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Focus Techniques with Panasonic Cameras
  • There has been a lot of talk about Panasonic AF especially with the release of the GH5. Have to admit I'm disappointed in Video AFC myself. So here is my AFC tip on my G85 and I think this applies to most recent Panasonic releases including GH5. I have set the 1/2 press shutter button to stop auto focusing. This way when I have focus and don't feel it will be changing for awhile 1/2 press the shutter and lock focus no more unintentional in and outs. The downside is when I let it go it is sometimes hesitant to refocus. I get around this by setting the Fn1 on my G85 to AFL Lock which forces it to focus. I use to rely on the back button but this puts focus control all in range of the index finger and for me less chance of disrupting the camera while motivating focus off or on. I can also use the touch focus on the back screen which refocuses when you drag the focus box to a new location which also works great paired with the 1/2 press shutter focus lock. In this way if I want to risk using AFC I can at any moment. Hope that helps and would love to hear anyone elses tips on the AFC issue.

  • 11 Replies sorted by
  • @Scot

    I have set the 1/2 press shutter button to stop auto focusing.

    How can you set up that? I think it works all the time with continuous AF. Keeping half press is not easy and there is a risk of stopping the video if pressing a little harder. Why not just use AF-lock button to stop and start autofocusing?

  • Interesting tips. I've found using the touchscreen on the app for single point af to be quite useful when using my G7 on a gimbal. It obviously falls down when the subjects unpredictable but a lot of the time you're trying to track a person and keep them in the same area of the frame. Can't go too wrong putting it on left or right upper third line.

  • @Vesku Good question changed it long time ago I think by turning the Shutter AF to off the net effect is no auto focus while shutter is 1/2 pressed. This also allows me to prefocus before I start shooting on a controlled scene without risking the camera refocusing on shutter press start. You of course could reverse the buttons for similar net effect but I like it this way. On my G85 and GX85 the difference between a 1/2 and full press was significant enough that risk of turning it off is minimal IMO but you have a valid point. As to why not the AF-lock button I find it more natural using Fn1 I would sometimes fumble to get the right positioning when using AF-lock.

  • I seen video on FB about GH5 AF solution. I dont have link now but this is description from youtube below. It works very good for gimbal with focus in the centre. Did not tryed this in not center point yet. Works on my GH4 so it should on G85 as well.

    "Auto Focus settings in order as you find on the gh5 menu Hit the like button.

    1 set AF/AE Lock to AF-On 2 Quick AF. Turn On 3 Eye Sensor Af. On 4 Pinpoint AF Time. Set To Short 5 Af Assist Lamp. Turn On 6 Focus Release Priority. Set both options to Focus. 7 AF+MF. Turn On 8 AF Speed Af Sensitivity turn off

    Used Custom Multi press Save and Select under neath it press C1 keep the + in the middle with No focus points set otherwise it will hunt "

  • @konjow I saw that video as well and tried the settings (other than Eye Sensor and Assist Lamp) and initially I didn't see any difference until I went to the YT video that also mentioned the very last step about the custom C1 and C2 focus settings with No Focus points selected. Funny how much this improves the AF when most people will probably never mess with the C1, C2, C3 focus settings (not to be confused with Custom dial C1, C2, C3 settings).

  • I'm interested in this too. One thing that confuses me about autofocus on Panasonic camera's. What is the difference between Continuous Autofocus in the menus and AFS/AFF-AFC on the dial next to viewfinder?

    Does the dial do anything in video mode? Does it do different things in continuous autofocus mode?

  • @Joewickert

    In my GH4 and GH3:

    Continuous autofocus in video menu must be ON if I want camera to AF all the time.

    If the AF lever is in AFS or AFC the camera autofocuses (menu must be ON), in M position always manual focus.

    When the AF lever is in AFS the autofocus start is fast and precise in video.

    When the AF lever is in AFC the autofocus is hunting and unreliable in video start.

    1 area works best in 4k.

  • @vesku

    Great info. Thanks.

    And do you set first lever setting to AFF or AFC in the menu?

    Is there a manual anywhere where Panasonic explains all these different modes???

  • @Joewickert

    If we are talking about video AF I think the AFS/AFF/AFC settings in the menus does nothing.

    If the AFF causes hunting in video start you should use AFS.

    Manuals say nothing about this. What camera do you have?

  • The GH5 focus system is interesting. It does provide new AF configuration options for both Photo and Video that I haven’t messed with much (yet). Other than those options and some feature tweaks (e.g., 49 to 225 focus points), the configuration and physical operation of the GH5 AF system (the buttons you press and the menu items you select) seems largely unchanged from the GH4.

    Personally, I have found that the configuration and physical operation of the GH camera focus system (including the behavior of the focus system and interplay of AF, MF, AF+MF, Video operation, Creative Movie operation, Photo operation, Video Menu, Photo Menu, Focus Sub-Menu, and Focus Lever settings) to be a bit confusing. I do wish Panasonic would make some adjustments to the way that AF and AF+MF are configured to improve functionality.

    Suggestion 1: AF+MF, this function should permit manual focus without first achieving focus using the AF system (i.e., MF+AF). I know the intended function is to allow MF only after autofocus, but I think it would provide better functionality to allow MF at all times. You can approximate this using MF Focus Lever setting + AF-ON setting, but AF-ON will only allow AFS, not AFC (when the Focus Lever = MF), see Suggestion 3, below.

    Suggestion 2: AF+MF, this function should permit manual focus with AFC and AFF engaged in Photo mode, at least when the Focus is locked (AFL=ON) or as above, before AF is engaged. Currently MF after AF is locked does not work when AFC or AFF are used in Photo mode.

    Suggestion 3: AF-ON function should allow for AFC when in the MF setting. As far as I can determine when the Focus Lever = MF, the AF-ON function will use AFS, only. In fact, if AFS/AFF is set to AFF in the menu, it reverts to AFS (and then disables menu selection) when the Focus Lever is set to MF.

    As you can probably tell, I’d like the ability to use AFC, but lock it down/fine tune the starting focus with MF, both for photo and video. I often find myself in situations where the subject is difficult for AF system to pick out and can move in unpredictable ways once capture has started. So what I need would probably be called MF+AF(C). For example, deer hiding in the brush before bolting across a field, a bird hiding in the reeds before taking flight, an alligator in the bushes.

    The best I seem to be able to configure with the GH5 to mostly achieve my intent, is as follows:
    Use PASM mode (Photo)
    Photo AFS/AFF = AFS in the menu
    Focus Lever = AFS
    Video Continuous AF=On

    In PASM, autofocus & lock (push the AF/AE Lock, can’t use the shutter half-press)
    Manually focus, then start the movie with the movie button (this is why you can’t use the shutter half-press, above)
    If the subject moves a little, I can manually adjust focus.
    If the subject moves a lot/unpredictably, push the AF/AE lock button to disengage AFL and let AFC take over.
    Snap pics during movie.
    Not ideal.

    I'd like to configure this type of MF+(C)AF directly in the Photo modes.

  • Hey Guys

    Really useful tip on autofocus on GH5 : turn on Synchro Scan setting for fine adjustments of shutter angle and set to 179 degrees. The theory seems to be that a faster shutter than 180 degrees appears to allow an extra focus cycle per framer and 179 vs 180 has negligible difference on picture quality. Whatever the case, it looks like it works. As always, better performance above 24fps.