Is DPAF still the best AF on the market?

Eersel

I'm New Here
Apr 4, 2016
23
32
I've been looking for more independent testing on each manufacturers AF systems. Mostly comparing accuracy and hit rate in portraiture.
With most major brands developing EYE AF protocols and the technology becoming more refined, does Canon still have a step up on the competition.

From my understanding, one of the tradeoffs of having DPAF is a slight loss in dynamic range (something Canon has really yet to acknowledge in a modern body).

If any one has found testing result or has some experience feel free to voice it.

I've currently done some minor testing of my own on the Fuji X-T3,A7III (R), A9, and Nikon Z6/Z7 vs my personal 5D IV and EOS R.

The biggest thing I can say is Eye AF is extremely convenient. It seems to work the most consistently in the Z6/Z7. The EOS R does a very good job, though does typically lose the eye and reverts back to face (which is still very reliable). I do find that the Sony AF racks a bit too much tending to drop shots a little more. The Fuji one is very... Fuji. Not great, but definitely a nice step forward for their brand.

If this conversation was even 3 years ago, DPAF was miles ahead, but now it just feels like splitting hairs.

Thoughts?
 

Tuke

puɐןuıɟ
May 8, 2015
13
0
38
ıʞuısןǝɥ
You are mixing two different aspects of focusing together. There is difference between WHAT to focus and HOW to focus. Eye AF determines where the camera wants to focus, by software code. DPAF is a hardware layer on a sensor that does the job.

Hardware: Dual Pixel Phase Detection AF vs. Phase Detection AF vs. Contrast Detection AF
Software: Powerfull CPU (Sony) vs. weak cpu (Canon) with AI algorithms, Eye AF, Face AF
 

Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
491
162
I don't really use any of the intelligent aspects of AF (face detection, eye AF, etc.) However, I will say that the EOS R's ability to obtain focus accurately on moving subjects and/or low light conditions when using single point focusing blows away any other camera I've used (mainly Canon DSLRs, but briefly a Sony A7III, which I don't think focused as well in low light.)

If you put a fast prime on the EOS R, It can get focus in nearly pitch black conditions. It's really amazing. I thought the 5D IV was good at focusing in low light until I used the R.

Servo AF also seems to be leaps and bounds ahead of DSLRs as well. I would never use it on DSLRs with a fast prime wide open (f1.2.) It wasn't fast enough to keep up with movement. It always seemed a little behind the action, and with a tiny DOF, the camera needs to track quickly and accurately. The R does.
 
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Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,365
619
Eye AF is not AF accuracy, its a software routine that attempts to cause the autofocus system to focus on a eye or even both eyes. Many companies are working on it, I think that Google seems to be ahead, certainly Sony is said to work well. My EOS R requires that I have a face that takes up a lot of space in the frame to work well.

I expect to see it greatly improved in the future, its one of those software things that currently sells cameras to people who will never use it, but for those that do, it makes selecting a focus point easier..
 

koenkooi

EOS RP
Feb 25, 2015
362
204
Eye AF is not AF accuracy, its a software routine that attempts to cause the autofocus system to focus on a eye or even both eyes. Many companies are working on it, I think that Google seems to be ahead, certainly Sony is said to work well. My EOS R requires that I have a face that takes up a lot of space in the frame to work well.
And it gets confused if the subject hair framing the sides of the face and thick rimmed glasses. Which means that the RP has a harder time with my wife sitting still than with our 3 year old moving around :)
I've also noticed that with similar framing face detect fails a lot more on the EF 28/1.8@2.8 than with the EF50/1.8 STM.
 

3kramd5

EOS 5D MK IV
Mar 2, 2012
3,041
375
Was DPAF ever the best AF on the market? I sense that many video users like it, but anecdotally most times I see people using cameras which have DPAF, they use the off-sensor unit. Maybe that’s because they like me prefer using a viewfinder to using the rear screen, but even in cases where great AF is a primary concern (e.g., sports) one sees traditional PDAF being used far more frequently.