User interface

Key Takeaways:

  • Adjustable video scopes can be made large on the screen
  • Extensive range of shooting modes can be filtered
  • Zebra warnings and framing masks are more sophisticated
  • Zebra warnings can be set as ranges and two sets shown simultaneously
  • Framing guides and masks can be customized to be more visibile
  • Revised video settings display for rear screen

Video settings menu

As you'll see on our video specifications page, the S1H supports a dizzying array of video options. Just the idea of stepping through every possible combination of frame rate, resolution, codec, and HLG setting to find the specific configuration you're looking for is enough to make your eyes glaze over. Fortunately, Panasonic has provided tools to make it easier.

In the recording quality menu there's a new display filtering option which allows a user to filter settings based on set criteria. For example, if you plan to shoot at 23.98 fps you can filter to exclude all settings utilizing other frame rates. Are you planning to shoot that in 4K (16:9) as well? No problem: add that to your filter list and you'll only see settings that include both parameters.

To narrow-down your choices from the 42 recording modes in MOV shooting, you can filter by frame rate, resolution or whether VFR or HLG are available. You can also create your own custom list.

To help further, Panasonic has added a separate 'My List' recording quality menu, which lets you limit the menu to just show the options you've chosen.

You can also customize the camera's 'Q Menu' so that, instead of showing you every possible recording mode it only shows you the ones you've specified in 'My List.'

Video settings display

The S1H introduces a new display option to monitor and manage settings when recording video, consolidating all the important functions to a single screen. Core settings such as frame rate, shutter, iris, ISO/gain, gamma, and white balance occupy panels across the top and bottom of the screen, and a quick tap on the screen is all that's needed to make adjustments.

The new video settings display puts all the key video settings together on one panel. You can tap to change many of these values directly from this display.

The mid-section of the screen includes other information you'll likely care about while shooting, including audio settings and live meters, card status, fan settings, timecode, codec and a few other things. As with the core settings, a simple tap is all it takes to modify any of them.

This is essentially the same interface used on Panasonic's pro video cameras like Varicam or the EVA1, so anyone slotting the S1H into a production alongside those cameras should feel right at home.

Improved video scopes

A waveform is a tool to help visualize exposure. Rather than a histogram, which just indicates how many pixels hold each brightness value, a waveform tells you where those pixels occur in the image, displaying the brightness values for every column of pixels in the image: dark at the bottom, bright at the top.

Panasonic included waveforms on earlier mirrorless cameras, but configuration options were limited. In particular, many users expressed a desire to resize the waveform display rather than having a one-size-fits all solution, and it appears that Panasonic heard their pleas. On the S1H, waveforms can be set to four different sizes, ranging from tiny to full screen width on the rear display, or about 2/3 of the screen width when using the EVF.

What's almost more noticeable, however, is just how good the waveforms look. Thanks to the camera's high resolution displays, particularly the EVF, waveforms are impressively crisp, sharp and easy to read.

Curiously, the vectorscope is not resizable, however the high resolution screens on the camera still make it a bit easier to interpret. Additionally, the vectorscope can be displayed while setting the camera's white balance, making it more useful. <--- Check to make sure this isn't a pre-production issue. (Sent email to Dan Unger for clarification.)

It's worth noting that both scopes are also available in photo modes.

Dueling zebras

Zebras displays aren't new, but the S1H brings additional sophistication to the way zebras can be used.

As with most cameras, zebras on the S1H can be set to a variety of preset levels ranging from 50-105% in 5% increments (50-100% in V-Log). However, the S1H adds a twist: if the preset options don't meet your needs it's possible to specify your own.

You can now specify the threshold and tolerance for zebras. This is expressed in terms of stops when shooting in V-Log, relative to middle gray. The IRE percentage numbers are also given.

The zebra menu contains a new Base/Range setting which makes it possible to dial in a specific threshold (base) along with an error window (range). For standard color profiles this is simply a percentage threshold ± up to 10%. It's when using V-Log that this setting becomes particularly useful, however.

When shooting in V-Log, the midpoint for exposure (middle gray) is represented by 42 IRE, with around 6EV of capture above this. So, instead of setting the base level as a percentage, it's set as a number of stops above or below this midpoint. Setting it to 0 stops corresponds to a zebra value of 42%.

The S1H can show two sets of zebras simultaneously. For instance, two zebra levels could be used to indicate both skin-tone and clipping points.

This becomes useful for obtaining correct exposure in V-Log. Simply set one of your zebras to 0 stops (42% / middle gray) and point the camera at a gray card: if the card lights up with zebras you know your exposure is about right for an average scene. Alternatively, setting the base at a specific number of stops above or below middle gray allows you to assess the relative exposure of other objects in the scene.

When in V-Log mode, the tolerance range is also expressed in stops and can be varied from ±0.2 up to ±1.0 stops.

Finally, it's not uncommon for cameras to have two registers to store zebra thresholds, allowing a user to quickly toggle between them. The S1H adds an extra dimension by providing the option to display both zebra thresholds at the same time, accomplished by displaying them at perpendicular angles.

Luminance spot meter

Another feature straight from Panasonic's Varicam line is a luminance spot meter, which enables one to quickly assess the luminance value of any part of a scene. Once exposure has been properly set for middle gray, simply place the spot meter box over something in the scene and the viewfinder indicates how many stops over or under it is relative to the midpoint.

For example, when shooting a scene outdoors using V-Log you can set exposure so that your gray card sits right at 42 IRE. Once exposure is locked, the luminance spot meter can be pointed at the bright clouds to see how many stops they are above the midpoint. Since clipping in V-Log occurs at 6.3 stops above the midpoint, it's easy to determine from this measurement whether or not the clouds will be clipped.

Video frame markers and masks

Previous Panasonic cameras included the ability to overlay frame markers on the viewfinder to assist those shooting for non-native aspect ratios, such as 2.35:1. The S1H adds two useful additions: customizable frame colors and masks.

Frame markers and masks are useful when shooting non-native aspect ratios. In this example, a red frame marker outlines a 2.35:1 image area with a 50% mask outside the frame. Masks are optional and can be set to 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% opacity.

Users now have the ability to select from 10 different colors for frame markers, a marked improvement from the simple black frame markers on earlier models like the GH5S. The camera provides frame markers for a variety of aspect ratios.

Aspect ratio Common use case
2.39:1 CinemaScope
2.35:1 CinemaScope
2.00:1

Widescreen

1.85:1 Widescreen cinema
16:9 HD, FHD, UHD
4:3 SDTV, Anamorphic
1:1 Web, social media
4:5 Web, social media

Additionally, the opacity of the masked area can be adjusted to differentiate the image inside the frame from the area surrounding it or allow you to view what's just outside the frame. Masks opacity can be set to 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%.