Sony A7 III vs. Panasonic Lumix S1: Full-Frame Mirrorless Throwdown | Digital Trends

    Daven Mathies/Digital Trends

    Daven Mathies/Digital Trends

    The Sony A7 III and Panasonic Lumix S1 are each 24-megapixel, full-frame mirrorless cameras — however aside from that, they couldn’t be extra completely different. The Sony takes a streamlined strategy, with a slimmer and lighter design, whereas the Lumix appears to be like and looks like an expert DSLR — cumbersome, however with far more direct entry management. The S1 additionally encompasses a high-resolution mode that produces 96MP photographs, a considerably sharper digital viewfinder (EVF), assist for sooner reminiscence playing cards, and extra superior video options coming by way of paid firmware replace.
    Looking on the spec sheet alone, the Lumix S1 looks like the clear winner, however the A7 III nonetheless holds it personal in real-world use. It additionally prices $500 much less, at simply $2,00zero in comparison with $2,500 for the S1. So which is best for you? Here’s how these two cameras stack up.

    Sony A7 III

    Panasonic Lumix S1

    24-megapixel full-frame sensor
    24-megapixel full-frame sensor
    Burst pace
    10 fps w/ AF-C (8 fps with dwell view)
    9 fps (6 with AF-C)
    Shutter pace
    1/8,00zero to 30 sec.
    1/8,00zero to 60 sec.
    100-51,200 (50-204,800 prolonged)
    100-51,200 (50-204,800 expanded)
    693-point hybrid phase-detection distinction AF
    225-point contrast-detection DFD AF
    Image stabilization
    5-axis sensor-shift stabilization
    5-axis sensor-shift stabilization
    4K/30p, 1080/120p, S-Log, 8-bit
    4K/30p, 4K/60p with 1.5x crop, HLG (V-Log by way of firmware replace)
    2.35m-dot EVF
    5.7m-dot OLED EVF
    2.95 inch, 921,00 dot tilting touchscreen
    3.2-inch, 2.1m-dot tilting touchscreen
    Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
    Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
    Media slots
    1 SD, 1 Memory Stick Duo or SD
    1 SD, 1 XQD (CFexpress assist coming)
    Li-ion rated for 610 photographs
    Li-ion rated for 380 photographs
    Dimensions (WxHxD)
    5 x 3.87 x 3 inches
    5.87 x 4.33 x 3.82 inches
    22.9 ounces
    35.8 ounces
    Kit lens
    Available physique solely or with 24-70mm f/3.5-5.6
    Available physique solely or with 24-105mm f/4
    $2,00zero body-only
    $2,500 body-only
    Read extra
    Sony A7 III evaluation
    Panasonic Lumix S1 Review
    Buy now

    While each the Sony A7 III and Panasonic Lumix S1 characteristic 24MP full-frame sensors, solely the S1 has a multi-shot high-resolution mode. This makes use of the stabilization gimbal to shift the sensor barely between photographs, taking eight exposures in whole and mixing them right into a single photograph with a decision of 96MP. This mode requires a tripod and a wonderfully nonetheless topic, so it’s greatest used for landscapes and still-life scenes.
    Other than that, each sensors produce exceptional picture high quality and have equal ISO scores and glorious noise efficiency. If you don’t want — or just can’t use — the high-resolution mode on the S1, then there’s nothing you’ll quit, picture high quality sensible, however going with the A7 II.

    Shot on Sony A7 III
    Shot on Lumix S1
    Winner: Lumix S1
    While the numbers are shut, the A7 III and the S1 have completely different limitations in relation to high-speed steady taking pictures. The A7 III can hit 10 frames per second with steady autofocus, however with out dwell view; the S1 manages a good 9 fps with dwell view, however with out steady autofocus. The Sony slows to 8 fps to get each dwell view and steady autofocus collectively, whereas the Lumix has to drop right down to 6. We’re giving the Sony the win right here, though the distinction might not be considerable for all photographers.
    Winner: Sony A7 III
    This is one space the place the businesses take an inherently completely different strategy. Sony makes use of on-chip phase-detection autofocus with 650 focus factors unfold over the body. Panasonic makes use of its proprietary Depth from Defocus (DFD) system, which relies on contrast-detection and break up into 225 zones. While distinction detection is generally slower than part detection, DFD speeds it up significantly; in our testing, it carried out almost equally to phase-detect techniques more often than not — however not all the time.
    We’ve discovered Sony’s autofocus to be extra dependable, particularly in relation to monitoring transferring topics. This has been made even higher with the latest improve to Real-Time Tracking and Real-Time Eye AF, which added synthetic intelligence-based focusing algorithms that make the A7 III much more correct. For its half, the Lumix S1 additionally has a topic and eye-detection mode that works fairly nicely, however, once more, is barely much less dependable than Sony’s.
    One potential advantage of the S1’s contrast-detect autofocus is that it doesn’t require particular phase-detect pixels on the sensor, which, in concept, can permit for extra excessive publicity pushes in put up with out operating into “banding” issues. In observe, we by no means observed banding on the A7 III, so the real-world benefit of this can be slim to none.
    Winner: Sony A7 III

