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Panasonic S5 User Experience


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I’ve tried more tests than animals that ended up on the ark…

Handheld, tripod, Panny lenses, Sigma lenses, 1080, 4K, 25p, 50p, log, profiles, every combo of AF tweaking possible and the result is always ‘the same’ and that is it’s not reliable.

BUT it can work more often than not with the right combo which for me has been as I listed a few posts above and for 90 or even 95% of my needs, works just fine, but never tried walking towards so will try that (but isn’t that just closing the gap faster?!).

I’m doing some final grading testing this week so will try some further AF tests also.

I think the GH6 has some kind of focal limiter that sounds like it could be interesting if that ever comes to the S5 with software…

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1 hour ago, MrSMW said:

I’ve tried more tests than animals that ended up on the ark…

Handheld, tripod, Panny lenses, Sigma lenses, 1080, 4K, 25p, 50p, log, profiles, every combo of AF tweaking possible and the result is always ‘the same’ and that is it’s not reliable.

BUT it can work more often than not with the right combo which for me has been as I listed a few posts above and for 90 or even 95% of my needs, works just fine, but never tried walking towards so will try that (but isn’t that just closing the gap faster?!).

I’m doing some final grading testing this week so will try some further AF tests also.

I think the GH6 has some kind of focal limiter that sounds like it could be interesting if that ever comes to the S5 with software…

Well yes it does close the gap faster but I think because you are moving, the lock on the subject seems to stick better maybe because since you and the camera are moving it is keeping check on it more? Might just be luck though but I like the effect anyway. But I do admit, because I am relatively new to using CAF, I have less high expectations of its capacity perhaps. One thing that has helped is that lock on the subject you can do that the video outlined some pages back.

Given your experience here - do you have preferred CAF settings (I mean the fine tuning settings deep in the menu)? EDIT: apologies I just see you have already posted these. Very useful, thanks. I shoot 50p (1080 - don't have the gear for 4K editing) so that is good.

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21 minutes ago, Geoffrey said:

Well yes it does close the gap faster but I think because you are moving, the lock on the subject seems to stick better maybe because since you and the camera are moving it is keeping check on it more? Might just be luck though but I like the effect anyway. But I do admit, because I am relatively new to using CAF, I have less high expectations of its capacity perhaps. One thing that has helped is that lock on the subject you can do that the video outlined some pages back.

Given your experience here - do you have preferred CAF settings (I mean the fine tuning settings deep in the menu)? EDIT: apologies I just see you have already posted these. Very useful, thanks. I shoot 50p (1080 - don't have the gear for 4K editing) so that is good.

It might depend on how the AF is reacting to the subject you are shooting.

If it is pulsing, then you would want to turn the sensitivity and speed down. 

Also, for the best results I have gotten from continuous AF, I usually use one-are (or one-area plus) and turn on face detection. 

If you are using the first AF mode, which is face recognition, you should either tap on the face you want to track, or use the joystick and push in on it to track that particular face. (the same thing for the Tracking AF mode, although I don't find the tracking AF mode all that reliable at all).

You want to "confirm" the face by tapping or using the joystick push in (as mentioned above) in case there are multiple people in the frame and then the camera will know whose face to focus on.

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8 hours ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

 

If you are using the first AF mode, which is face recognition, you should either tap on the face you want to track, or use the joystick and push in on it to track that particular face. (the same thing for the Tracking AF mode, although I don't find the tracking AF mode all that reliable at all).

Yes I started off using face tracking but switched to one area + face and found that to be the best of all of the available options.

Tracking AF is generally garbage.

Tap to confirm focus makes a difference but I can’t remember off hand if that option comes up with one area + face or whether it is a purely face tracking option only…but it does improve things if available.

The lighting situation and background plays a part in this due to the nature of how DFD works.

Also not shooting wide open on say those f1.8 primes helps.

Going forward (and my season starts in around 4 weeks and is then pretty relentless until early Oct) I have reverted my S1H into being my static (ie tripod) B cam and the S5 as my A cam which is on me at all times, handheld or monopod.

