Owners of Panasonic’s Lumix GX7, G8, and FZ300 cameras will get a little gift in the form of a free firmware update this morning. The update gives the cameras a new mode called “Post Focus,” which kinda-sorta replicates the main draw of an older Lytro camera—albeit with a significantly different implementation. According to Panasonic, Post Focus mode can capture up to 49 points of focus in a single burst, and the mode works with any lens that offers autofocus capabilities. In Post Focus mode, the camera actually records 4K video, racking focus from frame to frame. After that sequence of differently focused images is captured, the shooter can then review the sequence in camera and pick the one(s) they want to use.
For the photographer, the process of choosing the focus point is similar to Lytro’s “living pictures” player. By tapping and swiping each camera’s touchscreen, they can toggle through different focus points in a sequence and even employ assist modes like focus-peaking overlays. While each of the Lumix cameras compatible with the mode has a higher megapixel count, Post Focus is limited in terms of output resolution. Because each frame of a 4K video has a resolution of 8 megapixels, that’s the resolution of each frame-grab saved.
Although it’s less automated, Post Focus also lets you create an picture that’s completely in focus via focus stacking, combining the light-gathering and fast-shutter benefits of a wide aperture with the deep depth of field of a narrow aperture. Panasonic touts the everything-in-focus option for macro photography, although that use-case requires some post-processing work; you’ll need to stack all the images in a sequence using third-party editing software.