Canon reinvents video focusing with the fiercely fast EOS 70D handson

Looking to capture professional-quality video on the cheap? You've probably considered a DSLR, but for many users, an interchangeable-lens camera might not be the best pick. Camcorders and higher-end video rigs typically offer far more powerful autofocus capabilities, and while Digital SLR footage can look great, if you're not tweaking the lens manually, things might not go as smoothly as you'd hope. Canon's setting out to change that, with its brilliant new EOS 70D. On the surface, this 20.2-megapixel camera doesn't venture far from its 60D roots, but internally, it's an entirely different ballgame.

At the core of the 70D's modifications is what Canon's calling Dual Pixel CMOS AF. Essentially, the sensor includes twice the number of pixels in an (very successful) attempt to improve focusing. There are 40.3 million photodiodes on the sensor, and when they're all working together, "it's like 20 million people tracking the focus with both eyes," as Canon explains. The result is camcorder-like focusing for both stills and video, when you're shooting in live view mode. During our test with a pre-production sample, the device performed phenomenally, adjusting focus instantaneously when snapping stills, and quickly but gradually when recording video. Join us after the break for a closer look.

Canon EOS 70D hands-on

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When comparing focusing side by side with the 60D, the improvement is immediately evident. Where 2010's model stumbles, the 70D shines. This specific performance boost is limited to live-view shooting, though viewfinder users should see some improvement as well -- just like the 7D, the new model sports 19 AF points, compared to just nine on its predecessor. Low-light sensitivity has been boosted as well, with the camera shooting at ISO 100-12,800, or up to 25,600 in an expanded mode. The 3-inch, 1.04M-dot Vari-Angle display sports touch functionality -- tapping to focus is a key asset here, letting you adjust from one subject to the next without adjusting composition, while also identifying objects that the camera should track.

There are other improvements as well, but they pale in comparison to the Dual Pixel CMOS AF, which is fully compatible with 103 EF lenses. That tech is likely to make its way to the rest of Canon's lineup eventually, but if you want to take advantage now, there's only one model in the world that includes it. As for other features, a boosted consecutive mode enables 7 fps captures, compared to just over 5 with the older model. There's also a multi-shot noise reduction mode, which we often see on higher-end point-and-shoots, but rarely DSLRs. There's a mic jack, but for better or worse (well, definitely worse), Canon excluded a headphone connector. Additionally, there's no uncompressed HDMI output -- this is definitely a consumer model, despite the performance enhancements.

Canon shot a variety of footage with a handful of lenses to demonstrate the 70D's focusing capabilities. You should walk away with some solid impressions after watching the video just below. Pay particular attention to the vegetable chopping and focus shift between the two chefs -- the latter was accomplished by simply tapping the new subject on the display.

Now click play below for a behind-the-scenes video to see how photographers accomplished each of the shots.

Canon's expected to ship the EOS 70D for an estimated $1,199 in September, body only. It'll also be available with two lens options: an 18-55mm STM kit will likely retail for $1,349, while an 18-135mm STM version should come along with a $1,549 MSRP. Pricing is unconfirmed at this point, hence the noncommittal phrasing, but reps seemed fairly confident in those figures. The 60D will be discontinued, but the 7D will remain on the market -- for a while longer, at least. Still, if you're looking for a DSLR primarily for shooting video, the 70D is where it's at.

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CANON INTRODUCES THE NEW AND POWERFUL EOS 70D DIGITAL SLR CAMERA FEATURING INSTANT AND ACCURATE FOCUSING OF STILL IMAGES AND VIDEO

Designed to Change the Way Photographers Capture Images and Video, New Camera Features Newly-Developed Dual Pixel CMOS AF Technology, Built-in Wireless Capability, 20.2 Megapixel CMOS Sensor, DIGIC 5+ Image Processor, and More

MELVILLE, N.Y., July 2, 2013 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, is proud to introduce the high-performance EOS 70D Digital SLR camera – bringing advanced features to photo enthusiasts looking for a step up from their entry-level digital SLRs. Featuring an innovative new Dual Pixel CMOS AF system for instant and precise focusing of video as well as still images, the EOS 70D also provides outstanding image quality and performance thanks to its new 20.2 megapixel APS-C Canon CMOS sensor and Canon's superb DIGIC 5+ Image Processor.

Canon's newly-developed Dual Pixel CMOS AF, a phase-detection autofocus (AF) technology on the camera's image sensor plane, enables users to shoot video with the new EOS 70D close to the quality of a video shot with a camcorder. Dual Pixel CMOS AF employs a revolutionary CMOS sensor on which all of the effective pixels are able to perform both still imaging and phase-detection AF simultaneously to achieve dramatically improved AF performance over other EOS cameras during Live View shooting and when shooting video.

