Satpal Singh Environmental Photo Journalist Explains Why he Uses Lumix
I am a freelance wildlife and environmental photo journalist from the district of Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh, India. I was 19 when my voyage into nature photography started. As an amateur I started taking pictures inside my father’s agriculture farm house that was surrounded by a nearby forest and close to the Gomti river.
In late 2017, it was surprising news for me to get the chance to work with Lumix gear as a Nature’s Best Photography Asia Lumix Ambassador. I started with the provided GH5 & Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. POWER O.I.S. lens. I took this gear to several shoots and especially on my cycling trips and morning-evening nature walks around my area. I was really impressed with the highly advanced features of the GH5 and the distinct and strikingly balanced image quality of the lens. Perhaps people wouldn’t believe that I have clicked many subjects from people to birds, macro to landscape, and trees to wildlife with the Leica 12-60mm lens. The 12-60mm lens is the equivalent of a 24-120mm lens on a 35mm format camera.
Before explaining more about my experiences with this camera and lens, I would like to break the most common misconception about the Lumix GH5 camera and other G series bodies in that, “They are mainly built for high-end video capture.” I am a still shooter and have never gone through any video shoot either with a Lumix camera or my own Nikon gear. I deeply feel that this single model GH5 has the same features as my different Nikon camera bodies, collectively, under one body. It doesn’t matter if you are shooting wildlife, sports, people, macro or landscape.
I have found that the manufacture of the body is such that it fits perfectly into the hand and has a ridge at the back which makes gripping it outstanding. The camera weighs nearly nothing. The mirror-less micro four thirds format coupled with a magnesium body, makes for a super handy package. The excellent button management for important camera functions is another marvel of the body. There are apt ISO, white balance and exposure compensation buttons on the top and many other customizable buttons.
The no low-pass filter sensor increases sharpness and the image stabilization system helps to fight camera-shake. The 225 focus points provide for more flexible composition and the auto focus tracking in this model is unbelievable: 9 fps with AFC and 12 fps with AFS burst mode will not let you miss a single moment. Post focus and focus stacking modes are other useful features in this body.
The rotating, free-angle monitor helped me many times for ground level low angle shots, where it became challenging to look through the viewfinder, it can be flipped out and rotated through 270 degrees. The screen can be folded away against the camera body to protect it while packed in a camera bag, preventing it from getting scratched or damaged.
The viewfinder of this camera is a completely new 3680k-dot OLED panel that has a resolution of around 1280 x 960 pixels. You can see the actual photo that you are about to take in preview mode that shows the actual exposure, white balance and tone. One thing I really admire about its EVF is when trying to focus a subject manually it will highlight the subject as it comes into focus. Another good aspect is the pin-point focusing. Any part of the subject can be magnified by 1x, 5x or 10x by simply rotating the rear dial. You can even achieve 16x magnification by just rotating the control dial before pressing the shutter. This feature is simply a blessing for macro shutterbugs. When I use a Nikon DG2 eye piece magnifier on my Nikon body I can only achieve 2x magnification. Manual focusing through an EVF is many times more precise than focusing through a mirror.
The Lumix GH5 allows the use of auto ISO in manual exposure mode, you can set the shutter speed and aperture value according to what you need and the camera will automatically sustain the brightness by adjusting the ISO.
The Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8-4. This lens has a very versatile focal range, great OIS, incredibly fast focus and great quality. Another commendable feature of this lens is that you can capture objects that are just 8 inches (2cm) from the sensor. This is ideal for photographing small objects such as insects, small plants, coins etc.