Thursday, 27 February 2014

Panasonic Imaging Workshop

Panasonic Brit Blogger, Panasonic Cameras, Panasonic Camcorders

On Tuesday I was invited to Panasonic HQ in Bracknell as part of their Panasonic Brit Bloggers program to attend their Imaging Workshop. It was an amazing experience and we had so much fun there while learning all about their new cameras and camcorders (there are so many!)!

Panasonic Brit Blogger, Panasonic Cameras, Panasonic Camcorders

Panasonic Brit Blogger, Panasonic Cameras, Panasonic Camcorders

Panasonic Brit Blogger, Panasonic Cameras, Panasonic Camcorders

Although it took me 4 hours plus to get there and same for coming home, it was well worth the journey!  For a start, Panasonic HQ is definitely one of the coolest company to work for. Not only do they have their own Museum and fascinating show rooms, they also have, wait for it (we are so gonna buy How I Met Your Mother box set):

Panasonic Brit Blogger, Panasonic Cameras, Panasonic Camcorders

Heated Toilets and Giant Pigeon!

Cool right?! My in laws in Taiwan have a heated toilet as well and it was Godsend during a cold winter! Not only does it feel comfortable to sit on in a cold bathroom, it washes your bottom as well. Very hygienic! We've been looking for one in the UK, but they aren't sold here! With the cold weather, I hope that Panasonic can see that there is a market for it. Please bring in the heated toilets!

And the pigeon? According to the Panasonic ladies, it was part of their Gadget Show Live prop, and they decided to keep it outside their building. It has become a "if you visit Panasonic HQ you must check that giant pigeon out" thing!

Panasonic Brit Blogger, Panasonic Cameras, Panasonic Camcorders
A little gift was waiting for us when we arrived
Panasonic Brit Blogger, Panasonic Cameras, Panasonic Camcorders

Panasonic Brit Blogger, Panasonic Cameras, Panasonic Camcorders

Back to the Imaging Workshop. The lovely and resourceful camera and camcorder expert Fiona talked us through a bit of Panasonic's history (really interesting! Did you know that they started out in 1918 in Japan, also known as Technics in the UK and has won Which? Heritage Award in 2008 for winning most awards across all categories! Impressive!) and what camera and camcorder range they do, including their best selling ones in 2013, continuing range and new products for 2014. We were also introduced to Panasonic Image App, which you can download for free for your iOS or Android phone/ tablet. The app can be used with ANY Panasonic Wi-fi compatible cameras or camcorders, which will be customised with features suitable to the product.

Panasonic Brit Blogger, Panasonic Cameras, Panasonic Camcorders

Panasonic Brit Blogger, Panasonic Cameras, Panasonic Camcorders
Screenshots of my phone, which is Wi-fi connected to TZ55 camera;
the image inside the app was of the view from the TZ55 on my table
So if you have a Panasonic camera or camcorder that has built-in wi-fi, do download this app as it's really cool! Not only can you use your Smartphone as a remote control for your gadget, it can also act as the touch screen your gadget doesn't have!

We had an extended lunch in their Museum room as everyone was enjoying chatting and catching up! I don't think Fiona had anything to eat as we couldn't stop asking her questions!

After lunch, we were given the opportunity to get hands on with the latest camera and camcorders, some of them aren't even on the market yet!

The following cameras and camcorders really impressed me:

SZ200 Bridge camera
- It came out last Summer and was sold out almost immediately! If only if they came out when I was looking for one!

FT5 Tough Camera
- With built in Wi-fi, anti-fog glass, water and shock proof, it makes a perfect camera for outdoor sports as well as kids! And guess what? It's not those bulky silicon covered type of camera! It looked just like a normal camera with metallic case! Just make sure that you keep the battery cover closed properly before dumping it in the water (Can go up to 7 Metres deep)!

