Panasonic is set to improve several of its current cameras through firmware updates, especially the S1, S1H and BGH1. The biggest winner is the full frame, $ 2,500 Lumix S1, which is about to gain internal 6K 24p 10-bit recording, or 5.9K 10-bit at up to 30 fps. You’ll also be able to record Cinema 4K internally at up to 60 fps (10-bit 4: 2: 0, 200 Mbps) and 10-bit 4K Ultra HD (4: 2: 0) up to 60 fps. Finally, the S1 will support 4K (3328 x 2496) anamorphic video recorded internally and up to 5.9K 16: 9 (5888 x 3312) 12-bit video externally on an Atomos Ninja V recorder.
Currently, the S1 can only record 4K internally at up to 30 fps and externally at 60 fps, so these are big updates. There are heating limitations for the new recording modes, however, due to the fact that the S1 (unlike the S1H) does not have an internal fan. You will only be able to record 6K, 5.9K, and 5.4K videos for 15 minutes at a time before recording stops, although you won’t have to wait as long as with other cameras ( eg the Canon R5) before starting over. 4K, Ultra HD, and Anamorphic 4K internal cinema have maximum continuous recording times of 30 minutes, but there is no limitation to external 5.9K RAW recording.
In addition to the resolution changes, Panasonic added a Dual Native ISO setting to the S1, which should make it better for shooting in low light. Suffice to say that all of these updates make the S1 a much more useful camera, especially for videographers. If you don’t already have it, you’ll need to purchase the S1 DMW-SFU2’s upgrade software key ($ 200) to get the resolution updates, though vendors often throw it away with the camera for free.
Panasonic also updates the $ 3,700 S1H with up to 5.9K 12-bit RAW recording on the Blackmagic Video Assist 12G HDR recorder in Blackmagic RAW (BRAW) format, giving shooters another option besides Apple RAW for the Atomos Ninja V. Note that you will need Blackmagic’s Davinci Resolve editing software to use the footage, or the BRAW plugin for Premiere Pro or Avid.
Finally, Panasonic introduced new firmware for its box-style four-thirds mic. BGH1 camera ($ 2,000). This product has been a commercial success for Panasonic, especially for multicamera setups, drone use and live streaming. For the latter function, Panasonic has introduced IP streaming over wired LAN using RTP / RTSP protocol, allowing gamers, businesses and others to do high quality remote streaming to social platforms. It can do this at 4K 60p using the more efficient H.264 or H.265 codes, both up to 50 Mbps.
The BGH1 will also benefit from Apple ProRes RAW recording on Atomos Ninja V recorders (in addition to internal SD recording) up to 12-bit Cinema 4K 60fps. This should make it more useful for filmmakers doing multi-camera shoots or the like.
These updates will be rolled out at different times, with the arrival of S1H firmware version 2.0 on March 31, S1 firmware version 2.0 on April 6, and BHG1 update (version 2.0) on March 24. Panasonic also introduced minor updates for the S1R and S5 (arriving April 6), allowing users to add vertical camera orientation information (or not) and save power with an AC adapter plugged in.