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Nikon Z6 vs Panasonic S1

The Nikon Z6 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in August 2018 and February 2019. Both the Z6 and the S1 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24.3 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Nikon Z6   Panasonic S1
Nikon Z6 Panasonic S1
Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
Nikon Z mount lenses Leica L mount lenses
24.3 MP, Full Frame Sensor 24 MP, Full Frame Sensor
4K/30p Video 4K/60p Video
ISO 100-51200 (50-204800) ISO 100-51200 (50-204800)
Electronic viewfinder (3690k dots) Electronic viewfinder (5760k dots)
3.2" LCD, 2100k dots 3.2" LCD, 2100k dots
Tilting touchscreen Fully flexible touchscreen
12 shutter flaps per second 9 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
310 shots per battery charge400 shots per battery charge
134 x 101 x 67 mm, 675 g 149 x 110 x 97 mm, 1017 g

Body comparison: Nikon Z6 vs Panasonic S1

The physical size and weight of the Nikon Z6 and the Panasonic S1 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Nikon Z6 and Panasonic S1
Compare Z6 versus S1 top
Compare Z6 or S1 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic S1 is notably larger (21 percent) than the Nikon Z6. Moreover, the S1 is substantially heavier (51 percent) than the Z6. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Nikon Z6» 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999 i i Nikon Z6
Panasonic S1« 149 mm 110 mm 97 mm 1017 g 400 Y Feb 2019 2,499 i i Panasonic S1
Canon 6D Mark II« » 144 mm 111 mm 75 mm 765 g 1200 Y Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
Fujifilm X-H1« » 140 mm 97 mm 86 mm 673 g 310 Y Feb 2018 1,899 i i Fujifilm X-H1
Nikon Z7« » 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 330 Y Aug 2018 3,399 i i Nikon Z7
Nikon D7500« » 136 mm 104 mm 73 mm 720 g 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
Olympus E-M1X« » 144 mm 147 mm 75 mm 997 g 870 Y Jan 2019 2,999 i i Olympus E-M1X
Olympus E-M1 II« » 134 mm 91 mm 67 mm 574 g 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic S1R« » 149 mm 110 mm 97 mm 1016 g 380 Y Feb 2019 3,699 i i Panasonic S1R
Panasonic G9« » 137 mm 97 mm 92 mm 658 g 400 Y Nov 2017 1,699 i i Panasonic G9
Panasonic GH5« » 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 725 g 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
Pentax KP« » 132 mm 101 mm 76 mm 703 g 390 Y Jan 2017 1,099 i i Pentax KP
Sony A7 III« » 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
Sony A9« » 127 mm 96 mm 63 mm 673 g 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
Sony A99 II« » 143 mm 104 mm 76 mm 849 g 490 Y Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
Sony A900« » 156 mm 117 mm 82 mm 895 g 880 Y Sep 2008 2,999- i Sony A900

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The Z6 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the S1, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon Z6 vs Panasonic S1

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the S1 is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon Z6 and Panasonic S1 sensor measures

With 24.3MP, the Z6 offers a slightly higher resolution than the S1 (24MP), but the Z6 nevertheless has the same individual pixel size (pixel pitch of 5.94μm) as the S1 due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the S1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 5 months) than the Z6, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the S1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Z6 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during video recording.

Unlike the Z6, the S1 has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (96MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).

The Nikon Z6 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800.. The Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 offers exactly the same ISO settings.

Z6 versus S1 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Nikon Z6» Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p----Nikon Z6
Panasonic S1« Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/60p----Panasonic S1
Canon 6D Mark II« » Full Frame 26.0 6240 41601080/60p24.411.9286285Canon 6D Mark II
Fujifilm X-H1« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40004K/30p----Fujifilm X-H1
Nikon Z7« » Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p----Nikon Z7
Nikon D7500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386Nikon D7500
Olympus E-M1X« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p----Olympus E-M1X
Olympus E-M1 II« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic S1R« » Full Frame 46.7 8368 55844K/60p----Panasonic S1R
Panasonic G9« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p----Panasonic G9
Panasonic GH5« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777Panasonic GH5
Pentax KP« » APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/60i----Pentax KP
Sony A7 III« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096Sony A7 III
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792Sony A9
Sony A99 II« » Full Frame 42.2 7952 53044K/30p25.413.4231792Sony A99 II
Sony A900« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-23.712.3143179Sony A900

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the S1 provides a faster frame rate than the Z6. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/60p, while the Nikon is limited to 4K/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon Z6 vs Panasonic S1

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The two cameras under review are similar with respect to both having an electronic viewfinder. However, the one in the S1 offers a substantially higher resolution than the one in the Z6 (5760k vs 3690k dots). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon Z6, the Panasonic S1, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Nikon Z6»3690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 8000 12.0 n Y Nikon Z6
Panasonic S1«5760 Y 3.2 2100 full-flex Y 8000 9.0 n Y Panasonic S1
Canon 6D Mark II« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 4000 6.5 n n Canon 6D Mark II
Fujifilm X-H1« »3690 Y 3.0 1040 full-flex Y 8000 14.0 n Y Fujifilm X-H1
Nikon Z7« »3690 Y 3.2 2100 tilting Y 8000 9.0 n Y Nikon Z7
Nikon D7500« »optical Y 3.2 922 tilting Y 8000 8.0 Y n Nikon D7500
Olympus E-M1X« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y Olympus E-M1X
Olympus E-M1 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 8000 18.0 n Y Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic S1R« »5760 Y 3.2 2100 full-flex Y 8000 9.0 n Y Panasonic S1R
Panasonic G9« »3680 Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 20.0 n Y Panasonic G9
Panasonic GH5« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 8000 12.0 n Y Panasonic GH5
Pentax KP« »optical n 3.0 921 tilting n 6000 7.0 Y Y Pentax KP
Sony A7 III« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n Y Sony A7 III
Sony A9« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 8000 20.0 n Y Sony A9
Sony A99 II« »2400 Y 3.0 1229 full-flex n 8000 12.0 n Y Sony A99 II
Sony A900« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 5.0 n Y Sony A900