Compared with Canon's conventional Live View AF systems, Dual Pixel CMOS AF realizes shorter focusing times, exceptional tracking performance and smoother autofocusing during video shooting. And, because Live View shooting can be used in a manner similar to using the camera's viewfinder, the fast and smooth AF performance allows users to concentrate more attention on the subject and composing the photo when shooting. Dual Pixel CMOS AF also supports 103 (1) models of EF lenses (including many earlier models), enhancing a photographer's creative options as well as maximizing the benefit of Dual Pixel CMOS AF in a variety of situations.

"The new EOS 70D Digital SLR camera is a game-changing DSLR model that incorporates advanced features for high-quality still and video capture and intuitive operation that allows photographers to evolve their creative vision from shooting still images to shooting moving images," said Yuichi Ishizuka, executive vice president and general manager, Imaging Technologies & Communications Group, Canon U.S.A. "This camera's outstanding image quality combined with built-in wireless technology and popular creative functions and filters makes it easy to turn photos into works of art and share them immediately."Wireless Connectivity

The EOS 70D Digital SLR camera's built-in wireless transmitter offers users several connectivity options to easily share their images. With the download of the free EOS Remote app2 from the Apple App Store or the Google Play store, users can connect to both iOS® or AndroidTM smartphones and tablets3 to wirelessly transfer photos and videos from their camera to their device. They can also control aperture, shutter speed, and ISO from their smartphone. This camera also has the ability to connect directly to Canon's iMAGE GATEWAY4, making photos easily accessible and ready to share on social networking sites. In addition, the EOS 70D has the ability to connect wirelessly to computers, DLNA devices, Wi-Fi Certified® Canon cameras and wireless PictBridge5 compatible printers, such as the PIXMA MG6320 Wireless Photo All-In-One printer model.

Superb Still Performance

Featuring a new 20.2 megapixel APS-C Canon CMOS sensor and Canon's superb DIGIC 5+ Image Processor, as well as an extensive ISO range of 100–12800 (expandable to 25,600), the EOS 70D Digital SLR camera is capable of producing sharp, detailed images, even in low-light conditions. And with high-speed continuous shooting of up to 7.0 frames per second (fps) united with a 19-point all cross-type AF system (including a high-precision f/2.8 dual cross-type AF center point), it allows photographers to easily capture accurately focused fast moving subjects. In addition, the camera's Scene Intelligent Auto Mode delivers optimized photos and offers outstanding scene detection for amazing results even when shooting in low light.

The EOS 70D also incorporates a 63-zone Dual Layer IFCL (Intelligent Focus, Color & Luminance) AE metering system which enhances accurate exposures by minimizing random metering errors caused by varying subject colors and light sources. Other useful features include a built-in Electronic Level Function, Manual WB settings and AF Microadjustment.

Enhanced EOS Full HD Movie Mode for Professional Quality Video

With Canon's new Dual Pixel CMOS AF system and Movie Servo AF, the camera provides continuous phase-detection AF during video recording for quick and accurate focus tracking of moving subjects in the central 80 percent of the imaging area. While shooting with any of Canon's Stepping Motor (STM) lenses, such as the new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens, motor noise from the lens is significantly reduced so the camera will only capture the stereo sound of the scene being recorded. For added flexibility, the EOS 70D Digital SLR camera also features a built-in stereo microphone with manual audio level adjustment and an attenuator function to reduce audio clipping, an accessory jack for external stereo microphones and Video Snapshot mode with editing for expanded video shooting options. When users select the EOS Movie Mode, the EOS 70D offers the ability to shoot in 1080p Full HD video up to 30 fps in either ALL-I or IPB codecs with optional embedded time code, matching the flexibility of other current EOS cameras such as the EOS-1D X, EOS 5D Mark III, and EOS 6D models.

Expanding Creativity

The EOS 70D Digital SLR camera provides advanced amateur photographers and photo hobbyists looking to hone their creative and technical skills with an innovative range of in-camera imaging features such as High Dynamic Range, Multiple Exposure, Handheld Night Scene and HDR Backlight Control modes that allow for expanded creativity. The new camera is also equipped with built-in RAW Image Processing and Image Resizing functions.

When any one of the seven Creative Filters is applied in Live View, users can preview the effect of the filter on the three-inch Vari-Angle Touch Screen monitor without having to shoot the image first. Users can pick from effects such as Art Bold, Fish-eye, Water-painting, Grainy Black and White, Soft Focus, Toy Camera and Miniature and choose the one that best expresses their creative vision before or after the image is captured.

All of these features, when combined with a high-resolution Vari-angle Touch Screen 3.0-inch Clear View LCD monitor II with intuitive touch controls featuring multi-touch operation and Touch AF, make the it the ideal camera choice for photographers looking for the best in imaging technology.

The EOS 70D is compatible with the full line of Canon EF and EF-S lenses as well as SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, including Ultra High Speed (UHS-1) cards.

Availability

The EOS 70D Digital SLR camera is scheduled to be available in September 2013 for an estimated retail price of $1199.00 for the body alone and $1349.00 bundled with an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens or $1549.00 bundled with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens. Also available will be a new Battery Grip BG-E14 that conveniently accepts up to two LP-E6 battery packs or a set of six AA batteries for an estimated retail price of $270.00.

