Panasonic Lumix GH5 Queenstown Tour 2017

[2018-03-28] Turns out Mr Yosuke Yamane has read this article and has emailed me the photo of him and me at the end of this article. Thank you so much Mr Yosuke Yamane! Arigato gozaimashita!

[2018-04-03] I’ve just published my Panasonic Lumix GH5 review

I have just spent three days in Queenstown (New Zealand) attending the Panasonic GH5 launch event. About 60 journalists and industry specialists from the Asia Pacific region were invited as well as the Panasonic team from Japan and a few other countries as well as the local Panasonic New Zealand were also there to support this event.

My GH5 review will come in few weeks time as I’ll still need to do some more testing and analysis. For now I would want to share with you some photos, videos and things I learnt from this event.

But first, I would like to say a big thank you to Panasonic New Zealand (Andrew, Lynda, Nick, Grant.. sorry can’t list all your names) and for organising this event and invited me. Been to some of their previous events before I had pretty high expectation since I was told about this event several months ago, but I was still completely blown away. I can easily imagine how hard it would be to arrange such a big event with so many people coming from all the different countries. But everything were really well organised so big thumb up to the team and also the GO Conference & Incentive team. And THANK YOU FOR NOT PUSHING US OFF THE BUNGEE JUMPING BRIDGE!!!  😀

Panasonic GH5 | Panasonic Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4 | ISO 200 f/16 1/320s
Obligatory plane wing shot

Panasonic GH5 | Panasonic Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4 | ISO 200 f/10 1/640s

Straight after we arrived Queenstown, we were immediately driven to the first event, jet boat ride. For those who don’t know what it is, basically the jet boats are little boats powered by really powerful engines that is designed for travelling on shallow water and some crazy manipulation.  Three jet boats were there already waiting for us so we quickly put on the rain poncho and safety jacket and jump onto the boat. A lot of us have the GH5 and the new Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4 lens on our hand ready to take some photos and videos during the boat trip.

Panasonic GH5 | Panasonic Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4 | ISO 200 f/5.6 1/640s
Shooting the chasing boat. One thing no image stabiliser can help is if your object is moving quickly. I have to make sure the shutter speed is fast enough to avoid any motion blur. 

I took quite a few videos during the ride. I was holding the GH5 with only one hand as my other hand was holding onto the rail so I won’t get throw off the boat. As I was sitting at the last row of the boat I had to hold the camera up above my head to get a clear view. The boat was travelling at quite high speed and it was windy and extremely bumpy. With my hand fully extended, I just couldn’t hold the camera steady at all. But when I reviewed the videos, I was quite amazed by how smooth the videos are.

Unedited 1080p video from GH5.



After the half hour ride, we and our GH5s got really wet. Fortunately no camera was hurt during the jetboat ride. No water damage at all. Panasonic must be pretty confident with GH5’s weather proof design or else they won’t arrange this potentially lethal (to the cameras) activity right at the beginning of the trip.

Panasonic GH5 | Panasonic Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4 | ISO 200 f/5 1/800s
The camera may not look that wet in this photo, but look at the front element and the rain poncho, or the video above and you’ll have some idea how wet we were during the boat ride.

Panasonic GH5 | Panasonic Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4 | ISO 200 f/3 1/2500s

Panasonic GH5 | Panasonic Leica 42.5  f/1.2 | ISO 200 f/1.2 1/125s
Mr Masanori Kouyama (Panasonic Assistant Chief of DSC Product Planning) with his GH5

Some unedited 4k videos from the GH5.



It can’t be a camera launch event without slideshows. There was a long presentation by Panasonic Japan, Australia and New Zealand team about the GH5 and also some more information about the Lumix camera development in general. Some pretty interesting information, I’ve included some of the slides below.

Panasonic GH5 | Panasonic Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4 | ISO 1600 f/3.5 1/60s

Panasonic GH5 | Panasonic Leica 42.5  f/1.2 | ISO 200 f/1.2 1/125s
Mr Yosuke Yamane, Director of Imaging Network Business Division. He officially announced the GH5 few months ago.

8K is obviously the next step for Panasonic. Looking at the time line, I guess 8K on GH6 is a pretty safe bet.  Now, how about invite us to Japan to test the 8K feature on GH6 when the next flagship arrives? :)

Mirrorless camera’s market share is increasing quickly every year. 2016 was an exception because of the Kumamoto earth quake but Panasonic has confident it will be back to the previous growth rate this year. 

Half the sensor readout speed, less shutter shock and no cropping in video mode

There was a fire performance after dinner. It was already dark and a real good test of GH5’s autofocus performance and low light performance. I will talk about the autofocus performance in my full review.

