Let’s take a look at the specifications of the Panasonic S1R versus three of its top competitors: the Canon EOS R, Sony A7R IV, and Nikon Z7:
|Camera Feature||Panasonic S1R||Canon EOS R||Sony A7R IV||Nikon Z7|
|Mount Inner Diameter||51.0 mm||54.0 mm||46.1 mm||55.0 mm|
|Flange Distance||19.0 mm||20.0 mm||18.0 mm||16.0 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||47.3 MP||30.4 MP||60.2 MP||45.7 MP|
|High Resolution Mode||Yes, 186.9 MP||No||Yes, 240.8 MP||No|
|Sensor Type||CMOS||CMOS||BSI CMOS||BSI CMOS|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0mm||36.0 x 24.0mm||35.7 x 23.8||35.9 x 23.9mm|
|In-Body Image Stabilization||Yes, 5-axis||No||Yes, 5-axis||Yes, 5-axis|
|Sensor Pixel Size||4.27 µ||5.36 µ||3.76 µ||4.35 µ|
|Image Size||8368 x 5584||6,720 x 4,480||9504 x 6336||8256 x 5504|
|Image Processor||Venus Engine (2019)||DIGIC 8||BIONZ X||EXPEED 6|
|Max Buffer Capacity (14-bit RAW)||40 images||47 images||68 images||18 images|
|Native ISO Sensitivity||ISO 100-25,600||ISO 100-40,000||ISO 100-32,000||ISO 64-25,600|
|Boosted ISO Sensitivity||ISO 50; ISO 51,200||ISO 50; ISO 102,400||ISO 50; ISO 102,400||ISO 32; ISO 102,400|
|Dust Reduction / Sensor Cleaning||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Viewfinder||Electronic / EVF||Electronic / EVF||Electronic / EVF||Electronic / EVF|
|Viewfinder Resolution||5.76 million dots||3.69 million dots||5.76 million dots||3.69 million dots|
|Flash Sync Speed||1/320||1/200||1/250||1/200|
|Dual Card Slots||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Storage Media||1x SD (UHS-II), 1x XQD||1x SD (UHS-II)||2x SD (UHS-II)||1x XQD|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||9 FPS (No AF); 6 FPS with AF||8 FPS (no AF), 5 FPS with AF||10 FPS||9 FPS (12-bit RAW only), 8 FPS with 14-bit|
|Shutter Speed Range||1/8000 to 60 seconds (mechanical); extends to 1/16,000 with electronic||1/8000 to 30 sec||1/8000 to 30 sec||1/8000 to 30 sec|
|Shutter Durability||400,000 cycles||150,000 cycles||500,000 cycles||200,000 cycles|
|Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Autofocus System||Contrast Detect||Hybrid PDAF||Hybrid PDAF||Hybrid PDAF|
|Number of AF Points||225||5655||567||493|
|Focus Detection Range (standardized to an f/2 lens at ISO 100)||-5 to +19 EV||-4.5 to +19.5 EV||-3 to +20 EV||-4 to +19 EV|
|Focus Bracketing / Focus Stacking||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Video Maximum Resolution||5K @ 30 FPS (4K @ 60 FPS)||4K @ 30 FPS||4K @ 30 FPS||4K @ 30 FPS|
|1080p Video Max Frame Rate||180 FPS||60 FPS||120 FPS||120 FPS|
|4K Video Crop Factor||1.09x||1.74x||1.0x||1.0x|
|HDMI Out / LOG||4:2:2 8-bit HDMI Output / Yes||4:2:2 10-bit HDMI Output / Yes||4:2:2 8-bit HDMI Output / Yes||4:2:2 10-bit HDMI Output / Yes|
|Rear LCD Size and Type||3.2″ Touchscreen||3.2″ Touchscreen||3.0″ Touchscreen||3.2″ Touchscreen|
|Articulating LCD||Yes, dual direction tilting||Yes, tilting and 360° flip||Yes, tilting||Yes, tilting|
|Rear LCD Resolution||2,100,000 dots||2,100,000 dots||1,440,000 dots||2,100,000 dots|
|Battery Life||360 (LCD); 340 (EVF)||370 (LCD); 350 (EVF)||670 (LCD); 530 (EVF)||400 (LCD); 330 (EVF)|
|Weather Sealed Body||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|USB Version||Type-C 3.1||3.1||Type-C 3.2||Type-C 3.1|
|Weight (Camera Body + Battery and 1 Card)||1016 g (2.24 lbs)||660 g (1.46 lbs)||665 g (1.47 lbs)||675 g (1.49 lbs)|
|Dimensions (grip to monitor)||148.9 x 110.0 x 86.0 mm||135.8 x 98.3 x 67.7 mm||128.9 mm x 96.4 mm x 67.3 mm||134 x 100.5 x 67.5 mm|
|MSRP Price at Time of Article Publication||$3700 (check current price)||$1800 (check current price)||$3500 (check current price)||$2700 (check current price)|
As you can see, the Panasonic S1R certainly holds its own against this tough competition.
