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Canon and the DPAF APS-C sensor..
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Canon and the DPAF APS-C sensor..

It wasn't that long ago that Canon indicated that the DPAF (Dual Pixel Auto Focus) sensor was a premier sensor, and considered to be costly to manufacturer. This was back in the Canon 70D and 7D Mark II days in 2013.  Rebel and Canon M cameras, didn't come equipped with the better liveview focusing sensor, but instead had "Hybrid AF" which is similar in technology to Sony and other's PDAF sensor points on a sensor, without it being the entire sensor which is the case in DPAF (dual pixel AF) sensors.

After the 80D was released, Canon has since then has embarked on a dizzying plan to revitalize their entire camera lineup with DPAF Sensors, since the 80D the EOS-M5, EOS-M6, T7i, 77D, SL2 have all been released with what appears to be very similar dual pixel AF sensors.

Now Canon is migrating these sensors to even compact cameras with the release of the G1X Mark III.

Canon also sneaked out a video camera announcement in September that saw the release of 1" sensors with dual pixel auto focus as well, indicating that canon is taking that technology to new and different sensors used by their products.  Of course, it is entirely another technical challenge making 1" sensors from 8MP (for 4k video) to 20MP for 1" cameras such as what Sony is producing for the G7x, G9X, G3X and G5X cameras.  It remains to be seen if canon's sensors designs have caught up significantly to Sony's engineering and production excellence.

What benefit is it to Canon and perhaps us? By leveraging the same sensor across multiple products, Canon can be smart and have a greater profit margin because the sensor becomes cheaper to manufacturer with the more that is produced.  Greater profit margin, the cheaper Canon can sell a product, and the lower the cost can go during it's lifecycle.

This also makes it easier for Canon to incorporate new and better sensors into the lineup and spread the cost of the sensor across multiple camera lines.

Looking more at the competitors, it's very similar to what Fuji is doing with their sensors.  Keeping the lineup using one or two different sensors (or the same, with just a different color filter array), Fuji can leverage a better cost savings per camera, than someone that has a different sensor for nearly every camera body.

In a declining market, finding better ways to leverage sensors and parts makes it easier for the companies to manufacturer newer products and hopefully spread the benefit to us.

 

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