Auto Focus Unraveled 

Auto focus on the G9 can be confusing, even more so than on other cameras.  You need to approach it as a three step question:  (a) how often do I want the picture focussed, (b) where do I want the focus point to be, and (c) what do I want to use to initiate focus?

How Often Should The Camera Focus?

This really should be either once, or continuously.  On all auto-focus systems this is termed either AFS (think: auto focus - single) or AFC (think - auto focus - continuous).  On the G9 and prior Lumix G cameras such as the G85 and G7, however we  find a complication referred to as AFF on the focus mode dial:

Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 11.48.27 PM

There is a difference between AFF and AFC (it has to do with whether the camera can predict where the subject will be), but if you are just beginning to learn how to use auto-focus just stick with AFS and AFC.   

What Is In Focus?

To tell the auto-focus system what should be in focus you need to set the AF Area.  To do this press the AF Mode button Fn1.  On the G9 it is close to the focus mode dial:

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 5.39.54 PM

On earlier G cameras you will find it to the left of the menu/set (40) button:

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 5.46.46 PM

This will bring up a special menu of AF Area choices superimposed over a live view.  Here is an example:


As you scroll right/left over the selections the name of the AF area will be displayed.  To choose one hit [Set].  To cancel without setting a new area hit the return arrow in the lower left.  If you choose the Custom Multi area (looks like a parallelogram) you will be given the option of customizing the pattern.

The multi area selection has been increased from a respectable 49 points for the G85 to an astounding 225 points in the G9.

  • Face/Eye Detection  With this selection a yellow frame is displayed over a face that is detected and ready to be the subject.  You can resize the frame by turning the rear dial.  When auto focus is initiated it will be at the location of the eye within the frame (on the G9) that is closest to the camera.  If focus is achieved the frame will turn green;  If more than one person is detected (up to 15 on the G9) the selected person will be yellow, and other people will be framed in white.  You can choose a person with a white frame to be the subject by touching within white frame over the person, and then that frame will turn yellow.  On the G9 this setting should also detect faces, and even human bodies.  You cancel a setting by touching the AF Off icon on the touch pad.
  • Tracking With this selection a white frame is displayed and may be placed over a desired subject either by aiming the camera or  touching the desired subject on the touch screen.  While auto focus is initiated the frame will turn green.  If lock (and focus) is achieved the frame will turn yellow; if not then the frame will flash red and disappear.   If the subject moves out of view but quickly reenters the frame the lock should persist; otherwise lock will be lost.
  • 225-Area
  • Custom Multi
  • 1-Area
  • Pinpoint

--© Robert Rose 2018