70D dual pixel AF vs. dynamic range

Started Aug 29, 2013 | Discussions thread
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falconeyes Senior Member • Posts: 1,454
70D dual pixel AF vs. dynamic range

I'd like to propose a somewhat more balanced perspective at the recent lab result of DxO (thread closed by moderator now).

I read it this way:

Canon invested heavily to solve the problem to maintain their current outstanding phase AF performance in a future world where cameras have no mirror. I can see how this brought them much closer to achieving the goal (not really there yet, but getting much closer than any competitor).

At the same time, they maintained and somewhat improved the other sensor characteristics (such as noise, dynamic range etc.) The recent result from DxO (which is exact but misinterpreted many times) shows that Canon did not sacrifice sensor performance when combining two sensels into one pixel. Which is a non-trivial finding considering that the micro lens is a "per pixel" condenser and that there must be a kind of barrier isolating sensels within a pixel.

So, the recent DxO lab result is actually good news for Canon users.

Of course, the DxO result does reveal too that not much progress has been made wrt "Low ISO Read Noise". The only weak point of current Canon sensors wrt Sony. It affects the DxO score via the dynamic range score which is a low iso score. One may argue that it is weighted too high in the overall DxO score. But this isn't my point.

To achieve good Low ISO Read Noise, Canon would have to venture into column-parallel ADC technology which I am sure they are doing, now that they completed work on the dual pixel approach.

So, in a nutshell:

- Canon invested into a solution to bypass and eventually replace the separate phase AF module.

- Sony/Nikon invested to minimize Low ISO Read Noise.

Only time will tell which investment was the more strategic one. DxO results show us that there was a choice to be made.

However, while it is easy to embedd a column-parallel ADC into the sensor for Canon, it may be difficult for Sony/Nikon to catch up with what Canon will deliver in the foreseeable future.

And please: don't fight over DxO results. They say that the Canon sensor is fine except for low ISO read noise. Which is fair enough.

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