Why? The S1H can do 30+ minute recordings without resorting to dropping to 8 bit and despite me preferring it in almost every way to the S5, there is one area I do not and that is weight.

So it’s S5 back to A cam with Sigma 35mm f2 for indoor work which is switched to Sigma 65mm f2 for outdoor so shooting 4K 50p which is my go to, effectively shooting with a 50 indoors and a 100 out.

I am keeping the kit zoom 20-60 close by though for those few times when I need the best tracking AF that I can get, ie, entrances, exits etc and shooting that at f4 or 5.6 at it’s widest focal length, ie, a ‘30mm’ equiv.

Finally, in order to mitigate some of the chunk of the S1H, I’m welding on the Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 as that thing is tiny and very lightweight yet offers an equivalent field of view of 27-75mm so pretty flexible. This unit is pure static manual AF anyway.

I’ll report back if I find anything new as this week is designated as another week of testing. More to keep some familiarity going than anything as even a couple of weeks off produces a surprising amount of initial ring rust.

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4 hours ago, MrSMW said:

Yes I started off using face tracking but switched to one area + face and found that to be the best of all of the available options.

Tracking AF is generally garbage.

Tap to confirm focus makes a difference but I can’t remember off hand if that option comes up with one area + face or whether it is a purely face tracking option only…but it does improve things if available.

The lighting situation and background plays a part in this due to the nature of how DFD works.

Also not shooting wide open on say those f1.8 primes helps.

Going forward (and my season starts in around 4 weeks and is then pretty relentless until early Oct) I have reverted my S1H into being my static (ie tripod) B cam and the S5 as my A cam which is on me at all times, handheld or monopod.

Why? The S1H can do 30+ minute recordings without resorting to dropping to 8 bit and despite me preferring it in almost every way to the S5, there is one area I do not and that is weight.

So it’s S5 back to A cam with Sigma 35mm f2 for indoor work which is switched to Sigma 65mm f2 for outdoor so shooting 4K 50p which is my go to, effectively shooting with a 50 indoors and a 100 out.

I am keeping the kit zoom 20-60 close by though for those few times when I need the best tracking AF that I can get, ie, entrances, exits etc and shooting that at f4 or 5.6 at it’s widest focal length, ie, a ‘30mm’ equiv.

Finally, in order to mitigate some of the chunk of the S1H, I’m welding on the Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 as that thing is tiny and very lightweight yet offers an equivalent field of view of 27-75mm so pretty flexible. This unit is pure static manual AF anyway.

I’ll report back if I find anything new as this week is designated as another week of testing. More to keep some familiarity going than anything as even a couple of weeks off produces a surprising amount of initial ring rust.

Thanks very useful info. I have rarely used tracking AF as have little need for it. I did look at the S1H but at twice the cost of the S5 (and yes, the weight) it was no good for me.

I have not tried using 1-area with human detect on, always used just human detect but will give it a go. What is the real difference? The (potentially) smaller focus window of the 1-area? Presumably you have to point the 1-area at the person and then the human detect kicks in? But if they move outside the 1-area, what happens then, the focus still follows them?

Do you use 'Quick AF' or 'Fast' 1-Area moving speed? I have not quite worked out what these really apply to and not sure they have any real effect on CAF.

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The S1H is just fantastic but... even though I consider myself something of a minimalist, in order for me to do what I need to do, I use on every job:

Stills camera (S1R)

A cam video (now S5, was S1H)

B cam video (S1H, was S5)

Each of the above has a principle lens and an alternative lens based on circumstances.

Back up and BTS cameras (ZV1 and Action 2)

Drone

3 tripods, 1 monopod, 3 lightstands, 4 lights, 6 pieces of audio capture gear.

You know those, "what's in my camera bag?" videos, well I have 4 bags 🤪

Sounds a lot but only at certain times am I using most of it at once such as during wedding speeches, I will have my 2 principal cameras on me, roving, (as I do all day anyway, ie, I never take them off other than to eat) while the B cam, back up, BTS, lights, off camera flash etc, are all tripod or light stand mounted and set up during quieter moments.

