Check Out the Canon 70D’s Dual Pixel AF Technology In Action

At the beginning of the week, Canon introduced the latest and greatest addition to its APS-C lineup of DSLRs when it debuted the Canon EOS 70D. In addition to the standard specs you would expect to find in any of Canon’s APS-C cameras (the company has gotten some grief lately regarding its lack of innovation) the 70D packed one very impressive improvement.

The 20.2-megapixel Canon-designed sensor inside features something called “Dual Pixel CMOS AF”: a new autofocus system that promises to vastly improve the speed of Canon’s live view and video AF capabilities. And now, we get to see it in action.

The videos above and below come courtesy of Polish website Optyczne, and in them, they test out the 70D’s Single and Servo AF abilities in live view using both an EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM and EF 100mm f/2.8L IS macro lens. At the top we have the single AF test using the STM lens, below the servo test:

In case you haven’t read our previous coverage, a quick recap might be in order. The new Dual Pixel system works by splitting each of the pixels on the new 20.2MP sensor into two photodiodes. The sensor can then use those photodiodes together for taking pictures, or analyze their data separately when it comes time to autofocus.

The result is much faster live view and video autofocus than we’ve seen from Canon in the past. Here are the two tests using the 100mm macro lens:

As you can see, the system works as advertised: fast. It’s not on par with the 19-point all cross-type system the 70D boasts when using the viewfinder, but when it comes to live view and video autofocus, the speed improvement goes beyond “noticeable” and crosses into “impressive” territory.

(via Canon Rumors)

  • enghooi


  • Xavierdjx

    sony are still faster…

  • sarabico

    “sony are still faster…”

    I think it´s not about the speed, but about the organic feel. About speed, panasonic gh3 is much faster. But you get a little hunt. it´s small but it´s there.

  • Adam Cross

    really nice, shame they couldn’t get this into the 5DIII and 1DX

  • Carsten Schlipf

    Sure they couldn’t. Timetravel has not been invented yet. Wait for the 5D MkIV ;-)

  • dannybuoy

    Wow. Some focussing.

  • dannybuoy

    Oh wait. Of not seen the other focussing video below. Crazy. More focussing.

  • Jared Jantzer

    frankly I see this as only an improvement for video users… After owning a Sony Alpha series camera, I rarely encounter the ‘hunting issues’ that most canon/nikon cameras poses expect in the most darkest of scenes. After doing a simple test with my a77 and its 16-50/2.8, I see results directly comparable to these sample videos in terms of speed and accuracy, mind you my camera is almost 2 years old at this point. Good job to canon for finally picking up the pace on your product development, but the technology is far better than this, even on the consumer level.

  • lol


  • 9inchnail

    Haters gonna hate

  • jkantor267

    A feature only useful for amateur home videos.

  • Sky

    not horrible, but still lags badly behind regular PDAF.

  • Sky

    There’s little bit of hunt here too.

  • Sky

    Since when focusing in live view is useful only for videos?

  • YouDidntDidYou

    wow it’s taken Canon over 5 years to nearly catch up with Olympus and Panasonic’s live view contrast autofocus

  • Mike

    Which is why Canon is going to make TONS of money off of it.

  • Caesar Rex

    Sony does not use a traditional mirror.

  • Caesar Rex

    The GH3 is not a DSLR.

  • Caesar Rex

    The A77 does not use a traditional mirror, so the comparison halts a little.

  • Caesar Rex

    What Olympus or Panasonic DSRL with a traditional mirror have AF when shooting video. Oh that right, they have none.

    Comparing mirrorless to DSLR is borderline stupid.

    What Canon has done with it’s traditional mirror design is something completely new and unique.

  • Jared Jantzer

    Regardless of having an on sensor pdaf or a dedicated pdaf unit, the comparison is between two cameras offering liveview focusing, and while it performs well, the 70d is leaps and bounds behind sony’s liveview tech. If this is the ‘next gen’ tech they are going to push in their 7dmk2 and 5dmk4, it won’t hold a candle to sony’s next gen tech…

  • Caesar Rex

    Leaps and bounds? You obviously does not measure performance the same way I do. The A77 is not near “leaps and bounds” ahead. It’s ahead but not by as much as some people tells themselfs.. And you miss the point about comparing. If we suddenly compare traditional mirrored cameras to translucent mirrored cameras we might as well say “hey my mirrorless focuses better with video” or why not “my videocamera focuses better”. The A77 uses translucent mirrors and can not be compared. This is a solution for cameras with a traditional mirror. The Sonys are not that. And in the range of DSLRs with normal mirrors the Canon 70D is ahead of everything else.

  • Jared Jantzer

    Its not a soluation, its a step towards mirrorless the same as a transulent mirror. Essentially the 70d will be in a mirror lockup mode (read: mirrorless) to utilize this function. When it gets up to speed with their dedicated af modules, they will either abandoned the mirror or stay with an optical viewfinder and have a mirror lockdown mode.

  • OldPoorRichard

    Wonder whether this new sensor fixes low-light performance (or worsens it with the smaller pixel size)? Their Nikon competition in APS-C size have double the low-light performance according to DXOMark testing. I’m a Canon guy, but always disappointed with pictures above 400 ISO.

    Take the 70D, squeeze it into an SL1-sized body, double the frame rate to 1080p60 and 720p120, and a second SD card slot, and it’s the perfect prosumer camera.

  • Sofia L.

    doesnt the 100D/SL1 already have Dual Pixel CMOS AF?

  • Indie

    The Sony snaps into place, and is bad auto focus for video. The Canon looks much smoother. Sony lovers have never wanted to think that anything beats Sony. Sony makes a good product but they are far from perfect. No camera does everything perfect, but this is the best I’ve seen one auto focus video.

  • omar_armas

    My Olympus OMD is about as fast as that.

  • eliedata

    No. Dual Pixel CMOS AF hasn’t been implemented into any product yet.
    The 70D will be the first one.

  • emricd

    I tend to agree. The exercise of comparing mirrored vs. mirrorless is a bit futile in my mind. It’s all about image acquisition and how the technology will facilitate and improve image capture. You can be ‘mightier than they’ with your mirrored (or less) device and end-up completely missing the next technology boat because you were too entrenched and could not see farther than the focal length of your lens. I think a price/value comparison is more useful. You’ll be hard pressed to find an DSLR in the same price range as a NEX-5n that can perform as well in low light, yield as good video quality and have as smooth a focus in both video and still mode (didn’t say perfect). Let alone the convenience of live-view for fast image acquisition (not need to switch from viewfinder to LCD to make sure images are going to turn out OK).

    What canon has done here is an advancement which ironically brings their line of mighty mirrored cameras closer to the red-headed step-child of the professional camera industry: Sony Alpha (and even NEX). Overall, the A99 is more feature rich (especially in video acquisition) but it sits in the next ‘class up’, along with the other full-frame bodies from Canon and Nikon. The 70D however seems to have inherited a more advanced/complete focusing system (while in mirrorless mode) with 80% sensor focusing coverage. Even compared to the A99 whose sensor focus areas is limited and also restricted to a handful of lenses… Fortunately, focusing is not the only thing that makes a great camera… I am anxious to see how well it does in difficult light conditions being an APS-C sensor. I was contemplating the A99 because it is a full-frame with live-view capabilities but this got my attention and may save me a bundle of money.

  • argentovivo

    It’s more like the 70D in liveview.

  • YouDidntDidYou

    DSLRs and mirrors are past their sell by date, all Olympus and Panasonic mft cameras have AF when shooting video since 2009.