The Panasonic S1 with Leica M Lenses (Canon EF as well).

The Panasonic S1 with Leica M Lenses (Canon EF as well)

By Steve Huff

So I shot the Panasonic S1 last night, just for one night, and what I saw made me a very happy man. Long story short, this is one of the best, if not best camera I have used when it comes to low light high ISO in real world scenarios. It also bested my SL for using M mount lenses (I am using Voigtlander these days) when it comes to sharpness, detail, less vignetting, and joy of use due to the 5.7MP EVF that beats the Leica SL EVF in color, sharpness and brightness.

This post is just a quick post to share my thoughts on the S1 with M Mount lenses, as well as Canon EF lenses. The video below explains all.

Below is a video I made up with my 1st experience with the S1, and also some images below. Review soon!

A few images from the S1:

Images below all from the S1 with either the Voigtlander 35 f1.2 II or the Canon EF 50 1.2. Exif is embedded and you can click on each image to see the larger version. The 1st image below is at ISO 16,000. Second image below, ISO 25,600. Most of these are at high ISO limits yet the color, dynamic range and detail remains. I have never seen color this nice at these kind of ISOs. The 8th image down is at ISO 51,200 yet look at that color!! Noise reduction is OFF as I shot these RAW and applied no noise reduction.



The one of my dog above? ISO 51,200 indoor. I have never seen an ISO 51.200 shot that detailed or clean. The S1 is a serious night machine as well as an ANY LIGHT machine. The shutter is soft and silent, and the kit lens focuses fast and accurately. I even do a video test with the kit lens above in the video to show it focuses wonderfully (much better than the GH5). So far this camera has blown me away but I have more shooting to do. As for the S1R, I have no interest in that as I will never need 47MP for anything that I do. Most do not need 47MP unless you want to crop your images up. As shown in the Q2, the 47 MP sensor is much more noisy, at least in the Q2 it is.

The S1 for me will be my main night time, low light camera along with a few choice fast small manual primes. My fave way to shoot.

You can order the Panasonic S1 where I did, from Amazon, right HERE. 

You can also order it at B&H Photo HERE. 

I use this M adapter with the S1 for M lenses.

Voigtlander M Lenses can be found HERE. 

58 Comments

  1. I was all set to buy a used SL and then I stumbled on your review of the S1. I never really bonded with my film rangefinders and loved my older Canon 6MP DSLR once I learned how to work in post to improve the images. Everyone talks about the Low light capabilities of the S1 but no one mentions its performance in daylight/shade. I am traditionally a landscape photographer and work mostly in 4×5 black and white. I want a quality digital system that can use my rangefinder and EOS lenses for the times that I want color or maybe even a quick video for documentation. Nor does anyone describe how it perform with longer lenses like the EOS 300 or 100-400 with adapter or Nikon equivalents?

    • I assume most who have lenses from Nikon or Canon like that would be using a Nikon or Canon camera. The S1, for me, is one of the top mirrorless cameras in full frame format ever created. It does everything well, and does nothing badly. It’s AF is it’s weakest point but it’s not bad at all, it’s quite good. It’s just not up to the Sony A73 series just yet. But it’s awesome in daylight and low light. I do feel the SL has a nicer looking file though (colors and overall vibe of the Leica sensor is nice) but the S1 offers a wonderful camera for the money. Thanks.

  2. I love reading your reviews because of the approach you take – but most especially because you address the behavior of legacy M glass adapted to new FF bodies. I cut my teeth on the CLE, eventually acquiring an M6ttl & M7. More importantly a collection of Leica, Voigtlander and other M and even LTM specimens. I want to use these and care deeply about getting the body that plays best with legacy glass, both wide (15mm, 24mm, etc), as well as the 75mm & 90mm lenses. You truly seem to be the only review meister willing to address this directly. I read and re-read your assessments closely. I genuflect and thank you sincerely for your continued attention outliers, like we M-mount glass fans.

  3. Hi Steve, thank you for putting this out!
    Will you please share what adapter you’re using for Leica M lenses to L mount? Is it Leica’s or some other company?
    Thank you!

  4. Great review as always. I just purchased the s1 and I am loving the camera. There is one thing that bugs me, however, and it is a technical question. I can’t seem to remove the AF display area lines (box) from the shooting screen despite turning this feature off in the menu. I am using all manual Zeiss lenses with an all manual adapter. I am wondering if you confronted this problem using your adapter and manual lenses. It is not a big deal, but an issue nonetheless. Again, great review as always and thanks for info.

    • Hmm. I will have to check. It’s either there and I just blocked it out of my mind or it didn’t bother me. Or it is not there. EDIT, just checked and they are there but they do not bother me. I will see if I can find a way to disable them.

