Following the launch of the L-Mount alliance, Panasonic has revealed a pair of full-frame L-Mount mirrorless cameras, the 47-megapixel Lumix S1R and 24-megapixel S1. Both have built-in image stabilization, a large, high-resolution EVF, triaxial tilt LCD for both selfie photographers and vloggers, the highest flash sync speeds on the market, and double slots for SD and XQD cards. Both models are set to arrive in spring of 2019, with further specifications to be revealed later.
To take on its larger rivals, Panasonic isn't going it alone. It has partnered with Sigma and Leica, and will be using Leica's existing full-frame-L mount system. That's a practical move, as Panasonic and Leica have worked together in the past, and Leica already has nearly a dozen SL lenses and adapters. The mount is compatible with its APS-C TL lenses, too.
Leica lenses are very costly, but Panasonic announced a few of its own, including a 24-70mm, 70-200mm and a 50mm f/1.4 prime, and promised up to 10 lenses by 2020. Sigma will also develop lenses for the system.
Much like Nikon did with the Z7/Z6, Panasonic has created high- and medium-resolution cameras to take on Sony's A7R III and A7 III, respectively. With 4K 60fps video, the S1 and S1R cameras will be equally suitable for photography and video.
Spec-wise, Panasonic's S1R and S1 cameras appears to trump Canon and Nikon, and even better Sony's A7R III and A7 III mirrorless cameras for video. On the other hand, Sony's cameras are proven quantities and Canon and Nikon will release their cameras in October. Panasonic's new models, meanwhile, will arrive at an unknown time next year, and we still don't know all the specifications.
Since the new Lumix-S cameras are still a ways off from release, Panasonic was careful to affirm its support for the current Lumix Micro Fourth Thirds models, announcing a 10-25 mm F1.7 lens "that will achieve the world's first zoom with a constant aperture value of F1.7."
For the upcoming Lumix S models, a lot will depend on the quality of the sensor, particularly since it's an all-new model. Hopefully, we'll get a chance to at least handle one during our time at Photokina. The full-frame mirrorless field is now crowded, so Panasonic still has a lot to prove if it wants to compete with its rivals, especially Sony.
Update 9/25/18 11:00 AM: The article original mixed up the resolutions of the S1R and S1 models, but the S1R is the higher-resolution camera with 47 megapixels. It also stated that video would be 4:2:2 10-bit, but Panasonic has not confirmed that yet. The post has been updated with the correct information.
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