Panasonic GH5 | Panasonic Leica 42.5  f/1.2 | ISO 3200 f/2.5 1/125s

Panasonic GH5 | Panasonic Leica 42.5  f/1.2 | ISO 3200 f/2.5 1/60s

Panasonic GH5 | Panasonic Leica 25mm  f/1.4 | ISO 250 f/1.4 1/20s

There were quite a few demos and things displayed at the dinner venue, including this very interesting live demo of how the DFD feature works. And also how it has improved when compared to GH4.


Here is a sun rise photo I took the next morning

Panasonic GH5 |Panasonic Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4| ISO 200 f/22 2.5s
Second day was started by morning call at 6am, so we can take some sun rise photos. 

And here is a video, also unedited.



Panasonic has organised some really amazing and talented bike riders to show us what they can do at the Gorge road jump park and allow us to test the high speed shooting, slow motion video, autofocus performance of the GH5. Here is one of the 180 fps slow motion video I took. I got some more 180fps video and other bike action photos I will share in my GH5 review.


Panasonic GH5 | Panasonic Leica 42.5  f/1.2 | ISO 400 f/1.2 1/1000s
Mr Hideki Katayama (Panasonic General Manager of Consumer Marketing Division) was looking for a good spot to shoot the bike actions 

We had a helicopter ride to a beautiful mountain location for more photo opportunity. You will see some photos/videos in my GH5 review.

Panasonic GH5 |Panasonic Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4| ISO 200 f/4 1/125s
Mr Yosuke Yamane (Panasonic Director of Imaging Network Business Division) and his team at the Heliport.

Panasonic GH5 |Panasonic Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4| ISO 200 f/16 1/200s
That’s our destination. Another stunning location near Queenstown (Thanks Rebekah!)

Panasonic GH5 |Panasonic Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4| ISO 1250 f/8 1/2000s
Why did I shoot at ISO 1250 on a bright sunny day?  It’s because I was completely blew away by the stunning scenery and forgot to check my camera settings 🙁

When I was chatting with Mr Hideki Katayama, I told him about some of the Panasonic products I really like, such as the GM series camera and the CM1 smartphone. Mr Hideki Katayama quickly showed me his CM1 which has a unique green leather case on it. This green case is a product sample. The green colour didn’t go into production in the end so you wouldn’t be able to find it in the shops.

Panasonic GH5 |Panasonic Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4| ISO 200 f/5 1/8s
Mr Hideki Katayama with his CM1

Below are some short unedited 4K video I took when we were at The Hills golf course/lodge. We arrived there just before sunset. It is a stunning location, I really wish we could spend a bit more time there!

Panasonic GH5 |Panasonic Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4| ISO 3200
The reason of ISO3200 is that I was doing a 15 second long exposure photo just before this and had a ND filter on and aperture at f/20. Then when everyone was leaving, I quickly took this short video and didn’t remove the ND filter, and therefore the high ISO.

I setup the tripod and start taking a few photos and video when everyone was already leaving to the next location. I’m so glad I did that as the photo and video both turned out to be stunning. Sorry my golf kart buddy Teaboy, but I hope you’ll agree it’s worth the wait.


Panasonic GH5 |Panasonic Leica 12-60 f/2.8-4| ISO 200 f/9 1/80s
At the end of the tour at the Hills golf course, in front of  111 pieces The Wolves sculptures. Another stunning location but I secretly think we parked the golf karts at the wrong side. 

Apparently Justin Bieber were also staying at this private lodge when we were there. I didn’t see him or I might invite him to the dinner and sing a few songs for us. But since we couldn’t find Justin Bieber, the executives from the Panasonic Japan and Australia team decided to played some piano together and sang for us after the dinner. While I do have a really cool video of their awesome performance, I think it’s better to keep the video for myself 🙂

To tell you the truth, I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got on the plane fly back to Auckland. The action packed schedule and really long day (6am morning call and back to hotel after 11pm). I also really shouldn’t have stayed up till 2am to post a blog post which means I had only 4 hours to sleep. But it was a really amazing event and I truly enjoyed every minute of it. Lots of opportunity to test out the camera in different way and every thing was extremely well thought and organised. Being able to meet with and have a lot of chance to talk to the Panasonic senior executive and engineering team allowed me to get more insight about their products and plans and understand their products a lot better. The executive and engineering team clearly have a lot of passion in photography and strongly believe in their products. They want to create camera gear that is wanted by the end users.
And I honesty didn’t know how to react when the senior executives from such a big company suddenly walked to my table and say thank you to me during the dinner. You can see how humble and polite they are.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post and I need to go back and work on the GH5 review now.

At the airport just before we depart Queenstown, Mr Yosuke Yamane showed me the photo he took with me the night before. I didn’t want to bother him and ask him to email me the photo, so I just asked if I can take a photo of his photo instead.





Reviewer: Richard Wong

Richard is a multi-award winning wedding/portrait photographer based in Auckland, New Zealand.  Richard’s website is

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