Tuesday at the Panasonic Lumix S1H Press Event, executives announced that, in partnership with Atomos, the development of ProRes Raw support for the full-frame mirrorless cinema camera has begun. Previously, Atomos was developing support for ProRes Raw to the Nikon Z6 & Z7 through the Ninja V external monitor recorder, and now CEO Jeromy Young confirms that they plan to do the same with the S1H.
We are both highly committed to the democratization of filmmaking for creators, and the ability to transmit RAW over HDMI from the S1H to a Ninja V is a major leap forward in this endeavor. – Jeromy Young, Atomos CEO
Development of ProRes Raw through the Ninja V will give S1H users the ability to record 10-bit 4:2:2 Raw over HDMI. But since the S1H suffers from the same 7-9 frame drop through HDMI, I can't help but wonder if Atomos has some sort of secret sauce to overcome the limitation and provide real-time monitoring. Young seems to think so, as he states "our advancements in screen technology now allow creators to accurately monitor RAW video in real-time as it would be viewed in the home or cinema for perfect preservation of creative intent."
Nikon and Atomos' partnership has yielded some benefits for both Nikon and Atomos, with the inclusion of the Ninja V in Nikon's Z6 Filmmaker's Kit. Since before NAB, though, Z series mirrorless fans were promised that Nikon would add ProRes Raw support with an upcoming firmware update. Now, it seems the long-overdue update will be a paid one, leaving most shooters clamoring for the feature having to open up their wallets a second time for the privilege.
Credit: James DeRuvo
So this begs the question. Panasonic has required a paid firmware update for new features in the past, usually settling on a $99 fee to unlock them. Will Panasonic do the same thing for ProRes Raw support in the S1H? It sure seems possible. But from Atomos' standpoint, support for the ProRes Raw recording in the Ninja V will be free through a firmware update, and that will put the onus on Panasonic to decide whether or not they want to charge for it.
Frankly, I'm OK with paying the fee to unlock ProRes Raw. Not everyone needs to shoot in this codec, as it is an advanced video codec for professional applications. Plus, if you're using an Atomos Ninja V in your camera setup, you're far from an "enthusiast." It also could be annoying to have a feature on your camera that has to be unlocked to use. It would be like having to pay rent on your own garage. At the very least, users should have a more open-source alternative, and that could be yet another reason to look at the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K.
There's no word on when Panasonic and Atomos will release ProRes Raw support, but September looks to be the target event with which both companies will showcase the S1H and the Ninja V working in concert. Atomos also says "more information on the combination will be available during the show."
So a firmware update may be following that. Stay tuned!