I draw the line at flying the drone while attempting anything else though as I'm paranoid about crashing it into a tree. Or a granny. As I have done several times. (Trees, not grannies).

The S1R is a big enough beast and having the S1H on my other strap for anything from 9-15+ hours is just that bit too much and the S5 is just a lot easier to handhold all day with cage and additional grip.

The principle I believe with one area is yes, you generally 'point' that in the direction of your subject and if it's a face, it should switch to face tracking/pick it up and track as such.

I need to give it some more time as I've only just switched to it from 'normal' face detect only, but in some back to back tests, it does seem better.

I'm not sure what Quick AF is. Or I've forgotten. It's not a stills thing is it...?

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9 hours ago, MrSMW said:

Tracking AF is generally garbage.

Worse than that I had it actually "crash" my camera. The tracking box turned red (it is supposed to be yellow) and autofocus stopped. Couldn't change to a different autofocus mode, either. had to turn off and restart the camera.

9 hours ago, MrSMW said:

Tap to confirm focus makes a difference but I can’t remember off hand if that option comes up with one area + face or whether it is a purely face tracking option only…but it does improve things if available.

Not as far as I can tell... maybe if there are two different faces in the one area box it might??? But normally you can't "confirm" focus on a face by touching the facial recognition box or by pushing in the joystick.

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5 hours ago, Geoffrey said:

I have not tried using 1-area with human detect on, always used just human detect but will give it a go. What is the real difference? The (potentially) smaller focus window of the 1-area? Presumably you have to point the 1-area at the person and then the human detect kicks in? But if they move outside the 1-area, what happens then, the focus still follows them?

As far as I can tell...

If the face moves out of the focus area, their face will still be "tracked," meaning their will be a white box around the faces (or faces if there are more than one person in the shots but no in the AF area), but the autofocus will give priority to what is in the AF area box. 

why use it? 

Say you are holding doing a product review in your living room and the camera is focusing on your face. You hold up a nice shiny lens / camera / whatever in front of your face (obscuring your face) and the camera should focus on the item.

With the Human Detect AF, the camera MIGHT focus on a photo on the wall in the background of someone's face. 

I don't think it is a night-and-day difference in terms of accuracy. But more of a backup. If the person puts on sunglasses or a mask, or their are shadows falling on their face, or for some reason the AF system stops recognizing their face as a face, then if they are still in the AF area box, the camera will still focus on them. 

Also - and I have zero proof this is the case - I think that using the AF One Area just helps the camera AF system "concentrate" as it were. I don't know the scientific / engineering terms, but just that the AF system is less likely to get distracted.

I don't want to get too negative on the system. Josh Cameron makes a lot of videos about the S5 and S1, and he seems to get good results using continuous autofocus with the 20-60 and 24-105 lenses. There are a few others that seem to be able to get usable results. There are many times when 85% is going to be more than good enough.

For my needs, if I really need something to be in focus, I just have to go with either AF-S or manual focus for now. I would love to pick up a prime like the 24mm for use on a gimbal shooting 4K 60fps (which is in aps-c crop mode) and use it in af-c, but I am a bit reluctant to buy L-Mount glass if the AF isn't going to be improved significantly through updates (or new camera models).

And as @MrSMWmentioned with his S1H, I would just set up my S1 as either manual focus (or single af) on a tripod, press record, and walk away, letting it record long events / interviews from a static angle. 

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Very useful info thanks folks. I will definitely try the 1-area + face option.

So far my work using CAF is solely based around keeping a talking head in focus, with me (and them) moving around a bit to add some dynamism, all hand held, all outdoors (sometimes in quite challenging, off-the-beaten-track environments). I rarely use zoom but do move away sometimes for a longer shot or let the subject walk away. I like using ultra close-ups too so you see the real details of a face. I think the best bit of advice here from SMW is to keep the camera steady as much as possible and nothing too rapid; don't ask too much of the CAF system basically even if you think it should better.

