Wildlife Photography and LUMIX
When we consider the different genres of photography, fewer are mentioned more regularly than wildlife and animal photography, not least because of how difficult it is to execute well. From keen amateur to the seasoned professional, there will always be scope for trying to get that pin sharp, perfect image of an animal in its natural habitat.
However, nature waits for no one, and with challenges such as unpredictable movement, camouflage and continually changing light conditions, it's easy to see why you need your kit to perform well when out shooting wildlife. In this article, we're going to be looking at how to get your LUMIX performing at its best when you're out looking for the perfect snap.
What needs to be considered?
When we begin to shoot any wild or even domestic animal, we need to be ready for unpredictability. For us to shoot successful wildlife photography, we need all of the main components in any camera need to come together and do so quickly and efficiently. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the main mechanisms you’ll need working perfectly for a successful wildlife shoot.
Quick and unpredictable movement means a shutter speed that can capture your subject, even when moving, to degrees of pin-sharp clarity and accuracy. Generally, a shutter over 1/125 of a second is adequate for everyday shooting, but wherever fast movement emerges, it's always safer to ensure we get as fast a shutter as possible if we want that perfect freeze frame.
Never far from the shutter-speed is the aperture. This causal relationship means that one will forever be changing the other. If we're aiming for a nice, fast shutter speed, then the first thing we should be looking at is a wide aperture. In these instances it is usually the case that wider means better.
Where the aperture fails to get the width we need, the ISO sensitivity can step in to increase that shutter speed further still.
Lens and Focal Length
Your choice of lens and focal length is imperative when it comes to the types of wildlife you're going to be shooting. If, for example, you're on safari, you'll be incredibly limited in your proximity to the subject, meaning you’ll need a lens with a substantial optical zoom. It's advised to have a lens capable of 200mm and above in these instances. Where this is the case, you need to be wary of the fact that any shooting done in telephoto-territory (70mm and above) means you'll have a heightened sensitivity to movement when shooting handheld. Therefore, your shutter speed needs to be faster still. It's often at this point that any photographer worth his or her weight starts to realise that the relationship between focal length, shutter, aperture and ISO is vastly important when shooting wildlife and luckily, LUMIX have the technology at hand to help you.
The LUMIX G9 and LUMIX GH5
When considering the components mentioned above in the context of camera models, the mechanisms and processing speeds of the LUMIX GH5 and the more recent LUMIX G9 stand out. These cameras hold superb specs for the likes of shooting wildlife and other unpredictable subjects. Let's take a look at the main reasons why.
1. Interchangeable lenses.
Both models take a range of lenses from super wide aperture fixed focus to impressive zoom. All you need to do is identify what it is you're going to be shooting and affix the appropriate lens.
2. 20MP Four Thirds Sensor
Both models hold an impressive amount of quality in their sensors, but with light, portable bodies. This means you can get all the quality, colour punch and processing speed you could possibly need when shooting quickly, whilst avoiding any extra time unpacking and having gear checked at customs when travelling.
3. Super-Fast AF
Both bodies have an incredibly fast aptitude for gripping focus on a subject quickly, particularly in continuous mode. They also harbour a huge 225 autofocus points across their AF system, making them incredibly sensitive to movement.
The GH5 also has an impressive 9 FPS burst when shooting with continuous AF. This is where the G9 really begins to shine, as Lumix’s newer model contains a huge 20 frames per second. This FPS is perfect for firing off shots in quick succession, both while your cheetah darts out of frame or your vulture glides in for the landing.
4. ISO Setting
Both bodies harbour the ability to shoot up to 25600 ISO (expanded) and the likelihood of the sensor being able to take the brunt of this without the introduction of too much noise is relatively high. Like anybody, the noise will come eventually, but knowing you have that push in sensor sensitivity at your fingertips almost wholly eliminates the slower shutter speed problem.
5. Dual IS
The Dual Image Stabilisation is a crucial added extra on both the GH5 and the G9. It's not always going to be possible to set up on a tripod or even a monopod - sometimes we don't have the time. If you're shooting long distances handheld, then the Dual IS is a precious setting.
No matter what adventure you’re on, be it from your kitchen window or on the back of a safari truck, you're always going to need the same capabilities from your camera kit and lenses. Wildlife is far from the easiest genre of photography, but with this information and the Panasonic LUMIX range at hand, you're in a perfect position to get started.