AFTER 50 years of telling stories, Australia's favourite television journalist Ray Martin knows a thing or two about cameras.
So, when he raves about the magic of the new flagship Panasonic Lumix S Series cameras, he's worth listening to.
After all, the veteran 60 Minutes, A Current Affair and Midday Show journalist reckons he's owned almost every Lumix out there.
Martin was joined by tech journalists, photographers and Panasonic officials from across south east Asia for the launch of the Lumix S1 and Lumix S1R in Tasmania.
More than 10 years after Panasonic launched the G1 in 2008, the world's first mirrorless camera, it has unveiled a camera aimed at professionals offering 'full frame without compromise'.
With a high resolution mode capable of a staggering 187 megapixels in the S1R, together with stabilisation of up to six stops, this is one serious piece of kit.
"Lumix starts a new journey today,'' Australian boss Paul Reid declared.
Ray Martin, a former Tassie boy, says he bought his first Lumix camera while on holidays in Noosa.
He needed something rugged to take with him to Indonesia where he was covering the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004.
Camera store staff told him to take a Panasonic as they are a 'tough camera'.
"I've had about 21 Lumixes,'' Martin says of his love affair with the brand. The well-loved television personality has been an avid photographer for years, featuring with legendary landscape specialist Ken Duncan in the documentary Chasing the Light.
His most recent photographic 'assignment' was from Panasonic to test out the new Lumix range, shooting portraits of children and families in Bhutan.
With no manual to work with, Martin admits it was 'hit and miss with the camera' initially. "It changed my photography enormously,'' the Logie-winning journalist said. "The eye piece is amazing."
He said the sophisticated electronic view finder made shooting with his Canon 5D Mark IV 'ordinary'.
One of his most memorable moments was taking a portrait of a 60-year-old who told him he had only had one photo taken of him in his life - an identification shot.
He also told of how young children's faces lit up as they looked at the camera's display of their photograph.
"They had never seen a photo of themselves before it was incredible."
"It's like having a little television with you,'' he said of the 'iPhone' like display on the back of the camera. "It's like this magical mirror."
What impressed him just as much was the dynamic range of the S1 series.
"It was giving me all the surrounds rather than just the face and shoulders. He said he was achieving remarkable portraits with just an F4 lens.
"It's the best camera that Lumix has done and I've got almost all the Lumix cameras."
Watching Martin on a two day shoot around some of Hobart's most spectacular settings you can see his love for photography is even greater, as he says, than his love for writing words.
With photographers, videographers and journalists from Israel to Australia, the launch will not doubt help keep the Apple Isle on everyone's travel bucket list.
Some of the highlights included a performance from the Pakana Kanaplila Aboriginal dance group along with visits with Tasmanian Devils, Tawny Frogmouths birds, echidnas and kangaroos at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.
The cameras and new lenses were launched at Frogmore Creek followed by fashion and wedding shoot at Mona.
One of the highlights was a visit to the historic 'haunted' Shene Estate, home of Poltergeist gin, where journalists sampled some very fine whiskey and gin after watching polo, a barrel charring, and touring the distillery with hosts.
Anne and David Kernke and their family has been conserving the historic buildings for over a decade.
The estate was the country residence of early colonialist Gamaliel Butler with links with King George III, Governor Lachlan Macquarie and World Heritage sites.
Today, in addition to being home to our family it is also home to the Shene Estate Distillery . The Kernke family privately conserves this historic site and are passionate about sharing the story of Shene Estate.
They hope the 'bush telegraph' of social media, following the visit for the Panasonic launch, will help drive even more visitors to their 'road stall' which was recently featured in the New York Times' travel section.
"We see ourselves as conservers of this landscape,'' the family writes on their website.
The family includes daughters Myfanwy and Ceridwen and beloved westie Gillie (Scottish for gamekeeper).
LUMIX S Series pricing and availability in Australia
The LUMIX S1R/S1 will be available in Australia in April 2019.
DC-S1GN-K - Body only: RRP $3599
DC-S1MKIT- Kit with LUMIX S 24-105mm F4 MACRO O.I.S. (S-R24105): RRP $5199
DC-S1RGN-K - Body only: RRP $5299
DC-S1RMKIT- Kit with LUMIX S 24-105mm F4 MACRO O.I.S. (S-R24105): RRP $6899