I only use the one camera, and one lens (S 20-60mm F/3.5-5.6), with a Tascam 4-track mounted underneath for a stereo pair of DPA 4060s mounted on top (for good ambience - very important to my stuff) plus a radio mic receiver (Sennheiser G4), connecting to a COS 11D on the subject. I run a line out from the Tascam into the S5 as back-up and guide for audio syncing. I can very easily lift this off a tripod as a single unit and go handheld and this is crucial freedom to be creative without lots of faff. I can get phasing issues with the mic set-up but having the radio mic and stereo pair on separate tracks, I can fix any of this in post if need be.

I would like to expand my lens collection but am a bit unsure what I would really benefit from as have little knowledge, and they are not cheap. Like most I like shallow depth of field when focussing on the subject but also deep focus when capturing vistas as cutaways and for longer 'pastoral' passages. I also like real close-up detail of natural things like leaves etc

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2 hours ago, Geoffrey said:

So far my work using CAF is solely based around keeping a talking head in focus, with me (and them) moving around a bit to add some dynamism, all hand held, all outdoors (sometimes in quite challenging, off-the-beaten-track environments). I rarely use zoom but do move away sometimes for a longer shot or let the subject walk away. I like using ultra close-ups too so you see the real details of a face. I think the best bit of advice here from SMW is to keep the camera steady as much as possible and nothing too rapid; don't ask too much of the CAF system basically even if you think it should better.

Coincidentally, Shane from Geeky Nerdy Techy came out with a new video describing his "best practices" for focusing on the GH5 II and the S5 (as well as the older GH5 and GH5S). it is definitely worth a watch:

 

3 hours ago, Geoffrey said:

Like most I like shallow depth of field when focussing on the subject but also deep focus when capturing vistas as cutaways and for longer 'pastoral' passages. I also like real close-up detail of natural things like leaves etc

I don't think there is a 1:1 macro lens for L Mount... maybe Sigma has one. But in general, the continuous autofocus of sigma lenses is pretty bad (for video, at least).

Viltrox makes some Extension Tubes for L-Mount now, so that should get you pretty close to 1:1 macro (you might have to use multiple tubes). The problem with extension tubes is that you lose light / have to raise your ISO / lower shutter speed. 

you might be able to adapt a macro lens. I think Sigma made old DSLR macro lenses in 70mm and 105mm??? In which case, it might be best to find them in a Nikon mount and then buy a Nikon F to L-Mount adapter. The issue is the ADAPTER must have a way to adjust the aperture of the lens, since I believe those lenses don't have aperture rings on the lens. 

Tamron also made a 90mm f/2.8 and I think Tokina has a macro lens around 100mm and f/2.8

All of those would need an adapter that could adjust the aperture and would be manual focus.

Then there are vintage manual focus lenses from Olympus and Nikon and Canon and Pentax and Minolta. 

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5 hours ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

Coincidentally, Shane from Geeky Nerdy Techy came out with a new video describing his "best practices" for focusing on the GH5 II and the S5 (as well as the older GH5 and GH5S). it is definitely worth a watch

Easily the best and most accurate guide out there…and I’ve seen them all.

Personally, I use f2 Sigma glass for anything that does not require forward tracking which is 95% of my needs.

The 20-60 ‘kit’ lens for the 5% tracking needs.

No guessing or “I heard in the internet” BS, simply a fella that owns and tested the kit and can clearly explain best practices.

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4 minutes ago, MrSMW said:

Easily the best and most accurate guide out there…and I’ve seen them all.

Personally, I use f2 Sigma glass for anything that does not require forward tracking which is 95% of my needs.

The 20-60 ‘kit’ lens for the 5% tracking needs.

No guessing or “I heard in the internet” BS, simply a fella that owns and tested the kit and can clearly explain best practices.

Yes, and he has been using panasonic cameras for years, owning a GH5, a couple of GH5S bodies, a GH5 II, and an S5.

