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Accessory Reviews

Date: 15/04/2016 | By: Heather

GSimpleRelease Review – A Focus Bracketing App for Panasonic Lumix Cameras

gsimplerelease lumix focus bracketing

GSimpleRelease Review – A Focus Bracketing App for Panasonic Lumix Cameras

Being a keen macro photographer, I was very excited when Olympus first announced its new Focus Bracketing and Focus Stacking modes back in mid-2015. Put simply, these modes allow you to take a series of bracketed shots (RAW + JPG) at varying focus distances, giving you a deeper depth of field. The only difference between the two is that Stacking actually merges the image in-camera while Bracketing requires merging in post-production.

Since I was also testing the Panasonic Lumix GX8 around the same time as the arrival of these modes, I sometimes found myself missing them for my macro photography. Little did I know that there was already a great solution out there in the form of a very useful and affordable camera app!

GSimpleRelease is a focus bracketing app for Lumix cameras designed by Holger Kremmin. It works with any Lumix camera that is WiFi capable and supports manual focus via the Panasonic Image App.

The official list of cameras that have been reported to work correctly with the app is as follows:

GH4, GH3, GX8, G7, G6, GM1, GM5, FZ1000, FZ300, GF7, GF6, and LX100

Unlike many camera apps I’ve used in the past, GSimpleRelease is extremely easy to set up and use. To get started, put your Lumix camera into Manual Focus, activate your camera’s WiFi and connect your smartphone to your camera’s network.

Then, open the GSimpleRelease app and wait for a splash screen to appear. The app will search for your camera and the two should connect fairly quickly. If they do not, check that your smartphone is indeed connected to your camera’s WiFi network.

The splash screen
The splash screen

Once they are connected, you will see the following screen.

gsimplerelease lumix focus bracketing
The main screen

For the app to work, you must first select a near and far focus point. The arrows pointing left are used to adjust near focus while the two pointing right are for far focus. You can either adjust your focus in large increments (using the double arrows) or small increments (using the single arrows).

Use the arrows to select the nearest and farthest focus points

Once you’ve selected your nearest focus point, press the Set Near Focus button. Do the same with the Set Far Focus button.

Then, select the step width you desire. If you choose a high number, the camera will take fewer shots because the focus distance between each shot is larger, while a smaller number will result in more shots and smaller increments. There is also a Q (quick) option that takes the same number of shots as the step width of 10 but in rapid succession which is useful for subjects that are unlikely to stay still for very long.

You can also define the delay between each shot (between 100 and 1000). The higher the number, the bigger the delay.

When you are ready to start bracketing, press the green plus button in the centre. It will turn red during the bracketing process and you can be pressed a second time to cancel the process. Once it has finished, a message will appear on-screen telling you how many shots have been taken.

Real-World Use of GSimpleRelease App

One of my dad’s pastimes is building model railways. Since he has started posting some photos of his railway on Flickr, I asked him if he would like some detailed shots of his favourite engines. It was an offer he couldn’t refuse!

Below are three images that were taken with the Lumix GX8 / M.Zuiko 60mm f/2.8 macro lens / GSimpleRelease app, stacked in Photoshop and retouched to eliminate some of the imperfections.

A stacked image made up of ___ images
A stacked image made up of 7 images (taken with step width of 5)
A stacked image made up of 27 images (taken with step width of 3)
A stacked image made up of 27 images (taken with step width of 3)
A stacked image made up of 20 images (taken with step width of 5)

What about the GX85’s new Focus Bracket mode?

Panasonic Lumix’s most recent camera, the GX85 (also known as the GX80), is the first to feature Panasonic’s Focus Bracket mode. This new mode allows you to take between 1 and 999 shots in both RAW and JPG at focus steps that can be set in 5 levels.

The inclusion of this new mode obviously begs the question: is the GSimpleRelease app still relevant now that focus bracketing can be done in-camera?

In our opinion, it is still relevant because not all Lumix models produced before the GX80 will be able to receive this mode via firmware update, so this app is the only way to focus bracket – that is, unless you want to do it manually which is more time-consuming and less accurate.

If you are interested in the GSimpleRelease app, you can find out more on the Minaxsoft website, visit the official Flickr group to see sample images, or download it directly from the iTunes or Google Play app stores.

Thanks to David Barwick for bringing this app to our attention and to the app developer Holger Kremmin for getting in touch!

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About the author: Heather Broster

Heather Broster was born in Canada, has lived in Japan and Italy but currently calls Wales home. She is a full-time gear tester at MirrorLessons. You can follow her on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Mathieu

    Just takes the photos. You need a software to stack the images like Photoshop or Helicon Focus.

  • Physicsonboard

    Does the app combine the images or just take the photos, tx.

  • Heather Broster

    Thanks for bringing it to our attention! :)

  • Heather Broster

    No problem – $1.99 certainly beats the cost of a new camera! 😀

  • Heather Broster

    Glad you found it useful, Robert! Enjoy!

  • Patrick Stuart

    I hadn’t seen that this was out for iOS, as well. Thanks. I’ve downloaded and look forward to playing with it on my G6. Will save me some money, as the focus bracketing of the OM-10 II and the GX85 was giving me a serious case of G.A.S.

  • Robert Moore

    Great app. Just installed and took a stack. If you need the most detail possible this is the way to go over the Lumix Focus Bracket mode via 4K Photo. Thanks for bringing this app to my attention.

  • Heather Broster

    My guess is that it is compatible but hasn’t been tested. In fact, the GX8 was listed twice (I deleted the second GX8) so perhaps he meant the GX7.

  • Turbofrog

    I notice the GX7 isn’t on the approved list, but the older G6 and GF6 are. Is there any reason in particular for that, or has it just not been tested?

  • David Barwick

    Thank you Heather,

    Cool! – simple, cheap and works, whats not to like?


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