Lumix Stories Video Series GH5 World-Class Still Camera, Ben Grunow
The Lumix GH5 is a world-class still camera and this video, the first in a four-part series, drives the point. One of the most common misconceptions about Lumix cameras is the idea they’re mainly built for high-end video capture. The comments I often here go something like this, “The GH5 produces spectacular video but if you want your camera for stills, buy the Olympus.” Nothing could be further from the truth, and Panasonic is unleashing a series of videos showcasing several professional photographers to dissuade this completely baseless assumption. The first up is a mini-documentary of fellow Lumix Luminary and landscape photographer Ben Grunow
Lumix Takes a Backseat to Nobody in the MFT World
Why is the notion that Lumix still pictures are somehow inferior such a popular fallacy? I have a theory. In short, Lumix has brought such revolutionary video tools to the GH5 that those features overshadow EVERYTHING else. That being the case, video is all you hear about. When it comes to stills, the GH5 is spectacular, but spectacular
in the world of still photography is somewhat anticlimactic since we’ve been getting amazing still captures from many brands since 2003. But in the world of Micro Four Thirds still photography, the GH5 takes a back seat to nobody—you just don’t hear that since the excitement of video overshadows virtually everything else.
Where Did Lumix Come From?
To understand why Panasonic has been able to do so well so quickly requires a bit of perspective. What many people don’t know is the long history Panasonic has had in the world of video production. They’ve been making professional video cameras for decades and in the realm of cinematography, they’re a world-class player. Along with their video cameras, they also produce their own digital sensors. In short, these guys know what they’re doing whether it’s a still capture or a moving image.
The second part driving the Lumix fallacy is the fact that all of Panasonic’s notoriety for their engineering prowess in video has been cloaked in the darkness of business to business relationships. In other words, if you’re a major corporation with a video production department, you know Panasonic video cameras. However, if you’re the average consumer, you know Panasonic for
making world-class TV’s, laptop computers, tablets, microwaves, nose hair clippers, hair dryers, and thousands of other electronic items. Many photographers like to make fun of Panasonic’s world domination in electrical consumer goods with comments like, “I don’t’ want a camera made by a company that makes computers.” The ignorance of this delusion is that’s exactly what cameras are today. Computers with lenses attached. Personally, I do want a camera manufactured by a company who intimately the knows the ins and outs of electronics and computers. Like it or not, photography is now heavily dependant on computer and electronic technology. Panasonic’s success in all things electronic gives them the ability to fund research and development. A good barometer of a company’s ability to drive new technology is their placement on the Fortune 500 list. In 2017 Panasonic is listed #110 on the 2017 Fortune 500 Global List. Sony is listed at #105, Canon comes in at #347, and Nikon? They aren’t’ even listed.
World-class Engineering is a Panasonic Trademark
Finally, back in 2001, Panasonic decided to leverage their engineering knowledge of how to produce stunning video pictures and apply that experience to making still cameras. Keep in mind, a movie or video clip is nothing more than a collection of still photos shot in sequence. So as you can imagine, going the still camera route was not a huge leap for their engineers. Thier biggest challenge was wrapping their heads together to understand the ergonomics a still camera required as opposed to a video camera. The second challenge has been to figure out world-class autofocus capabilities since almost no professional video/movie camera person uses autofocus, although that’s changing with the GH5.
Fast forward to 2017, and the GH5 proves Panasonic is coming close to perfecting their knowledge of designing and building world-class still cameras that easily compete with all the other brands, including Canon and Nikon. Ben’s piece above was produced to show the world the GH5 is truly a world-class stills camera, and I think this first in a four-part video series does a great job getting people to understand that. Keep your eye here in the Corkboard for more to come.
In the spirit of complete transparency, I want all my readers to know that I am a Lumix Luminary. That means I get paid a small stipend for writing about a system I absolutely love. That said, I want you all to know there is no amount of money more important than my integrity. Much to the chagrin of my Lumix colleagues, I often point out the bad with the good regarding Lumix technology and their camera gear. My belief is honesty and truthfulness will not just help you, but it also helps a company I love to work with. To that end, it’s full steam ahead telling it like it really is.
Daniel J. Cox