Panasonic Lumix Engineers Visit Bozeman

Posted Jul. 15th, 2017 by Daniel J. Cox

Panasonic Lumix Engineers Visit Bozeman. This last week all of us here at Natural Exposures and Polar Bears International were honored to have five wonderful people from Panasonic’s headquarters in Osaka and Lumix Luminary liaison Tom Curley from the US come visit us in Montana. The folks from Japan included engineers and a public relations person. What an opportunity to sit down and discuss the pros, cons, and future development of Lumix cameras with the actual engineers developing this impressive new gear.

Panasonic Lumix Engineers Visit Bozeman

Panasonic Lumix engineers visit the Natural Exposures office in Montana. I shared a couple of large prints with them, the largest one of wild garlic in Croatia, printed to 40×60 inches. Shot with the Lumix GH4 and Leica 15mm F/1.7. From Left to right Henri Nishikawa–Sr. Coordinator, Daniel J. Cox, Tom Curley–Lumix Luminary Liaison, Jill Mangum–NE Operations Mgr., Tanya Cox–NE Trips Coordinator and Social Director, Emi Fujiwara–Lumix PR, Koji Shibuno–DFD and Dual IS Engineer, Kyosuke Osaka–User Interface Engineer, Manabu Watanabe–User Interface Engineer. Photo: Paula Posey

Those who’ve traveled with us know Tanya’s ability to entertain is legendary. Our original thought was to take everybody to one of our preferred restaurants, Ted Turner’s Montana Grill. We love the quality food, but Ted also happens to be one of my all-time favorite conservation heroes and we do everything we can to support his sustainable ideas.

Panasonic Lumix Engineers Visit Bozeman

Tanya with her fabulous raspberry tarts. Photo: Daniel J. Cox

But as usual, Tanya came up with something a bit more personal, dinner at our house that included steak, truffle potatoes, asparagus, and raspberry tarts. It was a wonderful evening sharing Montana hospitality with new and current friends from Japan and the east coast.

Panasonic Lumix Engineers Visit Bozeman

Dinner with Panasonic friends at our home in Montana. Photo: Tanya Cox

As usual, with a meeting like this, there are numerous things I can’t talk about. But I can tell you, I was impressed with the general purpose of this get together which was to help support the team in outlining a multi-year plan for Lumix cameras. Imagine that. A company in the game for the long haul. Not many corporations plan that far out anymore. Often it’s how fast can they make money for the next quarter.

Panasonic Lumix Engineers Visit Bozeman

Panasonic engineers at the Natural Exposures office reviewing large prints with my Lumix cameras. Photo: Jill Mangum

One of the engineers, Shibuno san, is responsible for the revolutionary Depth From Defocus (DFD) that’s giving us excellent Predictive AF results. DFD is a Panasonic exclusive and it gets better and better with each new model. I recently tested four

Panasonic Lumix Engineers Visit Bozeman

Dan discussing the Speeding Pooch Test with Henri san and Kyosuke during their visit to Montana. Photo: Christopher Carter

different cameras, all of them in Predictive AF mode, and the new GH5 performed considerably better than the other three, including the Nikon D500.

However, that test was with fast moving cars that were fairly predictable. What I’ve really wanted to try was the GH5 on a speedy dog. You know what I’m talking about, the “Speeding Pooch Test.” So in honor of having so many Lumix engineers within my grasp, so to speak, I recruited Tanner Johnson, Sales Manager and camera expert at Bozeman Camera, and his young dog Lucy. Tanner is an excellent photographer, check his website out at Yellow Horse Photography.

Panasonic Lumix Engineers Visit Bozeman

Marshal Lewis, owner of Bozeman Camera, with Panasonic Lumix engineers at his store in Bozeman, Montana. Photo: Daniel J. Cox

All the pieces fell in place for a chance to show world-class engineering experts the kind of photography many of us desperately want. Autofocus that excels in speed and accuracy to capture birds in flight, sprinting deer, dashing dogs, and anything else that flies, swims, or runs. The stage was set for another “Speeding Pooch Test.”

