Focus bracketing using Panasonic “Post Focus”

It’s been quite a while since I experimented with focus bracketing using Panasonic “Post Focus.”

“Post Focus” is a feature available on select Panasonic cameras (such as my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 superzoom bridge camera) that enables the photographer to select different focus points after a shot is taken. That’s cool! Turns out “Post Focus” can be used to do focus bracketing / focus stacking too, and in my opinion that’s way cool!

When “Post Focus” is turned on, the camera actually records a single frame of 4K video at 30 fps (MP4 in 4:3 aspect ratio) as it cycles through the 49 focus points from front-to-back.

Since “Post Focus” records short video clips, continuous light sources such as my Sunpak LED-160 must be used to enhance/supplement ambient light.

I set up two scenes using the same studio “models”: the first was shot in landscape mode; the second in portrait mode.

Landscape mode.

As you can see, the lighting doesn’t look good. I usually use external flash units rather than continuous light sources. I need to work on that.

I didn’t edit either of the final composite images because my goal was to test to see whether all three subjects are in focus. They are.

Portrait mode.

Tech Tips

I programmed the Fn4 button to turn “Post Focus” on/off. [Editor’s Note: The default setting for Fn4 is LVF. LVF enables the user to switch between the monitor and viewfinder.]

The following camera settings were used: focal length = 4.5mm (28mm, 35mm equivalent); aperture = f/7.1; shutter speed = 1/80 s; ISO = 400. AF mode set for 49 points.

In order to create the preceding focus stacks, I opened two MP4 files in Adobe Photoshop. Next I exported video frames as individual files that can be imported into Photoshop for focus stacking. I prefer TIFF files rather than JPGs. Then the TIFF files were imported into Photoshop for focus stacking.

That’s an oversimplification of the process. Never fear — Photo Joseph does a good job of explaining the process in detail in the following YouTube video.

Related Resource: 4K Focus Stacking with Panasonic LUMIX Cameras – Presented by LUMIX Luminary Photo Joseph (7:34).

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