8 Video Cameras With Great Continuous Autofocus (2024)

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When shooting video, the rule of thumb is always to avoid using autofocus.

That said, autofocus technology has made significant strides in recent years, so much so that today, the technology has become a trusted tool for anything from interviews to run-and-gun documentaries and music videos.

Always remember that you’re looking for continuous autofocus capabilities in a video camera. This can be coupled with something like eye tracking. You can learn more about these at the end of the article.

Below, I’ve curated eight cameras with powerful and dependable continuous autofocusing technologies.

Panasonic LUMIX S5IIx Full-frame Mirrorless Camera

The Panasonic LUMIX S5IIx Full-frame Mirrorless Camera stands out among video cameras with its superior autofocus capabilities and high-level specifications.

After stubbornly sticking with only contrast-based autofocus for years, to the frustration of many Panasonic owners, they’ve finally seen the light.

Their innovative Phase Hybrid Autofocus technology also ensures sharp and clear images and is top of the market, on par with Canon and Sony cameras.

Its 24.2MP 35mm Full-Frame CMOS Sensor ensures high-resolution images that capture the nuances of every scene. The Active Image Stabilization provides smooth video capture, making it ideal for professional videography.

The S5iix also boasts unlimited video recording and live streaming capabilities, putting it ahead of its rivals (including the S5ii).

Product Specs:

  • 24.2MP 35mm Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • Phase Hybrid Autofocus
  • Active I.S. (Image Stabilization)
  • 5.8K Pro-Res, Pro-Res internal, RAW over HDMI
  • V-Log/V-Gamut capture
  • Unlimited Video Recording and Livestreaming

Pros:

  • Superior autofocus capabilities
  • High-resolution image capture
  • Smooth video stabilization
  • Unlimited video recording and live streaming

Cons:

  • The L-mount is still a new mount, meaning you’re limited regarding lens choices
  • No internal RAW video recording

Sony A7IV Full-frame Mirrorless Camera

The Sony Alpha 7 IV Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera sets a new standard in the industry with its advanced autofocus capabilities and high-resolution image capture.

The A7IV is not just a camera; it’s a hybrid tool with high-resolution stills and 4K 60p video capabilities. Its next-gen BIONZ XR image processing engine is eight times more powerful, ensuring superior performance in various shooting scenarios.

An embodiment of innovation, the A7IV is a perfect fit for modern creators, from live streaming to astrophotography.

Product Specs:

  • 33MP full-frame Exmor R back-illuminated CMOS sensor
  • Next-generation BIONZ XR image processing engine
  • Up to 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 w/ full pixel readout

Pros:

  • An excellent hybrid camera
  • Excellent build quality and high megapixel sensor
  • High performance in different shooting scenarios
  • Intuitive to use with good image quality

Cons:

  • Complexity of the camera menu system
  • 4K60 has a 1.5x crop
  • Because it’s a hybrid camera, you miss some features you get on the FX30 and FX3, which are dedicated video cameras.
  • No internal RAW video recording

Sony FX30 Super 35 Digital Cinema Camera

The Sony FX30 Digital Cinema Camera emerges as a standout in video cameras thanks to its advanced autofocus capabilities and superior image quality.

This camera embodies innovation with its 6K oversampling, providing high performance and highly efficient workflow, packed in a compact, easily portable size.

User LUTs can be applied to the LCD and HDMI output and embedded in clips, providing a high level of customization. It’s not just about the mechanics, though.

The FX30 also delivers on aesthetics, with the S-CinetoneTM providing a cinematic look straight out of the camera.

Product specs:

  • 20.1 MP Exmor R APS-C sensor
  • Dual Base ISO
  • 14+ stop range
  • Advanced AF and stabilization

Pros:

  • High image quality
  • Advanced autofocus
  • Compact size
  • Versatile shooting modes

Cons:

  • No RAW video recording
  • Lack of EVF
  • Possible freezing issues due to overheating.

