Categories
Camera Comparisons

Canon 1DX Mark III vs Panasonic S1H: Which is the Better Investment for Video?

Canon 1DX Mark III vs Panasonic S1H. Both heavy hitters capable of RAW video – but which will bring better returns for the professional filmmaker?

Two full frame cameras that shoot 6K, and both offer RAW:

  1. Panasonic S1H (AmazonB&H)
  2. Canon 1DX Mark III (AmazonB&H)

In this article let’s put them head to head to see which is truly the better investment for full frame.

Important: Most of this comparison is based on available specs and information.

Quick menu

Comparison of sensors and video features

Here’s how the camera sensors compare:

CameraResolutionISO RangeSensor Size
Canon 1DX Mark III5496×2904100-25,60036 x 24 mm
Panasonic S1H5952×3968640-51,20036 x 24 mm

Even though the 1DX Mark III goes to an impressive 100K ISO, that’s only in stills mode. Unfortunately, the ISO range for video is limited.

The maximum ISO range is not always a good indicator of low light performance. E.g., the S1H has more resolution, so the pixels are smaller. Overall, based on specs, I think the S1H is probably going to be the better low light performer.

What about frame rates?

CameraMax fps at 4KSensor CropMax fps at 1080p
Canon 1DX Mark III59.94 fpsFull frame and 1.3x modes119.9 fps
Panasonic S1H60 fps*24.5 x 16.38 (1.45x crop)180 fps

*Maximum fps at 6K is only 24 fps.

Here we see the first big split. The S1H can do better frame rates in 1080p, but has a crop of 1.45x – essentially making it a Super35mm camera.

The 1DX Mark III has both full frame and 1.3x modes, so you’re actually getting what you’re paying for.

I’ll give this one to the Canon 1DX Mark III (AmazonB&H).

Next, the codecs and color information:

CameraBest codec InternallyColor Information
Canon 1DX Mark III5.5K RAW | H.264/H.265 ALL-IRAW | 8-bit 4:2:2
Panasonic S1HH.264/H.265 ALL-I10:bit 4:2:2*

*At 6K you only get 10-bit 4:2:0.

Even here the Canon 1DX Mark III shines, with 5.5K internal RAW recording. On the other hand, if you don’t want RAW, then the S1H offers 10-bit 4:2:2.

The RAW format in the 1DX Mark III is Canon RAW Light, written as a *.CRM file. The RAW compression ratio is 3:1 for up to 30 fps, and 4:1 for up to 60 fps in 5.5K.

Finally, what you get with HDMI externally:

CameraBest external resolution and fpsColor Information
Canon 1DX Mark III4096 x 2160 @ 60fps10:bit 4:2:2
Panasonic S1H4096 x 2160 @ 60fps / 5.9K @ 30fps10-bit 4:2:2/RAW*

*Atomos have announced a RAW update coming to the Panasonic S1H early this year. We don’t know at this point whether it will be free or cost money (like the Nikon Z6), but they have confirmed it’s Prores RAW HQ.

In order to record RAW with the S1H, you’ll need the Atomos Ninja V recorder.

Here are the data rates for 5.5K or 6K RAW, and 4K ALL-I, at 30 fps:

CameraRAWALL-I
Canon 1DX Mark III325 MB/s @ 60 fps
225 MB/s @ 30 fps
58.75 MB/s
Panasonic S1H400 MB/s ??*50 MB/s

*The data rate is for Prores RAW HQ, though we won’t know for sure until the update is released. Also, the data rate is just an assumption since the maximum frame rate at 6K is 24 fps.

I’ll not talk about the audio features since that needs to be tested in the real world.

Usability, focus and exposure aids, and ergonomics

The little things make all the difference:

  • Weight and ergonomics
  • Viewfinder and monitor
  • Focus and Exposure tools

Here’s how these cameras compare on ergonomics:

CameraErgonomics
Canon 1DX Mark IIINo mounting points and no fan. It is taller and heavier (1250 grams) than the S1H, but is better to hold.
Panasonic S1HIt has a fan and it is audible, grip is painful, not the most pleasurable to hold. This is a heavy camera (1052 grams).

The Panasonic S1H (AmazonB&H) is definitely DSLR territory. Pair it with a large lens and it will be tough to handhold for long periods.

The 1DX Mark III has time-honored ergonomics for pure handheld use.

