Off the rack
The Firewatcher’s Tale: a short film produced on the C100 with DAF
What the C100 with DAF does not have, though, is the virtual rack focus found on the 70D, and on the GH4. Both these cameras boast touch screens, making it possible to select, and then change, the AF point during a shot.
In fact, it is not possible to select the AF point at all on the camera: like on a conventional camcorder, the focus point is in the middle of the frame, always.
Even in single-shot AF, it is not possible to select a focus point in the way the film maker can on a GH4, Nikon D800 or indeed, a DSLR Canon EOS camera. JVC has also recently upgraded the firmware for its GY-HM600 and GY-HM650 camcorders to allow focus point selection.
The work-round for this, on the C100, is to select the focus point before recording. Users can set a function button on the camera as an AF lock, to make this easier.
But, it must be said, when it comes to capturing live action a selectable AF area would be preferable, even if it means using the camera control buttons rather than a touch screen.
The focus-lock-reframe-shoot procedure is reasonably easy to do, with practice, for handheld filming. It is, though, a trickier proposition for a tripod-mounted shot, especially when a C100 is equipped with accessories such as radio mics, external screens, or external recorders. It is easy to rely on the DAF, forget the framing issue, and miss a critical shot.
The AF focus area is relatively small – which it needs to be to hit accurate focus on trickier shots. But an off-centre subject will fool the system, and the shallow depth of field gives little margin for error. Get it right, though, and DAF is dependable.
Next: On the move