Boasting a 16-millon-pixel-sensor, interchangeable lenses and Wi-Fi in a palm-sized body, is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 the perfect balance between image quality and pocketability? Read the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 review...
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 review – Autofocus
Panasonic claims that the GM1’s contrast-detection autofocus, which is used across all its G-series cameras, is fast enough to surpass high-end DSLRs that feature phase-detection AF. In use, the AF certainly didn’t disappoint, as it was usually very speedy in finding focus. Primarily, I used the AF-S focusing mode and even in low-light it took only a fraction of a second. An assist lamp, which can be turned on or off, makes focus speeds in low-light even quicker. Unfortunately, continuous AF does not live up to AF-S and takes a lot longer. Although it is still class-leading, it is noticeably slower and more sluggish.
There are various AF modes on the GM1, including face detection, AF tracking, 23-area, 1-area and pinpoint. Face detection is useful for portraits or groups of people, and locks on fairly quickly. AF tracking can be used to track a specific object in the frame by designating the area using the touchscreen. However, like continuous AF, it was neither very accurate nor quick. In 23-area mode, focus is found using 23 large rectangular focus points, and for most scenes, focus is found with great speed.
In general, though, my two ‘go-to’ AF settings were 1-area and pinpoint. The former allows users to define the size of the focus point using a pinch gesture on the touchscreen, and then allocate the point of focus by touching the required position on the screen. This AF mode is speedy, quick to change and precise. Alternatively, pinpoint puts a small cross hair on the screen that users can place across roughly the inner two thirds of the screen. This brings up a small x3, x4, x5 or x6 enlargement of the particular area for users to check focus. Tapping an on-screen option will also allow users to preview the pinpoint at 100% on the screen. This achieves very accurate and consistent focusing.
The same function described for pinpoint is also offered with manual focusing. Tapping the screen will enlarge a section up to 10x, and can preview it at 100%. Furthermore, the GM1 has focus peaking so fine-tuning manual focus is very easy, especially with the aid of the enlargement functions.