October 22, 2014, 08:12:14 PM

Author Topic: Canon to Offer Dual Pixel CMOS AF Upgrade for the EOS C100 Digital Video Camera  (Read 9268 times)

dilbert

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is this news real or just some joke?

HOW can the C100 be upgraded to dual-pixel AF without putting in a new sensor and (some) new electronics and new firmware?

At $500, I'm pretty sure that a new sensor is going in there. Question remains as to whether or not $500 means they take a loss on the sensor or not once you take into account the labor costs. And that makes me think that maybe the $500 is to cover labor and the new sensor is $free. But what needs to happen is for someone to do a tear-down of the current C100 and the upgraded C100.

If it was just firmware, it would be a $0 upgrade as have the firmware updates for the 1DC.

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dilbert

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At a professional level, which is where these cameras are pitched, AF is not required.   It really isn't.  I've chucked folk off my sets for using AF on hdv cameras. 


Once again you've decided that since you shoot a certain type of thing on that, that all videos shot to professional standards are always shot under such a scenario.

When the video shoot is planned, focus is always manual. What does "planned" mean? Shooting video for a TV show or movie where you know where everyone is going to stand or move. There's a script, tape on the floor, etc.

What's not planned? Live TV shows, sports - where people are moving about randomly.

Although I don't know if manual focus is used to film someone running towards or away from the camera.

It may be that the C100 is a bit of a "crossover" in its market and that a number of amateurs or semi-pro people use it that don't have the budget or skill to do manual focus.

sjschall

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Quote
. . . not every type of video shooting scenario is exactly ideal for carefully set shooting with an extra focus puller. Just because you only shoot one particular type of thing doesn't mean that is the only thing everyone does. Sure the regular MF way with carefully pulling is best for lots of stuff but absolutely not for all stuff!

Well said!

RobertP

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I think it's a bit too soon to be saying auto-focus isn't required on a professional video camera. We need to see what the autofocus is capable of first.  Purists don't need to get the upgrade or can set the focus to manual if it keeps them happy. I expect autofocus will be a big selling point for low budget productions and one person companies.

Don Haines

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is this news real or just some joke?

HOW can the C100 be upgraded to dual-pixel AF without putting in a new sensor and (some) new electronics and new firmware?

The new sensor must always have been in there. However, most likely, all the new software and calibration necessary for all the lenses was not done yet at that time, so it they release the camera without that functionality.
Now, what they may have to put in is at least new firmware, but maybe the firmware takes more memory  than the old chip can handle, so a new memory chip needs to be installed. There may also be additional chips, i.e. circuitry that needs to be put in to process the dual chip phase signal. Maybe in the original version they only used the sensor in its "normal" mode (dual pixels merged), which would required a less complicated processing circuitry.
Odds are, the new sensor was NOT in the camera....

This is a "be good to your customers" move....and the odds are that the entire board that the sensor was mounted on, plus sensor, is being swapped out..

EDIT - I am wrong, Canon states that the sensor is NOT changed!!!
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 06:56:41 PM by Don Haines »
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Don Haines

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The C100 is aimed at documentary, news, run and gun. Often done by one man band, operating camera while interviewing a subject. As some have pointed out, this can help the videographer concentrate on the interview even while the subject wiggles all over town, instead of having to split attention to keep the subject in focus.

A tool is a tool. If it helps get a better result, then it's a good tool.

Yep.  I dig.  All the more reason to not think 'oh well I can trust the AF to look after it'  until AF decides it preferes the face on the poster behind the film star.  At f1.8.

All the more reason to read up on circles of confusion, to use zone focusing.  To keep an eye on the viewfinder and a finger on the focus ring.

AF is what gives run and gun a bad name.  I can't think of any excuse ever for any competent professional cameraman or woman to use AF.  I'm a zealot and a purist.  Directors and producers hate me but like my results.  And hey, I'm in full-time video work.  Go figure.

I am not a video expert, but one of the first things I learned (with a camcorder) was to turn off auto-exposure and image stabilization... I was recording a woman wearing a white blouse playing a fiddle.... every time the arm moved up, the image got darker... when the arm went down the image got brighter... and all the time the image stabilization was tracking her hand and the picture kept rocking...setting everything to manual cured that....