He has another channel focused on guitars ( intheblues ) and he has mentioned that he uses his Panasonic bodies and lenses on that channel. So I do tend to put more emphasis on what he says regarding AF.

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Yes the video is very good. I watched his video on the Panasonic S Series Prime Lenses as well and it made me think one of these might be a good purchase. I have the LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 so the question is which one would be a good complement to that? The 20-60 actually has the closest focussing distance compared to any of the prime lenses (12cm) so can't improve on that so I am thinking either the 35 or 50mm? Then there's the 24 and 85mm . . .

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21 hours ago, Geoffrey said:

Yes the video is very good. I watched his video on the Panasonic S Series Prime Lenses as well and it made me think one of these might be a good purchase. I have the LUMIX S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 so the question is which one would be a good complement to that? The 20-60 actually has the closest focussing distance compared to any of the prime lenses (12cm) so can't improve on that so I am thinking either the 35 or 50mm? Then there's the 24 and 85mm . . .

I think if you already own the 20-60, then maybe something on the longer end of things. As the 20-60 gets slower as focal length gets longer, there will be more of a difference (in terms of changing ISO or DOF amount) as the aperture on the 20-60 gets smaller (i.e., the more you zoom closer to the 60mm range, the more aperture gets closer to f/5.6).

The other option is to think about what your most used focal length is (far easier to do with stills where the captured metadata includes focal length), and then buy a prime lens for that focal length. Unless... you plan on shooting a significant amount of 4K 60p / 50p, which uses an aps-c crop, in which case you are going to want a prime than is wider than you might normally use).

Anyway, that's the way I think about it. 

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2 hours ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

I think if you already own the 20-60, then maybe something on the longer end of things. As the 20-60 gets slower as focal length gets longer, there will be more of a difference (in terms of changing ISO or DOF amount) as the aperture on the 20-60 gets smaller (i.e., the more you zoom closer to the 60mm range, the more aperture gets closer to f/5.6).

The other option is to think about what your most used focal length is (far easier to do with stills where the captured metadata includes focal length), and then buy a prime lens for that focal length. Unless... you plan on shooting a significant amount of 4K 60p / 50p, which uses an aps-c crop, in which case you are going to want a prime than is wider than you might normally use).

Anyway, that's the way I think about it. 

So maybe the 85mm then? Thinking about it an 85mm could be useful. The only thing there is that I quite like to get physically quite close, so an 85mm would then be much too close (this is very clear from Shane's video).

What is my normal range is a good question and one I have considered. I guess a few feet (single figures) from the subject but it does vary quite a bit from very close to distant. I do use zoom a little but often I stick with either zoomed out fully or slightly in to avoid any image distortion (and as you the dictated higher aperture values). This is also because handheld, with heavy zoom this increases the handling wobble markedly. But then would this instability be the same problem with a prime lens like the 85mm? I am not clear on  this. I use zoom much more on the tripod and then tend to be further away.

The other factor is image quality - prime lenses produce better images, no? But is that, that big a factor?

I don't tend to do aps-c crop as I shoot 50p HD. I may move to 4k in future but am not in a hurry as I am not geared up for the file sizes and processing power at the moment. 1080p 50fps on the S5 looks great to me anyway.

Given everything I do wonder if a 50mm might be best. rather than the 85 (also happens to be a lot cheaper). Hm, decisions.

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58 minutes ago, Geoffrey said:

What is my normal range is a good question and one I have considered. I guess a few feet (single figures) from the subject but it does vary quite a bit from very close to distant.

Well... there isn't really a "normal range." Maybe it would be around 3 feet if you are having a conversation with someone??? (I mean, in times when we all aren't social distancing).

Don't know if this matters, but if I remember correctly, the field of view of ONE eye is supposed to be about 45mm. I don't know what the field of view of two eyes is supposed to be. But I would imagine that it is NOT 90-degrees.

1 hour ago, Geoffrey said:

But then would this instability be the same problem with a prime lens like the 85mm?

