The Lumix Diaries: Adventures in the Pantanal
August 2, 2014 – Pantanal Brazil
The Lumix Diaries Adventures in the Pantanal. It’s our first full day at the lodge in the Pantanal of Brazil. I’m here with a group of enthusiastic photographers who are part of our Brazil Pantanal Jaguar Wildlife Photo Expedition Invitational Photo Tour. Before I left home I was fortunate to have Panasonic send me one of their hotly anticipated and currently available so-called “Bridge Camera”, the Lumix FZ1000. What is a “Bridge Camera”? It’s a poorly named group of cameras that are supposed to be targeted to folks who are upgrading from point and shoots and iPhones to a more sophisticated, serious, picture-taking machine. A Bridge Camera, also known as an all-in-one compact, comes with a built-in lens that can’t be changed. The lens typically goes from fairly wide to substantial telephoto. The Lumix FZ1000 has a lens that reaches from a very acceptable wide angle of 25mm to a respectable long end of 400mm. Even more impressive is the fact this all-in-one lens is an F/2.8 at 25mm and to F/4 at 400mm. Hard to believe but true.
When I first became aware of the Lumix FZ1000 I started thinking about how nice this particular device would be for people who travel and may not be hardcore photographers. On this trip, 50% of the folks who are with us consider themselves birders. All of them have a camera, but 50% don’t take their photography very seriously. The FZ1000 is perfect for this type of person. It requires no bag of interchangeable lenses, it’s a relatively small package, and it’s exceptionally easy to use and produces stunning photos. What more could you ask for?
So far the FZ1000 is working so well it’s actually outperforming my Lumix GH4. Now I have to explain what I mean by this. Quite simply, the telephoto lens on the FZ1000 is so fast and so accurate that it’s actually shooting better images than the GH4 when the GH4 is attached to the very under performing 100-300mm F/4-5.6 zoom that I use for wildlife. The is even more an example of how badly Panasonic needs to upgrade the 100-300m. The GH4 is a rocket with the professional grade 35-100mm F/2.8, but the 100-300mm just can’t keep up with a flying bird. The Lumix FZ1000 can, at least with the bird flying broadside to the camera. Straight at the camera is something to be determined in the future.
I plan to add more to this blog over the next ten days or so, but when I arrived back at the lodge tonight I was so excited by the day’s photo shoot with the new Lumix that I made myself sit down and write the first day of the Lumix Diaries: Adventures in the Pantanal. Stay tuned for more in the coming days.