If you have the time to set up for your shot, manual everything seems to me like the way to go....
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 05:17:55 PM by Don Haines »
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neuroanatomist

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What's not planned? Live TV shows, sports - where people are moving about randomly.

Although I don't know if manual focus is used to film someone running towards or away from the camera.

I'm fairly certain  :P  you've seen the box lenses commonly used to shoot broadcast television, including live TV and major sporting events.  Focus in most those lenses is motorized, but manually controlled. It's worth noting there are a few models of those lenses (including one costing >$200K) which do have autofocus.  However, I am fairly certain that most 'filming' is done with manual focus, even filming of live action and sports.  Would you trust AF to track the ball at the Superbowl?
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tjc320

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It isn't that auto focus shouldn't be included in a professional video camera it's just that most professionals don't utilize it. Some may use it in certain situations like interviews where the interviewee may lean forward or backwards in and out of focus or maybe some b-roll of a sporting event. However, most professionals are good enough at racking their own focus and can manually stay in focus themselves. It's like learning to drive a stick-shift - at first you need to think about what you're doing but eventually (when you know the lens) you can do it without even thinking. I'm better at finding focus faster than any autofocus camera I've ever used.

Auto focus has aways been frustrating when it can't seem to find anything to focus on. It notoriously focuses in and out trying to find the subject. Even for photography it's frustrating when the camera can't find the proper subject to focus on, however, when it does get the correct focus it's usually far more accurate that the operator. 

When shooting a video it must be in manual exposure because the lighting must remain the same and shouldn't be adjusting constantly. The same is true with focus because even if it changes the subject it's focused on for a moment the shot may be ruined.

Either way, cool new feature, but efforts probably could have been spent on other features (codec quality).

paul13walnut5

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What's not planned? Live TV shows, sports - where people are moving about randomly.



Be it on a sports field, be it in a live TV studio, very little is actually random.
You've also quoted two examples where a multicamera rig would be used. Any one camera only needs to be in focus at that 5 second grab.  And there will be a director telling each camera what to follow etc.  Again. Not.  Random.

Autofocus isn't a focus assist or focus aid.  In video it's actually a clockwork mouse.  Set it off and christ knows where it will go.

If you are an individual run and gunner you won't be capturing everything as it happens immediately.  You go in with a plan.  You set things up where you can (i.e. the most part, particularly interviews).

Also ENG and HDV cameras typically have 1/3 to 2/3rds sensors.  Far smaller than even a cropped sensor DSLR / s35 like the C100.

So these cameras are immediately much more forgiving.  Focus is much more critical on larger sensor cameras (which is why I resisted a 5D2 or 3), it;s much more critical with wider apertures, it's much more critical with longer focal lengths, it's much more critical with closer subjects.

So if you run and gun, you probably want a self contained unit with a large zoom range and small sensors.
If you do use a DSLR you probably want a wide or ultra wide.  You probably want to stop down a bit.  And you probably want a good 2 or 3 paces betweeen you and an interview subject.

Bang: Lots of depth of field.  Stills guys call this hyperfocal.  Lots of movement latitude.  And an on the ball operator who knows which way and by how much to correct.

I'm over egging it.  It's not that difficult or I couldn't make a living at it.  Seriously. 

Throw AF in.  No thanks.  With large sensor.  Absolutely no thanks.

paul13walnut5

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You completely miss the point of the C100 ... it is a run and gun, news-gathering, documentary tool ... mostly for one-man bands, or very light crew. 

I don't miss the point at all. 

Have you ever tried to interview someone while operating the camera and focussing?  It is extremely difficult, and you risk not paying sufficient attention to the subject, and therefore not getting the best footage.

Yes.  Many times.  Heres how I do it.
Camera on tripod ideally.  Or on shoulder at least (cvp sm-1 grrreat for this!)
Mic on music stand.  This also serves as marker.
Subject asked to plant feet on the spot, not to shuffle.  Or ideally, sat in a fixed back chair. No castors.
And no AF.

