What is Dual pixel AF and why is it important?

Canon cameras use microscopic 'split' pixels in two halves to provide fast and effective autofocus. (Image credit: Canon)

When it comes to focusing, there are two different systems at work in most digital cameras, namely Phase Detection or Contrast Detection. It’s Phase Detection that generally allows for fast autofocusing on a moving subject. Contrast Detection – which is in operation when shooting in Live View on a DSLR – is slower but also very accurate. 

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Andrew James

Andrew makes his living as a photographer, videographer and journalist. For 26 years he was a specialist magazine editor, the last 13 of which were on Practical Photography magazine. A long-time expert in photographic techniques across many disciplines, he's a self-confessed photo generalist, and a font of creative knowledge to capturing just about any subject, although he has a strong leaning to wildlife and travel photography. Andrew's wide-ranging photography experience means he authors the long-running Photo Answers section for Digital Camera Magazine. His work as a journalist, guide and educator dovetails neatly into his commitment to Foto-Buzz - an online subscription community he founded, where Andrew writes articles, films tutorials and records blogs on all manner of photo-related subjects and techniques for enthusiast photographers.