Review: Canon Cinema EOS C100 with DAF

The upgrade

Our field test of the C100

When Canon first launched the C100, the company positioned it as a more suitable camera for video journalism and one-person operation than the manual-focus only C300. The C100 had a one-push AF system as well as an auto-iris option. Even in its EF-mount version, the C300 had no AF.

Adding DAF to the C100, though, sets it apart from almost every other camera in its category. Aside from Canon’s own 70D, and Sony’s A7 (not the more video focused A7S) only the Panasonic GH4 has a comparable AF system, known as “depth to defocus”.

Putting DAF on the C100 is something of a masterstroke: it turns a very workable, non-broadcast large-sensor camera into a camera that should out-perform almost all competing cameras, at least for certain types of filming. Unsurprisingly, Canon now also offers the DAF upgrade with the C300 too.

As ever, though, there are some caveats. Firstly, the DAF upgrade is considered to be an after-market add on. Fitting it means returning the camera to Canon, and paying a fee (£339 plus VAT).

Canon originally said it was not fitting the DAF upgrade as standard, in order to keep prices down. Be that as it may, Canon now sells “out of the box” DAF-equipped C100s. The cost of buying the camcorder with DAF already installed is slightly less than upgrading: it adds around £250 to £300 or so to the price of the C100, or a camera and lens bundle, depending on the dealer.

There is more detail on how the DAF system works in other articles here and on Canon’s website. But there is no physical difference to a C100 that has been upgraded, and all the other functions of the camera work as they should. It’s just that the AF options have improved.

Next: Staying sharp?