The S1H has IBIS and the 1DX Mark III relies on its lenses for image stabilization.

Overall, neither of these cameras are designed for long-term handheld use for video. You’d get tired pretty quickly.

CameraEVFMonitorHDMI
Canon 1DX Mark IIINoNon Touch, FixedType C (Mini)
Panasonic S1HYesTouch, Full tilt and swivelType A

I’d give this one to the S1H (AmazonB&H). The LCD screen is more useful, the HDMI port is more robust, and EVF is pretty useful for video work.

What about exposure and focus aids? Here’s a look:

CameraManual Focus AidsContinuous AutofocusExposure
Canon 1DX Mark IIIYes, with 5x and 10x magnificationYes, DPAFMeter, Histogram
Panasonic S1HPeaking, ZoomYesHistogram, 3D LUTs, Waveform, Vectorscope, Zebras

It’s quite clear, in the usability front the Panasonic S1H (AmazonB&H) is ready to shoot. And it has continuous autofocus for gimbal and drone work.

However, as far as autofocus is concerned, the DPAF system of the 1DX Mark II is world-class, and easily trumps the AF of the Panasonic:

However, the AF does not function with 5.5K RAW 60p/50p.

Batteries and media cards

CameraDual card slotsPrice per GB
Canon 1DX Mark IIIYes, CFexpress 1.0 Type B$1.1/GB
Panasonic S1HYes, SDXC$0.4/GB ($0.35/GB)^

^The values are for RAW (SSD) and SDXC in parentheses. Rates comparing 512 GB media from Sandisk.

CFexpress is new and expensive at the moment. The price should drop, but not for many months. For now, in some regions, Canon gives a free 64 GB CFexpress card and reader along with the camera. That’s good value, and an important step.

All the features in the world are useless if you have to hire a donkey to carry your batteries:

CameraBattery life^Cost one one battery*Cost of 6 hours of operation
Canon 1DX Mark III140 minutes$163$420
Panasonic S1H60 minutes^$88$528

^Actual recordable time, from Panasonic’s and Canon’s official specs, at 4K 60 fps MP4.

*As of this writing. Original batteries for both.

Even though the cost of batteries are higher, you get a much better running time with the 1DX Mark III.

RAW Workflow

Prores RAW is supported on the following NLEs:

  1. Adobe Premiere Pro
  2. Avid Media Composer
  3. FCP X
  4. Edius Pro
  5. Scratch (color grading suite)

It is not supported in Resolve.

On the other hand, Canon RAW Light is supported by virtually all NLEs, including Resolve. So it definitely has an advantage as far as RAW workflows are concerned.

Which is cheaper to own?

Let’s just add up the costs:

CameraPanasonic S1HCanon 1DX Mark III
Camera body$3,998$6,499
Media and Accessories*$62$230
Batteries$528$420
Recorder$695$0#
Total$5,283$7,149

*We can’t say for sure about RAW unless the data rates are revealed for the S1H. However, you’ll need to purchase an Atomos Ninja V and an HDMI cable for RAW recording as well. Right now, the numbers are for internal ALL-I 4K recording at 24 fps, for one hour.

#You don’t need a recorder for RAW, but you might need a monitor because the LCD is fixed and is impractical for most video work.

There’s a price difference of $1,866 between the S1H and the Canon 1DX Mark III. You could buy an S1H and a second camera like the BMPCC 4K for the difference, though that’s not as simple as it sounds.

Is the difference worth it?

Verdict

First, a recap:

FeatureWinner
Sensor and ISOCanon 1DX Mark III
Video featuresPanasonic S1H
Codecs and ColorCanon 1DX Mark III
MediaTie
ErgonomicsTie
Ports and MonitoringTie
AutofocusCanon 1DX Mark III
PowerCanon 1DX Mark III

Before we take our final decision, we’ll let the cameras tell us what they offer that the others don’t:

CameraUSPMajor Cons
Canon 1DX Mark IIIInternal RAW, DPAF, Full frame and 1.3xExpensive, fixed LCD, no EVF
Panasonic S1HInternal 10-bit 4:2:2, Tilt+Swivel LCD, IBIS, exposure toolsFan noise, you need to buy an external recorder for RAW

The Panasonic S1H (AmazonB&H) clearly has the best video tools and is more equipped for all kinds of production work:

