Lumix GH5-GH5S-G9 Autofocus Guidebook

Posted Sep. 22nd, 2018 by Daniel J. Cox

Lumix GH5-GH5S-G9 Autofocus Guidebook

Gloriosky… as my dear mother likes to say. Panasonic just released a desperately needed Lumix GH5-GH5S-G9 Autofocus Guidebook and you can download the guidebook here.  When LUMIX introduced the GH5, G9, and GH5S, they updated each camera’s menu to include new Custom AF settings. When I became aware of these changes, I was less than enthusiastic due to lots of experience with our  NE Explorers shooting Canon cameras.

Horned puffin in flight, shot with Lumix G9 and Leica 200mm F/2.8 with 1.4X teleconverter.

Canon started this menu filled maze of autofocus options that are seemingly impossible to figure out. Nikon’s AF menu had one option “Focus Tracking with Lock On” which was very simple, offering AF1 (Short) – AF5 (Long). It was pretty easy and thankfully it typically just worked.

Snow goose in flight. Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico. Lumix G9 with Leica 200mm F/2.8 with 2X teleconverter

Panasonic should be commended for publishing this new document to help us all achieve better results when using AF-C which is the same as what I refer to as Predictive Autofocus. Fast and accurate AF-C is essential for those who want to shoot sports, race cars, birds in flight, running horses, and lots of other exciting subjects. Things that nature, outdoor, and sports photographers love to shoot.

The famous white horses of the Camargue, France. Lumix GH5 with Leica 100-400mm

Action photography for me is a passion and something that is very difficult for even the best photographers. Moving in sync with your subject takes skill, athletic ability, confidence, and coordination. Not everybody can follow a fast moving subject. Those that can have a built-in advantage as long as the camera they’re using can also keep up. If it can’t, your skills as a photographer make no difference.

Great gray owl shot with Nikon D5 and Nikkor 600mm F/4

Back when publishers would pay for quality photography action, pictures could demand a larger payday. The cover image for one of the stories I did for National Geographic is a good example. A great gray owl in flight is captivating, exciting, and pulls people in to read the rest of the magazine. Great AF-C is not just a nice to have, it’s an absolute need to have. And I’m hopeful the recently released AF manual will improve the predictive AF we have in our LUMIX cameras.

I’ll be writing a lot more about the AF-C settings in the G9 in a soon to be finished G9 review. Stay tuned for a lot more input on this very essential feature.

P.S. Even soccer moms want great Predictive AF.

My godson Colter moves in for a big play. Captured with Nikon D200 with Nikkor 70-200mm zoom

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There are 20 comments on this post…
  1. SandyOn Jan. 20th, 2020

    Daniel, Would like some clarification/help please. ….I’ve recently purchased a Pana G9 switching from Olympus and I have an Oly 40 -150 Pro Lens which I am using until such time as I can purchase Leica Lenses, you mentioned in a post here on the 10th April 2019 that you use an Olympus 300mm with 1.4x Converter if that is on your G9 how does the converter work, as my 1.4x with my Oly 40-150 mm pro doesn’t, or is it the case of only certain lenses and converters will work. ??
    Am I losing anything by using an Oly Lens on the G9? especially in the way of Sharpness as some of the test shots I’ve done don’t look very sharp.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 20th, 2020


      I typically don’t use the Olympus 300mm with 1.4X teleconverter on the Lumix G9. Mainly due to lack of Dual IS which is the case when intermixing Olympus lenses with Lumix bodies. The 300mm on the Lumix will give you excellent IS via the lens but the added advantage of the in body IS is gone. When shooting the 300mm with the 1.4X converter you are really pushing the magnification envelope. That combo is 840mm in full frame equivalency. With that much power, I want both in-body AND lens IS so I use the 300mm F/4 mainly with the Olympus EM-1X which does give you what Olympus calls SyncIS. A technology that stabilizes lens and camera which is something similar to Panasonic’s DualIS. However, in short, the 300mm does work with the Lumix G9 and it works very well. With one exception, fast-moving subjects.

      Unfortunately, Lumix has chosen its own path when it comes to their AF system. They call it Depth From Defocus which is a Contrast detection AF system. Contrast AF can work great on many things but it’s not great for fast action. Another reason I’ve started shooting other systems.