Sony FX3 Full-Frame Cinema Camera

The Sony Alpha FX3 is a top choice due to its remarkable autofocus capabilities.

The camera boasts a 4K full-frame sensor with over 15 stops of dynamic range and high sensitivity, ensuring impressive image quality.

Its S-Cinetone feature offers a cinematic look inspired by VENICE colorimetry, and it can record up to 4K 120p 10-bit 4:2:2, with full pixel readout in all recording modes.

The compact, cage-free design features ¼”-20 mounting points and an XLR top handle, making it a versatile tool for filmmakers.

Despite minor issues, the Sony FX3‘s incredible autofocus, fantastic picture quality, and excellent color science (if you like Sony colors – some don’t!) make it a truly innovative camera.

Product Specs:

  • 4K full-frame sensor
  • S-Cinetone for cinematic look
  • Up to 4K 120p 10-bit 4:2:2 recording
  • Compact cage-free design
  • Fast hybrid AF with Eye autofocus and object tracking

Pros:

  • Remarkable autofocus capabilities
  • High-quality image output
  • Versatile and compact design

Cons:

  • Occasional overheating issues
  • It does not have great battery life.

Sony FX6 Full-Frame Cinema Camera

The Sony FX6 Full-Frame Cinema Camera exhibits unparalleled autofocusing efficiency thanks to its Fast Hybrid AF system with 627 phase-detection AF points and Eye-AF tracking.

This innovative camera showcases a high sensitivity of up to ISO 409,600 and 15+ stop dynamic range, resulting in exceptional image quality in various lighting conditions.

Its electronically controlled optical variable ND filter provides unmatched control over exposure and depth of field.

Additionally, the Sony FX6 can record up to 4:2:2 10-bit QFHD 4K 120p, DCI 4K up to 60p, and FHD 240p, offering versatile recording options for professional filmmakers.

Product Specs:

  • 10.2MP 4K full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor
  • Fast Hybrid AF w/ 627 phase-detection AF points and Eye-AF tracking
  • Electronically controlled optical variable ND filter (1/4 to 1/128)

Pros:

  • High sensitivity and dynamic range
  • Versatile recording options
  • Efficient autofocus system

Cons:

  • Lack of 3.5mm audio input on the body or handle
  • Clunky menu system
  • Limitations with sensor coverage in 4K.

Canon EOS R6 Mark II Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera

With its advanced subject detection and tracking, the Canon EOS R6 Mark II Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera offers superior autofocus capabilities for sharp, detailed video recording.

This innovation integrates a 24.2 effective megapixels CMOS sensor and DIGIC X image processor, accomplishing high-speed continuous shooting at up to 40 fps.

The camera’s 6K video oversampling optimizes recording capabilities, delivering top-tier image quality.

Wireless communication built into the system facilitates easy sharing of photos and videos, enhancing the camera’s versatility.

Overall the R6 mkii is an excellent hybrid camera for those shooting both video and stills.

Product Specs:

  • 24.2 effective megapixels CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC X image processor
  • Advanced subject detection and tracking
  • 6K video oversampling
  • Built-in wireless communication

Pros:

  • High-speed continuous shooting up to 40 fps
  • Superior autofocus capabilities
  • Versatile and easy to use
  • Excellent image stabilization and low-light performance

Cons:

  • The steep learning curve for beginners
  • Compatibility issues with some SD cards
  • Lens selection can influence camera performance.
  • The RF mount is still new, so the lens selection is limited.

Canon EOS R5 C Full-frame Mirrorless Cinema Camera

The Canon EOS R5 C Full-frame Mirrorless Cinema Camera, this compact and lightweight device impresses with its advanced autofocus capabilities and high-resolution video shooting.

With a powerful DIGIC X Processor and full-frame 8K video quality, it takes cinematic vision to the next level.

Its Dual Pixel CMOS AF with iTR AF X ensures sharp, high-precision focusing, making it an ideal choice for filmmakers, multimedia journalists, and advanced amateurs.

