It was an arms race before, but now more contenders are joining the fray. That’s because, at Photokina 2018, Panasonic just announced that it was developing its first full-frame mirrorless cameras, the 47-megapixel Lumix S1 and the 24-megapixel S1R. These cameras are effectively Panasonic’s attempt to take on Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Z6 and the Z7, which were designed to take on Canon’s full-frame mirrorless camera, the EOS R. All of which were designed to go toe-to-toe with Sony’s a7III and a7RIII, which has been king in the full-frame mirrorless market for years.
Panasonic’s first full-frame mirrorless cameras – expected to be released sometime in 2019 – are uniquely interesting, mainly because they’re part of a Sigma and Leica partnership: both the 47-megapixel Lumix S1 and 24-megapixel S1R cameras will use Leica’s full-frame-L mount SL system, which Leica has been using since it announced its first SL camera back in 2015. Basically, the cameras will have more options. When released they’ll be able to utilize Leica’s pretty robust offerings of SL lenses and adapters that are already available.
As for the actual cameras, the Lumix S1 is the high-end option while the S1R is the less pricey alternative. And aside from having the same lens mounting system, the two cameras share a lot of other features, including built-in image stabilization, high-resolution electronic viewfinder and a three-axis tilt LCD screen. Both cameras will be perfectly adept at video, too, able to film 4K at 60fps, 10-bit 4:2:2 video. The Lumix S1 with its larger, high-resolution sensor will be a more enticing – and expensive – option for serious photography.
Panasonic is expected to announce more about Lumix S1 and S1R cameras in the near future. There’s been no word on pricing and exact availability yet.
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