So, this time last week I just started my journey from my home in Essex to drive the M25/M4 journey to Panasonic HQ in Bracknell for my first meet up with the other #PanasonicBritBloggers and to have a look and play about with the 2014 Panasonic imaging products – that’s cameras and camcorders :D
I joined the M25 and stopped in my first traffic jam of the day…arrrgh! I hate traffic jams with a passion, and to hit one so soon did not set me up in good stead. I put traffic alerts on the radio to see what was up and crawled along, wishing that it would all be over soon and I could gain back speed and be on my way again.
Having looked at directions before leaving, it was estimated that it would take about an hour and half to drive there, so I gave myself two hours. Hitting my 2nd, 3rd and 4th jams I was wanting to cry and wishing I’d given myself 3 hours!!
But, once I got off the M25 and onto the M4, it was smooth sailing and I made it with 5 minutes to spare!
Stopping to take a photograph of the building (of course) I walked inside to see some of my fellow bloggers already there, some faces I recognised, and others were new. I grabbed my name badge and we all chatted whilst we waited for the last few bloggers to arrive from the train station.
In this post I’m just going to tell you about my experience of this event and cover the cameras and camcorders in another post or two – seriously, you guys know me by now – I took close to 100 photographs that I’m sorting through, and it’s easier to break my post up!!
Up we went to the first floor and into one of the training rooms. I sat at a table with Nadine from JuggleMum whom I met last year at another blogger event, Jacinta from Jacintaz3 (ditto!) and Charlotte from BericeBaby whom was a new face in person, but whose blog I’ve been reading recently. We swapped nightmare driving stories and found that we actually don’t live too far from each other, so next time, I think we might have to carpool and save on petrol!!
There were of course 6 other bloggers (there are 10 of us #PanasonicBritBloggers in total) and I’ll introduce them as I write this post.
Grabbing coffee and biscuits, we all clocked the memory card, notepad and pen that we each had at our place setting ^_^ Sad to say I didn’t take many notes as I was too busy laughing with all the other ladies, playing with cameras and generally having a good time – that’s what happens when you get a bunch of chatty bloggers together!
Helen, our Panasonic Tech Advisor for the day introduced herself and began to tell us a little history about Panasonic and its founder.
Panasonic was founded in 1918 in Osaka, Japan by Konosuke Matsushita, a young entrepreneur who was to become one of the most influential industrialists of the 20th Century.
I’ve been a long time buyer of Panasonic products – my first TV when I moved out of home was a Panasonic, so was my first stereo! I’m in love with their Lumix range of cameras, so to be an ambassador for this brand is a great honour for me and I can only hope that I do the title justice for the coming year!
Since 1918 there have been a variety of names associated with Panasonic: including National, Matsushita Electric Co, Technics.
I totally didn’t know that Technics was part of Panasonic – in fact, I don’t think any of us did – I used to love my Technics stereo stack system (God, I sound old!)
Helen went on to tell us about awards that Panasonic has won over the years, including a very proud 2008 Heritage Award from Which? This was awarded to them because that had won more awards across all categories than anyone else! Amazing right?
Panasonic are very proud of their Which? Awards because they are awarded from a completely independent body.
Which? is completely independent – we have no owners, shareholders or Government departments on our back: this means we work on behalf of you, the consumer, and nobody else so you’re assured you’re getting the very best advice that is available. By countering the chaos of misleading information and bewildering choices that people face all the time, we work so consumers can feel truly confident – and powerful vested interests can be kept in check.
And reading that information from Which? I bet you can see exactly why Panasonic would be proud (I know I would be!)
Today, Panasonic manufactures a vast range of products and sells across the globe – regularly achieving top reviews and rewards.
During our lunch break we went into the room next door – the Panasonic museum where we could see all of their awards proudly displayed…
…along with Panasonic electronics from years gone by – great for a nostalgia kick, I’m sure my dad had this exact same video camera!
In fact, I think he had this video player too! Oh how I remember those top-loading VCRs! Everything looks so ancient now doesn’t it? But I find this sort of thing fascinating.
There was also a timeline about Panasonic which I really should have stood and read about for longer – maybe if I get to go back I will ;)
Both before and after lunch we were introduced to the different 2014 imaging collections, including compact, Lumix G and camcorders.
Whilst looking at the waterproof cameras I asked how to prevent the fogging up of the lens which always happens to me – Leyla from This Day I Love gave a great tip – to put toothpaste on and then rub it off (of course!) to prevent this from happening. How does she know? She’s a scuba diver! Great tip and one that I can’t wait to try out on our current waterproof camera (a Lumix DMC-FT2) at the next underwater photoshoot opportunity!
I’ll take this opportunity to tell you about the other bloggers – Laura from The Life and Times of the Working Mum, Sarah from Sussex Mummy (we’ve met before at another blogger event!), Danielle from Blog by Baby, Cat from Yellow Days and finally, Angela from This Is Life. I love that blogging can bring people from all walks of life together :)
And why the random toilet photo? Because it’s a Japanese toilet that WARMS YOUR BUTT!! How awesome is that on a freezing cold morning!! It’s not available in the UK, but they have one in the ladies loos at Panasonic HQ ^_^ Several of us went and took photos of it!!!
Once we were shown the range of cameras and camcorders, it was time to have more of a tinker about with them – that’s what our memory cards were for – any photos/videos we took could be stored on those – although, I ended up having a bit of private tuition from Tony the Tech Guy who gave me a couple of lessons on my current Lumix camera – DMC-FZ200. I had complained that they had got rid of the fireworks setting on this, and was now having to mess about trying to figure out what to do now – Tony soon put me right, so I’ll be able to put those lessons to the test when we are back in Florida this summer! So as it turns out, I didn’t end up really playing with the camcorder I had been assigned afterall -___-
After a morning and afternoon of camera play and chatter and lots of laughs, it was time to say goodbye and for me, face a nightmare return journey home – yes, I was plagued with more traffic jams on the way back *sobs of frustration*
On the way in, we’d all spotted the giant pigeon sculpture in front of the building. It was explained that it was a prop at a past trade show when Panasonic launched their 8x zoom camera campaign. It happens to be the most photographed thing at Panasonic HQ!!
In my rush first thing I didn’t take a photo, but I did on the way out – oh how I wished a real pigeon had sat beside it!!
So there’s my day at Panasonic HQ and my first post as a #PanasonicBritBlogger. I can’t wait to tell you about some of the cameras in their 2014 range including the SZ8 compact, LZ40 bridge camera, FT5 ‘tough’ camera, the Lumix G range and the W850 camcorder.
Look out for these posts, and I’ll leave you with my last shot of the day…still can’t quite believe I went to Panasonic HQ!
Disclosure: I am a Panasonic Brit Blogger and was invited to attend this event at Panasonic HQ. I was compensated for my travel expenses. All thoughts and photographs are my own.