The Lumix Diaries: Adventures in the Pantanal

Posted Aug. 3rd, 2014 by Daniel J. Cox

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.

A pair of Jabaru storks on the river back in the Pantanal, Brazil.

A pair of Jabiru storks on the riverbank, Pantanal, Brazil. Lumix FZ1000

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?

Great Egret takes flight in the Pantanal, Brazil

Great Egret takes flight in the Pantanal, Brazil. Lumix FZ1000

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.

Jabaru stork in flight over the river near our lodge. Pantanal. Brazil. Lumix ZX1000

Jabiru Stork in flight over the river near our lodge, Pantanal, Brazil. Lumix FZ1000

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.

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There are 8 comments on this post…
  1. Bob GrosekOn Feb. 9th, 2016

    Daniel –

    Your photo are stunning. Thanks for sharing.

    My experience with the FZ1000 is that I got sharp photos of birds and animals that were within about 20-25 feet of me. The Image Quality of birds that were farther away were quite degraded – soft, no sharp edges.

    Are you finding that your subjects need to be close in order to get sharp photos with the FZ1000?

    – Bob

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Feb. 9th, 2016

      Bob, thanks for the question. You know I’ve not bee shooting the FZ1000 a great deal since I mostly use the GX8 and GH4. However, I will be in Yellowstone this next week and will give take it with me to test if for you. Based on the few thousand images I have shot with it in the past I never noticed this problem but will have to recheck to make sure. Stay tuned.

  2. Tom GrossOn Aug. 4th, 2014

    Well, now I have to do something. My G5 quit working on a Black Bear shoot. Luckily I brought my Canon 40D as a backup. Can’t change aperture or shutter speed. Takes pictues in Program mode, but that will not suffice.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Aug. 8th, 2014

      Sorry to hear about the issue Tom. I’ve really had tremendous luck with all my Lumix gear. However, the G5 probably isn’t built to the standards as the more expensive bodies. Stop back and let us know how the service experience goes. I’m always interested in hearing how big companies handle a customer for service.

    • Tom GrossOn Aug. 28th, 2014

      Panasonic said $287 to repair my G5. I said just send it back. I bought a used one for $265 form KEH (EX+). I can still use the old one in Program mode.

  3. Portrait of Cristina Valente Marques

    Cristina MarquesOn Aug. 4th, 2014

    The sunset/silhouette photo is stunning! Can’t wait to learn some techniques on the upcoming Canadian Rockies Fall tour!

  4. Tom GrossOn Aug. 2nd, 2014

    Maybe I should get a ZX1000 while we wait for update / new 300f4 prime to complement my Pana G5?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Aug. 4th, 2014

      Tom, I’m getting results from this camera I would have never believed. It’s another major home run for Panasonic. People are going to love this new picture producing tool.

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