Panasonic Brit Blogger, Panasonic Cameras, Panasonic Camcorders

TZ55/ TZ60 Complete Camera
- The brand new TZ55/ TZ60 have an ultra wide 24mm lens (the smaller the number, the wider the view), x20 Zoom, 180 degrees tiltable (up) LCD panel, 15 creative filters, built-in Wi-fi and can take full HD videos. The TZ60 also have a viewfinder and zoom ring to get that proper camera feel!

The camera is perfect for taking selfies without the need to guess where you are in the pic, and you will never be missed again on family pictures! (Have you ever been asked where you were when the picture was taken?!) But then again, if you purposely don't want to be in a picture, with this camera you won't have any excuses left!

V130 Camcorder
- An entry level camcorder. It is the smallest and most affordable camcorder from the Panasonic range

V530/ V550 Level Camcorder
- This camcorder impressed me as it can counter shake, making videos more stable, so it's great for situations where you can't use a tripod. Level camcorder means that if you can't level your camcorder, the camcorder will level the video for you. How cool is that?!

Panasonic Brit Blogger, Panasonic Cameras, Panasonic Camcorders

W850 Twin Camcorder
- Now this is the camcorder of the camcorders! It has
Built-in Wi-fi
Windscreened 5.1 Channel mic (ie cuts out background noise with better voice recording)
Additional 270 degree turnable camera attached to the LCD panel and a separate camera button
Night Vision mode with BSI Sensor
Can act as a Baby Monitor
Equipped with NFC (Near Field Communication)

We spent quite a bit of time on this camcorder as it was just fascinating! It's really a perfect camcorder for families. When you have babies, you can use it as a baby monitor. For younger children you can film them (eg during a nativity play) while taking still images of them, without needing an extra person to take the pictures (quality guaranteed *giggle*) or trying to one hand operate a camcorder and a camera. If you have a cheeky monkey sitting next to you who's doing something funny while you are filming, then you can be sure that you won't miss the action by turning the camera (not the camcorder) to the monkey sitting next to you and take a shot! Brilliant right?!

Panasonic Brit Blogger, Panasonic Cameras, Panasonic Camcorders

Tony, the technical expert at Panasonic (you might have seen him on QVC selling Panasonic products!) has also shown us how the night vision works (he looks like Brody from Homeland through the night vision!), which looked amazingly clear! He has also shown us how W850 worked on their new accessory CTR1 Remote Controlled Pan Tilt Cradle for Camcorders, which answered my question about how else you can remote control a camcorder apart from using the Image App to zoom in and out. The Pan Tilt Cradle (comes on its own or in a V550 Camcorder Kit) is so clever! You can make your camcorder go horizontally and vertically to catch all angles of things, making sure you won't miss a thing! 

Panasonic Brit Blogger, Panasonic Cameras, Panasonic Camcorders

Tony showed us the W850 on the cradle, Wi-fi connected to the Smart TV as well, and as soon as there is movement the camcorder will automatically follow and film, perfect for parties!

Apart from letting us play with their new products and learn about them, Fiona and Tony has been helping us with our imaging questions as well. The following photography tips are certainly useful:

- When you take a picture, always ask yourself this question: Is this interesting?
- Think about the composition of your picture - the blurred out dirty dishes at the back might actually compliment that focused lovely cake in the front
- iA (Intelligent Auto) is the way!
- Visit Lumix G Experience and PanasonicUK YouTube channel for lots of helpful tutorials, tips and tricks. Even if you don't have a Lumix G Camera, some of these might be helpful to you too!

Although the travelling was tiring, I had a great time at the workshop! I'm really glad to be given the opportunity to meet Fiona and Tony. Although there are plenty of help online, it's an amazing opportunity to meet the experts whose main job is to train the retail guys all about Cameras and Camcorders, and learn from them directly!

They have kindly offered us to ask them any questions any time during our time as Panasonic Brit Bloggers as well. So if you have any imaging questions especially if you have a Panasonic camera or camcorder, feel free to leave your question here and I'll be sure to pass them on!

Disclosure: I was invited to their workshop with expenses paid for as part of their ambassador program; all opinions are honest and my own