  5. Hi Steve,
    i’m Patrick from France. Excuse for my bad english. But did you try a wide M angle (under 35) as a 24 mm on the panasonic S1. 2 years ago, i wanted to buy a sony alpha but this camera can’t support M wide angle lenses….so before to go and buy a S1 i’d like to know….thx for you answer, and all you’re good advice

  6. This new Panny seems like a great camera and certainly the “cream of the crop” of all the recent FF MILC releases … Canikon’s offerings were pathetic by comparison IMO. However, having been a subscriber here at SHP since the days of the NEX 5, I cannot get on climb on board the Panny train just yet. Having endured (and often suffered 😉 through so many Sony Alpha iterations leading up to the A9 and A7R III, I’m finally in Full Frame nirvana, especially with the recent firmware releases v5 and v3 respectively. At present, the Alphas are now about as perfect a mirrorless full frame camera as you could possibly hope to get for the money. I don’t enjoy shooting with adapted or manual lenses so the G Master line up with a little Zeiss sprinkled in, fills my particular needs perfectly. It took five years, but the A7R III and A9 were well worth the wait. I don’t think it’s going to take Panasonic, Nikon or Canon 5 years to get my attention, thanks in part to Sony, but for now, I have the best cameras for my needs – G.A.S. abated for now 😉

  7. Steve – thankyou for your website, i read with interest and am on the verge of re-entering the photography world! A massive decision to be made, financially etc! Starting from scratch, do you think 2ndhand Leica SL or Lumix S1? I know there’s no definitive answer but have you a few thoughts?! Plants, insects, country folk and landscapes will be my subjects and next procrastination re initial lens.

    • The S1 has a better sensor, without question. The S1 has a nicer EVF, without question. The S1 does much better in low light and high ISO, 100% fact. The S1 is the same size, and just as hefty as the SL. S1 has a larger battery, and faster AF with better video capability. The S1 has 5 Axis IS that is pretty remarkable. The SL only wins in body design and style and minimalistic approach. Everywhere else, the S1 beats it.

  8. Steve are using the Leica m adapter and did you try it with any real Leica m lenses not just Voigtlander
    Ei coded lenses and would the Panasonic recognize a coded lens anyway?

    • This would be good to know. When i used the genuine Leica M adapter L on the Sl and CL it provided full functionality with Leica 6 bit coded lenses. It would allow the camera to recognize the lens, add profiles etc.
      Does the Panasonic have any Leica profiles for M glass or would the genuine Leica adaptor only have benefit on the revised Leica SL?

      • Leica just updated the SL with lens profiles for the Panasonic S1 lenses. I’m also curious if the S1 recognizes Leica SL and M lenses as part of the L-mount collaboration. Looking forward to Steve’s full review. There is likely an S1 coming my way very soon.

        • R and M lenses are not part of the L-mount alliance. And the Lumix S does not recognize any 6-bit codes. It also has no profiles (correction functions) for M lenses. And the sensor cover glass is quite thick, so not good for many M wide-angle lenses. I would rather buy the S1R. It is also not well adapted, but with the higher resolution it gives still images with a lot of detail (even if the lenses do not work as well as on a M10).

  9. Nice camera and inspiring report. Bravo Steve! I have just buyed a Nikon Z6…what do you say for JPEG OOC files if you compare the Z6 and the S1? Hope my choice for low light photography was not wrong…

    • The Z6 is a fine camera with an awesome body style, design and build. It has the Nikon look when it comes to color. Most cameras today are all amazing. The Z6 is one of them. It all comes down to personal preference really but cameras like the Z6, A7III, EOS-R (yes even the EOS-R), S1 and even the old SL are still AMAZING. The ket is finding a body that works for you. There are no bad choices ; )

  10. Nice. Couple of questions:
    1. Did u take any daylight shots? Night time ones will hide any colour casts or edge smearing as that would be dark, OOF etc
    b. How do u get correct exposure w adapted lenses if there is no electronic contact between lens and camera? Do u pay attention to the histogram or is it WYSIWG? On my Z7 even tho I have the evf set to show actual exposure, with non chipped adapted lenses unless I push the histogram to the right it underexposes by a lot. Also it does not work well with most Leica lenses..

    Thanks!

    • No need for contacts or corrections. I shoot in A mode as always, set my aperture and let the camera meter. It exposes perfectly, just as the SL does. Some cameras like the EOS-R do not do well with adapted lenses, so it appears the Z6 is the same. Sony also exposes nicely with adapted lenses but the S1 is the best camera I have shot with for adapting lenses like M glass and even Canon glass. I was surprised to be honest as I thought it would have issues like the Canon did. I have any daylight shots that will be in the review, even a brick wall test ; ) Looks great so far with no smearing I have seen using the lenses I own. Day or night. Thanks!

      • Thanks for the reply. I wish my Z7 exposed perfectly like that and quite frankly I do not understand why it doesnt. The reason I got it was because it works perfectly w my Nikon AF and chipped glass and I thought as a bonus it would work well w my Leica glass. So much for that! Even my M240 exposes perfectly w adapted lenses..

  11. Steve, we need you to have a thorough discussion of the reported exposure ramping feature, for time lapse. Thank you.

