Well, That Didn’t Go As Expected…

Special Post by Joe Farace

In a previous blog post, Do You Hate Your Camera, I talked about problems I was having with my (up till last year) dependable Panasonic Lumix GH4. I love shooting portraits and glamour with it in the studio with its aftermarket battery grip and sharp and image stabilized Lumix G Vario 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.

But last year during every studio portrait session, after shooting about 100 exposures the camera would make a loud beep and crash. Initially the image I just made was intact but as the problem continued I lost the photo I just made when it shut down. When I turned the cameras back on, it would only work for a few exposures before crashing again.

When last we visited this topic, Panasonic diagnosed the problem as a battery issue and to some extant that made sense. After all, according to Wikipedia, “Lithium-ion batteries age. They only last two to three years, even if they are sitting on a shelf unused.”

My friend Mark Toal kindly loaned me a brand new battery, which I appreciated. After all, a new Panasonic 7.2V, 1860mAh DMW-BLF19 Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack costs $61.99. Doesn’t that price seem a bit high to you? By comparison, two third-party replacement DMW-BLF19 batteries and a battery charger are available from Amazon for $21.56! Panasonic has warned against using third-party batteries, so I haven’t tried that solution.

Fast forward to this past Thursday, when I had a portrait session scheduled with the lovely model Ashley Hannah (at left.) The day before the shoot I charged the new DMW-BLF19 and noticed the charger indicated it was fully charged after ten minutes or so. I left it on charge for another hour or so just in case.

I backed up in other ways for the shoot: Firstly by charging my original and presumably worn out battery but secondly by charging the battery in my Olympus E-M5 with new (to me) HLD-6 grip to use if all else failed.

Ashley Hannah is a delightfully beautiful model to photography but right around the 120’th exposure, the camera crashed. A few minutes later, it crashed again, so I replaced the new battery with the original (and presumably worn out) battery and shot another 138 exposures without incident. When I posted the above photograph on Instagram on Thursday (follow me at @joefarace) I got a call informing me that a refurbished GH4 was on the way. If this camera works OK, I will be able swap it for my defective GH4. If that doesn’t solve the problem then the cause must lie somewhere else. As before, I will keep you updated. Stay tuned.



If you’re interested in learning how I shoot portraits, like the above, and how I use cameras, lenses and lighting in my home studio, please pick up a copy of Studio Lighting Anywhere that’s available from Amazon.com with new copies selling for $15.73 with used copies starting at $13.73, as I write this. Get the new one, which seems like a heckuva deal.