Birds in flight

White-tailed eagle in flight is an example of the type of subject matter many of us want to capture with our Lumix cameras. Lumix GX8 with Leica 100-400mm, ISO 640

To document it all I hired a friend and fellow PBI camera man, Christopher Carter. Chris is working on a short film highlighting the Speeding Pooch Test and our morning with the Lumix engineers. It may be 2-3 weeks before I can share the final film but I think it will be worth it.

Thank you, Panasonic. To have the Panasonic Lumix engineers visit Bozeman was a tremendous honor, and coming all the way from Osaka was no easy task. We’re very grateful for your visit.

Photo Credits: Tanya Cox, Jill Mangum, Christopher Carter

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There are 19 comments on this post…
  1. Norman PrincenOn Sep. 27th, 2017 (2 months ago)

    Daniel, Very glad that you have this relationship with the Panasonic engineers. I also very much appreciate your writings on the use of your Panasonic equipment and how you set them up to get the best out of them. The perspective of a working professional certainly helps us amateurs improve our capabilities.

    If you have a chance to pass along a suggestion, I have long wanted a true Auto ISO mode in my Panasonic cameras (have owned GH-1, GH-2, and GH-4). In Manual mode with fixed aperture and shutter speed, it would be nice to set Auto ISO so that ISO is continually adjusted to get the right exposure. Would also like exposure compensation to work in this mode, in case we want to lighten or darken the exposure. We have every other kind of exposure control (manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, and program), but not the one that automatically adjusts the ISO with everything else fixed. I especially want this in the Creative Video mode where I want to keep shutter speed fixed at half the video frame rate (180 degree shutter angle in the movie world) and fix aperture for depth of field control. Some other cameras have this sort of mode, but Panasonic hasn’t added it yet, unless it has been added to one of the newer cameras with which I am not familiar.

    Thank You,
    Norm

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Sep. 28th, 2017 (2 months ago)

      Thaks Norom, these are good ideas. Will pass them along. Thaks for the nice comments and stopping by to add your voice.

  2. Richard CooperOn Aug. 10th, 2017 (3 months ago)

    What is the big difference between the GX8 and the GH5. Is it the video functionality?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Aug. 10th, 2017 (3 months ago)

      Richard, for me the biggest difference is the ergonomics. The GX8 comes in the form of a Rangefinder type camera. In other words, the EVF is off on the far left side of the camera. This is great for short lenses like the 12-35, or maybe 12mm F/1.4 used in street photography. But I prefer the traditional EVF over the lens style of the GH5, which is more in line with traditional DSLR cameras. For wildlife and action, the GH5 is by far the best choice. The GH5 also has the most current, up to date in body image stabilization, the newest Auto Focus algorithms, faster frames per second, much, much, much more sophisticated video capabilities. I could go on and on. The GX8 is a nice camera but in all honesty, it doesn’t hold a candle to the GH5. It’s cheaper but you get what you pay for in this particular situation.

  3. Portrait of Jay Murthy

    Jay MurthyOn Jul. 23rd, 2017 (4 months ago)

    Dan, in my humble opinion, this is a great relationship that panasonic has developed with you. Having been on 2 tours with you and Tanya, I have never once heard you “sugar coat” an inferior product, be it made my Panasonic or anyone else. You say it as you see it. I think panasonic is fortunate to have you as an pro advisor for product development. Afterall , tech does not make me a better photographer, but it sure makes it easier to become one.. so no complaints here 🙂
    Jay

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jul. 23rd, 2017 (4 months ago)

      Thanks for the kind words Jay. You have no idea how much I appreciate your comment about my integrity regarding the pros and cons of the gear I test and even represent. I’ve had discussions with my Panasonic superiors regarding their concerns of me being a bit hard in some of my reviews on Lumix gear. But I’ve told them there is no amount of money worth more than my reputation AND it’s important for my readers and students to know they can trust what I say. We all know that nothing is perfect. I’m of the opinion that when I point out the blemishes, readers will have more confidence in the glowing reports I also offer. If they read nothing but accolades, they know that it can’t be true since nothing is perfect. I try to be fair and I appreciate you seeing that and sharing your insight with the NE Blog/Corkboard community.

