Get Excited for the Panasonic Lumix S Series!
The New Panasonic Lumix S Series
Lumix S1R & Lumix S1
What to expect for underwater photography
With the release of Canon’s EOS R shortly following the Nikon Z series, Panasonic is next in line as we await the release of the Lumix S1R and Lumix S1 full frame mirrorless cameras. Panasonic has not announced a specific date for their release of this new system but it is expected in early 2019.
Panasonic has finally released their first full frame mirrorless cameras, the Lumix S1R and S1, after all other major players entered the full frame mirrorless game. Along with this release is the announcement of three new lenses, along with 14 more by the end of the year and a total of 24 by 2020. As with all camera announcements, we are excited over the prospects of the new system and what it may mean for shooting underwater. Let’s look at what is to come and how it will be useful for your underwater photography.
Plenty of Lenses to Choose From
Rather than launching yet another proprietary lens mount, Panasonic decided instead to announce an alliance with Leica and Sigma. The Lumix S Series will incorporate Leica’s previously established L Mount. This will open the Lumix S1 and S1R up to all established Leica SL lenses and ultimately Sigma’s expanding and diverse mirrorless lens line-up.
3 New Panasonic S Series Lenses at Release
Panasonic has announced that, along with the release of the S1R and S1 cameras, they will also roll out three new S Series lenses:
- 50mm f/1.4 prime
- 25-105mm standard zoom (aperture not yet released)
- 70-200mm telephoto zoom (aperture not yet released)
These, along with the previously established Leica L Mount series, provide a wide range of focal lengths covering nearly all top-side imagery. With the adaption of the Leica L mount, the S Series will also be compatible with some already established lenses that are great for underwater photography, such as the Leica 18mm f/2.8 and the Leica 16-35mm f/3.5-4.5.
10 New Panasonic S Series Lenses by 2020
Panasonic has also announced that by 2020 they will release eight additional lenses for the Lumix S1R and S1 cameras, bringing the total S Series Panasonic Lens options to ten. The specifications for these lenses have yet to be released but with Sigma’s involvement, they seem quite promising.
14 New Sigma S Series Lenses in 2019
To compete with the multitude of Sony E Mount lenses that were released last year, Sigma has promised 14 new L Mount lenses in 2019 to add to the arsenal of lens options for the Lumix S1R and S1 systems. Furthermore, they will provide lens adapters for the Canon EF and Sigma SA mount lenses. In total, with the release of the new Panasonic lenses, Sigma lenses and the already established Leica lenses, there will soon be an arsenal of glass at your fingertips for the Panasonic S Series shooters.
The World of Full Frame Mirrorless... Enter: Panasonic
Panasonic is a staple manufacture when it comes to mirrorless cameras. For years they have been a strong competitor with Sony, Olympus, Canon and Fujifilm when it comes to mirrorless systems; however, until now there was no full frame option. The Panasonic GH5 and GH5-S were very successful camera systems and are still a top choice for video shooters. Still, Panasonic has been limited by only providing options for micro four thirds sensor size.
The full frame mirrorless cameras are a step up from cropped sensor options. With a larger sensor user can achieve the best possibly quality and detail in their images, as well as further flexibility when editing. The release of the Lumix S1R and S1 is exciting for loyal Panasonic customers and is sure to be highly competitive with the new Nikon Z Series and Canon EOS R.
Following in suit with Sony and Nikon, Panasonic will be releasing not one, but two new full frame mirrorless cameras as part of their S Series line: the Lumix S1R and the Lumix S1. This provides customers the choice between a professional high-end imaging system and a more affordable, more recreational system.
Lumix S Series vs The Competition
Panasonic is adopting the same strategy as Sony and Nikon with respect to their new full frame mirrorless cameras, so the Lumix S1 will compare similarly to the S1R as the Nikon Z6 does to the Z7 and the Sony A7III does to the A7RIII. The Lumix SR1 and the Lumix S1 differ in a few ways with the major factor being of course the sensor size. The Lumix SR1 is a true powerhouse with a 47-megapixel sensor. Yes, that is correct, 47 megapixels – that’s more than the Sony A7RIII (42 MP), the Canon EOS R (30 MP), and the Nikon Z7 (45.7MP). The S1R is designed to be a high-end, high-resolution camera for professional stills photographers. Panasonic’s Lumix S1 on the other hand, has lower resolution with a 24-megapixal sensor but may be better suited for video.
Lumix S1R and S1 Video
Both cameras – the S1 and the S1R – will offer 4K video capture like their full frame mirrorless rivals from Sony, Canon and Nikon. What is special about the Lumix S Series however, is that they will offer frame rates of up to 60p at 4K, which Panasonic claims is a WORLD FIRST for full frame mirrorless cameras.
Panasonic Lumix S Series for Underwater Photography
It appears Panasonic was strategic in waiting to release their full frame mirrorless cameras after Sony, Canon and Nikon, as the Lumix S Series appears to be slightly superior in many categories. Now keep in mind that this information is simply what Panasonic has released and we will have to wait until the camera is on the market to corroborate this information. But if the S Series is as impressive as it sounds, then it will surely be a highly preferred camera system for underwater photography, particularly the S1R. With more megapixels than any full frame mirrorless camera on the market and the ability to shoot 4K at 60fps, the Lumix S1R is surely a force to be reckoned with.
The smaller body size (as compared to DSLR’s) is great for travelling, the high resolution is great for image quality and editing flexibility (e.g. cropping without losing detail), and the dual card slots are critical for UW photographers so that you don’t have to open your housing when one card fills up.
With that being said, one major downside is the current lack of availability when it comes to L-Mount lens options. There are a few lenses that will work well for wide angle underwater photography but other than the 50mm f/1.4 that will be released with the S Series cameras, there will not immediately be a strong macro lens. Panasonic will likely make up for this, however, as they release their eight other L-mount lenses by 2020, and as Sigma releases their 14 L-mount lenses in 2019. In general, the Panasonic Lumix SR1 and S1 promise to be fantastic, extremely competitive underwater imaging systems for both stills and video.
Underwater Housing Options:
As usual we expect all the top housing manufacturers to create a housing for the new Panasonic Lumix S1R and S1 cameras. Typically we see announcements and releases from Ikelite & Nauticam first, followed by Aquatica and then Sea & Sea. With a tentative camera release date of early 2019 we expect to see the first housings available in mid 2019, with others releasing at the end of 2019. On the bright side, it will give Panasonic and Sigma time to release the new underwater photography L-mount lenses before the housings are released. Check back for updated information as soon as we have it!