Andy Westlake examines the Panasonic Lumix GX80 mid-range compact system camera
For autofocus the GX80 uses a contrast detection system, and as usual Panasonic offers a huge number of different modes.
You can choose face detection or subject tracking modes, allow the camera to choose the subject from a 49-area grid spread across almost the entire frame, or specify any subset of those points as the focus region.
Alternatively, you can select the focus area manually, and there’s even a pinpoint mode for focusing on especially fine details in the scene. During video recording, you can also smoothly pull focus from one subject to another simply by tapping the touchscreen.
When used with Panasonic’s own lenses, the GX80 can also employ the firm’s own Depth from Defocus (DFD) technology. This uses knowledge of the lens’s optical characteristics when the image is out of focus to speed up autofocus. However, with almost all Micro Four Thirds lenses, autofocus is extremely fast and essentially silent. Indeed, with static subjects there’s no apparent speed penalty when using Olympus lenses that don’t support DFD, so existing owners needn’t worry about having to change their lenses.