      You mention that your converter is not working with your Olympus 40-150mm lens. Is that converter made by Olympus? If so it should work. If not, the only other 1.4 teleconverter I know of is the Lumix 1.4X converter and it DOES NOT work with the Olympus lenses. Or at least I don’ think it does. As I type this I’m not 100% sure. I do know that the Olympus converter will not attach to the Lumix lenses. But I’m not sure I tried it the other way around. Unfortunately, I’m on the road right now or I would be able to go to my studio and give it a try. I don’t have a Lumix teleconverter with me since I’ve been testing them and have found the Olympus version is considerably sharper. Thus I now only carry the Olympus 1.4X for use with my Olympus lenses. Hope this helps. Let me know if you have further questions and thanks so much for joining the conversation.

  2. MichelleOn Aug. 24th, 2019

    I know I’m a year late to the conversation, but being a Canon user trying out the G9, I want to know simply how to focus and re-compose. On my Canon, I set my central focus point as the only focus point. When I push the shutter button down halfway, I set the focus and exposure, then recompose depending on the shot. That’s what I want to do with the G9, but it instantly takes the picture before I’m ready and have composed the picture how I’d like it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Jim ScarffOn Apr. 14th, 2019

    Daniel, thanks for all your information you have made available. You wrote in response to a question about teleconverters on the Leica/Panasonic 200 mm f/2.8 and the 50-200 that ad bee the [Panasonic?] teleconverter works with both lenses. The correspondent had been told differently and you wrote ” the information you received regarding the teleconverters only working with the 200mm lens is INCORRECT. In fact, the new 1.4X and 2X teleconverters actually work with two lenses, the new Leica 50-200mm, and the Leica 200mm. ”

    The 1.4X Panasonic teleconverter is bundled automatically with the 200 mm f/2.8. The teleconverter is NOT available separately either at B&H Photo or from the Panasonic website. On the B&H Photo website the teleconverter is listed as “no longer available” . In addition, in response to a customer question the B&H staff wrote on their webpage that Panasonic told them that the 500 mm f/ 2.8 was the only lens supported by the teleconverter and stating or implying that the teleconverter would not work on the Leica panasonic 55-200mm.

    If it does work on the 55-200, that still leaves the question of where and how does one get one other than perhaps eBay. I personally opted for the Panny 100-400 for my new G9 because it was tied with the 50-200 as the lowest cost of the long telephotos and had the flexibility of zoom, apparently at the small (?) cost of a little IQ.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Apr. 14th, 2019

      Jim, There’s a lot of confusion regarding the 1.4X teleconverter. To be clear, the 1.4X teleconverter DOES WORK with the Leica 200mm F/2.8 and the Leica 50-200mm. I’ve personally used it on both. That doesn’t fix the issue of it not being available separately. Which as you’ve discovered nobody offers it as a separate item. I’ve been told by the Lumix folks that the 1.4X teleconverter will be available separately. To be honest I thought it would have happened by now. I’m not sure when it will but it is coming. I’ve had several of our NE Explorers purchase one off of Ebay out of Japan and it’s been everything the hoped for. The downside to that is the lack of a warranty. Just depends on how soon you need it. Hope this helps. Thanks for stopping by to add your voice.

  4. VolkerOn Apr. 9th, 2019

    Hi Daniel,

    what is YOUR experience with the 2x teleconverter and the 200 f2,8?

    I think that the drop in performance compared to the 1.4 is already very drastic. Do you think that the technical quality of the 200 2.8 with 2x converter is better than that of the 100-400 with 400 mm?

    Kind regards

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Apr. 10th, 2019

      Volker, I’ve not been really happy with the 2X teleconverter. I’m not sure what it is but it almost seems like there are issues with IBIS movement or something. Have not had the time to really try and track it down. I also shoot the Olympus 300mm as well and that lens with the 1.4X teleconverter takes care of the range I need out at 800mm. Additionally, the Olympus is so incredibly sharp I really don’t want to use anything else at that range. I’m hoping to get some time to run some tests of the 200mm and the 2X teleconverter. And finally, I do feel the 100-400mm is sharper at least at this point. But… I’ve had similar looking images out at 800mm with the 100-400mm that I’m getting with the 2X on the 200mm F/2.8. I’ve had great results with the 2X on the 200mm and the 100-400mm at 800mm. I’m just not sure what is causing the issues I see in both that happen all too often.

