Canon is offering owners of its Cinema EOS C100 the chance to add Dual Pixel AF to this video-centric camera. This will enable continuous autofocus during recording with all Canon EF lenses, and double one-shot AF speed with 104 fully-supported lenses. Interestingly the upgrade doesn't involve a change of sensor, but instead enables a hitherto-unused hardware capability. However it will require the camera to be sent to a Canon service centre, and isn't free (in the US it will cost $500).

Canon USA's press release about this update is decidedly opaque, leading to some reports suggesting that the process involves a sensor swap. However Canon Europe is much more explicit about what's going on, so we've reproduced its press release below.


Press Release:

Staying sharp: EOS C100 becomes the first camcorder to feature Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus technology

London, UK, 6 November 2013 – Canon today announces an upgrade that brings Dual Pixel CMOS AF functionality (DAF) to its professional EOS C100 camcorder. First launched with the EOS 70D DSLR, Dual Pixel CMOS AF is a ground-breaking, Canon-developed technology that expands shooting possibilities by providing smooth, fast, high-performance continuous autofocus in large sensor video cameras. The EOS C100 is the first-ever camcorder to feature this technology, and its addition provides even greater creative flexibility in everyday use.

Making it easier for single shooters to capture outstanding moving images was part of the core design philosophy for the EOS C100. DAF further enhances creative freedom by providing greater accuracy and control of focus when shooting – a crucial factor given the shallow depth of field made possible by the combination of fast glass and a large image sensor. Continuous autofocus is supported by all Canon EF lenses¹, whilst the existing One-shot AF function becomes approximately twice as fast with any of the 104 supported lenses.

Upgraded performance

Dual Pixel CMOS AF is a sensor-based, phase detection Auto Focus (AF) technology designed to support video shooting, and a compatible CMOS sensor was included in the original design of the EOS C100. Following further technical development since launch, the camera can now be upgraded to offer users enhanced functionality and added value.

While the underlying Dual Pixel CMOS AF sensor technology in the EOS C100 is similar to that found in the Canon EOS 70D digital SLR, it has been adapted to fit the capabilities of the EOS C100. It has been optimised specifically for video shooting, and provides fast, natural focussing in a familiar visual style. As such, capturing a subject and retaining sharp focus, even when moving, has never been easier.

Kieran Magee, Director of Professional Marketing, Canon Europe, comments: “We’re dedicated to developing innovative imaging products that also deliver great value to our customers. We’re very proud of our existing Cinema EOS system range, and we’re continuously listening to our customers to identify ways that we can enhance our products to allow them to push their own creative boundaries. This upgrade, which brings Dual Pixel CMOS AF sensor technology to the EOS C100, is further evidence of this commitment.”

Availability

The upgrade is a paid-for option, and utilises the existing Super35mm sensor in the EOS C100. It will be performed at Canon’s network of Regional Competence Centres (RCC) and is expected to be available in Q1 2014.

¹Excluding manual lenses, including the EF Cinema lens range