Griffin Hammond - Film Making With Panasonic GH5 in Malaysia

Griffin Hammond, the Panasonic GH5 ambassador was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia speaking on documentary film making. One of the perks of leaving Olympus Malaysia, was the freedom to receive invitations to attend such cool events, and actually be there!

Griffin Hammond speaking for Panasonic Malaysia event. 

It was an event to showcase the capabilities of the new Panasonic GH5 which is regarded as a cinematography power house. Griffin Hammond flew in all the way from the US to speak about his experience as a film maker using the Panasonic GH-series cameras, starting from early days of GH1. What caught me by surprise was that Griffin did not start out as a photographer, in fact he had almost zero basics in photography or video shooting and he courageously  dived right into the world of film making with the Panasonic GH1. He specializes in documentary and has made some successful films, making it huge over the years. His documentary film "Sriracha" was a multi-award winning film and was shot entirely with Panasonic GH3. It was no surprise that Panasonic took notice of Griffin and offered him a role as their ambassador.

The world of film making was alien to me. I am, after all, just a mere, humble photographer. Nevertheless, I fully understand and acknowledge the importance and rise of film making, since most cameras these days come with versatility to shoot high quality video. Attending Griffin Hammond's talk on film making was an eye opener to me, exposing myself to a whole new world of possibilities. Hearing Griffin's background story, his motivation to shoot film and the process behind his film making were nothing short of inspirational. I needed that push, that reminder that art is a lot more than just photography, and there is more to see and experience. Griffin not only generously shared his work with us, but also step by step process on what goes behind the scenes of his conceptual planning, shooting and editing process. If Griffin were to come to Malaysia to conduct a full day film making workshop, I would definitely sign up.

I think some of you may start to question what the heck I was doing in a Panasonic event. I was invited, and yes, there is definitely a possibility of me trying out and reviewing their newer products. The Panasonic people expressed their interests in working with me and since I have been deeply involved in the world of Micro Four Thirds, I figured, why not?

Perhaps, a photography review of the Panasonic GH5 would be awesome. Maybe that will happen. No please do not ask me to do any video reviews, not yet at this moment. Please allow me time to learn and improve myself first!

I did not like the first image since it has very busy background, so I asked if Griffin would pose for me with a simpler background. He obliged! And I thought black and white worked much better for this shot. 

Lastly, I would like to share a very meaningful quote I heard from Griffin today:

"A 100,000 dollars camera is not 50 times better than a 2,000 dollars camera"

He said that in reference to laws of diminishing return. I shall let you sit on that and do let me know what you think. You may feel free to disagree!


  1. I was expecting longer write up or topic he was carrying. good thing now this blog is not all about olympus anymore. The latest em1ii was technological breakthrough but overkill for my need, and I'm looking for camera which has better video capability.

  2. You might have just "personally" impressed Griffin by asking for a redo on that portrait, showing your attention to detail and your "perfectionism" and yes a BIG YES to his quote...they're just tools that someone has to use....but i still want one the $100K camera *lol*

  3. Have to agree on diminishing returns, the old line of the best camera you can have is the one in your hand is so true in my book.
    Now Panasonic and Olympus reviews etc. That sounds good Robin.

  4. Olympus and Panasonic are like two siblings. They disagree on minor details but both work towards the same overall goal. Go for it. Micro Four Thirds is more then one system. Both of the two major MFT systems have strengths and weaknesses. But they play well together for the most part. And between the two we are all getting a truly amazing system of optics and accessories of every type to fit every need. Have fun with what you are doing. The rest of us will have fun along with you. You will probably get a kick out of their 4K/6K photo. Basically it is video for still photographers. Video shot for the purpose of extracting quality stills from a high quality (stop action capable) video stream. I have a Panasonic (FZ1000, not MFT) and my Olympus EM5 II. Both get used and each has a special place in my photography.

  5. Griffin is great! He & Nick produce a very good podcast for filmmakers (on YouTube also). I'm not a video guy but a lot of his discussion about creative processes are interesting to me. Nice to hear Panasonic doesn't cause anxiety and you can focus on M4/3. Some comments in your early LX100 and Panny 14mm sounded like you felt you were cheating Oly. Panny has some good stuff and there's more reason to use it with Oly than not. It is a real benefit of the system.

  6. Robin,
    It would be awesome if you would review the GH5 as a stills camera. There have been very few of those. Usually we read a one sentence comment tacked onto a review of its video capabilities which were never in question. A Robin Wong comparison with the E-M1 mk ii would be terrific. Good luck on your journey!

  7. Robin, I think you will love some of the Panasonic products. I have olympus E3 and E510. I loved the olympus 43rds lenses. But after getting a GM5, stepping into m43rds. I find the Panasonic lenses more interesting. Also the G85/G80 is like a baby GH5 at a fraction the cost and seems better than the OMD's.
    I also don't like that Olympus m43rds bodies don't know how to use the Aperture rings that Panasonic lenses have.

  8. If you do get a chance to do a photography review of the GH5, I would love for you to shoot raw+JPEG and take a really good look at the JPEG files. The reason I ask this is because certain sections of the GH5 media release relate to advanced JPEG image generation and caught my eye, namely:

    "Multi-pixel Luminance Generation renders clear, sharp images by referring to a 9x larger area of pixel information during the de-mosaic process for precise detail reproduction. With Intelligent Detail Processing, the characteristic of every single pixel is analyzed to detect whether the pixel is located at a flat, detail or edge part of the picture. Optimum processing according to the characteristic of each pixel is then applied. This results in high-precision yet natural images with stunning detail suppressing false colors at its edges.

    "Also, Three Dimensional Color Control detects not only hue and saturation, but also brightness, and applies optimum control according to the value of each factor. This achieves rich color reproduction from shadows to highlights of the image. The conventional Multi Process NR (Noise Reduction) is upgraded to High Precision Multi Process NR. It boasts 4x the noise identification accuracy compared to the previous engine and preserves details even after the noise reduction process. "

    All the above hints that Panasonic have gone to a great deal of trouble to generate outstanding JPEG files, but most reviewers essentially ignore it all and go straight to the raw files, as processed in their favourite raw processor of choice. I wish someone (you??) would break this trend.