Dual Pixel Autofocus which was originally launched this past July 2013 when the Canon EOS 70D was announced, was recently added as an “upgrade” to the Canon EOS C300 and the Canon EOS C100, so can it be added to the Canon EOS 5D Mark III or other recent Canon DSLR cameras?

Well, I don’t know and I’m frustrated because I don’t know.

Why am I even thinking about this?

It is very intriguing to me that Canon is able to retrofit cameras that have been shipping for well over a year while the first time we heard about Dual Pixel technology was when they announced the Canon EOS 70D this past July…

So it seemed to me that in order to “add” this to cameras that already shipped, because I believed based on their marketing that it was a sensor level change in the first place, that the Canon EOS C100 and Canon EOS C300 sensors had to be designed that way but yet that they weren’t shipped with the capability!

Turns out I was right.

**UPDATE** As Corey R pointed out in the comments below (not in the forum) (and I don’t know why I didn’t think of the announcement dates) – the Canon EOS C300 was technically announced before the Canon EOS 5D Mark III was announced! Now as I recall, the Canon EOS 5D Mark III began shipping before the Canon EOS C300, but they were in about the same timeframe. Corey also notes tho that all the cameras that are Dual Pixel that have been announced so far are crop sensors, so maybe that’s the issue?

Canon EOS C100 Dual Pixel upgrade promo
Canon EOS C100 Dual Pixel upgrade promo

I contacted Canon trying to confirm my suspicions – maybe everyone already surmised this, but I wanted to know for sure as I hadn’t seen it discussed.

Here’s what I was told:

Questions and Answers

planet5D: I’m really most curious about this upgrade. I thought I understood from the Canon EOS 70D announcement of this Dual Pixel technology that it was a feature of your new sensors. Meaning it was designed in as a part of the sensor. Is that not correct?

Canon: It’s correct that Dual Pixel CMOS AF requires the type of CMOS sensor used in the EOS 70D, featuring two photodiodes within each pixel.

planet5D: If it is correct, then doesn’t that mean that the Canon EOS C100 and Canon EOS C300 sensors were designed with this technology in mind? Even tho it wasn’t released?

Canon: Correct. The original Canon CMOS sensor used in the EOS C100 and EOS C300 has two photodiodes for each and every pixel. These dual photodiodes improve the readout speed and effective dynamic range for Cinema EOS cameras. The new feature upgrade service updates the cameras’ firmware to add Dual Pixel CMOS AF functionality without replacing the CMOS sensor. In addition to updating the firmware, Canon’s service technicians perform calibration adjustments on the sensor to ensure maximum AF accuracy and performance.

So what about the Canon EOS 5D Mark III?

planet5D: So does that mean it will be coming to the Canon EOS C500? (I know your answer will be ‘we don’t discuss future announcements’ LOL)

And I’ve been asked several times — is it possible that there may be an upgrade for this Dual Pixel autofocus for the Canon EOS 5D Mark III?

Canon: Unfortunately we can’t comment on future announcements. (sorry!)

Ok, good, so I wasn’t crazy!

Tho of course, we don’t know if it is going to be added to the Canon EOS 5D Mark III or even the Canon EOS C300 and who knows how long Canon has been putting Dual Pixel capable sensors out… but we do now know that they shipped cameras with capable sensors before they had the firmware necessary to make it all work.

Hmm… I wonder what else the sensors are capable of that we haven’t yet discovered?

Maybe the Magic Lantern team will find something we don’t know about? They’ve found so many other amazing things!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments BELOW!

Demo of the Canon EOS C100 with the upgrade

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


chief astronomer at planet5D LLC
Mitch "planetMitch" Aunger is the creator and mastermind behind planet5D.com

He's incredibly happy running planet5D and sharing so much joy of photography and filmmaking with his readers.