Lumix Luminary Summit Glancing Back Looking Forward with Lumix GX8
Lumix Luminary Summit Glancing Back Looking Forward with Lumix GX8
June 28, 2015
How does one truly appreciate what you are given? I’m certain most of us have all been there. Going about your everyday life when a vision from the past stops you cold. For me, this early morning on a flight to Florida, literally staring out into space, cobalt blue above and white puffy clouds below, 35,000 feet above it all, and my brain snaps into appreciation mode.
I’ve been doing what I absolutely love for nearly 40 years and though it’s not been easy, I can’t imagine any other life. That I am so completely thankful for and I’m utterly aware that nothing in life is ever accomplished on your own. With any success there are always others who are important elements of the journey.
I’m headed south to meet with friends from Panasonic. There are 15 of us all together, so called Lumix Luminaries, photographers, and filmmakers that have been recruited by one of the industry’s true leaders, Mr. Tom Curley. Tom has been around the photo industry for many years and his vision and expertise in finding just the right people is a talent few others possess. For the next two days Tom will be leading our group of photographic underdogs through educational materials, workshops, and team bonding for our goal of helping document the world with the newest inventions to tell great stories. Stories for me, I hope make a difference.
I’ll be sharing with you much of what we’ll be discussing and showing any new tools we may see for creating our future narratives. Stories from shooters that specialize in fiction, journalism, life moments, and commercial creativity. For me, my work with Panasonic is truly a dream come true. The cameras and lenses they’re bringing to our industry are world-class. Equally important is their interest and desire to do things right. Panasonic’s Sustainability Initiatives and leadership are an important attraction for me as a conservationist and staunch believer in taking care of our wonderful planet.
Many of you know I was a died-in-the-wool Nikon guy from as early as my days as a high school photographer in 1976. Moving forward to work with Panasonic was not an easy decision. But the technology is moving at breakneck speed as are my life and the changes taking place on mother Earth. Time is of the essence for all of us wanting to be a part of the solution rather than just adding to the problems. I’m confident with my ongoing relationship with Panasonic I will have the tools and the backing of a great organization that also wants to make a difference. For that I’m eternally grateful.
So that’s the glancing back part. Looking forward I will share with you what I can from this inspirational and educational meeting. I’m hopeful it will be as interesting for all of you as it was for me and it begins with Tanya and me arriving in the late afternoon on July 28th.
That evening was our first gathering with all of us meeting in the hotel lobby. As Tanya and I lounged the Luminaries began to appear. Faces I had seen on the Luminary website as well as promotional materials for Lumix. The Luminaries are a unique and eclectic collection of still-shooters and cinematographers from all over the country. One by one I began shaking hands, a short how do you do and some small talk. Rick Gerrity, a down-to-earth chap who specializes in commercial work and documentary photography stands among the circle. I make my way around the group introducing myself to the seven or so folks convened. I get to Rick and announce, “Hi, I’m Daniel Cox,” to which he responds, “So what?” “So what?” I retort. “What kind of parents would give you a name like that?” Ok, I’ve got this guy’s number, he’s a funny man, I think to myself. Fortunately I was right. The next day during our first meeting Rick pulled up a chair next to mine in the conference room and we shared a few laughs throughout the next two days.
As we waited for others to arrive, Tanya, myself, and my good friend Kevin Gilbert sit down to have a beer and a glass of wine. The parade of 15 luminaries starts gaining steam.
Kristen Jensen walks through the door. Now this lady you cannot miss. She’s just short of six feet tall and is striking to say the least. Kristen’s first career was in front of the camera, working for the Ford Modeling Agency in New York. She’s a lifestyle, portrait, and wedding shooter now. William Innes is in the crowd, a wedding and travel photographer from Los Angeles. Two likable young guys, Ben Grunow and Rob Knight, make their entrance. Rob specializes in travel and nature. Ben, he’s an action and sports guy who also shoots landscapes. Next we see Charles and Jennifer Maring, storytellers and content creators, along with Dave Stock who’s worked for Sports Illustrated and is an expert in shooting the games we all love to watch. Others in the group include Giulio Sciorio and Joseph Linaschke, Bob Coates, Dave Surber, Jon Yoshinaga, and finally Mr. Hollywood Michael Grecco, director and photographer to the celebrity crowd in LA. Quite a group to say the least.
