Improved autofocus for Olympus PEN cameras and Panasonic G1, GH1, and GF1

Good news for fans of Micro Four Thirds compact interchangeable lens cameras: Not only has Olympus released a firmware update that improves autofocus for all three of its PEN cameras (the E-P1, E-P2, and E-PL1), but on Tuesday Panasonic also announced a firmware update for three of its competing Micro Four Thirds cameras, the DMC-G1, -GH1, and -GF1.

Good news for fans of Micro Four Thirds compact interchangeable lens cameras: Not only has Olympus released a firmware update that improves autofocus for all three of its PEN cameras (the E-P1, E-P2, and E-PL1), but on Tuesday Panasonic also announced a firmware update for three of its competing Micro Four Thirds cameras, the DMC-G1, -GH1, and -GF1.

As announced last week, Olympus has released new firmware to improve autofocus for both still image shooting and HD video recording for its three PEN cameras.  Slow autofocus performance has been one of the main criticisms of the Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras, particularly with third-party lenses. In addition to speeding up autofocus for the three cameras using all Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds lenses, the update also improves autofocus tracking in continuous autofocus mode when recording video with Olympus' two "movie and still compatible" (MSC) lenses. Furthermore, the update will also enable you to view the menu and playback images on the E-P2 and E-PL1 LCD screens while the optional electronic viewfinder is being used.

Panasonic's firmware announcement came just five days after Olympus' and also promises to improve autofocus performance on its three cameras with third party lenses as well as improve autofocus performance in video recording with for the GH1 (with the Panasonic lens). Additionally, it will enable autofocus in full HD recording mode with Four Thirds lenses compatible with contrast AF for the GH1. The update will also enable recognition of Panasonic's new 14-42mm zoom lens announced last month and will improve flash performance and accuracy for the GH1 and G1. The update will be available on May 10.