Autofocus and Lack Thereof (part 1)

For an experienced DSLR user, the E-P1 and GF1 autofocus systems are a little bit unsettling. I always set my DSLRs to use the autofocus point in the center of the frame, which usually gives you the the most sensitive, fastest autofocus point on the camera. I stress the word “point”, because that’s what it is. A single point. Using that point, I would try and catch focus on something with a bit of contrast.

On the E-P1 and the GF1, it is more like a “square”. And quite a large square at that (though more on that with the GF1 later in the post). The behaviour is the E-P1 will try and put whatever is filling up most of the square into focus. So far, I have had very little luck in trying to focus on something very small and only filling a small portion of the square. Focus will tend to be on whatever is behind the small object since it fills up more of the AF square.

On the GF1, the size of the AF square is adjustable, all the way down to a very, very small square. A point, almost. ;) Given that the camera will try and put into focus whatever fills up the suqare, precise autofocus on a small object is now in reach.

Kudos to Panasonic for improving on an E-P1 niggle.

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