  4. DeanOn Jul. 18th, 2017 (4 months ago)

    Panasonic, and we photographers, are fortunate to have your input into making photo gear achieve new levels of performance. There probably isn’t a better representative of “photographers” on the planet; thankfully, Lumix recognizes your wisdom and experience. All too often, photo gear is designed and built without meaningful input from users, and there is no better “user” than you to give them an earful!

    Dean

    P.S. Please ask Tanya to send me her tart recipe. ;0) That woman has limitless talents!

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jul. 18th, 2017 (4 months ago)

      Dean, you’re too kind. People are going to think I’m sending you payments for such praise. Like I said, your overly impressed with me but it’s greatly appreciated. I’m writing this on my iPad as I lie here digesting one of those amazing raspberry tarts. Family is here for a summer visit and I’m surrounded by great food. And that’s after two months of culinary delight in Europe. I was hoping to loose some weight this summer. Will have Tanya get the recipe out for you. I just might have her do a blog post for others to enjoy as well. Thanks again.

    • DeanOn Jul. 19th, 2017 (4 months ago)

      Friendship and good counsel is all the payment I’ve received! And, perhaps a tort recipe? ;0)

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jul. 23rd, 2017 (4 months ago)

      Working on Tanya for the tart recipe for you. Actually going to have her write a Blog on it. They are amazing.

  5. IvanOn Jul. 18th, 2017 (4 months ago)

    Glad I bought into this system, the Panasonic G85 is a joy to use and a very well thought out product. Everything about it is just right. Any talks of future lenses? They’ll be done with the Panasonic-Leica 2.8-4 zooms soon (hopefully the 50-200 will be released) and it would be cool to know they are thinking about releasing some longer primes (45mm is their longest as of today). Thank you for reporting about their visit!

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jul. 18th, 2017 (4 months ago)

      Great to have your input Ivan. Unfortunately, I can’t comment on any coming lenses. Nothing was discussed and if it was I would still have to be silent. But Panasonic is very committed to getting us new optics we want. Glad you’re enjoying the G85. I think that camera is exceptional, especially for the low price.

  6. Dennis LindenOn Jul. 16th, 2017 (4 months ago)

    Brilliant, just brilliant. Well done to you, the crew and to Lumix for actually getting out here.

  7. Gerry HeineOn Jul. 16th, 2017 (4 months ago)

    Glad to see they are interested and listening. I hope you repeated we want some of their nice feature to save raw files, not just jpgs. Memory cards have gotten bigger, faster, and cheaper. With support for the type II cards in the GH5, saving the larger files shouldn’t be an issue.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jul. 16th, 2017 (4 months ago)

      They got the message, Gerry. But thanks for reminding me.

    • Portrait of Fred Kurtz

      Fred KurtzOn Jul. 17th, 2017 (4 months ago)

      I am confused with Gerry’s comment about asking Panasonic to save raw files and your response that they got the message. I have been saving raw files since they first came out. I reread the comment and response a dozen times and cannot make heads or tails of either. Call me stupid. And great blog post and is there anything Tanya cannot do? Wow.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jul. 17th, 2017 (4 months ago)

      Freddy, totally understand where the confusion comes in. What Gerry was inferring to was the ability to save RAW files from some of the faster frame rate tools the GH5 has, such as 6K Photo Mode. 6K Photo Mode allows us to shoot at 30FPS but only saves them in JPEG files. Both Gerry and I have been impressed by Olympus’ ability to shoot 18FPS in continues AF and 60FPS in Single AF, both options having the ability to save all files as RAW. That is impressive, to say the least, and Panasonic knows this. Stay tuned.

    • Portrait of Fred Kurtz

      Fred KurtzOn Jul. 17th, 2017 (4 months ago)

      Thank you Dan. Now I understand. I was just not getting it and it was bugging me. I cannot wait to find out what Panasonic is going to do next when you are able to say. I think it is great you have such a great relationship with them.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jul. 17th, 2017 (4 months ago)

      Glad to help clear the confusion, Freddy. Panasonic has some exciting new imaging tools in the pipeline and it’s been so rewarding to be part of such a responsive and forward thinking team. Thaks for your input and joining the conversation.

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