BTW .. Formula 1 cars have used semi-automatic transmissions for quite a long time.

Dang, I knew I shouldn't have done that car analogy.  Well the C100 is a bit like a live axle trailing arm in that context isn't it? The question is, block or groove?
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 07:36:35 PM by paul13walnut5 »

paul13walnut5

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AF has no place on a serious video camera.

really?? Because not every type of video shooting scenario is exactly ideal for carefully set shooting with an extra focus puller. Just because you only shoot one particular type of thing doesn't mean that is the only thing everyone does. Sure the regular MF way with carefully pulling is best for lots of stuff but absolutely not for all stuff!

Most of the stuff I do these days is on the hoof.  No focus pullers.  I know that my way is not everybody elses way.  But I do know, that in the professional arena, amongst my peers, no matter where they work, or what camera they use (generally 2/3rds ENG format) none of them use a camera with AF on it, let alone, AF.

Day one of cameraman school.  You get get your fingers rapped if you use auto anything.  So you practise for 2 years before they set you free.  Yes there are muppets shooting stuff for the PA or Getty, trashy celeb type stuff, with z1's or XHA1's and use AF.  But they are muppets.  Muppets with tiny sensors.  And short careers.

paul13walnut5

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At a professional level, which is where these cameras are pitched, AF is not required.   It really isn't.  I've chucked folk off my sets for using AF on hdv cameras. 


Once again you've decided that since you shoot a certain type of thing on that, that all videos shot to professional standards are always shot under such a scenario.

No I haven't.  It's a broad church / temple, mosque, synagogue.  I can only speak for myself and the working professionals I know.  AF just isn't used.  Not if you are trained / serious.  It really isn't.  If you know different then I'm afraid to say that in actual fact, you just don't know.  Sorry to be the one to tell you.

paul13walnut5

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I think it's a bit too soon to be saying auto-focus isn't required on a professional video camera. We need to see what the autofocus is capable of first.  Purists don't need to get the upgrade or can set the focus to manual if it keeps them happy. I expect autofocus will be a big selling point for low budget productions and one person companies.

I think auto-focus will make low budget productions look even cheaper.

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LetTheRightLensIn

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is this news real or just some joke?

HOW can the C100 be upgraded to dual-pixel AF without putting in a new sensor and (some) new electronics and new firmware?

The new sensor must always have been in there. However, most likely, all the new software and calibration necessary for all the lenses was not done yet at that time, so it they release the camera without that functionality.
Now, what they may have to put in is at least new firmware, but maybe the firmware takes more memory  than the old chip can handle, so a new memory chip needs to be installed. There may also be additional chips, i.e. circuitry that needs to be put in to process the dual chip phase signal. Maybe in the original version they only used the sensor in its "normal" mode (dual pixels merged), which would required a less complicated processing circuitry.
Odds are, the new sensor was NOT in the camera....

This is a "be good to your customers" move....and the odds are that the entire board that the sensor was mounted on, plus sensor, is being swapped out..

EDIT - I am wrong, Canon states that the sensor is NOT changed!!!

Wow, crazy it is not changed! I guess they had been working on PDAF for quite some time and just hadn't tuned the lenses all yet but needed to get the C100 out. I assume it has the proper extra chips already to handle that too then? If so, the $500 does seem odd. Although maybe the mainboard was lacking some chips and they need to attach a new mainboard or something, then it's a great deal. Hard to say without knowing more.

LetTheRightLensIn

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What's not planned? Live TV shows, sports - where people are moving about randomly.

Although I don't know if manual focus is used to film someone running towards or away from the camera.

I'm fairly certain  :P  you've seen the box lenses commonly used to shoot broadcast television, including live TV and major sporting events.  Focus in most those lenses is motorized, but manually controlled. It's worth noting there are a few models of those lenses (including one costing >$200K) which do have autofocus.  However, I am fairly certain that most 'filming' is done with manual focus, even filming of live action and sports.  Would you trust AF to track the ball at the Superbowl?

Most of those football wide shots have tons of DOF.

Certain types of wildlife videography and other stuff the AF could help a lot at times.


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