The announcement of the Panasonic S series is a complete acceptance that smaller m4/3 sensors are not the future but the past. As now Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sony, Leica and now Panasonic have shifted priorities to Full Frame Sensors as mirrorless has allowed the smaller form factor without compromising low light performance and absolute stills image quality. Fuji is also going strong on Medium Format stills oriented cameras like the new portable GFX 50R which meshes a rangefinder camera with a huge MF sensor.
The move by Panasonic, which had been leading in mirrorless frame rates in continued recording with their Lumix GH5 and GH5s Series up to 240fps 1080p, will now focus on larger sensors that produce more heat and may be much slower to read at high speeds. Sony has so far been able to only have 120fps 1080p recording in their a7 series for example. If the Panasonic S1 at 24MP can only do 120fps 1080p which is still unknown, it will not bode well for slow motion frame rates for some time.
In what may be described as a practical home application of a stroboscope, the Slow Dance frame by Wonder Machines makes it possible to see the deformation of objects without motion blur with your naked eye and or a typical camera. The Picture frame makes extreme vibrations on deformable lite objects i.e. a flower or bird feather and then uses a synced led light to match the deformation wave period. In essence, creating a snapshot of the motion in real time while your brain is processing the data to create a fluid almost magical effect.
At just $299 for the Slow Dance product, it becomes a very unique gift proposition or conversation starter piece. Electronic Stoboscopes have been with us since 1931, when Harold Edgerton (“Doc” Edgerton) employed a flashing lamp to study machine parts in motion. Now you can have a somewhat limited but beautiful display to experiment using the technique. The results are quite mind-blowing as the still life objects appear to take on a spark of life.
So the rumors proved to be accurate on the GH5s and now we have a low light version of the GH5 that can shoot cleanly up to ISO 12,800 with up to 100k ISO and by then a much noisier picture. It is claimed by Panasonic that there was a 1.5 stop improvement in noise performance. Judging by the initial video samples it is clear that the new 10.28MP sensor along with dual native ISO circuitry for each photosite “one at ISO 400” and “one at ISO 2400” make a huge performance leap if low light is desired in a m43 camera.
All is not rosy in Lumix land however as the camera now lacks IBIS or In Built Image Stabilization on the sensor which was a main selling point of both the GH5 and the G9. Panasonic claims that it was a decision made to cater to filmmakers that need no wobble or vibrations in a shot that can be produced when the stabilizer fails. But why not just add an On-Off switch? 1080p 240fps is also included in the camera but as initial samples show it reduces quality substantially.
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