Get your FREE Photography Guide

A guide to "Capturing Motion" in low light situations

First Person Shooter: Canon 70d Autofocus Test

Autofocus in DSLRs during video recording has come a long way in the last few years. We all know that DSLRs have not caught up to your standard camcorders but that’s all about to change.

There are a few different cameras on the market from different manufactures that have taken that leap to giving you almost camcorder like autofocus. Thanks to BorrowLenses and AllensCamera I was able to get my hands on a Canon 70d to do a full review. The full review is still on its way but I wanted to share some findings from my first video shoot with it.

As you guys know I like to push cameras to their limits when it comes to testing them. Anyone can test a camera in great light and call it fantastic but I like to shoot in poor light and see how the camera really does. So my test was to determine how well the Canon 70d would autofocus in a concert situation.

My friends in the band Silvertide had a show and I made the decision to test the 70d’s capabilities. During soundcheck I was messing with the new touch autofocus where you touch the lcd and it focus right there. I noticed a bunch of guitar picks on top of an amp and thought this would showcase how well this cameras autofocus system works.

I set up on my video mono-pod, strapped the GoPro to my forehead so you could watch me touch the screen and hit record. I was amazed as soon as I touched the pick on the far left followed by the one on the far right. Not only was the focus accurate to where I wanted it to be, it transitioned smoothly and quickly. I was not expecting what I saw but I sure was happy with it.

In the future it may be interesting to see if you can set the speed at which the autofocus shifts. If it is possible to slow it down slightly I think it would give a more cinematic feel. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong the focus being to fast for video.

We have heard a lot about the STM lenses and how well they handle focusing during video. I was using the Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS II which is a USM lens but not STM. To be honest you can not hear the focus motors at all since they are ultrasonic. This was my first time using this combination and I must say it worked out very well.

I will get to my full thoughts about the Canon 70d when I get to my full review but what I can say is the features it offers for video are truly fantastic. To have the ability to touch the screen where you want it to focus and while recording touch the screen somewhere else and the focus shifts, amazing.

I am continually amazing at the advancements in these cameras, I love how the touch screens work as they just make sense. My goal for this video was to give you the first person shooter angle thus why I used the GoPro head-strap. I wanted you to see the focus shift while at the same time seeing where I touched the back of the screen.

Now I do understand that this may have limited use for full time videographers but lets take a look at some ideas. What if cameras start to include not just wifi but bluetooth that connects to your ipad or cell phone that allows you to instantly touch and change focus. I know we have this ability with a few different accessories today. But I have yet to find one that allows you to instantly without and delay or lag change the autofocus.

Keep an eye out for my full on review of the Canon 70d along with a users guide in the not to distant future.

Previous Next