Canon makes two claims for DAF-upgraded cameras: more accurate single-shot AF, and continuous autofocus that actually works in video.
The first claim, certainly, is true. Hitting sharp focus with an upgraded C100 is simplicity itself – provided, and it is an important proviso – that the focus target is in the centre of the frame.
In out tests the camera found focus reliably, especially on close-up subjects, and coped well even where a subject had lots of background detail. Just occasionally, the camera missed the focus point in shots with a busy background, as our video review shows.
If you ask the camera to focus on a subject mid-shot, it does so smoothly and generally quickly and accurately; the focus movement is similar to a camera operator pulling focus. It certainly takes much of the strain out of using wide apertures on a large-sensor camera with a shallow depth of field.
Using a DAF-equipped camera should also give a less experienced operator more confidence that they will hit sharp focus, and it could well do away with the need for a follow-focus system for a wide range of film-making scenarios.
Potentially, it makes the C100 (and the C300) a viable camera for run-and-gun documentary work or even news, because it is that much quicker to hit sharp focus, and so, record viable footage. There should be less need to stop down the lens to be sure of a sharp shot, and so miss out on the creative options from a shallow depth of field.
For video journalists working on their own, the DAF system has another advantage: it makes pieces to camera much, much easier. It can even cope relatively well with walking shots – but do keep in mind that the LCD screen won’t be visible from in front of the camera, so a secondary monitor is almost essential to ensure both correct framing and accurate focus for a PTC.
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