Canon’s EOS 70D to revolutionise autofocus

Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF sensor
The Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF sensor from the EOS 70D. Picture: Canon.

Canon has announced a new, mid-range DSLR with a new autofocus system, that could prove a significant boost for video work.

The APS-C based EOS 70D is being positioned as an enthusiasts’ DSLR and will take the place of the 60D in Canon’s current line up.

However the new camera will provide a number of improvements over the 60D, including a higher-resolution sensor, and a higher ISO range. Most importantly, though, it takes a very different approach to its predecessors when it comes to auto focus, for live view.

The technology, called Dual Pixel CMOS AF by Canon, allows the camera to use phase detection AF in live view mode. In most DSLRs, live view autofocus is by way of the slower, and potentially less accurate, contrast detection AF, with phase detection only working through the viewfinder.

Canon says that phase detection allows the 70D to autofocus in live view down to light levels as low as 0EV, or with a lens stopped down to f11. Subject tracking for autofocus should also be improved.

At the same time, the camera maker has added some interesting features for video makers, via the camera’s touch-screen LCD: it’s possible to change the focal point of an image using a swiping gesture, emulating a focus pull. Although live view focus improvements will work for stills too, Canon is clearly marketing the new system as a boost for video work.

The camera also comes with built-in WiFi, and a microphone input. The 70D will cost £1099, body only.