I would argue that, based on the specifications above, the prices for each camera are just about right. The Panasonic S1R and Sony A7R IV are almost neck-and-neck, trading punches here and there but remaining on about the same level. The Z7 is a step down, though not a huge one, and it still has some features (like ISO 64) that may win you over. And the Canon EOS R is clearly lower-specced than the others in this comparison.
However, I will note that the S1R is significantly heavier and larger than any of the competing cameras above. At a whopping 1016 grams (2.24 pounds), it’s more than 50% heavier than any of the others. This may or may not matter to you, but it’s worth pointing out, because it could be a dealbreaker for some.
What about image quality – specifically high ISO performance? I tested the S1R head to head against the Sony A7R IV and Nikon Z7. Here are the results.
Panasonic S1R vs Sony A7R IV High ISO
Let’s start with ISO 3200. Anything below that, and the differences are pretty much invisible. In all the images below, the S1R is on the left, while the A7R IV is on the right. Click to see larger and compare more directly.
This is about the closest ISO comparison I’ve ever seen across brands. The two cameras perform almost identically. It’s not until ISO 51,200 that I notice any meaningful differences, and even then, there isn’t really a winner. The A7R IV has slightly larger noise patterns, but a bit less of it. Neither one comes out ahead.
Next, let’s see how the Panasonic compares to the Nikon Z7:
Panasonic S1R vs Nikon Z7 High ISO
Again, we’ll start at ISO 3200. The S1R is on the left, while the Nikon Z7 is on the right. Click to see larger.
To me, these two cameras also look very similar. At ISO 3200 and 6400, I really don’t see any differences. By ISO 12,800, the Z7 appears to have slightly better performance, but it’s tough to tell. This trend continues at ISO 25,600. By ISO 51,200, I’d say the Z7 is about 1/3 to 1/2 stop ahead. These are very small differences, and both cameras are very nearly interchangeable throughout their ISO range.
Now let’s see how the Panasonic’s dynamic range stacks up to that of the Sony and Nikon cameras.
Panasonic S1R vs Sony A7R IV vs Nikon Z7 Dynamic Range
The following images are 100% crops taken from a five-stop underexposed image, recovered in Lightroom. All three cameras are at base ISO. That’s ISO 100 for the Panasonic and Sony, and ISO 64 for the Nikon. The order below is Panasonic S1R, Sony A7R IV, Nikon Z7:
The winner here is the Nikon Z7 (take a look at the brown color swatch), which makes sense, given that it shoots at base ISO 64. Between the Sony and the Panasonic, I prefer the look of the Sony. Both have relatively similar amounts of noise (though I think the Sony A7R IV is a bit better) – but the Panasonic S1R has flatter shadows with less contrast overall. You can see this pretty clearly in the darker regions around the border of the image.
Still, even the S1R’s dynamic range is hardly bad. At the end of the day, all three cameras have excellent image quality, and you won’t be disappointed with any of them.
The next page of this review summarizes the S1R’s pros and cons, including our verdict on whether or not it is worth purchasing.
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