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What Is Dual Pixel Auto Focus and How to Use It to Take Photos

Dual pixel auto focus is a revolutionary technology released by Canon in 2013. There are many cameras equipped with DPAF mode. As time goes by, you can also see many dual pixel camera phones in the market, such as Samsung and more. But do you really know dual pixel auto focus? If you want to get the basic introduction of dual pixel imaging, you just come to the right place. This article explains what dual pixel is and how to use it. Furthermore, you can get a powerful photo editor to touch up images captured by DSLR images on your Windows or Mac computer with ease. Just continue reading to get all the information you need.

Dual Pixel


Part 1: What Is Dual Pixel Technology

Each pixel has two photo diodes, and each diode has a lens over it separately. Every time the light goes through camera lenses and diodes, the processor will analyze the signal for the focus of each diode. If the focus is archived, those signals will be combined and record and capture images.

Compared with common cameras, each pixel has a dual role, which makes DPAF sensors different. Not all dual pixel can do two jobs at the same time. To be more specific, some pixels can focus the image point, while the others can take pictures. For example, almost 80% pixels in Canon imaging sensors can play the dual role.

Dual pixel technology is not supported by all devices. Actually, phase detection auto focus is the first choice for mirrorless cameras. As for DSLR cameras, a separate phase detection auto focus is necessary. When the camera mirror is down, you can use its viewfinder instead.

The truth is that dual pixel auto focus works well on videos. You can get quick DPAF without zooming on and out the lens to set the focus. Furthermore, you can switch focuses among subjects manually via the touch screen in live view. If you want to capture the still images, you can tap on the back of the camera’s LCD screen.

Part 2: Is Dual Pixel Worth to Use

Is it worth to pay for dual pixel auto focus technology? For landscape photographers, it is hard to tell the difference with or without DPAF. As for videographers, manual focus is a great help. It is easy to get an accurate focus without hunting lens back and forth over and over again.

With the help of the phase detection DPAF, your camera can set the focus and respond instantly. You can record the moving object in focus all the time. That’s why DPAF is supported in some phone cameras. The DPAF technology also helps to simulate the bokeh. Due to the smart phone cameras, the depth of field is enormous in some DP phone cameras. To achieve the similar effect, dual cameras are released by Apple and other phone manufacturers.

Part 3: What Cameras have Dual Pixel Auto Focus

If you want to get a dual pixel sensor, you can choose from the following cameras. These are available dual pixel Canon cameras you can get.

Canon C100, C200, C300 cinema cameras

Canon M5, M6, M50 mirrorless cameras

Canon 1 DX Mark II, 5D Mark IV, 6D Mark II, 7D Mark II, 70D, 77D, 80D, Rebel T71 (EOS 800D), Rebel SL2 (EOS 200D) DSLR cameras

Nikon D850, D3500, D5600, COOLPIX B500 DSLR cameras

Sony DSC-HD80 megapixel, AX 43 4K, ax 53 4K camcorders

There are also some dual pixel phones that have the similar feature. If you don’t want to buy an expensive digital camera, you can get dual pixel camera phones instead as well.

Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S8, S8+, S9 phones

Google Pixel 2 smart phones

HTC U11

The above mentioned mobile phones have built-in dual pixel sensors. The DPAF sensors can help to do dual pixel auto focus effectively.

Part 4: How to Touch Up Dual Pixel Canon Images

No matter you use DSLR or camera phone to capture photos, you still need to use a photo editor to apply photo effects. To quickly retouch images and analog film effects, you can run WidsMob Retoucher to make your picture unique. This is an all-in-one photo editor for all photographers. You can reduce noise, retouch portrait, apply LOMO effects and other film packs with simple clicks. All photo effects are simplified into sliders and options. Thus, you can make your photo look artistic with ease.

1. Remove noise and recover details caused by high ISO, low light, fast shutter speed and more.

2. Analog film profiles and film grains, including Kodak, Fuji, Ilford, etc.

3. Adjust color rendition profile and color modes to mix up splendid photos.

4. Increase or decrease the basic parameters of your picture.

5. Add LOMO effects with color opacity, vignetting and fisheye.

6. Smooth and whiten skin of all portraits in your captured image.

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Step 1: Launch WidsMob Retoucher. Click Import to add your picture into the photo editor. Or you can drag and drop it into the main interface directly.

Step 2: In the Adjustment section, you can adjust image filters with sliders. The real-time preview window can show you all details.

Image Adjustment Retoucher

Step 3: There is no portrait in this picture. Thus, skip the Portrait section. You can reduce image noise and apply the vignetting effect. In the Film Pack section, you can change Color Rendition Profile, Color Modes and Film Grain flexibly.

Apply Film Profile Retoucher

Step 4: You can move the slider next to B/A below to check details. At last, click Share or Save to export your processed image. You can share it to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and more. Or you can save it as JPEG or TIFF with adjustable quality options.

Before and After Retoucher


To get fast auto focus and sharp imaging, dual pixel sensors are important. No matter you want to take photos or record videos, you can save time and get a better result via dual pixel auto focus technology.

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Peter Wood
Peter Wood
Peter Wood, a senior editor, focus on photography design and editing software and devices.

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