Panasonic’s Newly-Announced Post Focus Feature Perhaps Not As Awesome As Hoped

Jul 16, 2015

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.

Panasonic’s Newly-Announced Post Focus Feature Perhaps Not As Awesome As Hoped

Jul 16, 2015

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.

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Welp…  Proving once again how accurately I can predict the future, today Panasonic officially announced their focus-after-capture technology, called “Post Focus.”  While it looks like the quality of the final images will be significantly improved over the Lytro Illum since they will be composites of 4K video frames, I don’t see it being very useful.

According to Panasonic, the Post Focus feature works by shooting a burst of images in 4K resolution at 30 frames per second, automatically “shifting the lens to set focus on approximately 50 areas.”  The user can then select a focus point on the touchscreen, and a final image will be saved.  Simple, right?

Well, I’m no genius, but by crunching a few numbers, I concluded that shooting 50 different focus points at 30 fps would mean that it would take nearly two whole seconds to capture a single Post Focus-able image.  Personally, this kills it for me for a couple reasons:

  1. It becomes impractical to use for much else besides still life or landscape photography.  The types of photos where this technology could be really handy, such as child photography, action/sports, macro photography of insects, etc., all happen in fractions of seconds.  Sure, you can still use the feature and settle for a change in perspective for each recorded point of focus, but why not just use AI Servo and shoot in burst mode?
  2. If I’m shooting still life or landscape photography, I’ll just take my time to select the damn focus point I want the first time around.  Besides, how many of us can hold a camera truly still for a 2-second exposure?

Panasonic says that they plan to first introduce the Post Focus feature via a firmware update for the new Lumix GX8 and Lumix FZ300, so we shouldn’t have too long to wait.  And, with the increased stabilization of the GX8, perhaps those 2-second burst won’t be too unattainable.

Just like with all new technology, the first generation is often the worst, so I’m certain it will improve over time.  At least they’re taking the first step, which is always the most important one.

[via Digital Photography Review]

 

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Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.

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10 responses to “Panasonic’s Newly-Announced Post Focus Feature Perhaps Not As Awesome As Hoped”

  1. Arcmor Avatar
    Arcmor

    Would be interesting to know what the size of the file is.

    1. Michel Foucs Avatar
      Michel Foucs

      8gb stills can be pulled from the 4k video

  2. Lee Raymond CM Avatar
    Lee Raymond CM

    If it is 30 shot per second, the absolute max exposure time for each shot is 1/30 of a second which should be quite ok with current image stabilizing technologies. There might be movement between shots but since you are going to pick one of them, it does not matter. In fact, I am hoping the software can be smart enough to create a focus range equivalent of HDR shot (combining a few shots to create one with long depth of field even when the aperture was wide open).

    1. Grogui Avatar
      Grogui

      In 4K Photo Mode, you can select the exposure. So for sport, il will be great (yes Allen you’re wrong). For example, you can shoot a basketball game action wide open and select in post the player that is in focus.

      1. Paganator Avatar
        Paganator

        The problem is that the players will move between each shot of the burst, so each photo will be different. It won’t be choosing your focus distance after the fact so much as choosing from a bunch of different pictures, each focused differently.

        1. Grogui Avatar
          Grogui

          That’s true, but it could help. Did you managed to take to picture of a 2 second action focusing three different player? Me never
          It’s nice feature for amateur sport photograph.

    2. Michel Foucs Avatar
      Michel Foucs

      Focus stacking with stills pulled from post focus 4k is easy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wFRy8VQKuQ

  3. Grogui Avatar
    Grogui

    It would be great macro photography if we can stack the depth of field of the 50 shot by one click: simple focus stacking !!! The only camera that implement internal focus stacking is the Olympus TG-3.

  4. a Avatar
    a

    why are you so mad?

  5. reallydawg Avatar
    reallydawg

    Writing something off you haven’t even tried or experienced. Nice pipe tho.