How do you photograph a moment or an expression that occurs only for a split second?

May 8, 2018

How can you reliably capture a kid’s bat striking the baseball, a snowball smashing into one’s face, the instant the eagle swoops a fish out of the river, or perhaps the moment a water balloon bursts?

(First, let’s assume you are using a camera kit under $1000 before answering this question)  A normal response might be to program your camera for a fast shutter speed, turn on your continuous shooting mode, and hope you time it right!  This is actually a pretty good answer, but I can take it one step further thanks to some cool technology Panasonic-Lumix has put inside many of their cameras.  This awesome technology is called 4K-Photo.

Recently I had the chance to use this technology at a hands-on photography class put on by John Muchow at our Springfield store.  The class focused on creative photography through the use of various shutter speeds.  In one segment of the class, John would count down from 3 and then pop water balloons with a push pins.  The idea was to use a fast shutter speed and freeze the water immediately after the balloon popped.  If you were lucky, you captured images in which the water is still in the shape of the balloon.  After we were done I spoke with many of the students in his class who were shooting Canon & Nikon DSLR’s, asking them how they felt they did with the water balloons (John probably popped around 8 balloons total).  Most of them responded by saying they nailed the shot 1 or 2 times (out of 8).  This makes sense considering these cameras are capable of shooting between 3-7 frames per second.

So how was I able to capture this moment 100% of the time?  I used a Panasonic & the 4K photo mode.  The camera is firing off at 30 frames per second at 8.5 megapixels.   In some cases, I was firing 10x as fast as others in the class.  How come the Panasonic shoots so fast?  Panasonic has found a clever way of repurposing their 4K video technology and showing you images frame by frame instead of in a video.  The photos below are some examples I shot at the class.  All of this was done with a sub $1000 Panasonic camera & lens.   If that isn’t amazing, there are even sub $500 Panasonic cameras that have this same tech too!  Or….if the budget is a little greater, Panasonic has new 6K photo mode which gives you 18 megapixel photos.

The bottom line is… if you are trying to capture a moment that happens in a split second, check out a Panasonic camera with 4K Photo Mode at your local Creve Coeur Camera!