  • Tilt+ Flip screen
  • Great Viewfinder and LCD, large OLED panel on top
  • True anamorphic mode and full frame
  • All the important exposure tools
  • Autofocus in video
  • 400 Mbps 10-bit 4:2:2 codec which can be graded
  • Great stills camera
  • Prores RAW coming in February 2020.
  • 180 fps in 1080p
  • Panasonic’s amazing color science
  • 14+ stops (V-Log)
  • Dual Native ISO

There is no doubt the Canon 1DX Mark III (AmazonB&H) has amazing specifications, but there are some hard questions a professional videographer or filmmaker will have to ask himself/herself:

  1. How do you get around the fixed LCD and lack of exposure tools?
  2. Do clients really pay for 5.5K RAW, or any RAW for that matter?
  3. Is this the last in the line for the 1DX range? What about the new RF system, and what if Canon brings out a 1DX-like body with the new RF mount?
  4. Is RAW and dual pixel AF worth the extra $1,899? How hard do you have to work to get that $1,899 back?

And that, question #4, is the bottom line. If you really really really need Canon’s legendary autofocus

As far as I’m concerned, the Panasonic S1H (AmazonB&H) is the best camera and investment for professional filmmakers.

What do you think?

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

27 replies on “Canon 1DX Mark III vs Panasonic S1H: Which is the Better Investment for Video?”

fyi:
Canon EOS 1DX Mark III (Canon Brochure: January 2020)
? Does have “Touch-Screen Operation”
?(optional: user enable/disable) like some other Canon cameras
? Video: ISO 100 – 25,600 (Expandable up to ISO 204,800)
? Stills: ISO 100 – 102,400 (Expandable up to ISO 50 – 819,400)

Auto-Focus works for:
1:1 straight-read (Crop) 4.096k DCI (4096 x 2160)
@ fps:
59.94
29.97
24.00
23.98

5.472k RAW DCI (full sensor width) 1:1 straight-read 5472 x 2886
29.97
24.00
23.98
59.94 =(has no AF)

4.096k DCI (full sensor width) oversampled from 5472 x 2886)
29.97
24.00
23.98
59.94 =(has no AF)

4k UHD
3.840k 16:9 (Slightly narrower oversampled from ~5130 x 2886)
29.97
59.94 =(has no AF)
23.98 (supported via firmware later on)

1080p fhd 16:9 (Slightly narrower oversampled from ~5130 x 2886)
29.97
59.97
119.90 (119.90 has no audio recording)

hope that clears things up a bit

ADD: EOS 1DX Mark III

Clarification for Touch-Screen AF Capabilities:
Here:

LCD Screen:

Touch-screen Operations:

AF Point Selection / Touch AF: Supported
Touch Shutter: Not supported (the one exception)!
Menu setting touch control: Supported
Quick Control touch control: Supported
Touch-based menu magnified view: Supported
Touchscreen sensitivity: Standard / Sensitive / Disable
(VF shoot) Safety lock: ON / OFF (Default: ON)
Beep: Enable / Touch beep / Disable

Hope that helps!

NOTE:

I have omitted “special characters” out, like “bullet points” because they are unconverted, and remain “?” = strange-looking out-of-place as question marks.

And omitted original Canon website url sources (which are forbidden here).

Regard,
Stefanie

I would really want you to compare Z6 after Prores Raw upgrade with these two heavy hitters.
And also, I want your opinion on how much more time and computer processing power is required to post process a Prores Raw output Vs any other format and what kind of clients would actually care for such kind of extra work a videographer puts into his work.

Sure, I’ll be adding more videos with the Z6 and Prores RAW. Prores RAW works like butter on Macs, even Macbook Pros.

As for clients….practically nobody. The result is all that matters.

Here’s an observation on audio in general on Canon v. Panasonic DSLRs and mirrorless: The Canon cameras don’t appear to offer an audio input option that doesn’t involve the mini jack, whereas I was able to get a hot shoe-mounted, Panasonic-branded dual XLR adapter for my GH5. Even when recording to my Shogun I want the good audio passing through the camera so that I have acceptable sound and picture backup in the event the Shogun has a problem. Do you think I’m getting any better sound quality via the GH5’s hot shoe-mounted audio interface than I would through a comparable XLR adapter using the Canon’s mini jack? I don’t find a hot-shoe adapter for Canon?