The reported shutter speed and shutter burst refer to the use of the mechanical shutter. In addition, the S1 features an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Z6 writes its imaging data to XQD cards, while the S1 uses SDHC or XQD cards. The S1 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the Z6 only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison: Nikon Z6 vs Panasonic S1

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon Z6 and Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Nikon Z6»YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-YNikon Z6
Panasonic S1«YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-YPanasonic S1
Canon 6D Mark II« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon 6D Mark II
Fujifilm X-H1« »YstereomonoY-micro3.0Y--Fujifilm X-H1
Nikon Z7« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1Y-YNikon Z7
Nikon D7500« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y-YNikon D7500
Olympus E-M1X« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y-YOlympus E-M1X
Olympus E-M1 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y--Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic S1R« »YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-YPanasonic S1R
Panasonic G9« »YstereomonoYYfull3.0Y-YPanasonic G9
Panasonic GH5« »YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-YPanasonic GH5
Pentax KP« »YstereomonoY--2.0Y--Pentax KP
Sony A7 III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7 III
Sony A9« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A9
Sony A99 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A99 II
Sony A900« »Y----mini2.0---Sony A900

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Panasonic S1 (unlike the Z6) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the Z6 and the S1 are recent models that feature in their makers' current product line-up. Neither of the two has a direct predecessor, so perhaps they will constitute the origins of new camera lines for Nikon and Panasonic.


Review summary: Nikon Z6 vs Panasonic S1

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon Z6 or the Panasonic S1 – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Arguments in favor of the Nikon Z6:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Better video autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident movie autofocus.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (12 vs 9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (134x101mm vs 149x110mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 342g or 34 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in August 2018).

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Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (4K/60p versus 4K/30p).
  • More detailed viewfinder: Has higher resolution electronic viewfinder (5760k vs 3690k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 310) out of a single battery charge.
  • More solid recording: Has a full-sized HDMI port for a sturdy connection to an external recorder.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (5 months) more recently.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S1 is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.

Z6 07:11 S1

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Z6 or the S1. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews: Nikon Z6 vs Panasonic S1

This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). You can find the full text of the reviews by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Nikon Z6»--4.5/5-5/5 Aug 2018 1,999 i i Nikon Z6
Panasonic S1«----- Feb 2019 2,499 i i Panasonic S1
Canon 6D Mark II« »Rec80/1004.5/54/54/5 Jun 2017 1,999 i i Canon 6D Mark II
Fujifilm X-H1« »Rec86/1004.5/5-4.5/5 Feb 2018 1,899 i i Fujifilm X-H1
Nikon Z7« »Rec89/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Aug 2018 3,399 i i Nikon Z7
Nikon D7500« »HiRec86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
Olympus E-M1X« »rev---- Jan 2019 2,999 i i Olympus E-M1X
Olympus E-M1 II« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
Panasonic S1R« »----- Feb 2019 3,699 i i Panasonic S1R
Panasonic G9« »HiRec85/1005/55/55/5 Nov 2017 1,699 i i Panasonic G9
Panasonic GH5« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
Pentax KP« »-82/1005/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 1,099 i i Pentax KP
Sony A7 III« »HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
Sony A9« »HiRec89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
Sony A99 II« »-85/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 3,199 i i Sony A99 II
Sony A900« »HiRecHiRec4.5/54/55/5 Sep 2008 2,999- i Sony A900

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Nikon Z6:
Check Amazon price
Panasonic S1:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon Z6 vs Panasonic S1

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon Z6 Panasonic S1
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Nikon Z mount lenses Leica L mount lenses
    Launch Date August 2018 February 2019
    Launch Price USD 1999 USD 2499
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology BSI-CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 23.9 mm 35.6 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 858.01 mm2 847.28 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.1 mm 42.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24.3 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6048 x 4024 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.94 μm 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 2.84 MP/cm2 2.83 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video 4K/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-51200 ISO 100-51200 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-204800 ISO 50-204800 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 6 Venus
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.80x 0.78x
    Viewfinder Resolution 3690k dots 5760k dots
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 2100k dots 2100k dots
    LCD Attachment Tilting screen Fully flexible screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System On-Sensor Phase-detect On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 12 shutter flaps/s 9 shutter flaps/s
    Silent Shootingno E-ShutterElectronic Shutter
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium XQD cards SDXC or XQD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 3.1 USB 3.1
    HDMI Port micro HDMI full HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support Bluetooth built-in Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL15b power pack DMW-BLJ31 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)310 shots per charge400 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 134 x 101 x 67 mm
    (5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in)
    149 x 110 x 97 mm
    (5.9 x 4.3 x 3.8 in)
    Camera Weight 675 g (23.8 oz) 1017 g (35.9 oz)

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