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Digital Camera World
Digital Camera World
James Artaius

Hot take: The Panasonic Lumix S1R II will be a 60MP, 8K copycat Leica

Panasonic Lumix S1R outdoors against a brick wall.

Prediction: the Panasonic Lumix S1R II is going to have a 60MP image sensor, capable of capturing 8K video, with dual base ISO, a CFexpress Type B slot and a regular SD card slot.

I'm pretty dang confident in saying this because these are the specifications of the Leica SL3 – and I'm pretty dang confident that the Panasonic S1R II is going to be the same camera in a different body. This isn't just guesswork; there's method to this madness. And precedent, too. 

Leica and Panasonic have enjoyed a long partnership, as Leica's Stefan Daniel recently explained to me. "We have had this partnership with Panasonic since 2001… over time it evolved much more and we said, okay, we’re both not the biggest guys in the industry, so why don't we team up and share some technologies?"

Previously, this has seen Leica effectively rebrand a number of Panasonic cameras with a Red Dot. The Leica V-Lux 5 bridge camera was a Panasonic FZ1000 with new body, for example. Ditto the Leica D-Lux 7 compact camera, which was a reskinned Panasonic LX100 II. And, most pertinently, the Leica SL2 was basically an upcycled Panasonic S1R

Panasonic generally beats Leica to the punch when it comes to releasing new versions of its cameras – but not this time. With the SL3, Leica got there first. So, tat-for-tit, you can expect the S1R II to have the same tech as the SL3.

There will, however, be differences. 

While the core hardware is the same – the image sensor, the physical architecture – the software and proprietary components will be different. Panasonic has its own image processor, for instance, and its own image stabilization system. 

It also has its own version of phase detect autofocus, at least if the performance difference between the SL3 and the Lumix S5 II are any indication. I would also be stunned if the S1R II is limited to the same austere burst shooting as its Leica counterpart – and I doubt that Leica's triple-resolution 60.3MP / 36.4MP / 18.5MP shooting will be transplanted, either. 

So, how come Leica got the jump on Panasonic – aren't they partners? Well, all partnerships involve a little give and take. A report last year by Andrea Pizzini of Mirrorless Rumors claimed that the companies had agreed to Leica having timed exclusivity over the camera tech for this generation – something that certainly seems to have been born out. 

The latest camera rumors suggest that the Panasonic Lumix S1R II will be announced in the second half of this year. Let's try to act surprised! 

(Image credit: James Artaius)

You might be interested in the best Panasonic cameras – some of which are also the best Leica cameras – along with the best L-Mount lenses.

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