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Author Topic: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?  (Read 5704 times)

Kit Lens Jockey

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Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« on: December 04, 2017, 09:05:39 PM »
I just snagged a very cheap Elan IIe film camera on craigslist. I know it only has three autofocus points, but damn if that eye-controlled autofocus isn't the bee's knees.

What happened? Why was it abandoned? I mean, I can appreciate the fact that with dozens of autofocus points it probably struggled to get the right one. And I understand that you're not ALWAYS looking right at what you want to focus on. But as someone who does 95% of their shooting with a single point selected, and can never seem to move the point to the one I want fast enough, I would really love something like this on the 5D4. Wouldn't it have gotten better over time if they would have just stuck it out and kept developing it? This seems like such an ahead of its time feature that seemed to get canned quickly.

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Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« on: December 04, 2017, 09:05:39 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2017, 09:36:57 PM »
I have the Elan II E, and find that even after calibrating, having to make certain that it tracked my eye (and it sometimes doesn't) Its distracting.  I am one who may watch a subject as it moves into the position I want, and if the eye tracking fails to follow my eye, or I have to wait for it to catch up, its disappointing.

On the other hand, the touch focus on the newer models is amazing, touch a subject, and the camera will track them so you can capture the instant.  It also links exposure to the spot you touch, that is a huge improvement over the conventional AF which does not.

MrFotoFool

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2017, 10:49:39 PM »
The ElanIIe was my main camera for years (and my first autofocus camera, which caused me to switch to Canon from Pentax). I eventually got two of them (to have two different film types available). I also thought the eye control was fantastic and I too am baffled at its disappearance when Canon went digital. Eye control (also available on the pro A2e) was one of the main features that caused Art Wolfe to switch to Canon from Nikon. At the time Canon ran a full page ad in photo magazines with a snow monkey photo he took (very close up wide angle) with a quote from him saying he could never have gotten this shot before. Though Nikon was not named, it was very clearly a slap in the face to them for not having eye control focus.

slclick

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2017, 02:39:27 PM »
The EC in my EOS 3 works like a charm to this day.
That's it, I'm switching to Rollei

Lurker

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2017, 04:01:01 PM »
I started with IIe and upgraded to the 7e (still have both). 
EC had its limitations.  Astigmatism, portrait mode, eye glasses (not sure about contacts), light levels.
Not sure why they didn't keep it for prosumer or consumer models, it was handy. 
As you mention, I think it would be a problem with high density focus systems on todays higher end models. 

jolyonralph

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2017, 04:19:21 PM »
Well, I agree it would have been great to have had, but it's certainly a bit pointless now with the shift towards mirrorless where you can get eye autofocus on the eyes of the *subject*, which is a bit more useful :)

Jolyon Ralph

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MrFotoFool

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2017, 06:11:12 PM »
@jolyonralph - Some of us take photos of things other than people. And some of us don't use mirrorless.

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2017, 06:11:12 PM »

RGF

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2017, 01:02:09 PM »
I had EOS3 and for me EC worked well in landscape mode but poorly in portrait mode.  I finally figured out that in Portrait mode I was not consistent in how I held the camera to my eye.

I do wish Canon would restore it.  I would glad give up a pop up flash for EC.

johnf3f

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2017, 07:59:49 PM »
@jolyonralph - Some of us take photos of things other than people. And some of us don't use mirrorless.

The "Eye Control" focus on my EOS 3 is not perfect - but it is still a great feature. With 19 more years of processing and AF technology I think that Canon could make this into an excellent feature for their cameras today!

IMO it would give them a real and practical advantage over other manufacturers - just my 2p!
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AcutancePhotography

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2017, 01:43:39 PM »
I had the A2E and it had five eye controlled focus points and I admit that once it was calibrated, they worked great.

But that was with five points kinda spread out.  I can't imagine how eye controlled focus could work like that with 40+ focus points especially when they are in a bunch.

It was, as you put it, the Anthophila's Articulatio genus   ;D
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RGF

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2017, 05:33:18 PM »

The "Eye Control" focus on my EOS 3 is not perfect - but it is still a great feature. With 19 more years of processing and AF technology I think that Canon could make this into an excellent feature for their cameras today!

IMO it would give them a real and practical advantage over other manufacturers - just my 2p!

Not sure why the got rid of it, probably cause more headaches for the CS dept than it was worth.  Then again no one had to use it.  Was an option.  I think Canon missed the boat on real SCA (Sustainable Competitive Advantage).  Unless of course there was some patent issues we never heard about

johnf3f

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2017, 10:07:41 PM »

The "Eye Control" focus on my EOS 3 is not perfect - but it is still a great feature. With 19 more years of processing and AF technology I think that Canon could make this into an excellent feature for their cameras today!

IMO it would give them a real and practical advantage over other manufacturers - just my 2p!

Not sure why the got rid of it, probably cause more headaches for the CS dept than it was worth.  Then again no one had to use it.  Was an option.  I think Canon missed the boat on real SCA (Sustainable Competitive Advantage).  Unless of course there was some patent issues we never heard about

Possibly - I have no idea why it was not continued. Certainly it didn't work for everyone, but with today's technology?

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Maiaibing

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2017, 08:03:28 AM »
I just snagged a very cheap Elan IIe film camera on craigslist. I know it only has three autofocus points, but damn if that eye-controlled autofocus isn't the bee's knees.

Wonder about this too.

However, even more useful is auto eye-focus which you can get with high end Nikon and SONY cameras. It really works...

Major Canon deficit IMHO.

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2017, 08:03:28 AM »

Duct_Taper

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2017, 02:00:52 PM »
I suspect a big part of the reason for it being discontinued was/is the proliferation in the number of focus points... the difficulty of accurately determining eye gaze location increases dramatically as the required precision of that location increases.  Even going from 3 or 5 points to 9 represents enough of a measurement resolution increase that the required accuracy may have been too problematic to obtain.

That said, it seems like it could possibly be offered in combination with some of the area AF modes where the number of areas to select from is smaller (i.e., 3 to 5) ?

johnf3f

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2017, 06:36:10 PM »
I suspect a big part of the reason for it being discontinued was/is the proliferation in the number of focus points... the difficulty of accurately determining eye gaze location increases dramatically as the required precision of that location increases.  Even going from 3 or 5 points to 9 represents enough of a measurement resolution increase that the required accuracy may have been too problematic to obtain.

That said, it seems like it could possibly be offered in combination with some of the area AF modes where the number of areas to select from is smaller (i.e., 3 to 5) ?

The EOS 3 managed moderately well it with 45 AF points - that's good enough for me!

With nearly 2 decades of advancements - what could "Eye Control" focus do now?
Canon 1DX, 7D2, 16-35 F4 L IS, 24-70 F2.8 V2, 100 F2.8 Macro, 100-400 L IS Mk2, 300 F2.8 L IS, 800 F5.6 L IS, Holga Pinhole lens.

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Re: Eye controled autofocus, where have you been all my life?
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2017, 06:36:10 PM »