By site editor Dan Chung:
If, like me, you are a Canon C300 user who has been jealously watching the progress of Dual Pixel AF on the C100, then today is a happy day. Canon have announced that the advanced autofocus tracking technology that was first seen on the EOS 70D and C100 is making its way to the C300 in May. Owners in the US will be able to get the upgrade for $500 but it does require the camera to be shipped to an authorised Canon service centre. Pricing in other parts of the globe is uncertain at this time.
Newsshooter had a chance to shoot with a Dual Pixel AF upgraded C100 in Japan last year and I was impressed with the results. Assuming the C300 version is just as good then I can see myself using autofocus a lot more on documentary style shoots. I’m really looking forward to testing Dual Pixel AF out on Steadicam and brushless gimbal setups. The good thing with the Canon system is that you can of course engage manual focus at any time when using an Ultrasonic lens – the best of both worlds.
The only drawback that I have found with the C300 set up to shoot in this way is that the custom button for your thumb on the handgrip must be set up to either autofocus, or image magnification for focus check. The operator is forced to use one of the other assign buttons on the camera body for the second function (or go into the menu every time to change the button assignment). In handheld shooting I find this annoying because you have to take one hand off the camera to engage the function. What is really needed is a second button on the handgrip – maybe we’ll have to wait for Canon’s next Cinema series camera for that.
Below is an extract from the Canon press release:
MELVILLE, N.Y., February 24, 2014 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, has announced a variety of performance updates for cameras in its Cinema EOS and XF professional camcorder line. Announced today is a new optional feature upgrade for the EOS C300 Cinema camera which will support Canon’s innovative Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus (AF) technology and enable continuous autofocusing with the entire line of Canon EF lenses and optimized for Canon’s stepping motor (STM) line of lenses when used with the EOS C300 camera. This optional feature upgrade is expected to be available in May 2014 for a cost of $500.00 and will require the EOS C300 camera body to be shipped to an authorized Canon service center for installation.
In addition to the optional feature upgrade for the EOS C300 camera, Canon has also announced the new RC-V100 remote control for Cinema EOS cameras and the XF Series professional HD camcorders; a firmware update that allows for Peripheral Illumination Correction when using the Canon CN-E35mm T1.5 L F Cinema prime lens or the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM telephoto zoom lens with the EOS C500, EOS C300, or EOS C100 cameras and a Continuous Recording function for the EOS C100 Digital Video Camera to help ensure capture of crucial shots in unpredictable situations, such as wedding/event videography, documentary, news, or wildlife production.
“We continue to strive to demonstrate our support of filmmaking and television production professionals through innovative new updates and equipment upgrades that allow our products to better serve these visual storytellers,” stated Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. “By listening to our customers and responding to the various ways our equipment is used in the marketplace, we look to continually advance the capabilities and features inherent in our cameras, lenses, and accessories.”
EOS C300 Dual Pixel CMOS AF Feature Upgrade
Originally introduced in the Canon EOS 70D Digital SLR camera, Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology is designed to provide continuous autofocus when shooting in single operator, or run-and-gun set-ups like documentaries, weddings, events, or electronic news gathering (ENG). When used in combination with an STM lens, this technology allows for the capture of high quality video without the interruption of noise by the focusing motor.
Dual Pixel CMOS AF is an innovative image-plane phase-detection AF technology that employs a CMOS sensor on which all of the effective pixels are able to perform both imaging and phase-detection AF simultaneously. Although camera operators can still focus manually, this new optional feature upgrade can enable smooth continuous AF with phase detection, a particularly useful feature when shooting with a small crew or single-operator run-and-gun filming and cinéma vérité style shoots.
The optional Dual Pixel CMOS AF feature upgrade for the EOS C300 Cinema camera supports continuous AF with all compatible Canon EF series lenses when shooting subjects positioned in the center of the imaging area. The technology involves complementary use of a contrast signal to achieve advanced autofocus stability that helps reduce the occurrence of loss of focus on a subject. Also included is an AF Lock which allows users to lock a focus point once AF is achieved and recompose the shot. Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF also nearly doubles the speed of the EOS C300 Cinema camera’s One-Shot AF function, which enables a DP 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 models.
The Dual Pixel CMOS AF feature upgrade for the EOS C300 Cinema camera will be made available to users through an authorized Canon service center. For more information please visit the Canon U.S.A. website at http://pro.usa.canon.com/EOSC300FeatureUpgrade.