I think that the prime lens would be light, but 85mm is kind of tight and it MIGHT be a bit more wobbly. Generally, lens-based stabilization becomes more important as the focal length gets longer (and also ultra-wide but that's a discussion for later).

 

1 hour ago, Geoffrey said:

The other factor is image quality - prime lenses produce better images, no? But is that, that big a factor?

Sure, they tend to be sharper, have less abberations, less distortion, less flare, etc., In general, they are "better."

But some lenses might be too sharp. That's why you will often find discussions on this forum about either vintage lenses with "character" or about using diffusion filters.

1 hour ago, Geoffrey said:

I don't tend to do aps-c crop as I shoot 50p HD. I may move to 4k in future but am not in a hurry as I am not geared up for the file sizes and processing power at the moment. 1080p 50fps on the S5 looks great to me anyway.

What program are you using to edit / color grade? I know it is a bit of a hassle, but I usually transcode my footage from 4K to 1080p in resolve as proxy files, and that makes editing that much easier. Then when exporting, you can turn off proxy file use so that it renders from the original 4K files. Even if you wan to export in 1080p, you will get better quality.

Of course, if you shoot in 4K 50 / 60p, you will have to deal with the crop. Plus it takes up time and extra space to create proxy files.

I can't say which lens to get, but I would suggest that you do get at least a 50mm prime in some sort of configuration, at least just to mess around with. You can get a vintage manual focus / manual aperture 50mm prime from Minolta / Pentax / Olympus / Canon / Nikon for around 30 US dollars and then add a manual adapter for $12 or so. 

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9 hours ago, Geoffrey said:

Given everything I do wonder if a 50mm might be best. rather than the 85 (also happens to be a lot cheaper). Hm, decisions.

As always, it depends on your use case and needs, but if it was me, I don’t think there is that much/enough difference between the 24 and 35mm f1.8’s and the 20-60mm ‘kit’ lens.

In fact, I prefer the 20mm FF ability even if it’s f3.5 over the 24mm f1.8 and this is what I specifically use this lens for:

Stills = 20mm wide angle

Video = ‘30mm’ 4K 50p

So I personally would skip both of the above and be looking at the 50 or 85.

85 or somewhere round about that is a staple for me as a photographer. In crop mode 4K 50p, it becomes like a 127.5mm and is far too long for my needs.

I did shoot an entire styled wedding Shoot indoors and out with it last year, just because, but the 50 would have been better.

I used to think (without much thought) that 50mm was a boring focal length, but in recent years have grown to appreciate it.

My go to focal length for most things these days is now 65mm because it’s got just that bit more reach and compression than a 50, but isn’t so tight indoors like an 85 can be.

Ultimate portrait lens/focal length?

Nope. Something longer is always going to be more flattering.

Goldilocks focal length for many things a lot of the time?

For me it is.

Conclusion:

I’d go for the 50mm as it is more flexible than the 85mm for most people, most of the time and as mentioned above, the kit lens at the longer end, is getting a bit slow.

Outdoors in decent light, pretty decent shallow DOF if that’s your thing, but once the light levels start dropping, as good as the S5 is in low light, an f1.8 is significantly better.

I’m a big fan of f1.8/f2 lenses and IMO, they are the sweet spot of; useable shallow DOF, low light capability, size, weight and price.

So you can keep your f1.4’s and as for stuff like f1 etc… 😜

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I have been playing with the AFC on the S5 recently. Mainly in Human Detection mode and verifying who to focus on by clicking on the box. It has worked quite well in many situations. These were mainly fairly static fashion shoots with a few moving shots (subject or camera). I wouldn't use it for anything critical but for events (weddings, company events etc) where I have to shoot hundreds of shots I think I'll start using it at non critical moments where I think it'll work and thus give my eyes a rest from MF for hours on end. I've used it with the 24-105 and 50 f1.8.

But please Panasonic, give us top notch AF in the MK2 versions. I really don't want to go to Sony or Canon as the cameras have everything else I need for the right price.

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