High speed contrast detection focusing - when?

Started May 27, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Tom K.
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High speed contrast detection focusing - when?
May 27, 2010

My newest camera is the u4/3 Panasonic GH1, bought it back in November. One of the things I like about it is the snappy focusing, nearly as fast as a conventional dSLR. The SLR zealots railed in the past that with no mirror, contrast detection autofocus (CDAF) could never be as fast as phase detection autofocus (PDAF). However the GH1 has come pretty close, and for the vast majority of shooting is plenty fast. My FZ30 (which was pretty fast for its day) seems slow by comparison.

Anything other than an SLR uses CDAF (I think there may be a few oddball exceptions). My question is, if the GH1 can have high speed CDAF, why can't all other new non-SLRs? I have a year-old ZS3. By my reckoning, the ZS7 which just came out should have high speed focusing. I don't know if it does or not, but if it does I haven't seen any mention of it.

Is the next generation of FZs (assuming there is one) going to have this technology? If not, is it only because Panasonic is deliberately crippling them? What's up with that? Every pocket camera, superzoom, or faux rangefinder made after the G1/GH1 should focus as fast.

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