Canon 70D: How Good is the Cutting-Edge Autofocus System While Shooting Video?
After many years of releasing similar cameras with small changes, Canon has finally unleashed a brand new technology inside the new 70D they are calling Dual Pixel CMOS AF. The major breakthrough with this technology is that it should give excellent autofocus whether you’re in stills mode or in video mode. Now, you might be thinking you’d never want or need anything like that, but Johnnie Behiri over at cinema5D took the 70D for a spin to test not only the video quality, but how good the autofocus actually is. Check those videos out below.
Here is Johnnie’s video using the Canon 70D (all manual focus here):
Some of his process:
At present time there is not much to rave about the video quality coming out of that sample 70D camera.
Images are extremely soft, a bit noisy and moire and aliasing are everywhere.
Audio was recorded on camera as part of the test.
Camera picture profile: Neutral (30% sharpness was added in post to compensate for the camera softness).
No CC was applied.
ISO: 100 outdoor, 320 indoor
The autofocus test, which was shot using only the Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM:
Here is a little bit about how the autofocus works:
You can work with the autofocus engaged in 2 ways. with or without touchscreen.
If you choose working with the touchscreen you might get more accurate and easy to “change focus” results but in my case, this option is useless when shooting outside as I can not judge the right exposure in full daylight when looking at the LCD screen.
The other option is to disable the touchscreen and work with the back wheel. That’s the method I used when shooting this video as I had a Zacuto VF attached to the camera.
Also note that if you like working with an external monitor, the LCD screen will go blank right after attaching the HDMI cable.
The autofocus does a pretty good job, much better than I expected in certain shots. Again, this may or may not be something you trust for specific jobs or purposes, but it seems to work well enough for the most part, especially if you were handing this camera off to someone to take BTS footage in a darker environment and you need the high-ISO capabilities of a DSLR but the person shooting is having a harder time keeping focus.
I think one of the best ways this could be used without too much trouble is a steadicam type shot. If you’ve only got one subject in the frame and it’s tracking the person’s face, it should work pretty well, and it’s unlikely to go hunting anywhere else as long as you’ve got the one person as the major subject in the frame.
So while it seems like the actual video quality of the 70D isn’t much different from any of their current APS-C DSLRs, the major improvement is in the sensor tech related to the autofocus. We will likely see this development in future Canon cameras, so I would expect the next 7D to have better video and include this new Dual Pixel CMOS AF.
What do you guys think?
- Canon 70D autofocus test-”40mm vs autofocus” — cinema5D
- Exclusive- First independent Canon 70D (beta quality camera) video review — cinema5D
- New Canon 70D Announced with Improved Video Autofocus Support
- The Canon T4i is Available for Pre-Order: Vari-Angle Touch Screen and Video Autofocus for $850
- Introducing the Canon T4i/650D, the First Canon DSLR with Video Autofocus