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Canon EOS 7D Replacement Will Push Dual Pixel AF To New Levels

EOS 7D ReplacementEOS 7D Replacement 

Whatever Canon is going to announce on September 5th (the most likely announcement date) it will be something groundbreaking. Most rumor sites, CW included, think there will be an entirely new sensor technology that is coming. Recent patents filed by Canon point to Foveon-like sensors (3 patents in a row), one patent refers to a 5-layer sensor.

Details about the sensor technology Canon is supposed to announce are by now in the realm of pure speculation, no serious specs have leaked so far. However, I have been told (thanks) that the EOS 7D replacement will not just feature Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS Auto-Focus, it will push its capabilities to new boundaries. We had a patent that points in this direction, i.e. to the next evolutive step of the Dual Pixel AF technology. It is also pretty plausible that Dual Pixel AF will show all its power with a new generation of CPUs. This fits with the rumors stating that the EOS 7D replacement will feature very advanced functionalities for videography, since Dual Pixel AF delivers a lot for videographers.

This rumor sounds very credible to me. Dual Pixel AF is a major milestone in Canon’s technological sensor evolution. And Dual Pixel AF is for sure not relegated to the more affordable Canon DSLRs (as the EOS 70D, where it was first implemented): Canon didn’t waste time in offering it also on the professional-graded EOS C100 and C300 (where it was already implemented on the sensor but had to be unlocked via firmware). Dual Pixel AF is a technology we will see in many future Canon cameras, and hopefully eventually also on a serious mirrorless camera.

Note that I prefer to use the definition “EOS 7D replacement” instead of “EOS 7D Mark II”. For the time being there are no hints it will be the next iteration of the 7D, pertinent rumors surfaced in the past.

Stay tuned, there will be more and more leaks in the next weeks.


  • Kevin Levrone

    The introduction of the dual-pixel sensor should mean the possibility of professional-grade mirror-less cameras. And yet, there is no such thing in sight, Canon should have released a small, fast EOS M III on the day they launched the 70D. They are now about 1 year late. They would have had the fastest and the best mirror-less camera by now, if they would realize the potential of the dual-pixel sensor in the mirrorless area. Hopefully they will blow us away with a new EOS M very soon.

    • canonwatch


    • Michal Rosa

      Why are people so fixated about that whole mirror-less concept? It makes for a slightly smaller camera that is more awkward to handle and more difficult to design and build (less internal space). I am very happy with the traditional SLR design and will stick to it until the alternative designs will exceed the traditional one in every way.

      • Kevin Levrone

        It’s easy: because mirrorless enable you to carry the camera with you for more time and take more pictures while enjoying your holiday (that’s why Japanese people love them). If you would like to spend your holidays carrying a huge DSLR tied to your neck please do so, but also understand that people just need a small camera to take candid pictures of DSLR quality, because it has been shown that it is possible. Compare the EOS M with the 22mm lens with any DSLR and you will see that mirrorless-size is about.

        If you would really want to show your devotion to the DSLR, you could make a statement by using this phone:

        …just let people get fixated on miniaturization :)

      • Gav

        I will explain. But I am sure you don’t really want to hear anyway….

        Size: Yes mirror-less allows for smaller lighter bodies without compromising durability/weather sealing etc. Not sure why you need internal space (do you pack your lunch??). The only reason DSLRs are larger is because they need the mirror box.

        Price: Construction of a mirror box on DSLR cameras is a big chunk of the total cost of a DSLR. With mirror less you get more bang for your buck.

        Handling: Have switched from Canon to Sony (A7 series) I can tell you in my experience the handling is better.

        Design: They are easier to design and build as mirror-less cameras have less parts. The A7 is made from 12 major components and only 29 screws. Due to their simple modular design. New cameras can be rolled out quickly (A7 A7R A7S) with short time between cycles. No longer having to wait the traditional 4-5 years with DSLR cameras.

        Autofocus: The last advantage of DSLR cameras is now gone. The current generation mirror-less cameras have as good and in most cases better AF than their DSLR competition. With many more AF points covering basically the entire sensor. With every bit as good tracking (Mirror-less allow hybrid AF technology. Using both contrast AF and phase detect AF to talk to each other to give fast accurate AF. Compared to DSLRs which only utilise phase detect AF where all the AF points are grouped in the centre only.) The other major advantage is sensor based AF. No more Lens-AF calibration issues. Because focus is read directly from the sensor (the image you are capturing). So when the camera says the image is in focus…It’s in focus. No if buts or maybes…

        Image Quality: The 36mp A7R currently has the highest image quality of any full frame 35mm camera. With a dynamic range of 14.5 stops compared to the 5D mark 3 with 11.5 stops

        Within 2 years mirror-less cameras have gone from being a joke, to making DSLRs look like a joke. The traditional OVF camera is at the end of its design potential. Mirror-less is at the beginning of its design curve.

        Canon needs to wake up. They are already years behind the competition…Their dual pixel AF is terrible..

        But of course you don’t want to hear that…

        • Michal Rosa

          “Size: Yes mirror-less allows for smaller lighter bodies without compromising durability/weather sealing” – also makes them more difficult to handle. Size and weight difference between comparable MLIC and DSLR is not big EOS M with a lens is 363 grams 100D with a lens is 525 grams, 700D with a lens is 700 grams.

          “With mirror less you get more bang for your buck.” – nope, you are paying for miniaturization, for squeezing the components into a smaller box.

          “Have switched from Canon to Sony (A7 series) I can tell you in my experience the handling is better.” – that’s a personal view, my is different.

          “They are easier to design and build as mirror-less cameras have less parts” – not an issue for a shooter.

          “The last advantage of DSLR cameras is now gone” – tell it to all professional sports and wildlife shooters.

