Let us start by saying that we are huge fans of the Lumix line by Panasonic and their cameras in general. The GH5 is still a powerhouse of a camera for serious video work and the 180fps FUll HD slow motion is better than many others before or since at that frame rate while at 120fps is as good as the best Sonys out there. However, the recently announced Lumix G95 drops the ball in several fronts when it comes to really good video performance which has become a trademark for Panasonic.
The G95 has all the looks and character of a great hybrid camera but has a crippled video mode that may put off many buyers looking for the perfect intermediate camera. The 4k, for example, has a 1.25x crop on top of the nearly 2x crop of the micro 4/3 sensor. Making it a little larger than the area of a 1″ sensor. This will sacrifice video quality in the lack of supersampling and low light will suffer from the added megapixels.
As it was initially unveiled at Photokina last year, the Panasonic Lumix S1 and S1R cameras are their answer to the domination of larger sensors in stills and video mirrorless cameras. Is there any reason now to buy a Full Frame DSLR when mirrorless is so advanced? The only thing we can think of is to have marginally longer battery life. The mirror is on its last legs and fans better start offloading their lenses if they don’t want to mess with adapters. In the case of Panasonic however, it is not possible to use Lumix Micro 4/3 lenses on the Leica/Sigma/Panasonic Full Frame L-Mount.
The S1 and S1R will both shoot up to 180fps 1080p video with a crop that may or may not be impactful. Seems the S1R has less crop on 1080p than the video geared S1 which is an odd spec. We will have to wait for more samples and info on the HFR mode to see which of these cameras offers the best slow motion performance. From the limited samples, we can say that the quality looks very good and at least on par with the Lumix GH5 at 120fps.
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.
Panasonic announced two new cameras this week the ZS200 America / TZ200 Europe which offers the worlds longest wide to super zoom range in a 1″ sensor form factor with a 24-360mm equivalent F3.3-6.4 lens and the larger sensor 4/3ds 20MP “Same as GH5″ Lumix GX9 which tops out at 60fps 1080p which we will not cover any further. We have a cut off of 120fps for slow-motion cameras. The ZS200, however, looks to be Panasonic’s answer to the excellent and full-featured RX series of cameras like the RX10 IV and RX100 V.
The main selling point of this camera is the appeal of carrying a 15X zoom in your pocket along with a 1″ sensor which beats most superzoom cameras that use tiny 1/1.8″ or 1/2.5” sensors. Panasonic is able to do this by extending the lens to almost 3 times the camera’s width footprint including lens ring which looks kind of ridiculous but is effective at contracting enough to fit on a large pocket. The image below shows only 3/4ths of the extension.
Panasonic has released a new compact super zoom camera in the Lumix DC-ZS70 (TZ90 outside of US & Canada). The camera is no slouch with a 20.3 MP new MOS Sensor with their Lumix Depth from Defocus or DFD AF technology; present in cameras like the GH5 & GX85. The camera also re-stocks the bundle with the compact lens that is able to offer 30X, 24-720mm in 35mm equivalent terms.
The camera also has 4k video at 30fps but excludes for some reason the 24p mode which film makers crave. Slow motion features are present but modest at 1080p 60fps and 720p 120fps which work across the entire 30x zoom range. This camera is a powerful point & shoot option that won’t break the bank at $447.99 USD MSRP.
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