full-frame sensors. There are full frame cameras with a higher megapixel count, like the Sony a7R IV, which offers 61 megapixels, but landscape photographers interested in astro and Milky Way photography should keep in mind. that more megapixels generally results in higher noise levels when shooting at high ISOs.

While dedicated astrophotographers will get better high ISO noise performance with low megapixel cameras such as the Panasonic S1 or Sony A7 III, the S1R still performs very well for night sky images and for most landscape photographers who wish to print their images. , the extra megapixels are probably worth it. In fact, DXO Mark, the popular camera quality testing website, gave the S1R’s sensor a score of 100, and it remains at the top of the rankings almost three years after its release, alongside the Sony A7R. III and the Nikon Z7 II. In terms of image quality, the S1R’s sensor can easily compete with its rivals from Nikon, Canon and Sony, although all three companies have since released newer models.

Camera body specifications

Panasonic has put a little bit of attention into the development of the S1 and S1R, as evidenced by several features that dedicated photographers, and landscape photographers, in particular, will appreciate, despite their lack of marketing or attention from the market. share from popular camera review sites. Along with a host of fully customizable function buttons and rugged weather protection, this camera has one feature that really sets it apart: the triaxial tilting screen. While the majority of cameras today use either a standard tilting screen (only tilts upward in landscape orientation) or the somewhat controversial “selfie screen” (useful for bloggers and videographers), the S1R features a three-way tilting screen, which is identical depending on the displays available on some popular Fujifilm cameras. This screen allows you to tilt upward in landscape or portrait orientation. For landscape photographers who often find themselves low to the ground with a vertical composition, this screen is an incredibly handy feature. Once you have used it it is very difficult to switch back to anything else.

The S1R also has a much more precise manual mode exposure preview than its competition, as it uses shutter speed to generate the preview rather than the gain. Most cameras will just take the image and apply gain until the exposure preview matches the exposure value of the settings you set. In the app you won’t notice a difference using faster shutter speeds, but with long exposures you will get an accurate preview (with some lag), whereas other cameras cannot apply. enough gain at preview to accurately simulate exposure. This saves you the trouble of taking test images or performing calculations when working with long exposures. The offset may take some getting used to, but a default button is assigned to briefly turn off exposure preview while composing, so lag is not a problem.

The S1R’s sensor does not use an optical low-pass / anti-aliasing filter or an on-sensor phase detection autofocus (PDAF) matrix. For virtually any other style of photographer, including videographers, these are important reasons to retire from this camera system, and probably why it hasn’t been as popular as its competition. The anti-aliasing filter helps to avoid moire patterns in clothing, but choosing to exclude the AA filter ultimately improves the overall resolution of the sensor and the sharpness of the finest details, which is a good thing for photographers of. countryside. PDAF improves the speed and accuracy of a camera’s autofocus, especially in AF-C mode and when shooting video. However, the sensor-based AF array also has the potential to create a powerful flare grid pattern that some of you may have encountered when shooting in direct sunlight. This is not an uncommon problem for landscape photographers who like to include a strong light source in their images, so the lack of PDAF is quite welcome.

Astrophotography features

Bearing witness to the fact that Panasonic has gone the extra mile to develop its full frame mirrorless line, there are a few features that will be highly appealing to astrophotographers and anyone else who frequently finds themselves taking pictures in the dark, like the retro buttons. illuminated, “Night mode”, 20X manual focus zoom and “Live View Boost”.

“Night Mode” is a useful setting that allows you to switch your LCD and EVF screens to a monochromatic red tone, allowing you to use your camera screen without ruining your eye’s adaptation to the light. ‘darkness. Live View Boost allows you to apply high gain to your LCD preview, effectively brightening the image, which is incredibly useful for composing a foreground in the dark without the need for bright light or test exposures . Finally, the 20X manual focus zoom lets you get incredibly close to a bright star to make focusing your night sky exposures pretty straightforward.

L-mount lenses available

Although the selection of native L-mount lenses was limited at the time of release, there are now 13 native Panasonic L-mount lenses available, with 36 additional lenses available through Sigma and Leica, including several options ranging from ultra- wide at super-telephoto. For this article, I paired the S1R with the Lumix S PRO 16-35mm f / 4 lens from Panasonic. This lens, with its nice, rugged build quality and excellent sharpness throughout the entire frame and aperture range, makes a great tool for any landscape photographer. It also accepts circular filters on the front of the lens, making it easy to use the best circular filter systems available, such as the Kase Wolverine Magnetic Filter Kit.

Native lens features

When shooting with native Lumix lenses, the S1R offers several useful and thoughtful features. Their lens hoods and camera hot shoe cover have a locking mechanism that requires you to press a button to remove them, which is a relief for landscape photographers who are frequently on the move, as these two props are known to fall out and get lost in transit.

Panasonic’s native lenses offer the option of activating “non-linear focus”, which means that when focusing manually, the “throw” of the focus ring varies depending on the speed of the focus. rotation. When you turn the focus ring quickly, the focus point moves quickly, but when you need to fine-tune your focus, a slow rotation lets you fine-tune the focus point. This is especially useful for focusing on stars and for stacking an image to maximize depth of field.

A great feature of Panasonic’s premium S-Pro line of lenses is the inclusion of a manual focus clutch, which is a mechanism built into the focus ring that allows you to shift into focus. manual while revealing a traditional distance scale on the lens barrel. Besides being a convenient way to switch to manual focus, this feature is simply a pleasure to use for those who enjoy the process of photography. Drag the slider below to better see how the focus clutch works.

Aside from the other issues I mentioned above, the most likely reason that Panasonic’s full frame mirrorless cameras weren’t so popular is their price tag when they launched. The S1R originally sold for $ 3,699, which was a bit steep compared to the Nikon Z7 ($ 3,400) or Sony a7R IV ($ 3,500). There seem to be plenty of valid reasons for photographers and videographers in general to avoid the S1R and S1, but for dedicated landscape photographers, there really seems to be no downside. Perhaps the community shunned this camera system simply because it’s less popular, and most people don’t have the time or the energy to delve into a comparison to other systems. Either way, given the current second-hand market for the S1R, where it can regularly be found for less than half the original retail price, this camera should definitely be an important consideration for anyone looking for to upgrade its landscape photography setup.

If you want to learn more about the S1R, check out this handy overview with the Panasonic S1R.


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