Panasonic tackles Lytro-like ‘shoot now, focus later’ photography

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Lytro has been trying to convince the world that we want to be able to play with the focus areas in our photographs post-hoc, albeit using its elegant-to-a-point technology. Panasonic seems to have taken this crusade to heart, and disclosed that it’s working on what sounds like a less sexy-sounding but more practical brute-force approach to the problem.

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The company seems to be combining its fast sensor readout (240fps for the latest sensor), its Depth-from-Defocus autofocus system (the DFD system calculates distance-to-subject by comparing two images with different characteristics in its out-of-focus areas), and its 4K burst mode at 30 frames per second with up to 50 different focus areas to create a focused-everywhere photo. After that, you’ll tap the subject you like and the camera would apply the appropriate and accurate blur based on its database of lens-focus data.

Panasonic has dubbed this feature “Post Focus” and plans to offer firmware upgrades to the cameras announced at the same time, the Lumix GX8 and FZ300, as well as future cameras.

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On a more mundane front, Panasonic also announced a couple of lenses in development. Its current 25mm f1.4 lens dates back to 2011, long before its current autofocus technologies. The company has announced that it’s working to bring a 25mm standard prime — it’s the equivalent of 50mm — up to speed for compatibility with its current DFD autofocus system. It’s slated to be a slightly slower f1.7 version, I guess to compete on price with Olympus’ excellent-but-inexpensive 25mm f1.8. (There tends to be a big price gap between f1.8 and f1.4 lenses.)

The other lens to watch for is a 100-400mm f4-6.3 (200-800mm equiv), which will supplement the current 100-300mm f4-5.6 (200-600mm equivalent) and make it the longest focal length in Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds lens lineup — in fact, the longest Micro Four Thirds lens, period. It’s slated to be dust- and splashproof and will incorporate optical stabilization (and, I suspect, the Dual I.S. introduced in theLumix GX8).

As is typical with development announcements, no actual product information is available yet.

(cnet.com)

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