    The Lumix S1 is by far the heavier and bigger of the 2, weighing in at over 2 kilos with the battery loaded. But if you will get over the burden, it presents essentially the most practical and full management format of any mirrorless digicam we’ve ever examined; the A7 III is empty by comparability. Some of the S1’s buttons even gentle up, making them simpler to see when taking pictures in low gentle scenes.
    While each cameras declare environmental sealing, the S1 actually feels just like the extra sturdy of the 2. It additionally boasts the highest-resolution digital viewfinder in the marketplace, with 5.7 million pixels — over 3 million greater than the A7 III. The 3.2-inch, 2.1 million-dot display screen can be bigger and better decision than the Sony’s 3-inch, 921,600-dot display screen. The S1 additionally has a big, secondary LCD on the highest of the digicam for displaying taking pictures settings.
    Both cameras provide twin reminiscence card slots, however the place the A7 III makes use of SD playing cards for each, the S1 offers you one SD and one XQD. Not solely are XQD playing cards sooner than SD, however they’re bodily similar to even higher-speed CFexpress playing cards, assist for which is coming to the S1 in a future firmware replace.
    Winner: Lumix S1
    Both cameras use 5-axis sensor-shift stabilization to counter digicam movement when handholding, and each do an excellent job in nonetheless and video modes. The A7 III’s stabilization is rated for 5.5 stops of shake discount, the place the S1’s is nice for 6 — or 6.5 when paired with an optically stabilized lens. It’s not an enormous distinction, however the Lumix takes one other win right here.
    Winner: Lumix S1
    Both Sony and Panasonic are nicely often called video firms. Sony was one of many first to place 4K right into a mirrorless digicam, and Panasonic’s GH collection (constructed on the smaller Micro Four Thirds format) continues to current us with a few of the greatest video cameras you should buy. The Lumix S1 isn’t actually focusing on that very same viewers, nevertheless it nonetheless packs a punch in relation to video options. Even in comparison with the dearer Lumix S1R, it has some fairly large benefits.
    The S1 can shoot oversampled 4K/30  from the total width of the sensor, or 4K/60 from an APS-C crop. The A7 III tops out at 4K/30. Both cameras provide greater body charges at decrease resolutions for taking pictures in sluggish movement.
    The A7 III consists of Sony’s superior S-Log shade profiles for higher dynamic vary, however video remains to be restricted to 8-bit — whether or not recording internally or externally over HDMI. The S1 can be at the moment restricted to 8-bit, until you shoot in Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) which opens up 10-bit output. A future firmware replace may also carry Panasonic’s V-Log profile and 10-bit 4:2:2 recording to the S1; nevertheless, this shall be a paid replace.
    Winner: Lumix S1
    Battery life
    The Sony A7 III boasts one of many highest battery scores we’ve ever seen on a mirrorless digicam at 650 exposures. That’s a good margin above the Lumix S1’s 380-exposure ranking. However, the S1’s poor efficiency right here is probably going due to its a lot greater decision EVF and monitor, a tradeoff that could be nicely value it for some photographers.
    Perhaps as a result of its engineers realized how a lot energy the S1 was going to eat, Panasonic additionally inbuilt a particular Power Save Live View Finder (LVF) Shooting mode, which considerably mimics how a DSLR manages energy. In this mode, the digicam will fall asleep after a short while, however will go away some features lively, just like the EVF eye sensor and shutter button. Battery life is acknowledged as over 1,00zero exposures on this mode.
    We’re nonetheless calling this one in Sony’s favor, however whichever digicam you select, we advocate choosing up a spare battery or two.
    Winner: Sony A7 III
    Sony’s E-mount is a part of a way more mature system than the Panasonic S collection, and thus has fairly a number of extra native lenses obtainable presently. However, the S1 is constructed across the Leica L mount, which already has a group of lenses which can be totally appropriate (however costly — they’re made by Leica, in spite of everything). Additionally, Sigma has signed on to develop L-mount lenses, with 11 of their acclaimed Art-series lenses at the moment on the best way. Of the three Lumix S lenses at the moment obtainable from Panasonic, the S Pro 50mm f/1.4 can be among the best 50mm lenses we’ve ever seen — in fact, at $2,300, it must be.
    As of this second, Sony is forward in pure numbers, however issues will look rather a lot completely different over the subsequent 12 months. This one is simply too near name, nevertheless it’s a good suggestion to examine if a system has any specific lenses you need earlier than shopping for into it.
    Winner: Tie
    Picking an total winner

    The Lumix S1 is sort of two cameras in a single. It’s a hybrid nonetheless/video machine with glorious low-light efficiency from its 24MP sensor, and an ultra-high-resolution digicam able to taking pictures 96MP photographs while you want element over pace. It can be the extra sturdy and extra skilled of the 2, with a fully beautiful EVF and expertly-designed management format.
    But the Sony nonetheless comes out forward in some areas, similar to steady taking pictures pace and autofocus efficiency. It additionally is kind of a bit inexpensive, that means it can save you some cash to place towards a pleasant lens. If cash is not any object, we are saying go together with the S1; it is without doubt one of the most forward-thinking cameras now we have ever examined and is constructed with professionals in thoughts. But the A7 III is a good worth at simply $2,00zero; for fans on a tighter price range, it makes loads of sense.

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