The 6K image sensor in the Panasonic S1 mirrorless camera can give you some really buttery 4K footage, as that sensor downscales to ultra high def. But thanks to a nifty feature hidden in the menu, you can shoot brief clips in 6K video as well.
But there is a catch.
Not to be confused with the newer, full-frame Panasonic S1H , which records 6K at a resolution of 5952 x 3968 in 3:2 aspect ratio, the Panasonic S1 uses the same codec to fire off short video clips in burst mode. The burst images are shot at 30fps, with a resolution of 5184x3456. So, not strictly 6K, but close enough for government work. And like the S1H, the standard burst mode will shoot a burst of still images when you depress the shutter button, and then stop the burst when you press it again. Making it essentially a video mode.
But in the menu options, there are also two other 6K burst options, including saving the burst at 200 Mbps via H.265 image compression that will playback as a video, and the third option will even add audio to the recording. So it's essentially a hidden 6K video mode that records internally.
There are a few limitations though. First, the burst mode can only be activated and shot this way for ten minutes. This isn't because of some buffer limitation, but more because the image sensor will begin to overheat. While the S1H has a fan to keep the image sensor cool while shooting in 6K, the lower end S1 doesn't. As such, it uses this limitation to stop recording as a precaution to prevent damage to the image sensor.
The other downside is that 6K burst is limited to 30p. I can live with that, and you can also shoot 60p at 4K still bursts. So that's not bad either. But it would also be beneficial for filmmakers if Panasonic created a firmware update that allowed for 24p bursts. But I wouldn't hold my breath on that.
So how do you do it? All you need to do is go into the menu screen and moving down to the last option on Tab 1: 6K/4K Photo.
There, you can choose what burst mode you wish, and then you're ready to begin. Press the shutter button to begin your burst mode, and then press it again to stop it. That's all there is to it.
Even better, you can assign those settings to the custom mode settings in the drive dial on the left. So once that is set, you don't have to set it again. Another benefit is, that you can also save the burst in Raw as well.
If you have the Panasonic S1, and you're experiencing a little full-frame 6K envy because of the new S1H, you can alleviate that a little by shooting in 6K burst mode. It's not strictly an ideal way to shoot higher resolution, and this also means that you'll have to import the footage in standard mode as images, and then assemble them in your editor.
But it works.