    • My review will be different from the masses of other reviews who obsess over every little technical detail. Mine will be more based on using the camera with adapted lenses, M lenses, etc. Will be based on taking photos mainly, some video and really no time lapse. I use my phone for that. I will not test eye Af, etc as I will be using it 90% manually. There will be or are hundreds of reviews going over the same old stuff, I choose to write about how I use it which I know many Leica shooters are interested. I am thrilled with this camera in this regard as it is the best I have used for adapting lenses. Nikon, Canon, Sony..it bests them all for this purpose, at least for me. Even beats the SL due to the EVF improvement, better sensor and 5 Axis IS for less than half the cost. But yea, I am sure many will cover the time lapse feature of the camera. Thank you.

  12. HI Steve,

    Could you please shoot a comparison test of the same scenes with a SL and S1 both using the same exact lens and adapter. Please use 21/24 (pretty wide) and 35mm (most popular wide M lens focal length) lenses.

    Please show how they handle center and corner sharpness. Thanks alot.

    • It will have the 47MP sensor, sadly that means I will not buy one. It seems most think they need more and more MP in a camera even though all that does is lower the performance in all but very good light. The Q2 is one example of this. I am not sure how Leica will compete with Panasonic for 2X the cost or more with the same specs. When the SL was released there was nothing like it. Now we have Panasonic clones for much less money. Leica could go the way of having Panasonic make the SL2 as they do with their Dlux line but that would IMO, hurt the SL. They have already said there will be a new body style, which IMO, will be more S1 like. Will be interesting to see what they do to compete against the S1 and/or the S1R as Panasonic has created one heck of a camera.

      • There will be a Leica CL body with the S1 FF sensor, M-mount, the new HQ EVF and the worlds best focusing aids will make the M primes sing. The S1R sensor will go into the coming SL 2 for the APO F2 primes.

        • That would make a CL a much better option than an M10 for most as the IQ would be better, DR better, low light better, foolproof focusing without rangefinder drift, and would really hurt the sale of the M IMO. But also would probably make the M an even more niche, more expensive product while the full frame CL would become the new sales leader for them. If they did that, a full frame CL using the 24MP sensor of the S1, and the same EVF (which I doubt they will do, they will reserve it for their SL2) it would even steal sales from an SL2. Smaller, less expensive and better performance I more scenarios. I do not see them doing it but hope they do ; )

          • Unfortunatly, Leica’s decisions seem driven by fear, not anymore by enthusiasm. They prefer to look a their sales (M-bodies) going down than taking the risk of releasing a CM that would sale like hotcakes. But why no other manufacturer is trying to make it (like Zenitar) ? Is there a sort of Leica mafia that prevents any other manufacturer to do so ?

        • That would be pretty great. I doubt it will happen for the same reason Steve said, it will hurt the Leica sales. Some decades ago the Minolta CLE and Leica CL were released as smaller and cheaper alternatives to the Leica M film cameras, and apparantly it hurt Leica as a company pretty bad. Maybe they remember that which is why they don’t release a smaller full frame EVF camera yet.

  13. Excuse me if you already answered this, but what EF adaptor are you using?
    The Sigma is going to be out soon , are you planning on testing it with Canon EF lenses?
    That first shot is seriously impressive.
    Thanks,
    Tim

  14. I know an X1D is not in my budget although this may be. I am just curious which is better in low light.

    • Looks great with my lenses. I see no issues at all. I do see more issues on the SL and many more when used on the Canon EOS-R. Ive not seen my Voigtlander lenses look better. Im not shooting any ultrawides though but with my 35’s and 50’s and 90’s no issues.

  15. The S1 really sounds great, especially for low light. And I love the M mount, which accommodates all my Voightlander M lenses. You call 24mp your sweet spot. Can we assume that you do not do much cropping in your post production? For those of us who might crop a lot, wouldn’t 47mp be better, even if we lose some low light capability?

  16. Hi Steve. Long time follower. Thanks for everything that you do. Have you had a chance to thoroughly test the AF? There has been varying comments and would love to hear your experience because I trust your real world reviews.
    John

    • I used the 24-105 briefly and the AF is LOADS faster than the GH5. It’s no Canon 1dXII but I had zero issues. You can see the AF worked great in the quick video test with the 24-105 unlike when I tried that with the Gh5s (even with the latest FW). That was for video. For photos it was super fast and again no issues. But I am not an action shooter or sports shooter. If I was I would go with the Sony A9.

  17. Any chance to test summicron 28/2 – that one was always problematic on non-M bodies. Thank you

  18. When you turn the focus ring on a manual focus lens, does the camera automatically magnify the image in the EVF/rear LCD?

  19. Now my interest is whether the next SL2 would come with 24MP or 47MP or both. With what they are asking for the SL (7000USD?), it would likely be the 47MP although I have to agree with Steve with how I shoot as well. Would be interesting to have a 24MP version SL2 for around 5000USD (Q2 price). It should retain the sensor, IBIS, EVF, from the S1. Now the question is whether it will have a flip out screen for the first time?
    Either way, seems like it’s going to be a hard sell for Leica SL2 with these Panasonic’s.

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