Finally, last but not least, is my good friend and newest member of the Lumix Luminary team, Kevin Gilbert. Kevin’s career includes photojournalism and a stint as president of the White House News Photographers Association where he photographed the Clintons, Ronald Reagan, and other worldly dignitaries. Everybody’s here, so off to the Old Salty Dog for our first evening to get to know each other.
Lesson to Learn: Fill Flash
June 29, 2015
This morning starts at 7:30am for breakfast; 8:30 is the time we all get started. It begins with our fearless leader Mr. Tom Curley taking charge and announcing the agenda for the next 36 hours. We don’t have long but it’s longer than last year where the entire event was only one day.
The meeting begins with Tom announcing the start of our show and each of us were encouraged to give a five minute presentation on anything involving our photography or video. It was a great way to see what others were up to.
Joseph Linaschke presented his current book project about breast cancer survivors. It was an amazing collection of images.
David Stock shows us how he’s turned his sports photography in the big leagues into a lucrative business doing massive numbers of kids playing soccer, baseball, and other sports. It’s a market that is thriving and he’s implemented a fabulous system for cranking out sports portraits using the Lumix FZ1000.
Charles and Jennifer Maring showcase their work producing a reality like YouTube show highlighting what it’s like creating stills and video memories for their clients. These two are savvy about the use of multimedia like few I’ve ever met. They do a fabulous job.
Bob Coates shares an old western-like video he produced for his workshops in Sedona, Arizona. Another great presentation highlighting multimedia skills.
After the morning of show-and-tell Tom explains the concept of the one-and-a-half day workshop. The goal of our time together is to encourage creativity using numerous cameras, lenses, video sliders, an underwater housing, tripods, and even a drone.
We break up into three different teams and each group can do any multimedia project they want with the only requirement being it had to be creative and make good use of the Panasonic Lumix gear and other tools we had on hand.
Not only would this allow each of us to use equipment we may have never used before but it also encouraged the idea of working together as a team. After we get the assignment we have lunch and then spend the rest of the afternoon creating content.
Our final day begins as it did the first. Breakfast as a group and and while everybody took nourishment Joseph Linaschke, Michael Grecco and Jennifer Maring setup a small studio for a session of head shots of each Luminary team member.
I’ve never been powdered before and Jennifer mentioned I needed more than most, or was that Kevin that she told that to?
I think she got me confused with Kevin. Either way they all did a great job with guys who are typically on the other side of the camera. Talk about the photography and prep teams having their work cut out for them.
One of the most important questions I hoped to have answered by attending the summit was whether the new GX8’s in-camera 4 Axis image stabilization would work with lenses other than Panasonic’s Lumix line. For those who haven’t heard, Panasonic has one-upped the Olympus 5 Axis, in-body, image stabilization with the GX8’s 6 Axis image stabilization.
How do you get 6 Axis image stabilization you ask? By taking the IS in the lens that performs 2 Axis IS and combine that with the GX8’s 4 Axis IS and you get image stabilization that is hard to believe.
When I heard about the new 4 Axis in body IS my first reponce was, “Oh my goodness, is this going to work with other lenses?” I’m happy to report, it ABSOLUTELY does! And it works incredibly well. In other words, my Olympus 40-150mm F/2.8 with the 1.4X teleconverter, which is 420mm all together, now has 4 Axis image stabilization when attached to a GX8. Absolutely incredible.
Thankfully Tom brought two GX8’s for us to try and I did a test inside our conference room where I shot a very boring sign on the wall to see how well the IS would work. Below is a sample with details of how it was shot in the caption.
Neither of the images were sharpened or worked on in any way other than a direct export out of Lightroom. As good as this is it may even get better since the camera we were testing was not a finalized version. They’re still tweaking it.
Below is another shot I took of a computer screen in the room that was also shot at 1/50th of a second. Really, really impressive to say the least.
Can you imagine how using two systems together might work? This could be a game changer for image stabilization. Nice job Panasonic. Your engineers are really pushing the envelope and this is going to make others scramble. Keep in mind the GX8 may eventually be even better in all ways since I was shooting a sample that did not have the final firmware in it.
Finally, to end this with a belly roll laugh I want to share with you a great video that was created by one of our Lumix Luminary teams from our time at the summit. These guys really did a bang-up job. Here’s their video shot with GH4’s and many other Lumix and related lenses and product.