The following samples were shot on a pre-production Lumix S1H running firmware v0.4 – so they are all scaled to 1920 pixels for the purposes of this article. All the images shown have been approved by Panasonic for publication – none of the selection sent to them were rejected.
At the launch in Los Angeles yesterday Yosuke Yamane, the Director of Panasonic’s Imaging Division, casually announced that the company is working with Atomos to provide a raw video format for streaming via HDMI to an external recorder. He didn’t state when this would become available, but I hope we can expect this feature pretty soon. You can see the announcement in the video of the press conference below. It will start at the point he mentions raw footage.
In the meantime though we still have the astonishing quality available in the current version that allows over 14 stops of dynamic range when shooting in V-Log. Below I’ve put together some clips to demonstrate some of the features of the S1H and the picture quality we can expect once the camera goes on sale in September. I’ve included moving and still images, as well as a few stills taken from video both in-camera and via Davinci Resolve 16 Studio.
These are stills taken from a 5.9K 10-bit clip shot in V-Log. The first shows a frame directly from the footage, while the second still is from the same footage but graded in Davinci Resolve 16 Studio using the Fashion Locon (low contrast fashion) LUT from Panasonic’s VariCam Look Up Table library.
The third still is graded manually in Resolve and the last is there to show what the scene looked like when shot with the Portrait Photo Style instead of in V-Log.
It is pretty plain to see the degree of dynamic range that becomes available when you record in V-Log, as there is so much more detail recorded in the highlight and shadow areas. Even though this was a high-contrast scene the V-Log footage allows us to make a low contrast picture from all the information gathered.
The Portrait Photo Style is one of the lower-contrast settings on offer in Lumix cameras, but even that can’t deal with the extremes of brightness from the window and the subject at the same time.
The clip above was shot from a tripod (a Manfrotto 755BX with the Nitrotech N8 fluid head, in case you are interested) and I used a variable neutral density filter (H&Y Variable HD ND3-ND1000 + CPL Filter) to control the intensity of light so I could achieve the 1/50sec shutter speed needed – the lowest ISO when using V-Log is ISO 640. The lens used is the Lumix S Pro 70-200mm f/4.
As you can see, the conditions were quite contrasty and I had the sun coming towards the camera, creating a silhouette of the land and the fisherman. I’m really impressed with how the camera has held all the tones, and with the colour it produced from the sunset sky. The footage was easy to grade in Davinci Resolve 16 Studio as I only really needed to increase the contrast a little and then increase the colour saturation until it looked the way I remembered it – and the way the stills look from the same scene. I wanted to keep the shadows quite dark, but there was loads of room to lift them to reveal a lot more of the shingle beach.
This is a still from the footage that shows what the scene looks like using the V-Log Photo Style. You can see it is very flat, but that all except the most extreme of the tones are captured well.
Here’s another fishing themed clip, shot in a mixture of 4K (the opening) and FHD (clip one and two). All three clips use V-Log and 4:2:2 10-bit colour, and were shot using the Lumix S Pro 24-105mm f/4 and Lumix S Pro 70-200mm f/4 lenses with the same tripod and variable ND filter as in the clip above. In both these videos (above and this one) I used the DMW-XLR1 Panasonic XLR adapter, with the Rode Stereo VideoMic X. In this one I also used a Rode NTG4+ shotgun mic to collect sounds from the bell in the buoy and the motor boat.
Trying the camera in more normal conditions, these following clips are shot in mid-afternoon on a very bright day. Again the variable ND filter was needed, but these clips are shot hand held to test out the Dual IS II image stabilisation system. I’m generally not very good at holding a camera still when videoing, so the smoothness of the footage is all down to the camera. The still image above was extracted from the footage in-camera and has since been graded in Photoshop – which is why it looks a bit different to the video, which was graded in Resolve.
Variable Frame Rate and High Speed Video
The S1H offers a collection of options for those who like to shoot slow/fast motion, including the usual variable frame rate modes and a new style of High Speed Video. The quickest variable frame rate is 180fps in FHD and we can use this with V-Log 4:2:2 10-bit. The VFR piece here was shot this way and had the VariCam BandW HiCon (black and white high contrast) LUT applied in Resolve. The footage was slowed to 24fps giving a slow motion effect of 7.5x. As in other Lumix cameras, the variable frame rate mode doesn’t allow autofocus or audio.
Previous models of Lumix S cameras have offered High Speed Video, but kept them in a separate part of the menu as, like VFR, they couldn’t record sound and can’t focus automatically, but the S1H changes that. High Speed footage of up to 120fps can now be captured with active AF as well as full audio. This allows the smoother representation of fast motion in the scene with normal audio, or more slow motion effects – with stretched audio. In this clip I’ve left the audio on so you can hear that sound was being recorded, even though it is slowed by 5x and 2.5x in the finished product. The footage was shot in V-Log with a H&Y variable ND filter and was recorded handheld – and then graded in Davinci Resolve 16 Studio. The frame above shows how the footage looks in V-Log.
As there is no raw processing application the S1H files yet all the stills shown here have been processed from raw using the in-camera Raw Processing feature. They were saved as Medium-sized files, and have been scaled down further to 1920 pixels in Photoshop. The things I wanted to look at particularly were colour, high ISO noise and the dynamic range.
This 65:24 ratio shot has been processed in the camera from a raw file recorded using ISO 6400. I’m impressed with the amount of colour still in it and the moderate contrast. You might also be able to see that it isn’t noisy at all – though at this resolution you’ll have to take my word for it a bit. It was taken with the Lumix S Pro 70-200mm f/4 at the 142mm setting. The aperture was f/8 and the shutter speed 1/160sec.
Another low-light shot, this time taken at ISO 3200. The raw file has given up lots of shadow information so we can see the detail of the shaded side of the ship – while the lights on-board are well rendered without burning out. The focal length was 178mm on the Lumix S Pro 70-200mm, and I used a shutter speed of 1/40sec handheld at f/8.
Bright daylight with the H&Y variable ND that also has a polariser built-in, so I could draw out the textures of the clouds. The fine detail in the grass and distance cliffs is excellently reproduced. Lumix S Pro 24-105mm f/4, ISO 200, f/11 at 1/100sec.
There’s fabulous contrast control in this frame as we get to see all the information in the bright clouds as well as in the sea, while the surfers remain in silhouette. Again, processed in-camera. Lumix S Pro 24-105mm f/4 at 105mm, f/7.1 and 1/200sec at ISO 200.
I’m quite a fan of the 65:24 aspect ratio! It reminds me of the Hasselblad XPan and creates a rectangle I like to compose with. This one is shot in raw and processed using the L Monochrome D Photo Style, with the red filter, a touch of extra contrast and some iDynamic. I used the newly announced Lumix S Pro 24-70mm f/2.8 lens at the 78mm setting, and an aperture of f/11 at 1/100sec – and ISO 100.
Hopefully that gives you some sort of idea of what to expect from this camera. We’ll have more samples and footage once we get a fully working camera with the full firmware, but even with the v0.4 firmware and the pre-production body I haven’t come across any problems. It is probably because Panasonic has a lot of experience in making cinema cameras and most of what the S1H can do it has done before in a VariCam or EVA model – and the S1 and S1R has given the engineers at least some experience working to a professional level in these form factors.
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You can read the Lumix S1H press release in our news section, as well as an article that outlines in depth the new features of the camera – with lots of pictures of the camera too. You can also see news of the new Lumix S Pro 24-70mm f/2.8, the L-Mount Alliance lens road map up to 2020 and a new version of the Leica 25mm f/1.4 lens for the Lumix G system.