As it promised last September, Panasonic is ready to bring Apple ProRes RAW support to its cinema-centric S1H full-frame mirrorless camera. The firmware version 2.0, coming next month, will introduce support for 5.9K (5,888 x 3,312) 12-bit ProRes RAW video output over HDMI. The caveat is that there’s just one recorder that will support it, the Atomos Ninja V 4K HDR monitor-recorder, which also records 4K ProRes RAW on Nikon’s Z6 and Z7 mirrorless cameras.
On top of 5.9K at up to 29.97 fps, you’ll be able to output cinema 4K (4,128 x 2,176) using a cropped Super 35mm portion of the sensor at up to 60 fps and super anamorphic 3.5K (3,536 x 2,656) at 50 fps. The new firmware will also let you record 6K/5.9K/5.4K video internally and output downconverted video to the Atomos Ninja V over the HDMI port. That can be handy as a backup, viewing dailies and for doing a rough cut edit.
While using V-Log video to max out the dynamic range, the Ninja V will let you see the footage in both V-Log or Rec.709 formats to make it easier to judge footage quality. Panasonic has also made numerous tweaks to help you adjust and monitor video, while fixing bugs like color banding in 10-bit 4:2:0 mode.
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. 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. 5.9K is approved for limited use as a “B” camera, but with RAW ProRes recording to a Ninja V, Netflix producers might be able to use it for 5.9K shooting in the future.
Panasonic and Nikon were able to use Apple’s ProRes RAW despite a patent dispute between RED and Apple because they teamed with Atomos, which has a license agreement with RED. The format gives filmmakers higher quality images that are easier to work with in post, especially when doing VFX and color grading. The firmware update 2.0 will arrive on Panasonic’s global Lumix customer support site on May 25th.
Update 4/21/2020 4:32 AM ET: The post has been updated to explain how the Panasonic S1H was approved by Netflix as a production camera.