Canon is revisiting its eye-controlled AF

Canon is revitalizing its eye-controlled auto-focus from SLR days, after twenty years.

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Canon is revitalizing its eye-controlled auto-focus from SLR days, after twenty years.

The technology that had been skipped for years is set to make a comeback soon, however, this is not used in any mirrorless or DSLR cameras for ages. This technology was previously used in Canon’s film cameras that enable to move the focus point; by just looking at it, it is an automatic technology the camera detects that where your eye is looking and points in the same direction. 

Moreover, this technology was last witnessed in Canon EOS-3, which bragged 45 AF points “a melodramatic uptick from the 5 AF points of the Canon EOS-5 / A2e and the 7 AF points of the Canon EOS 30 / Elan 7e”. It was never made clear why the tech didn’t translate to the digital era, though some proposed that the absolute number of AF points could be the issue (and something like the Canon EOS R5 has a staggering 5,940 AF positions).

Canon was the first camera company to introduce this technology back in 2019 in Canon EOS R. “The line-of-sight direction is detected by a predetermined algorithm, which will be described later, from the positional relationship between the eyeball imaged on the eyeball image sensor and the corneal reflection of the light sources”. That registration, spotted by Canon News, described an infrared LED working in conjunction with an algorithm to perform line-of-sight detection.

Furthermore, the technology is being revitalized with a fresh new camera. The camera can detect iris and store past behaviors “An image capture apparatus detects a subject in a captured image. The image capture apparatus further recognizes its user based on an eyeball image of the user. The image capture apparatus then selects a main subject area from among the detected subject areas, based on information regarding subjects captured in the past and stored being associated with the recognized user.”

Canon SLR was hit or miss it either worked properly or was a complete fail, depending on the user, and whether the user wears glasses or not. It interfered with the system that was the reason that it didn’t make it past SLR age. 

However, since canon is set to revisit the technology it may have eradicated the flaws, “To improve user convenience by automating a calibration operation of a gaze position while accurately recognizing a subject in a subject recognition device having a gaze detection function.” The original patent identifies the objective.

 Indeed, Cannon elaborated the EOS-3’s Eye Controlled Focus as being “almost twice as fast and more precise”, and an AF system that moves at the speed of sight is certainly faster than using a joystick or tapping a touchscreen, so this could be a genuine game-changer if it ever to pass.