          ” The 36mp A7R currently has the highest image quality of any full frame 35mm camera” – it’s got nothing to do with its design as a mirrorless, it’s a sensor issue.

          I’m very interested in your opinions, you just have to realize that they are your personal points of view and it’s not the holy truth.

          • Gav

            As I mentioned….you don’t want to hear…Hope you enjoy becoming an anachronism…

            I love how you vote up your own posts…Classic

          • HF

            I’m not a Canon guy but use two mirror less (XT1 + OMD EM1) and DSLR (D610). I can’t agree with many of your points because they are indeed subjective (size, weight, handling, bang for the buck), or not true in general (prize, depends on model, but many DSLRs are very cheap, too, and offer great sensors (from Sony usually, like D5300, compare that to the EM1 or Xt1); sensor, D800E, D810 offer a similar sensor in a rugged body (weather sealed, which Sony is not, no shutter shock like A7r, larger native lens range, much better battery life). Autofocus is very fast for stills (but I don’t care whether its 0.001 or 0.003 seconds, for example, doesn’t make a difference for me) but tracking is still not there for BIF or especially in low light. You find many tests and threads confirming it. My own experience adds to this, too. I use mirror less in my spare time because it’s fun to use them and image quality is great already, but for work my wife (doing it professionally) relies on her DSLR, it just works flawlessly. In low light the EVF for macro work is too noisy, too, even with excellent VF like that in XT1 and EM1). This might change in the future as some of your points are important and true (lower cost, lesser parts, WYSIWYG). But I don’t understand this black vs. white trash talk. Give us the variety to choose the tools we like most without starting a war. Quotes like “Within 2 years mirror-less cameras have gone from being a joke, to making DSLRs look like a joke.” are not necessary in my opinion.

          • Gav

            Yes good points.

            You will find that the D800 has similar shutter shock issues.

            Bang for your Buck is in comparison to similar spec cameras. I.e comparing the price of a 5D mark 3 (24mp pro camera) with a Sony A7 (24 MP pro camera)…

            Lens range. Not bad for only coming to market 9 months ago. 35mm 24 – 70mm 55mm 70 – 200mm 16-35mm announced . What’s missing??

            AF. My own test between the 1DX A6000 and A77II has the A77II easily in first position. Then the A6000 until it gets really low light. Then the 1DX unless in low light where it is 2nd…

            No issue with you buying whatever you want. I still use the 1DX on a daily basis for work. But I have the constant feeling that I am holding out of date equipment in my hand. The DSLR is at the end of its life cycle…no trash talk…It was the same for film to digital. Film was king until it wasn’t…

        • Nilus Dionis

          I own a Sony NEX-6 and if I were to redo the purchase today I would go with a DSLR.

          First the smaller and lighter concept only applies to some (like 1 actually) kit zoom lenses and some primes. The rest of the lenses like 50mm or the 55-210 zoom quickly remove any usable size advantage – meaning you either get a camera bag or hang it over your neck. It is lighter though.

          Now I’ve spend almost a grand with kit and zoom lenses on the NEX-6 when I could have bought a Canon DSLR with a similar quality sensor, faster AF and cheaper lenses for nearly half the price.

          Next – let’s not talk about marketing nonsense on the AF – phase detect is still the superior one. On my NEX-6 phase detect only works in good light and even then it is hardly helpful. The camera manages to focus on the bright backgrounds very frequently even when confirming the focus on something else. The AF becomes a real drag in low light, camera’s focus assist light is useless – you get a focus box confirmation on the entire frame. I could go on and on about the focus performance – basically it SUCKS.

          What good is a great sensor if the AF is just bad. What difference does it make that it suppose to be easier to make when you’re still paying a significant premium for mirrorless over similar or even better performing DSLRs?

          Here’s my bottom line on mirrorless from now on – give me DSLR reliable and fast AF or get lost. I don’t care that you can do 10fps if half or more of those frames are out of focus…I am done…for now

          P.S. Oh and phase detect on mirrorless only help to move the lens in the right direction quicker – contrast detect is still the one doing the final focusing. And Canon with their dual pixel AF is moving forward – a tech with great potential. When I see mirrorless from Canon with that tech – then I will really consider mirrorless over DSLR.

          • Gav

            You obviously have not use Canons dual pixel AF. It is terrible.
            Yes I agree the NEX 6 has average AF. But it is an older generation mirror less.
            AF has moved on a huge amount. Go check out the difference on the A6000.

          • Nilus Dionis

            Hmm I admit I have not used the dual pixel AF – I’ve read good things in the reviews and saw some good examples on the youtube but if what you say is true – that’s too bad.

            As far as A6000 – I want to believe you but what has fundamentally changed here – there more phase detect points but I just need one center cross type point that really works and I never had any luck with that on the NEX-6.

            Has their tech truly improved that much – does A6000 support phase detect in any light now – because if it’s still only in good light I would consider it worthless.

            One day I might check it out but I can’t help being both skeptical and pessimistic.

      • Kevin Levrone

        It’s very easy to spot the difference between mirror-less and DSLR: pay for an expensive vacation in a beautiful place, and then spend it with your DSLR tied to your neck all day long. Then take the EOS M with the 22mm lens and put it in your pocket in the next vacation, and finally enjoy your vacation for which you paid a large amount of money.
        So you see…mirrorless is money :)

  • bert

    My guess and hope: dual pixel af together with a semi translucent mirror and therefore OVF. May be together with additional lcd to show regions of too much shadow / highlight, like the really very good implementation in the Olympus E-M1/5/10.
    Of course for body size reduction a M3 with very good EVF and tilting lcd would be an option for some. But at the given sensor and lens size it´s often not very useful to shrink the body size further because of worse handling and worse battery performance.

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