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Canon’s dual-pixel RAW format brings adjustable focus to captured images; Lightroom support to follow

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We first experienced Canon’s Dual-pixel AF system on Canon’s EOS 70D camera and were very impressed by its performance in video. Canon’s latest flagship, the 5D Mark IV, brings dual-pixel RAW support to images.

The dual-pixel sensor that Canon uses essentially splits the pixels in half. One-half is used to assist focus while the other is used like a regular pixel. This system is supposed to be very similar in function to our eyes. Normal digital cameras treat the scene as a still image, even when recording video.


This is fine for video, but how does it help photos? Canon’s dual-pixel RAW format captures some amount of depth data, the same that’s used for processing focus. With the right tools, Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software in this case, one’s images stand to benefit greatly.

Canon says that the benefits of dual-pixel RAW are three-fold:

  • Image focus can now be fine-tuned after snapping the image. ‘Fine-tuned’ is the keyword here. You can’t just switch focus to another subject entirely, as on the Lightroom, but you can adjust the focus as you would when you slightly adjust the focus ring on your lens.
  • The second advantage is something called bokeh shift, where you can shift the background a little bit to the right or left if you so desire.
  • The last advantage is that apparently, certain types of lens-flare can be drastically reduced.

The only problem with dual-pixel RAW is that it’s currently unsupported by any commercial software other than Canon’s own Digital Photo Professional. Adobe has, however, told Cnet that they’re working on Lightroom support for the format.

There’s no word yet on Photoshop support.

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