The Canon EOS R5 C also offers non-stop recording thanks to its internal cooling fan.

Its multiple recording options allow for versatile workflows. Users may find the battery life and file sizes challenging despite its high-end specifications.

Product Specs:

  • DIGIC X Processor
  • Full-frame 8K video
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF with iTR AF X
  • Dual Memory Card Slots

Pros:

  • High-resolution video shooting
  • Advanced autofocus capabilities
  • Non-stop recording with internal cooling fan
  • Excellent in-body stabilization

Cons:

  • Short battery life in video mode
  • Large file sizes require upgraded storage and processing capabilities.

Canon EOS R8 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera

The Canon EOS R8 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera is renowned for its excellent autofocus capabilities, thanks to its Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with automatic subject detection.

This feature, coupled with its 24.2 million pixel CMOS image sensor and DIGIC X Image Processor, makes the R8 a formidable tool for capturing fast-moving subjects with stunning clarity.

The Canon R8’s uncropped 4K movie recording at up to 60 fps and Full HD High-frame rate movie recording at up to 180 fps elevate the camera’s video quality to professional standards.

Product Specs:

  • 24.2 MP
  • DIGIC X Image Processor
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with automatic subject detection
  • Uncropped 4K movie at up to 60 fps
  • Full HD High-frame rate movie recording at up to 180 fps

Pros:

  • Excellent autofocus capabilities (Servo AF)
  • High-quality video recording
  • Great for capturing fast-moving subjects

Cons:

  • Lack of In-body Image Stabilization (IBIS)
  • Low frame rate in Electronic First-Curtain Shutter mode
  • Poor battery life.

Closing Thoughts

So there you have it. These are our picks of the best cameras available for continuous autofocusing capability.

Great strides have been made in improving autofocusing technology, and the capability of this tool will continue to be refined.

Though it’s often said to avoid autofocus, it is a tool that can be very useful depending on the situation.

As the technology improves, so does the variety of shoots where you may employ autofocus. We hope you enjoyed this article, and as always, we would love to hear your comments!


Autofocus Technologies Explained

Without going too in-depth into the subject, there are three major types of autofocusing technology:

Laser (or time of flight), contrast-based, and phase detection. All three technologies have their strengths and are suited to different circumstances.

The best continuous autofocus uses a hybrid, i.e., contrast-based plus phase detection autofocus.

  • Time of flight or laser autofocus is primarily used in phone cameras. This works like sonar, where the camera emits a light beam reflecting off the subject. An internal processor measures the time the light returns and calculates the distance to the subject.
  • Contrast-based autofocus works similarly to how you probably hunt for focus. The camera analyzes the contrast along the edges of the picture. If there is high contrast, the subject is closer to being in focus and vice versa.
  • This allows the camera to find the optimum lens distance to bring your subject into focus, but it can take longer than the other technologies.
  • Phase detection autofocus works in stereo. A bit of incoming light is split and redirected to autofocusing photodiodes. A signal is generated, and by comparing the phase of each signal, a microprocessor computes how much and in which direction to move the lens. This is a very fast autofocusing method and has seen major innovations recently, such as Canon’s dual-pixel autofocus.

If you want a more in-depth explanation of these technologies, look here.


Author

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  • Cade Taylor

    Cade Taylor is a filmmaker and writer based out of Los Angeles. Originally from Seattle, he continues to work as the Outreach Coordinator for the Bigfoot Script Challenge, where he helps connect up-and-coming writers with industry professionals. When he’s not working on his own projects, helping out with Bigfoot, or covering desks, Cade loves to share what he knows with other filmmakers and promote great content.

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4 thoughts on “8 Video Cameras With Great Continuous Autofocus (2024)”

  1. I was going to get the C200 for the touchscreen, DPAF capabilities and face detection (which would match that of my 5DIV) but now I think the C70 is going to be getting my money instead (unless the C200 drops in price).

    Reply

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