The Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H is in many ways a GH5 turned up to 11: full-frame, 14 stops, 6K open gate recording, one-of-a-kind articulated screen, and so on. But it has some annoying quirks not shared by its smaller stablemate.
If you’re using Wi-Fi remote monitoring or control, this is what happens as you reach the 30-second point while recording:
True, if you’re operating remotely, that’s no big deal, but if you’re operating off the display or EVF (because your AC, director, or client is using the Wi-Fi app for monitoring or control), having the display shut off, even with a courtesy message, is not exactly helpful.
It turns out that plugging in an HDMI monitor or recorder keeps the display from turning off at the 30-second mark. But you needn’t use a display; an HDMI dummy plug works as well.
These sub-$10 plugs are normally used on “headless” computers in data centers, but they work equally well on the S1H, and likely with other Lumix cameras, like the G7, that suffer the same Wi-Fi-related narcolepsy.
I bought this one mainly because it wasn’t gold-tone, but probably any of them will work. I ordered a two-pack, as I have a Mac mini that needs one too. I received an EVanlak-branded box, with a three-slot insert holding two plugs. One was labeled EVanlak®, the other Malarpon®, as if we needed any more proof that some huge factory in Shenzhen churns out the same thing under dozens of different brand names!
One unique advantage of the S1H is its fully articulated screen mounted on a tilting base, allowing it to tilt and swivel to any position unobstructed by cables — or dummy plugs.
I’d like to say that the dummy plug solves all the S1H’s issues, but that’s not the case: while recording under Wi-Fi control, you can’t use the camera’s control dials, the AF button, or tap-to-focus on the touchscreen:
Fortunately all these functions still work using either Lumix Sync or FieldMonitor as the remote control, so your AC can tweak exposure or adjust autofocus while rolling. And manual focus lenses, including focus-by-wire lenses, remain fully usable, so if manual focus is how you roll — and with Panasonic’s contrast-detection AF, that’s probably how you should roll — you can still pull focus while recording. You can also flip the switch between MF and AF without the camera complaining; thank goodness for small blessings.
Oh, one more thing: because of O’Toole’s corollary of Finagle’s Law, entering the camera’s Wi-Fi menu sends output to HDMI and displays “TV output in progress” on the monitor, so you have to pull out the plug to enter and exit Wi-Fi remote control.
(I could observe that the GH5 suffers from none of these maladies — its display stays on and all its controls remain operable while recording with Wi-Fi active — and that at present one can get three GH5s for the price of single S1H. But it would be small of me to bring that up, so please forget I ever mentioned it!)
Disclosure: I make the FieldMonitor app. I have no material relationship with Panasonic, EVanlak or Malarpon.