Panasonic's S1H is the first mirrorless camera approved by Netflix

It'll give budget filmmakers a relatively inexpensive option.

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Steve Dent
October 24, 2019 12:37 PM
Steve Dent/Engadget
Steve Dent/Engadget

Panasonic's latest full-frame S1H has become the first mirrorless camera certified for Netflix productions, as part of the streaming company's Post Technology Alliance. Production units are allowed to use it as a main camera shooting in either DCI 4K (4,096 x 2,160) or Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) resolutions. That gives Panasonic's fledgling full-frame S1 lineup a boost of prestige, and filmmakers a relatively inexpensive way to create Netflix shows.

According to Netflix's production guide for the S1H, you have to shoot in at least 4K using the V-Log color space with 4:2:2 10-bit All-I (400 Mbps) encoding. Crucially, Netflix requires a pixel-for-pixel sensor readout with no line-skipping. The S1H can handle that either by cropping to a Super 35 portion of the sensor (approximately APS-C) or using the full width of the sensor. The latter makes the S1H the cheapest option, by far, for a full-frame camera -- a good option for cinematographers who want shallow depth of field.

The S1H is approved for anamorphic productions in academy 4:3 capture in 4K, or to pick up the odd B-camera shot using 6K large format for shallower depth of field (3:2, 5,888 x 3,312). You can also shoot slow-mo at 60 FPS 4K using a cropped, Super 35 sensor size. Other settings on the camera like in-body stabilization and e-stabilization can be used with some limitations imposed (no panning with the boost I.S. mode). The S1H has a number of other features that likely helped greatly with approval, especially its time code jamming capability.

The S1H isn't a cheap camera at $4,000 for the body, but it's by far the cheapest full-frame Netflix approved camera. Mind you, the body price is just one part of that equation -- the lens alone on the front of the camera above retails for $10,000.

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Update 10/24/2019 2:22 PM EST: The post has been updated to point out that 6K anamorphic capture can only be used for B-camera, rather than main camera shooting, due to the lack of an I-frame codec in that format.

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