In the current scenario, there’s a decent number of competitors in the camera world. We’ve got many newcomers, some of them from Eastern Asia like Kinefinity and Z Cam, other from down under, like Blackmagic, and then there are the staples of the industry, those that shaped the digital image processing as we know it today like ARRI, Sony, RED, and Panasonic.
Speaking of Panasonic, the Varicams have conquered a spot in between the major brands as one of the best imaging tools in the industry. Much of the experience gained while creating and operating those professional cinema cameras has been implemented in the new generation of hybrid mirrorless devices. Now, The Everyday Dad is going to share with us some of the best features he’s discovered while using the latest Panasonic S1H.
There were many discussions since the S1H entered the list of cameras officially approved by Netflix. In fact, it’s the very first hybrid shooter camera to get the approval stamp, considering that the Pocket 6K hasn’t got it yet.
That’s a testament to image quality the full-frame camera can shoot as it’s immediately recognizable that all of the know-how of the Varicam lives inside it.
So, the first tip of The Everyday Dad is to make use of the S1H display. In particular, it gives you quick access to all important functions on the camera while recording. Your ISO, iris, frame rates, battery life, card space left, it’s all there at the glimpse of an eye.
In case you need to do a quick check, you just hit a button and there you have it, from picture style to shutter angle and everything in between. And the cool thing is that the monitor has touchscreen capabilities so that you can just hit the needed setting and the menu will open on the fly.
Did I say shutter angle? Or did I mean shutter speed? There’s no typo there, and if you are used to working in the DSLR realm, chances are you’ve never heard of it. It’s a reminiscence of analog times when cameras had a rotating mirror inside, where you could actually choose how much of the full circle was occupied by the mirror.
Well, what’s the use of that in modern cinematography? It’s about motion blur. If you set your Shutter Angle to 180°, then you’ll be sure that the actual speed will always be double of the frame rate, and that is exactly the best setting to get an optimal motion blur.
Another great feature in this camera is the V-Log. You may have heard someone trashing the V-Log profile, and that’s probably because they’ve been using the GH5 or some similar camera: here it’s a completely different story.
The V-Log in this camera is inherited straight from the Varicam. It has an amazing dynamic range, and coupled with the LUTs that you can download on Panasonic’s website, you’ll get gorgeous looks with a single touch.
If you’re afraid of nailing the exposure with this Log profile, fear no more, since you can use the built-in Luminance spot meter. What is that? It’s an amazing feature that gives you a reading in the selected part of the image, telling you if you need to tweak the exposure to get it right. If there’s anything else you are not actually sure about, just hit the display button, and a brief explanation will pop up.
These small details enhance your user experience by leaps and bounds. It’s a matter of simple touches, but they make the camera so intuitive and easy to use.
Other noteworthy features include the live preview of the exposure settings while shooting stills alongside the ability to do a 4K crop and fake a pan, tilt or zoom over the whole sensor.
Furthermore, you can keep the camera going while shooting a long time-lapse powering it through the USB-C port, plus there’s a multitude of codecs you’ve got at your disposal.
Last but not least, you can customize every single button on the S1H which makes accessing the most frequently features while shooting extremely convenient and straightforward.
As you can see, the S1H has a lot to offer, even experienced filmmakers will need a while to get their heads around everything that Panasonic has packed inside this body. The camera is expensive, that’s true, but you can bet it’s worth every penny.