This is quite the shocker if you ask me… Canon is now offering an upgrade on the Canon EOS C100 – adding their Dual Pixel Autofocus (AF) to their cinema camera allowing for some continuous autofocusing while shooting video. I don't think I can recall any sensor upgrade options from Canon in the past!
The upgrade will be available in February 2014 for $500 and will require you to send your camera in to a Canon Service Center.
Movie making purists may ‘poopoo' this idea, but when I've had my hands on the Canon EOS 70D and did some testing of the AF technology on that camera, I was quite impressed (see demo below). Tho the 70D does have the touch based LCD that makes changing focus manually much more appealing.
Will Canon be issuing a similar fix to the Canon EOS 5D Mark III or maybe the Canon EOS 1D C? Or does this technology only currently exist for non-full frame sensors? We don't know at this point. Maybe they're just feeling out the market and starting at the lower end which they consider a more “consumer” camera?
Does this mean they're changing the size of the sensor? Are they swapping out a super-35 sensor for an APS-C sized one (I ask since the only current Dual Pixel sensor is the one in the Canon EOS 70D)? Will this sensor work in the Canon EOS C300? So many questions!
Demo of Dual Pixel AF from planet5D
As a demo of the capabilities of the Dual Pixel AF, watch my first hands on video with the Canon EOS 70D (especially the section after 5:00 where I do some fast movements to see how well the AF tracked me):
Canon Press Release
MELVILLE, N.Y., November 5, 2013 – Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, announced today that the Company will offer an optional feature upgrade for the EOS C100 Digital Video camera which will support innovative Dual Pixel CMOS AF autofocus technology, enabling continuous autofocusing with Canon’s entire EF lens lineup1. This optional upgrade is expected to be available in February 2014 for a cost of $500.00 and will require the EOS C100 camera body to be shipped to a Canon service center.
The Canon feature upgrade will provide the EOS C100 camera (first introduced in November 2012) with greatly improved autofocus (AF) functionality made possible through Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. First employed in the EOS 70D digital SLR camera launched in August 2013, the innovative new AF technology helps facilitate greater shooting efficiency across a variety of shooting situations. For users that work with moving subjects, this optional Dual Pixel CMOS AF upgrade for the EOS C100 camera will allow for a smoother, more natural autofocus that can be particularly useful for video markets like documentary, sports, event and wildlife.
Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF makes use of the Company’s proprietary CMOS sensor technology with a new structure that both captures light and performs phase-difference detection autofocus. While focusing on the EOS C100 camera is primarily performed manually, the feature upgrade will enable smooth continuous AF, a capability that can be particularly beneficial when operating with a small production crew, electronic news gathering, or run-and-gun documentary-style shoots.
The Dual Pixel CMOS AF functionality offered through the feature upgrade supports continuous AF with all compatible Canon EF lenses for subjects positioned in the center of the imaging area. The complementary use of the contrast signal achieves advanced AF stability that helps reduce the occurrence of image blur. Also, the inclusion of an AF Lock function contributes to expanded shooting flexibility through focus preset, which allows users to set a desired focus distance in advance, and the ability to alter the photographing range or composition after establishing focus.
This optional feature upgrade increases the speed of the EOS C100 camera’s One-Shot AF function by approximately two-times, which enables users to focus on a subject located at the center of the screen with the push of a button, a feature that is currently supported on 104 Canon EF lens models2.
This feature upgrade service will be made available to users through Canon’s product maintenance centers. For more information about this update, please visit the Canon U.S.A. website atusa.canon.com/cusa/professional/standard_display/eos_c100_feature_upgrade.
About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. With approximately $40 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), ranks third overall in U.S. patents registered in 2012† and is one of Fortune Magazine's World’s Most Admired Companies in 2013. In 2013, Canon U.S.A. has received the PCMag.com Readers’ Choice Award for Service and Reliability in the digital camera and printer categories for the tenth consecutive year, and for camcorders for the past three years. Canon U.S.A. is committed to the highest level of customer satisfaction and loyalty, providing 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyoseiphilosophy of social and environmental responsibility. To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company's RSS news feed by visiting www.usa.canon.com/rss and follow us on Twitter @CanonUSA.
(cover photo credit: snap from the Canon announcement)