A very important test for my new GH5...

Sure, the GH5 can work with "legacy" lenses and it can work shooting stage shows in near darkness but can it bring home the bacon on a really tough assignment? I thought I'd take some time this morning to see. 

It was a fun, tough day in the pool. The water temperature was creeping up to 86(f) but the hard charging folks in my lane were loathe to back away from the kinds of intervals they usually do on sets when the water is 78. We ground through much swimming but I saved my real energy for my most definitive test yet of the new GH5. Could it handle full daylight at ISO 200? Would the files fall apart at such a dicey sensitivity setting? Would we get all the color saturation and sharpness we were used to getting at ISO 1600? 

The testing crew was on pins and needles for sure. Why? Well, I think today is the last day I could return the camera for a full refund...

I took no chances with sissy-style autofocus lenses. I precision-attached a proven favorite, the Olympus Pen FT 40mm f1.4. Since this was to be a "real whirled" test I eschewed the false support of a tripod and relied on the in-body image stabilization. 

We planned on having an extensive crew on hand but our digital tech couldn't get his three ergo carts through the pool door and up the little hill. Our grip crew, along with our grip truck, got caught in rush hour traffic on the insidious Mopac "Expressway" (where good commuters go to die from boredom) so we had to make due without the diesel generator, the sky crane and the raft of 18K HMIs. My original plan was to "fly" a giant scrim over the entire pool area and then come back in and emulate the effects of sunlight by using a bank of large HMI lights. Sadly, logistics prevented this critical part of my test. 

We had hired America's best towel fluffer from Miami but her flight into Austin was delayed. She and her three assistants are recovering from their horrendous flight delays over at the Four Seasons Hotel and, as of 8:00 am this morning she was not returning my calls...

On the call sheet for this test was a small (twelve persons) crew of grass stylists who were supposed to be on site by 5 a.m, this morning  removing any brown grass in the frame and replacing it with bright green grass that we had flown in from Scotland but when they arrived the team of barristas we'd arranged to be on site was nowhere in sight so the grass experts left in protest. Can't blame them. Who can style turf without a good cup of coffee?

I had to send my two assistants home sick. Once we lost the DIT and the turf crew they began to suffer from existential angst, which both assured me was a real condition and covered extensively in the beta of the DSM-VI. Just go look it up. I'm sure it's there. Photographic Existential Angst or "PEA". Few cures, many symptoms. 

Trooper that I am I went boldly ahead with the critical towel testing pretty much on my own. The almost final straw was when I got the text from our model, Karlie Kloss. Her Toyota Corolla had broken down just a few miles from her secret home in Pflugerville, Texas and she was waiting for a tow.  Now I was starting to panic because I'd been led to believe that few could wrangle a Marvel-themed towel like Karlie. 

Fortunately one of my lane mates agreed to hold the towel. I proceeded with understandable trepidation. Could Anne really manage to hold the towel exactly as Karlie Kloss would have? Who would do Anne's nails? 

Amazingly we were able to pull it off. The towel went up and the necessary shots were taken. I've analyzed the nano-contrast and the bokeh and integrated it into my DXO data. 

The upshot? Even without a vast crew of highly trained helpers we were able to do a successful test of the GH5 and the best towel ever made for swimmers. My conclusions? My verdict? My assessment?

Yeah. The towel looks pretty good. Now we'll all sleep just a little bit better.......


  1. Kirk. Is the towel a collectible? Will you be auctioning it off? How can I get one?

  2. Sorry, I've bonded with the towel and now hold it in even higher esteem than my old Leica M3. I know it is Velben and naft but what can I do? Once I touched the towel it became collectible. Send along a check for $1500 and I'll sign both the check and the towel and send it to you via post. You lucky devil.

  3. Wait. I'll give you $1,800. Brian (Towel Collectors Inc.) See our website! @ crazy-towels.ru

  4. Hard to get good help these days.

  5. So I gather you will not return the camera for a full refund?

  6. I dunno. The grass looks a little too light to me.

  7. We'll take that up with our in-house color grader. Or just fire him and get someone who can make grass sing!

  8. I've been reading your blog nearly every day for several years, Kirk. This post was the most humorous ever. Besides the info you share, your writing talent keeps me entertained. Kudos!

  9. Spill the beans Tuck. Which lens was used for the red wigged wiggler whirling in your previous post?

    Speaking of... Visualize Whirled Peas.


  10. The lens was the ancient 50-90mm f3.5 Pen FT half frame lens for the original Olympus Pen system.

  11. Too much caffeine? Swimming in water that is too warm? On the plus side, I thought that the skin tones on Spiderman were true to life.

  12. To paraphrase Agent Smart, would you believe that I had the exact same thing happen to me this morning. Que le mode est petit!

  13. I do have to apologize to you for giggling (and an unexpected snort of laughter) through the entire reading of your well intentioned article. Through the trials and tribulations of others do learn and endure. Oh, and to laugh (that Harold Lloyd/Charlie Chaplinesque narrative). Again my apologies. But as an aside, I can't quite scrap up enough cash to bid seriously for that now uncommon classic masterpiece of a beach towel. Any way you'd consider a limited edition art print series? May have enough change in my future projects/tip jar for that. : )



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