The quality of the recording depends on the preamp. In that respect, the preamps in external recorders can be a lot better than the hot shoe adapters. It depends on what’s acceptable to you.

Hi, your camera reviews are much appreciated. So are the ones from Matthew Allard (Newsshooter.com). FYI: both of you are communicating different info on the RAW capabilities of this camera. Canon Raw vs Canon Raw Light? Also, you mention different bit rates. Grtz, Frank

Great Sareesh. Thank you for this comparison! (By the way: is there any reason for using a BMPCC4K-Pic?)
as the german say: the devil lies in the details: each lack strange things. fortunately i don’t “need” a new cam urgently so i plan to wait till both are tested deeply (by wonderful people like you for e.g.)
in fact both merged would be near perfect for years to come… and who knows what is awaiting us in the near future
As always it’s the worst AND the best Time, to buy a new cam right now
That said: i fell in love with the S1H at first sight…

Ridiculous! The S1H is far far better!!

1. You mentioned that the ISO is better in the S1H then in your conclusions you give that category to the 1DX? What gives?

2. I have never ever heard any fan noise most people can’t even get the fan to turn on in the S1H! What noise are you referring to? Every single review were I have ever seen said they couldn’t even get the fan to turn on?

It’s clear that you’re grabbing for straws?

1. It’s sensor and ISO, not just ISO. You have to count full frame vs crop, 12-bit internal RAW recording, etc.

2. Then you might want to wonder what these reviewers were shooting, or why the fan is in the camera in the first place – if it is not required? Maybe everyone knows something Panasonic engineers don’t? And by the way, the fan is audible, I’ve heard it myself in the first 30 seconds of turning it on.

Sensor and iso
“the S1H has more resolution, so the pixels are smaller. Overall, based on specs, I think the S1H is probably going to be the better low light performer.”

So the winner for sensor and iso is the 1dx mark III ? Please explain.

low light performance is not just determined by the ISO it has to do with sensor and pixel sixe because the 1DX has 20.1 Megapixels versus the S1h that has 24.2 that means the 1DX has larger pixels that fit on the sensor. which means it can capture more light in low lit situations.

Everyone is saying the 1DX has focus peaking in live view. I didn’t see that mentioned in your article. Correct me if I’m wrong. Great stuff as always!

The specs only list a focus assist, not peaking specifically. The problem is the LCD is fixed in place.

ProRes Raw is not supported by Premiere Pro CC NLE. It will sometime in the future, but that is a very indefinite date. FCPX is the only Mac software supporting the Raw file. There is a 30 day trail version available for FCPX. Basic Raw conversion and color grading can be done there and saved as a ProRes 4444HQ and then tweaked in Premiere Pro.

The whole point of RAW is to maintain source files for grading. Converting it to 4444 defeats the purpose. I would just shoot 422 instead.

You forgot that the Canon can record raw to one card and a back-up 10bit to the other card. That alone might be worth it for some.

Canon anyday!!! Biggest reason you left out is the EF mount and the range of lenses. Investment in a new set of lenses will take away all that your saving and more. And with the adapters we know the issues. So higher resolution RAW with EF mount and the best auto focus in the world is the way to go. But thanks for bringing up these discussion, we get to learnt a lot.

It is mentioned in the end. It all depends. EF lenses don’t have the mechanical features of modern L-series lenses. Ultimately, I too, feel the Canon 1DX Mark III is overall possibly the better camera, but the point being, it might not be the best professional investment unless DPAF and EF lens compatibility is critical.

A few comments:

1. Isn’t the 1DX expandable to 800k ISO in stills and 100k ISO in video?
2. Doesn’t the 1DX have a Touch AF function, therefore touchscreen?
3. Isn’t the Contrast Detect AF of the S1H essentially unusable for video work?

All that being said, I am happy with my S1 (not S1H) and don’t see the need to upgrade to the 1DX3. Maybe if it had DPAF in FF 4K60P because then it could really do it all… As it stands, it looks like a great camera that will need to be upgraded to unlock all features. Might as well keep dealing with the limitations of my wonderful and much cheaper camera.

1. Not in video. As mentioned in the article, the limit is 25,600.
2. The official specs don’t mention a touch screen. And follow focus works on face detection.
3. It is usable under some conditions, but it is nowhere near Canon or Sony levels.

Thanks for the comments!

Leave a Reply to Abe Halpert Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *