The Sony a7 III Versus the Panasonic S1: Which Is Today's Best Hybrid Camera?

Both the Panasonic S1 and Sony a7 III are strong do-it-all cameras that can satisfy the needs of most hybrid shooters, but which one is right for you? This great video review aims to answer that question.

Coming to you from The Hybrid Shooter, this helpful video review compares the Panasonic S1 to the Sony a7 III to determine which is the best option for photo and video hybrid shooters. I was a big fan of the Sony a7 III in my review, as I found it to be the best equipped full frame camera at its price point with a feature set that was sure to satisfy the needs of the majority of shooters out there. I recently had a chance to shoot with the Panasonic and found it to be molded in a similar vein, and I have to admit that it was the most fun I've had shooting with a camera in a while. It's certainly a strong contender for anyone who works with both photo and video, and its design and feature set shows that Panasonic had working professionals in mind when they created it. Both cameras are excellent options, and I don't think you can really go wrong with either. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

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21 Comments

Michael Jin's picture

Of all the contrived comparisons...

But you can't shoot with a body, so take a close look at the lens range for each.
There's clearly many more FE offferings but there may be the L mounts that you need.

I am just an amateur and I shoot with aps-c cameras. Even at my level, it is hard to switch. My a6300 broke two days ago (right for the second time just before the holiday) and then I had to choose between buying a new Sony camera or buying another brand. I own 7 lenses, two flashes and a flash-trigger, all for Sony. I chose the a6400 because switching brands would be too expensive with not a lot to gain.

I can imagine if you are a pro and have invested in very expensive GM lenses, flashes and triggers, it wouldn't be very tempting to switch to the Panasonic FF with hardly any choice in lenses. Of course there are Leica lenses but they are even more expensive.
The camera is just one part of an expensive system.

Jan Kruize's picture

Goed spul hé, die sony's

Michael Jin's picture

This is the importance of these companies getting users into their ecosystems ASAP. Once you have any sizable investment in lenses and accessories, it becomes a pain to switch and it only gets worse the deeper you get into it. It is also what partially drives the rabid "fanboy" arguments back and forth because people essentially become entrenched in their camps and an attack on a brand is also seen as an attack on their own decision to invest in that brand.

I asked the camera shop (Kamera-Express one of the biggest chains in the Netherlands) if it was sensible to switch brands and they asked me if I had lenses. I got into my bag and put my 7 lenses on the counter and said I also had flashes and triggers.
Their response was simple. Don't switch. For the price of the a6400, you won't get a better IQ. They said Sony was by far the best sold brand and that I was unlucky because it was very rare to get cameras back. Every other choice,they said, would be very expensive and hardly sensible.

Jerome Brill's picture

If Canon wouldn't have held back so much with their cameras I would have stayed with them. People can honestly shoot whatever they want. My journey led me to Sony on my own. It was also my jump from APS-C to full frame. I kept looking at Canon's offerings on full frame but the dynamic range just wasn't there even at the highest end compared to Sony and Nikon. Nikon was seemingly having problems with their 800 series at the time so I ended up going with Sony. Knowing I could adapt my Canon lenses helped a lot also. In the end I have no Canon gear left and decided not cheap out on lenses for my full frame. This will keep me with Sony as it would with any brand, but right now they are the frontrunner for mirrorless lens options. Lenses are more important than anything else. I hope the camera market doesn't dip to low to hinder Canon and Nikon from catching up on mirrorless. They are still both great companies that have made some excellent cameras and lenses.

Michael Jin's picture

In terms of stills camera features, I don't think that Canon "held back" so much as they couldn't keep up. In terms of anything involving sensor capability, they literally do not have the technology to keep up with Sony. Nikon uses Sony sensors so it goes to follow that they could not keep up with Nikon in that regard either. You could argue that Canon held back on the video end by not adding C-Log and instilling a crop factor, but that's about it.

Despite their inexperience in the camera market, Sony got ahead and is staying ahead because their own the imaging sensor market and more than anything else, it's the sensor that is driving the capability of modern cameras.

Eddie DaRoza's picture

It's really not hard to sell used lenses online for close to what you paid for them if you keep them in good condition. I sell my shit on Craigslist all the time and jump around to different gear to try it out and have some fun.

Michael Jin's picture

I've found it pretty difficult to find buyers for near mint condition gear for even half the price and even that usually requires me to have a listing up for a few months to find someone... all the while I get to deal with responding to people who just low-ball me in the end.

@Eddie DaRoza. It is not a done deel. I put some good glass on the Dutch variant of Craigslist (Marktplaats) and some of the biddings were really low. I also put some cheaper glass on sale and it was gone very quickly. But I am leaving next week and I don't want to spend my entire holiday budget on new glass. Plus, I have an RX100VA and so I stay in the system. A new system takes some time to learn.

EL PIC's picture

Changing Gear to what is currently considered Best is a What a Loser concept.

If you like to use the more serious 35mm sensor lenses the the S1 is the better option ergonomic wise. The A7III is designed with the false promise of a small 35mm system in mind. A small body with big lenses isn't ergonomic.

Michael Jin's picture

One of these two systems actually HAS "serious 35mm lenses". It's not the S1. Perhaps edit that to one of these two systems actually HAS "lenses" to buy. It's still not the S1.

With Sigma Leica and Panasonic in the L-Mount alliance it's only a matter of time. And Leica already has some serious lenses out.

Michael Jin's picture

Leica has a grand total of 7 lenses available, the cheapest of which is a $4600 35mm f/2 that's for pre-order. Sigma, despite this alliance having been announced a while ago now, has yet to release their full frame L-mount Foveon camera and all of their ART lenses for L-mount are still in pre-order status (and also, which are optically DSLR lenses with empty space added to the rear to make it "native") and are available for pretty much every other system anyway. Panasonic has not really announced many lenses as part of their own roadmap so it seems like you're in a bit of a tricky position if you're buying into the L-mount.

My major question is whether Sigma is going to release L-mount exclusive glass as part of this alliance or if they're going to just continue to behave like any third party lens maker and design optics that will work across as many systems as possible. I think the success of the L-mount "alliance" is going to hinge on this as Leica is pricing themselves at "I might as well just buy medium format" levels and Panasonic seems to think that they are Leica-lite if their current pricing is any indication.

Sony have quite a number of 35mm lenses available actually.

It's about the 35mm sensor. Not a actual 35mm lens. Sorry for the confusion.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

False. You obviously just parrot the cynical whiners on Youtube and other forums. There are many excellent light lenses that go with the light body. The fact you don't know this confirms my initial statement.

There are a few, fact is that was also the case with dSLR's. So nothing new here. For the serious lenses it's big. Just as in dSLR land.

Gordon Cahill's picture

Maybe in another year or two it'll be a valid comparison. Sony have an excellent lens range and adaptors for everything. A camera body isn't a system. Of course that's exactly the same criticism we gave Sony three or four years ago...

I have the SL lenses. And because my clients wanted high resolution files I also have a full Sony system. Now the S1R exists I'm slowly getting out of Sony. A small body with big lenses doesn't work for me. Yes I can get smaller lenses but I want the speed and optical excellence of the larger ones and they work better on a larger body. I don't need tracking AF at all. Eye AF isn't useful for me very often. But for now, I'm the exception. Until Panasonic and Sigma flesh out their lens range it's much cheaper and easier to go/stick with Sony. I firmly believe that the S1/S1R are better bodies in use than the Sony's (except for those that *need* Sony's superior tracking/eye AF) however unless you have the means to buy the Leica glass or the patience to wait for Panasonic and Sigma, Sony will still be the system of choice for most.

Gordon