The promise of Micro Four Thirds is realised – continuous AF in video mode in a dSLR 2x crop sensor super compact interchangeable lens system

Written by Gary on March 5th, 2009

Panasonic has just announced what many of us have been waiting for – their new Micro Four Thirds interchangeable lens camera with 2x crop sensor but now with HD video capture at the touch of a dedicated button AND for the 1st time in a dSLR type camera (excluding the super expensive RED system), continuous AF with silent lenses – meet the new Panasonic DMC-GH1.

GH1

The Nikon D90 and Canon 5DMII have video capture but do not allow continuous AF in video mode due to constraints of their contrast detect AF speed.

Hopefully, the GH1 will also allow silent still photography for those times such as conferences, performances, weddings, etc where noise becomes intrusive.

Video may be captured in AVCHD format as either 1920x1080x24fps or 1280x720x60fps and includes a Wind Cut feature to reduce wind noise, as well as Creative Movie Mode which allows you to select shutter speed and aperture for creative effects, while the optical image stabiliser and face detect AF both work in movie mode!

Panasonic has also announced a couple of exciting new lenses to match the system:

  • Lumix G 14-140mm f/4.0-5.8 HD OIS
    • specially designed for silent AF in video mode
    • 14-140mm

  • Lumix G 7-14mm f/4
    • no IS but compatible with contrast detect AF including face recognition and MUCH smaller, and lighter and cheaper than the Olympus ZD 7-14mm whilst still hopefully providing excellent optics
    • 7 blades, circular aperture, close focus 0.25m, max. diameter 75mm (just a fraction to wide to allow an Olympus ring flash to be placed on it BUT perhaps it can be placed on it BEFORE the lens is mounted to the camera?), 83mm long, 10.6 oz
    • 7-14mm

    Never before have we been able to have a small, light high quality kit with focal length coverage of 14mm to 280mm (in 35mm terms) in just 2 relatively inexpensive lenses AND have continuous AF HD video to boot – just amazing!

    Now, to really make the video impressive, we need a wide aperture HD compatible lens to allow nice background blurring and lovely bokeh that would really set it apart from the current digital video cameras – although with an adapter, you can use Four Thirds lenses such as the ZD 50mm f/2 macro for this but you will need to have a fixed focus or manually focus during video.

Rumours have it that it will be available after April 24th, so keep an eye out for it – see Amazon.com

Using Leica M lenses on Micro Four Thirds (the Panasonic G1): – see luminous-landscape.com using CameraQuest adapter for Leica M, and using second generation Novoflex adapters for Leica M lenses.

In addition, Cosina has just announced a Voigtlander VM / Voigtlander L (via a 2nd Cosina adapter) / Carl Zeiss ZM / Leica M adapter for Micro Four Thirds.

Voigtlander adapter

 

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