Hi folks, I recently had one of my photos published on the front cover of a national UK flying magazine and thought it would be nice to share some details on how I took the below shot and what / why I used the awesome Panasonic GH3 for it.
Why the LUMIX GH3 over a DSLR
I choose the Panasonic GH3 for this shot, as I was also filming for an upcoming promotional film and being able to seamlessly switch between video and stills made it a better choice over my other camera which is the Canon 5D Mark III. The other big thing for me was being able to film at 50p (I’m in the UK) in full HD, so I could get some great slow motion later down the line, obviously the Canon does not do this.
I also needed a compact system with fast live view, super fast auto focus and a swivel screen as it was quite an awkward angle to film at. I would be hanging out of a microlight for most of the shoot so knew I would not be able to have any sort of stabilizer / rig high above the Earth at 80mph.
Choosing the Right Lens for the Assignment
A high quality image stabilized lens was also a must, the 24-70 f2.8 lens from Canon does not have IS. The excellent Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 lens was the perfect choice as I needed the flexibility of a zoom and the image stabilization in video mode. Without IS the video would of been unusable. I couldn’t change lenses whilst up in the air so needed something I could shoot wide and get fairly close. I knew I would be able to crop into the image a little if needed, as the Panasonic GH3 has plenty of resolution.
Here’s another shot from the same flight also taken with the same camera / lens combination. Panasonic GH3 and 12-35 Lumix lens.
As you can see from the image the sun was setting and it was fairly dark. I’ve processed the image in Lightroom to bring out the colours a bit and I’ve also cropped into it, quite a bit actually, more then I thought I would be able to get away with using a micro four thirds sensor. I was shooting into the sun too and the lens and camera handled it all just fine.
The image was shot in raw at iso 1250, 1/500s shutter speed and f7.1 aperture. In hindsight I wish I had opened up the aperture a bit and lowered the iso. I didn’t really need to be at f7.1, I could of been at f4 I reckon, being micro four thirds and having a deeper depth of field than full frame at f4. Anyways, the shot came out great and the magazine loved it.
The fact that this shot got a front cover on a national UK magazine goes to show just how good the GH3 is. even at iso 1250 and cropped in quite a bit the image had plenty of detail and dynamic range for a front cover print. Most cameras will do just fine at high iso when viewed on your computer screen but it’s when you print them that you really see just how good or bad the sensor really is.
I’m stoked with the outcome and to be honest I would of struggled to achieve the same results with any other camera. Switching between stills and video on the GH3 is so quick and seamless and the quality of both is right up there.
I hope you like the image, it was one of the most fun photographs I’ve had the pleasure of capturing. Keep a look out on my website for the short film coming out soon, with footage from this flight. It was a beautiful evening and the light was breathtaking!