The big headline at the moment is about the S1H and its 6K video. But did you know that the S1 can also produce 6K video? Read on to find out how.
The Panasonic S1H is making waves at the moment because it is the first full-frame mirrorless camera to record 6K video, as well as output it in raw format. The S1H brings other benefits to video and film production such as an OLPF filter to reduce aliasing. So if your primary focus is on serious video, the S1H will still be the one to look for. But the other camera in the range, which offers a good balance between stills and video, the S1 has a trick of its own hidden up its sleeve.
The S1H can record 6K at 3:2 aspect ratio with a resolution of 5952x3968 and 200Mbps bitrate to H.265 compression. What you might not know is that the S1 can do this as well! How so?
The secret lies in the 6K burst photo mode, which can take a series of photos up to 30fps at a resolution of 5184x3456. This is slightly lower than the S1H, but still well over 1000 pixels more horizontally than 4K video.
Now you might question the use of such a mode to make a video, but there are three interesting things about the 6K burst mode on the S1. The first is that within the menu options you can set the burst to start when you press the shutter, and then stop when you press it again, exactly like a normal video record button. The second is that the photos are all encoded as a 200Mbps H.265 video that you can play back right on your computer as per any other video file. The third, and this is the most important thing, is that sound is also recorded along with the visuals. In other words, 6K burst mode on the S1 when set up in this way is actually just another video mode on the camera.
The magic setting
Surely there's a catch?
There is a limitation or two in doing this. The first is that you are limited to a maximum of 10-minutes recording time. This is likely due to issues of the thermal variety, and a reason why the S1H has a fan cooling system and venting; something that the S1 doesn't have. Still, unless you are covering a live event of some kind or recording an interiew, 10 minutes at a time isn't going to restrict you much.
The other limitation is that you are stuck with 30fps. It would be interesting, and no doubt doable, for Panasonic to introduce a 24fps burst rate option. But it is doubtful because it wouldn't want to compete too much with the S1, and it would also need to be careful of appearing to promote it as a true video mode with the time limit in place. But never say never!
The important thing here is that should you need it, you can in fact record 6K video internally on the Panasonic S1, and other than it being officially called a burst photo mode, it isn't really a fudge either.