Verdict

If you've already glanced at the pros and cons at the start of this review you'll notice the language we've used for the pros, and this isn't hyperbole: what the Panasonic Lumix S1R does, it does very well indeed, and given that this is a first model in a new line, Panasonic deserves high praise. The S1R is a very well specified camera with an excellent sensor and a superb build – and the fact that it's very much a pleasure to use only makes it better.

Key highlights include that 187MP High Res Shot option, as well as the gorgeous electronic viewfinder and the very capable image stabilization system. It's also great to find that the S 24-105mm f/4 O.I.S. lens, the de facto kit option for now, is a very capable performer for such an all-purpose optic, and one that can certainly do justice to the camera's 47.3MP sensor. 

Perhaps as we'd expect, what's not so great about the S1R is very much the same as what we found with its S1 sibling. So, the bulky and heavy body; the sometimes sluggish autofocus system and the lack of phase-detect AF; and minor issues with some of the physical controls. Those keen on shooting video will no doubt lean more towards the S1 than the S1R, although the added cost of the V-Log firmware update stings a little.

Right now, the S1R is also more expensive than equivalent options from Nikon and Sony, although this is explained in part by the fact that those models have already enjoyed a little time on the market, which has given their price a chance to fall. The S1R will no doubt follow suit, but that's the reality right now facing prospective purchasers.

In short, while the Panasonic S1R may not have the strongest autofocusing system, and presents no significant size or weight advantage over an equivalent DSLR setup, it's a dependable and rugged camera that produces images of an excellent standard, and lovely video footage. If you tend to shoot tripod-based subjects in particular, this would be a mighty fine mirrorless option right now.

Competition

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Nikon Z7

The Z7 is also a full-frame mirrorless model that's only just recently landed on the market. It packs a 45.7MP sensor, 4K video recording and sensor-based image stabilization, and works with a fresh line of optics. It can't quite match the S1R's viewfinder, and doesn't have that impressive 187MP High Res Shot mode, but it's considerably smaller, lighter, and a fair bit cheaper too.

Read our in-depth Nikon Z7 review

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Sony A7R III

Sony's high-resolution offering in its full-frame A7 triplet of cameras, the A7R III may have arrived back in 2017 but it still stands up well against the S1R. Key features include a 42MP back-illuminated full-frame sensor, 10fps burst shooting, sensor-based image stabilization and 4K video. As with the Nikon Z7, its 3.69 million-dot viewfinder is a great performer, if not quite as crisp as the S1R's, although it does have the advantage of being smaller and lighter.

Read our in-depth Sony A7R III review

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Fujifilm GFX 50S

With a 51MP sensor, the GFX 50S is likely to appeal to a similar audience as the S1R, although the big difference here is that it's a medium format camera rather than full frame. We love the accurate autofocus, the weather-sealed design and the stellar image quality, although the autofocus is a little on the slow side. Like the idea but not the bulk? Check out its little brother, the GFX 50R.

Read our in-depth Fujifilm GFX 50S