Six Must-have Video Accessories for the Panasonic S1 and Panasonic S1H

The Panasonic S1 (Amazon, B&H) is a very capable video camera, but if you have the following accessories it becomes even more powerful and useful.

Click here to stay updated about new information, workflows and tips about the Panasonic S1.

1 The DMW-SFU2 Upgrade for the Panasonic S1

This is only for the Panasonic S1. The S1H does not require it.

By paying for the SFu2 upgrade ($199)*, you get the following:

  1. 14+ stops of dynamic range with V-Log
  2. 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording in 4K up to 30 fps
  3. 10-bit 4:2:2 external recording for all modes up to 4K 60fps
  4. In-camera LUTs
  5. Waveform monitor
  6. 24-bit 96 KHz audio using the DMW-XLR1 adapter

Here are instructions on how to enable it:

*In some instances and countries the DMW-SFU2 comes free with the S1. If you’re one of the unlucky ones, take heart. I find it really odd Panasonic continues to charge extra for V-Log. I really don’t see why you need to irritate your customers by asking them to spend $199 over a $2,500 camera (8%). Why not just give it free with every camera and divide the cost among all sales?

Anyway, if you’re serious about video, you will most likely want to opt for this upgrade.

2 Atomos Ninja V

The Atomos Ninja V (Amazon, B&H) is a highly affordable monitor and external recorder.

Why would you need an external recorder? If you want the best image quality from the Panasonic S1 (Amazon, B&H) you need to use a recorder to record 8-bit 4:2:2 V-log video, and the Ninja V is your cheapest option.

In addition to this, you also get these useful extra bonuses:

  1. Extra exposure tools like waveform, false color, vectorscope, blue-only noise, etc.
  2. The ability to upload 3D LUTs, so you can record V-log and use a V-log to Rec. 709 LUT to monitor footage.
  3. Record to Prores or DNxHR format for a simpler editing experience. You get to choose multiple data rates depending on the kind of project you’re doing.

Check out this setup guide from Atomos for the Canon EOS R, but the process is similar for any camera:

The Panasonic S1 (Amazon, B&H) has a Type A HDMI port, so you’ll also need an HDMI 2.0 cable to record 4K 60 fps. BlueRigger is a decent brand (Amazon, B&H). Make sure you look for “HDMI 2.0” or “4K High Speed”.

You can mount the Ninja V on the camera via simple ball mount (Amazon, B&H). One end goes into the cold shoe mount on the top of the camera and the ball mount allows you to swivel the monitor in any direction. The one in the video above is the Smallrig articulating mount, but I don’t recommend that because you only get tilt with it. I’ve found you need a 180-degree movement so you get maximum flexibility.

3 Sony 64GB Tough Series UHS-II SDXC Cards

The Sony 64GB SF-G Tough Series UHS-II SDXC Memory Card (Amazon, B&H) has a few advantages over other cards:

  • It’s new!
  • 299 MB/s write speeds – so is a great investment for other/future cameras as well.
  • Sony Tough Series cards can withstand drops up to 16.4′ / 5m, immersion in up to 16.4′ / 5m of water for up to 72 hours, and are bend, dust, X-ray, magnet, and anti-static proof, and resistant to UV light and temperature extremes from -13 to 185°F. 
  • It has a one-piece molded construction that is ribless with no write protect switch, so there’s minimal chance of the enclosure getting broken. 
  • Should the card’s data become compromised, you can download File Rescue software for free to help recover deleted content.

What about XQD?

If you’re recording to two cards at the same time, you can use the Sony 64 GB G-series (Amazon, B&H). The problem is you also need to buy a separate XQD card reader as well. It’s more expensive, and only worth it if you’re into dual recording or relay recording.

What size cards should you get for video?

As mentioned in the important video features of the Panasonic S1, you get a maximum of 150 Mbps in 4K. This means you get about an hour or less on a 64 GB card.

I don’t recommend a larger size card because it’s easy to fall into bad habits by recording till the card is full. You always risk data loss (happens rarely, but it can happen), and it also takes longer for the cards to be offloaded to a laptop or PC. The final decision is up to you of course, but I’d rather care two 64 GB cards (Amazon, B&H) than on 128 GB card.

4 Lens adapter

Third-party lenses come in their own lens mounts. So you need some sort of adapter that comes between the lens and the camera. An adapter does three things:

  1. It connects two mounts that naturally don’t fit together, and
  2. It makes up for the flange focal distance.
  3. Optional: Provides contacts that allow you to control aperture, zoom, focus, etc., from the camera itself. Not all features are supported.

There’s no glass in the adapter, no lens or optics (unless it’s a focal reducer). It’s just hollow inside.

The L-mount has a flange focal distance of 20mm, so any lens that has a higher flange focal distance than this in the above table can be adapted. This is why you can adapt EF lenses, because the Canon EF mount has a flange focal distance of 44mm.

You can also adapt older Canon FD lenses, Leica M lenses, PL-mount lenses and of course Nikon F-mount lenses and others.

Both Leica and Sigma have released lens adapters and given the choice, I think you should stick with them if your lens falls into that category.

Very important: None of the adapters support continuous autofocus for video. You need native lenses for that.

Which is the best lens adapter for the S1 and S1H?

Here’s the list of adapters I recommend for the Panasonic S1 and S1H (Amazon, B&H):

Lens mountAdapterBuy
Canon EFSigma MC-21(Amazon, B&H)
Leica MLeica M-Adapter L(Amazon, B&H)
Leica RLeica R-Adapter L(Amazon, B&H)
Leica SLeica S-Adapter L(Amazon, B&H)
Nikon FNovoflex Nikon F to SL Manual(Amazon, B&H)
PLWooden Camera PL to L(Amazon, B&H)
For Medium FormatKipon Baveyes(Amazon, B&H)
OthersKipon(Amazon, B&H)

Native adapters are a bit more expensive, but they give you the best functionality, and will maintain weather-sealing where appropriate.

5 Universal Cage

I’m not a fan of custom-designed cages, so I found an affordable cage that will last you a long time:

This is a no-name cage, but goes by the name of Camvate on Amazon and B&H.

A universal camera cage is a cage that can be fitted to any sort of DSLR or mirrorless camera. Some cameras are short, while others are tall. Some cameras like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K are wide.

You can read more in my review here.

Even with cameras like the Panasonic S1 (Amazon, B&H), it has enough space to let the articulating screen be open to the side. If you can live with the pain of assembly, I think this universal cage (Amazon, B&H) is a solid investment for a small amount of money, and it will last you as long as you use cameras that fit in it – which is pretty much every DSLR or mirrorless camera out there.

6 VisibleDust EZ Sensor Cleaning Kit PLUS

I’m pretty sure you weren’t expecting this.

Mirrorless cameras have one disadvantage over DSLRs, and that is their sensors are too close to the opening for the lens. This means it’s very easy for dust to settle on the sensor.

When you stop down the lens, you will see dust spots in your photographs or videos. It’s easy to remove in photos, but very tough in videos, especially when there’s motion.

The best system I’ve found, and one I use on all my mirrorless cameras, is the VisibleDust EZ Sensor Cleaning Kit PLUS Orange (Amazon, B&H)

The Orange swab is better than the green one, because it is finer and easier on your sensor. The kit (Amazon, B&H) contains:

  1. VDust Plus liquid cleaner (1.15ml) – for oil and water stains, and provides a mild static barrier
  2. 5x orange 1.0x DHAP Vswabs and,
  3. 1x sensor brush

It goes without saying if you have stains you are unsure about, it’s better to get your camera serviced at an authorized service center. But sometimes in the field that’s not possible, and you have to keep shooting.

Once you get the hang of cleaning your sensor yourself, you’ll wonder what the fuss was all about. As long as you are careful and follow the instructions precisely (don’t mix and match liquids and products), you should be okay.

Here’s a video on how to use this:

Click here to stay updated about new information, workflows and tips about the Panasonic S1.

That’s it! I hope you found my suggestions useful.

If you know any additional important accessories specific to video, let me know in the comments below.