As you all now fast autofocus is one of the main advantage of classic DSLR cameras. This because a phase detection focus usually works faster than contrast autofocus. But with the release of the F300EXR and the Z800EXR Fuji just introduced a new tecnology called Hybrid AF that will interest many of our MicroFourThirds readers! Fuji found a way to implement phase detection directly on the sensor!
You can find more information on Fujifilms website: http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/f/finepix_f300exr/features/
“Hybrid Auto Focus System NEW!
One of the disadvantages of longer zoom compacts is relatively slow auto focusing. Typical compacts rely on Contrast Detection, which works by fixing the focus by searching for contrast differentials. Some expensive cameras, including many DSLRs, use two focusing systems in tandem to improve the time taken to auto focus. Phase Detection AF works by dividing the incoming light into pairs of images and calculating the phase difference to find if the object is in front focus or back focus position. Contrast AF is generally better in low-lit scenes, while Phase Detection AF is extremely responsive in good light. Having both systems on one camera is perfect. The FinePix F300EXR uses both Contrast AF and Phase Detection AF to offer auto focus speeds as good as, or sometimes better than expensive DSLRs. To achieve the incredible AF speed of 0.158*1 seconds, Fujifilm engineers placed pairs of phase detection sensors on the EXR sensor, which work exactly like external sensors on DSLRs. The FinePix F300EXR automatically selects the optimum focus system, by measuring the amount of light or contrast in the scene. The benefit for the photographer is immediate and obvious: an almost instantaneous capture of the subject in the viewfinder, with no missed shots or subjects half out-of-frame.”
Hurry up Panasonic! There is way to catch up the DSLR autofocus speed!
Following the release of a Futuresource industry report earlier this month on the Western European market opportunity for Interchangeable Lens Compact Cameras, James Wells, consultant with Futuresource discusses some of the key issues surrounding this market.
“Since the end of 2008 when Panasonic launched the world’s first Interchangeable Lens Compact, Olympus, Samsung and Sony have introduced their own models into this segment. The market was still relatively small last year, with just 80,000 units shipped across Western Europe, compared with 3.2m DSLRs.
“Moving forward there are some factors that will limit growth for the Interchangeable Lens Compact market in the short to mid term, such as certain technological factors that influence camera performance and higher average retail prices compared to entry level DSLRs.
“Another big influence on growth will be whether Canon and Nikon – who currently dominate the wider interchangeable lens camera market – decide to launch an Interchangeable Lens Compact product. Makoto Kimura, Nikon’s president, recently confirmed Nikon will launch a new type of SLR as early as this fiscal year, saying it ‘may adopt the so-called mirrorless structure’. To date there has been no official word from Canon regarding its future plans for Interchangeable Lens Compacts.
“In the short-term, whilst we are expecting significant growth for the Interchangeable Lens Compact market, it will still only reach shipments of 377,000 units across Western Europe in 2010, compared to expectations of 3.3m units for DSLRs.
“Panasonic, Olympus, Sony and Samsung (with a 20% combined share of interchangeable lens camera shipments in 2009) are expected to promote this segment heavily in 2010, particularly at the Photokina show in September in the run up to the important fourth quarter period. The long term aim is to try to break Canon’s and Nikon’s stranglehold on the interchangeable lens camera market. Suffice to say this will be an interesting space to watch over the next two to three years.”
The japanese website Egami discovered a new Panasonic patent which discloses a “3 layer sensor” that works like the current Foveon sensor from Sigma (Click here to read more about the Foveon sensor on Wikipedia). The new sensor will improve the color reproduction and image sharpness. It also has Back-side Illumination. The Patent No.2010-153658 has been published 2010/07/08 and filled 2008/12/25. We don’t expect Panasonic to announce any camera with that new sensor in 2010.
P.S.: Sigma is the only manufactorer that released cameras with such a tecnology. But many others (like Canon) are “experimenting” with the three layer sensors.
You didn’t forget that Panasonic just announced the new 8mmm fisheye lens? As usual Asia (and in particular Japan) is the first that has the lens in Stock. Some of them are already on eBay (one of the auctions ends in 7d 4h 41m) -> Click here to check out all Panasonic 8mm fisheye auctions on eBay
For reference: Amazon.com has the Panasonic 8mm f/3.5 ED Fisheye Lens available for preorder (but it says “Usually ships within 1 to 2 months.”)