The Canon C100 has been one of the quieter successes in the Canon lineup -- even though it's not as flashy as the C300 and more expensive than most DSLRs. That hasn't stopped many professionals from singing its praises, and getting one as an affordable personal camera. Now it's acquiring some consumer-oriented features in a new firmware update that may just come in handy: continuous autofocus and continuous auto iris.
Thanks to planet5D for the heads-up, here's Canon on the new update:
- A function has been added which allows automatic continuous focusing and iris setting on a subject in the center of the screen when using the EF-S18-135mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM lens.
- The polarity of the XLR terminal has been modified to improve compatibility with external audio devices. The pin configuration has been modified to be consistent with the Instruction Manual.
OK I downloaded it and installed it on the C100 just before the camera left our building and did some very quick tests using the 18-135mm STM lens. The AF in Focus Lock mode was very fast and smooth. Much better than before.
AF in Continuous mode (which is accessible as a setting in the camera menu) is fully continuous which means it keeps focusing without any interaction.
The One Shot (focus lock) AF mode still requires you to push the Focus button on the front of the camera body.
In my initial test, I was very impressed with the speed and smoothness of the Continuous Focusing. It was very good in very low light, and would probably be even better in good light. It seemed to track a moving person diagonally very well, which is not easy for most contrast detection systems.
It's unlikely you'll need to call upon this in a professional environment (or if you'd even want to), but I can think of one situation where it could work really well as long as performance is good: steadicam. No, not with a professional operator, but if you don't have much of a budget and you've got a handheld model like a Glidecam or Merlin, (or even one of those new-fangled gyro-stabilizers), and this works as advertised, it could make your life much easier when trying to follow a subject and also keep said subject in focus. That's obviously not the recommended way to do things, but if it works, why not?
Another situation where it might be helpful is if you need behind the scenes material for something, and you don't have any experienced operators available, I imagine this function could probably get some decent footage.
Either way, if you've got a C100, download the update from here, and let us know what you think.