  5. ChristopherOn Dec. 22nd, 2018

    This is a much more mundane question about auto focus on the G9: I was taking photos with my new Lumix 100-300mm of December’s full “Cold Moon” this morning. I had a heck of a time getting a good focus either in manual or auto. This is obviously a big, stationary subject, but focus was a real bear. Any ideas, technically speaking, on what I was experiencing here with this problem? Thanks.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Dec. 23rd, 2018

      Christopher, I need more info like,

      1). what AF pattern were you using?
      2). did you have a polarizer on?
      3). were you on tripod?
      4). were you on AF-C or AF-S?
      5). were you placing the moon in the center of the EVF?
      6). was the AF sensor (which ever one you used) squarely on the moon?

      Get me some more info and I may be able to help.

  6. Portrait of Dorothy Detlor

    Dorothy DetlorOn Dec. 4th, 2018

    Dan – I called the shop in Boseman. I don’t know who it was that answered.

    Thanks very much for the information. Which of the teleconverters would be the most useful? I assume the 1.4 would result in sharper images?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Dec. 4th, 2018

      Yes, the 1.4x teleconverter will give the most premium results but the 2X is also very good.

  7. Portrait of Dorothy Detlor

    Dorothy DetlorOn Dec. 2nd, 2018

    Dan, I am not clear on the use of the teleconverters with the 50 – 200 lens. I was told by a camera person at one of the companies that they would only work with the 200 lens.

    Thanks for your help.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Dec. 3rd, 2018

      Hi Dorothy, the information you received regarding the teleconverters only working with the 200mm lens is INCORRECT. In fact, the new 1.4X and 2X teleconverters actually work with two lenses, the new Leica 50-200mm, and the Leica 200mm. They don’t work with the 100-400mm. They did that on purpose since you wouldn’t want to use either teleconverter on that lens. Adding the additional glass of either teleconverter would seriously degrade image quality and you would not be happy with our pictures. You mention that you were told this false information by “a camera person at one of the companies”. Can you be more specific. Was this a salesperson behind a camera store counter, a Lumix rep, which company are you referring to?

  8. JohannesOn Oct. 6th, 2018

    I went through the manual but the one thing that is missing is that AF Custom settings is not assignable to a button so you need to go through menus to change it, at least on the G9

    Is anyone at Panasonic actually using the cameras or are they just creating features?

  9. Trent G. AndersonOn Oct. 1st, 2018

    Dan, I’m going down to the Everglades this month and in the process I’m giving my Olympus 45-150mm (with the teleconverter) to my friend down there who has my old GH-4. I have the 100-400mm but I’ve been eying the 50-200mm and the 200mm as a possible replacement. Without showing your cards (your reviews forthcoming) of those two lenses, above, would you have a preference of one above the other if it came down to nature shooting when you always have a camera hanging off of each shoulder?

  10. Alan StankevitzOn Sep. 26th, 2018

    Curious as to why you would leave the 100-400 home? Is the autofocus better with the 200mm even with the 2x? I’ve seen a comparison video and the sharpness is better on the 200mm with the 2x but it’s really, really close. What is your opinion?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Sep. 26th, 2018

      Alan, I’m just in the process of doing some tests with the 200mm and teleconverters. It does seem very sharp, even with the 2X but more importantly, I just don’t need the reach of 800mm on this coming trip. Plus I want to do more work with the 200mm to get additional results to review.I’m hoping a review will be coming by the end of November. Stay tuned and let me know if you have any further questions. Thanks for joining the conversation.

  11. douglas smithOn Sep. 25th, 2018

    Thank you for your prompt response!!

  12. douglas smithOn Sep. 23rd, 2018

    Dan thanks for the information on the guide. Have you done a review on the Leica 200 mm F2.8 lens?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Sep. 23rd, 2018

      Doug, I apologize for not getting a review out on the 200mm yet. It’s been a busy summer. I’m hoping to get to it before December 1. I can tell you that I’ve fallen in love with that lens and will be leaving my 100-400mm home on my coming grips to the Canadian Rockies and Madagascar. I plan to take the new 50-200mm and the new 200mm, using them both with either the 1.4x and 2x teleconvrters. Both new lenses are that good. Thanks for your patience. I’m going to get to it.

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