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Lumix: A Closer Look

Cozy Ogawa Discusses why he Chooses Lumix

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The camera I first started making single lens movies with was a Lumix DMC-GH2. Along with being suitable for professional shooting, I fit a large number of subjects into its tiny body. Later I acquired the GH4 and GH5 models, and used them for a wide range of different video projects.

When I take one of my frequent trips up to Hokkaido, I shoot the splendor of Mother Nature and wild animals and develop that footage into films. Several years ago, I happened to meet a master photographer and was privy to an amazing experience in this land, one prior to which I had had no connection with. It was then that I caught my first glimpse of Ural owls, native to Hokkaido, resting in tree hollows. I remember how their rotund eyes on their perfectly round bodies were so adorable that I found myself rejuvenated at seeing them while at the same time being moved by the strength of these wild animals at being able to bear the frigid cold of the region.

But the truth of the matter is that we’re intruding into their home, just like if we were to peer into the house of someone’s family. I really want to shoot some footage, but there are boundaries that one mustn’t cross. It’s for these reasons that I use a telephoto lens.

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The sensors used by Panasonic’s GH series utilize a Micro Four Thirds system and are far and away smaller than full size sensors. Because the sensors are small, the angle of view becomes smaller, thus making it better for telescopic shooting. They can be put to use when shooting wild animals that you can’t get close to, and as the focal distance is short you can achieve a deep depth of field. This camera feels as if it were made for shooting nature.

I was once again astonished when I played back my footage. The depiction was sharp, capturing actions of my subjects that I hadn’t even noticed when I shot the footage. If I had shot this on a consumer grade camera, my wonderment might not have reached the level it did. Regardless, it was on this occasion that I discovered my interest in nature, and became totally absorbed by the allure of the Lumix.

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In 2017 the Lumix DMC-GH5 went on sale and I was shocked by the camera’s specs and functions. The GH series allows filmmakers to do things that other single lens reflex cameras won’t. This was the first time that I found myself excited, my heart jumping with joy, at the thought of the kinds of images I wanted to create, the greater I would be able to express myself through photography with this camera.

The piece I’m working on this year found me focusing on using slow-motion video to present to the viewer the movements of wild birds. With Hokkaido as my stage, I shot gorgeous alabaster Japanese cranes against snowy backdrops; Stellar’s sea eagles and white-tailed eagles at the very moment they beat their powerful wings; and adorable whooper swans against the spray of the pond in which they ambled idly. With the GH5, I was able to capture a world that the naked eye could never perceive, one that is not even measured in seconds. Slow-motion decelerates the flow of time, and brings the viewer into a whole new world.

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In my life as a photographer, the one camera that has earned my complete and passionate devotion is the Lumix.

The rise in popularity of single lens movies is giving birth to a plethora of different films from all over the globe. Though the world of nature photography has a long history, nature videos have been reserved for television broadcasters and movie production companies with very few movies having been made by private filmmakers. Now that such a superb camera as the Lumix is easily obtainable, I can’t wait to see the kind of work that people who pick one up produce. I myself believe my relationship with the Lumix will continue for a long time.

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