For more information about the Canon EOS 70D Digital SLR Camera, the full list of product specifications and compatible lenses, visit www.usa.canon.com/eos.

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Canon Develops New Dual Pixel CMOS AF Technology to Significantly Improve Autofocus Performance During Live View and Video Shooting

MELVILLE, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced its parent company, Canon Inc., developed Dual Pixel CMOS AF, an innovative new autofocus technology for the EOS 70D Digital SLR camera. Dual Pixel CMOS AF, a phase-detection AF technology conducted directly on the image sensor plane, employs a CMOS sensor on which all of the effective pixels are able to perform both imaging and phase-detection AF simultaneously to achieve dramatically improved AF performance over prior EOS cameras during Live View and video shooting.

As digital SLR cameras have evolved in recent years in terms of functionality and performance, shooting styles have become more diverse. An increasing number of users no longer rely exclusively on the viewfinder when shooting, but rather view the camera's LCD monitor when using the Live View function to capture still images and when shooting video.

Canon's newly-developed Dual Pixel CMOS AF is an innovative new image-plane phase-detection AF technology that employs a CMOS sensor on which all of the effective pixels are able to perform both imaging and phase-detection AF simultaneously. Each individual pixel (the smallest structural unit capable of outputting an image signal) on the CMOS sensor incorporates two independent photodiodes (elements that transform light into electrical signals) which output signals that can be used for both imaging and the phase-detection AF. When using the EOS 70D Digital SLR camera's Live View function, the technology enables autofocusing with ease, flexibility, speed and accuracy similar to shooting through the viewfinder, enabling sharp focus to be obtained across a wide shooting area1 through phase-detection AF2 until final focus is achieved. Compared with earlier generations of Canon's image-plane phase-detection AF3, Dual Pixel CMOS AF realizes shorter focusing times, outstanding tracking performance and smoother autofocusing during video shooting. And, because Live View shooting can be used in a manner similar to using the camera's viewfinder, the fast and smooth AF performance allows users to concentrate more attention on the subject and composing the photo when shooting.

Compared with the EOS Rebel SL1, which employs Hybrid CMOS AF II, the EOS 70D Digital SLR camera (scheduled to go on sale in September 2013), which is the first camera to feature Dual Pixel CMOS AF, not only achieves AF speed that is approximately 30 percent faster4 but also delivers improved Movie Servo AF tracking for continuously smooth focusing during video shooting, even when filming quickly moving subjects.

Because the outstanding AF performance of Dual Pixel CMOS AF is made possible with 1035 models of EF lenses (including many earlier models and models available outside of Japan), users can enjoy a wide range of photographic endeavors achievable with various lenses.

Recognizing great potential for the application of this technology across diverse product categories, Canon aims to promote its development efforts in the field of AF technology, targeting further advances to contribute to expanding the world of photographic expression.

Reference information

Phase-detection AF

With conventional phase-detection AF, the light that enters through the photographic lens is divided into two images. The difference in the focus point position between the two images is measured on a dedicated AF sensor rather than the image sensor itself, enabling the camera to determine the direction and amount of lens adjustment required to obtain proper focus. Because phase-detection AF enables fast focusing performance compared with contrast-detection AF, the technology is widely employed in digital SLR cameras, mainly for viewfinder shooting.

Dual Pixel CMOS AF employs the same measurement principle as a dedicated AF sensor, except that it is carried out directly with the image sensor. Its large coverage area enables smooth and reliable image-plane phase-detection AF for both still images and video with no reliance on dedicated AF sensors or contrast-detection AF.

Contrast AF

Contrast AF is an autofocus method employed in compact digital cameras and video camcorders, as well as conventional digital SLR cameras for Live View shooting. Because contrast is highest when an image is in proper focus, the camera analyzes the contrast information from the image on the image sensor, adjusting the lens until the maximum contrast value is reached. While contrast AF offers high focusing accuracy, it tends to require more time compared with phase-detection AF because the focusing components of the lens must be driven during AF measurement to find the point of peak contrast.

Hybrid CMOS AF and Hybrid CMOS AF II

Hybrid CMOS AF is an AF method employed in the EOS Rebel T5i Digital SLR camera and the EOS M digital camera that delivers enhanced focusing speed during Live View shooting and when shooting video. Combining fast phase-detection AF and high-accuracy contrast AF, Hybrid CMOS AF makes possible faster focusing performance than contrast AF alone, quickly measuring the subject distance using a dedicated phase-detection AF image element embedded in the CMOS image sensor and completing the process with extreme accuracy using contrast AF. The EOS Rebel SL1 camera features Hybrid CMOS AF II, which makes use of an imaging sensor that supports AF across a wide area spanning approximately 80 percent of the shooting area measured vertically and horizontally.

For more information about the development of Dual Pixel CMOS AF visit: http://usa.canon.com/gamechangeraf

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Canon reinvents video focusing with the fiercely fast EOS 70D (hands-on)