Rumor: Panasonic May Yet Get Proper Autofocus

Nov 22, 2020 | Bodies, L-Mount, Rumors

Panasonic’s high-end S series of Lumix mirrorless cameras are generally over-specced relative to any competition at the time they are launched. They’re quite impressive, except for the firm’s dogged insistence on using an old proprietary technology for autofocus. Their Depth from Defocus (DFD) system has improved over the years, but it remains somewhat disastrous when compared to the new tracking and autofocus. So it is with great hope that Lumixerians now here the rumor that Panasonic works on new sensor technology that would allow for phase detection autofocus – the same sort of system that companies serving professional photographers employ.

The article from mentions that the new microlensing tech may also serve as a handy binning method. But, really, that makes little sense. The technology – reported to use a four microlenses per photo site – would add significant expense to a chip and would likely require a significant benefit to make it to production.

Panasonic once owned a significant share in the sensor chip fabricating company that it used. It sold that stake almost exactly a year ago to Nuvoton at the same time that Tower Semiconductor sold its corresponding stake in the same business. At the time of that sale, reports indicated that Panasonic was also selling its intellectual property regarding the chips. Expectations at the time were that Panasonic would be purchasing a third party chip moving forward – probably from Sony, as is the case with most other manufacturers.

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