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The Panasonic GH5 In The Wild

South Africa is on the bucket list for many photographers. The beauty of its natural landscape combined with its famous wildlife makes it a must-visit destination for tourists and photographers alike. In April, Panasonic invited 4 Digital Camera Warehouse team members to join a week-long training trip to South Africa that also celebrated the launch of the Lumix GH5. A trip of a lifetime, where we could join our partners at Panasonic to learn about their latest, incredible camera in a landscape like no other in the world.

We left on the Tuesday after the Easter long weekend and 14 hours after take-off and 11,000km across the earth the wheels of our Qantas 747 hit the tarmac at O.R Tambo International airport in Johannesburg.

Over the next 5 days the DCW team had the incredible opportunity to learn the GH5 intricately at some of the most beautiful sites on earth.

14 hours down, 2 hours to go.
ISO 800 | 1.6 sec | f/5.0 | Panasonic GH5 + 7-14mm Lens @ 7mm
We stayed in Sun City on the edge of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve and National Park. Sun City could be described as the South African equivalent of Las Vegas; a ‘World within a City’.
The Cascades Hotel - Sun City
ISO 200 | 1/3200 sec | F4.5 | Panasonic GH5 + 12-35mm Lens @ 12mm
Our first adventure was a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the plains of the Pilanesberg National Park. An unforgettable introduction to the area and an unparalleled vantage point for a perfect overview of the kind of landscapes Africa is known for. 550 hectares in size, the park is home to over 7000 animals including the Big Five - Lions, Elephants, Buffalo, Leopards and Rhinoceros. Graced with near-perfect weather for hot air ballooning, we were greeted by the roar of burning propane, filling our balloons with hot air.
Preparing for take-off
ISO 400 | 1/200 sec | f/3.5 | Panasonic GH5 + 12-35mm Lens @ 24mm

For most in the group this was the first real chance we'd had to test the GH5's photo and video capabilities. Owners of the outgoing GH4 expressed that the ergonomic layout and logical menu carry over well to the successive model, making it a natural transition for users upgrading to the GH5. The learning curve was a bit steeper for traditional DSLR users, but once they got up to speed they praised the versatility and intuitive nature of the touch to focus and touch to shoot capability provided by the flip-out touch screen.
We ascended above the plains of the reserve to reveal a sprawling green expanse dotted with lakes and encompassed by a ring of ridges that were created after volcanic activity 1200 million years ago.
The unique Pilanesberg landscape
ISO 200 | 1/125 sec | f/6.3 | Panasonic GH5 + 7-14mm Lens @ 14mm
Lens changes came thick and fast. As we drifted and pirouetted across the reserve we were greeted with new landscapes, interesting angles and different perspectives. For capturing the vast, sweeping landscape, the most popular options were the trusted Panasonic 7-14mm f/4 or the new Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm f/4-5.6 MkII or the Panasonic Leica DG 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH OIS were used to zoom into the landscape to capture detail on the ground or enlarge subjects in the distance.
All angles covered
ISO 100 | 1/640 sec | f/6.3 | 400mm | Panasonic GH5 +100-400 Lens @ 400mm
Our next planned activity was a friendly race on some lawn mower powered trikes. It was a good opportunity for some friendly competition and a chance to test out the GH5’s 225 hybrid autofocus points and impressive Full HD 180fps slow-motion recording capability.
2 Fast, 2 Furious
ISO 200 | 1/1300 sec | f/5.6 | Panasonic GH5 + 100-400mm Lens @ 160mm
After an amazing stay at Sun City, we checked out and set up camp 30 minutes north of the Ivory Tree Game Lodge of luxury huts, campfires, and a shower that was a private cubicle outdoors, under the stars. Monkeys, zebra, wildebeest and other wildlife were practically on our front doorstep. We were ready to hit the trails of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve to really test the abilities of the GH5.
A little visitor
ISO 3200 | 1/640 sec | f/6.3 | Panasonic GH5 + 12-35mm Lens @ 25mm

Anyone bring marshmallows?
2 Shot Composite
Campfire: ISO 1600 | 2.5 sec | f/6.3 | Panasonic GH5 + 7-14mm Lens @ 7mm
Sky: ISO 1600 | 20 sec | f/4.5 | Panasonic GH5 + 7-14mm Lens @ 14mm 
We were assigned a driver and guide for the remainder of the trip. Wildlife is the most active at sunrise and just before the sun sets, allowing them to rest and conserve energy during the hot afternoon sun. As a result, we split our adventures into two outings each day.

Our Exploration Vehicle
ISO 800 | 1/125 sec | f/4.0 | Panasonic GH5 + 12-35mm Lens @ 35mm
Cruising down a rutted dirt trail in an open canopy 4WD, wind in the hair, the sun setting in the background, and ‘Africa’ by Toto blazing through the speakers is a memory I will treasure forever. The next 3 days of learning about Africa’s flora and fauna were a blur. We saw 4 of South Africa’s ‘Big 5’, with only the buffalo eluding us due to their migration activities at that time of the year.
Larger than life
ISO 200 | 1/400 sec | f/4.0 | Panasonic GH5 + 100-400mm  Lens @ 100mm
The GH5 exceeded expectations in our extensive field test. It's myriad of shortcuts and customisable menus delivers access to your most frequently used functions and settings making it easy to be prepared for unexpected opportunities.

It's fast, accurate hybrid focusing was also essential when trying to capture elusive animals that have evolved over millions of years to try and remain out of sight to potential predators. The thumb joystick made selecting your focus point a cinch, enabling fast composition changes without taking your eye off the subject.

Best Friends
ISO 1250 | 1/500 sec | f/5.8 | Panasonic GH5 + 100-400mm Lens @ 318mm
Most surprising was the real-world difference the 5-axis in-body image stabilisation and how much of a positive difference the Dual I.S. or Dual I.S.2 improved image sharpness when shooting with compatible O.I.S lenses. On safari, the Panasonic Leica DG 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH OIS was definitely the lens of choice, thanks to its Dual I.S.2 compatibility and whopping 200-800mm 35mm equivalent focal range. So many images on this trip would not have been possible without the impressive 5-stop advantage that the combination of in-body and in-lens stabilisation provides, allowing us to confidently exploit the full range of the zoom to create more detail in the image.
True Fact: Zebras are black with white stripes
ISO 640 | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | Panasonic GH5 + 100-400mm f/5.6-6.3mm Lens @ 400mm
A lioness on the prowl for breakfast
ISO 800 | 1/250th sec | f/4.0 | Panasonic GH5 + 100-400mm Lens @ 100mm

Glorious sunset
ISO 200 | 1/800 sec | f/2.8 | Panasonic GH5 + 12-35mm Lens @ 12mm

Our last day in South Africa was marked with a memorable visit to Borite Primary School, located in a rural village neighbouring the national park. We were greeted with a big smiles and an enthusiastic musical performance from the kids.

Kids from Borite Primary School
ISO 200 | 1/2500 sec | f/4.0 | Panasonic GH5 + 12-35mm Lens @15mm
A sizeable donation from Panasonic Australia combined with individual donations from everyone in the group resulted in a total of over AUD$2500 going towards building a much needed classroom for the school. Classroom supplies and sporting equipment were also distributed, allowing the kids to feel a more immediate impact from our visit.

Our South African experience with Panasonic and the GH5 left us with motivation to return and explore what other photographic adventures the country has to offer.
Queue Lion King theme music
ISO 200 | 1/125 sec | f/10.0 | Panasonic GH5 + 100-400 Lens @ 160mm
Word Contribution: Tommy Trinh. Image Contribution: Tommy Trinh & Saul Sheldrick.


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