On the move
The other selling point of the DAF system is its ability to track a moving subject. Here, results were more mixed.
There is no doubt that DAF-equipped cameras can track a moving subject, although we were unable to try the C100 out on high-speed subjects, such as sports. But the lack of a focus point selection system limits the usefulness of autofocus for moving subjects.
There is not always time to set focus and reframe. In a live broadcast situation, or filming news or even action for a documentary, the risk is that the time set to reframe means a missed shot, or a gap in coverage from that camera. Reaching for manual focus just seemed the safer option.
In a set up situation, such as a drama, the framing issue should be less of a problem, and DAF could again replace the need for follow focus, and a focus puller on set. But, as DP Philip Bloom – who shot a promotional video on DAF on the C100 for Canon – points out, the system cannot read your mind. (See the end of the article for a link to how DAF works and Philip Bloom’s video).
Above all, for the target market for the C100, documentary, corporate video and perhaps news, especially online news, any AF system needs to be quick.
Again, it takes practice to make the best use of the continuous focus on the C100 with DAF, and to develop an intuitive understanding of when it is likely to work, and when manual focus might work better. This will depend on the lens, the aperture, the subject, and of course the effect the film maker wants to produce.
Next: Optical challenge