Eye-controlled AF is coming to more EOS R cameras, but you’ll have to be patient


CR Pro
Feb 25, 2015
The Netherlands
[...] Have thought about the cost of features I don't use since digital cameras started adding video capabilities. In 15 years I've yet to take a video with a DSRL/mirrorless body. [...]
I have to point out that the EVF is showing you a video feed. Most of the hardware 'video' features make a MILC actually function as a stills camera. Furthermore, focus peaking and the assist features were first created for the Cine line.

All that makes me smile at people saying they don't want any video feature in their MILC, I am fairly sure they don't mean going back to a Brownie style camera.
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Oct 3, 2015
Canon saying "It’s also a costly device to develop and manufacture..." does make me wonder how much of the R3's $6,500 USD price tag is because of eye-controlled AF. Have thought about the cost of features I don't use since digital cameras started adding video capabilities. In 15 years I've yet to take a video with a DSRL/mirrorless body.

"Yeah, but your [marketing department was] so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should. - Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park.

Is eye-controlled focusing something that's needed or just a marketing gimmick? I don't know anyone in my network of sports photographers that has found it useful. Most spent a few weeks testing it when they got their first R3 and couldn't get it to work better than other AF techniques.
don't forget adding some features can reduce the price if it expands the market base it is aimed at, so adding those features makes it less expensive if it is stuff like koenkooi mentions is already supported by the stills hardware. It isn't like they are adding SDI and XLR outputs to stills focused hybrids which would drive up the cost and make less sense.

The kind of video features added to the hybrid bodies is to catch stills, hybrid and low end video shooters all in one net. The kind of folks were a phone isn't good enough but cine cam would be completely overkill and they are carrying a milc/dslr for stills anyway are a very very large niche and if they segregated out a still camera that was as capable but didn't serve those it'd likely cost YOU a lot more what what you want. Thus I welcome features I have no need for personally especially since it is nice to have in case I ever wanted it (they way I used to feel about dslr video, now it is almost half of my use).
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Photos/Photo Book Reviews: www.thecuriouseye.com
Jul 20, 2010
Springfield, IL
Importantly, I think there are differences in how people mentally frame a shot, and some methods lend themselves to eye-control, and others don't.

Sports shooters, some wildlife shooters, and many others tend to be monomaniacally focused on the subject. These people will tend to like the eye-control. I've become more of a composition shopper while shooting wildlife. So I try to get the tracking married to the subject, and then my eye goes all over the place trying to improve the composition. If you're shooting single frames while using eye-control, this is fine, as you can just return to your subject and take the next picture. But if you're shooting at 30 fps when you're composition-shopping with your eye ball, eye-control is utter mayhem.
Generally agree, but not with your suggestion about sports shooting. When I shot sports, my eye was constantly in motion. Why? I'm watching the ball.

In most sports the ball gets passed from one player to another. I'm watching to see where that ball will be passed/thrown/hit (basketball, soccer, baseball). So my eye was constantly scanning the scene. Yeah, if there was one particular player I needed a shot of, I might concentrate my focus on that player, but still, I needed to see where the ball was to see when he or she would be receiving the ball. I think that's probably the biggest problem with eye control -- it either didn't react fast enough or if it did, it tended to bounce around semi-randomly as my eye scanned the scene.

I feel that this will be an ongoing issue with eye control. If your eye is constantly scanning the scene it's going to react to those eye movements. If you lock onto a subject with your eye, it can work, but in those situations, you don't really need it.
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No thanks, I tried it and turned it off right away. Just way too distracting. You have your focus cursor which you can move around and then you have a second circular cursor from the eye control bouncing around. So distracting. Just so unnecessary , they should bring the swipe-able AF-On button to the R5 Mark II instead.
I use it a lot and it is a game changer for shooting multiple people, like weddings and events. Whenever I pick up the R5 or R6mk2 I notice how I got used to it so easily. One of the best features in ages. I've used it for some sports also and when there is a crowd of people it is really useful. It even worked relatively good with polarised sunglasses.
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I had eye-controlled AF on EOS 5Ae2 and 50E. The feature looked promising on paper but was not much of use in practice. Good old lock-and-recompose technique takes care of pretty much all AF scenarios. In my view, Canon should really concentrate on computational features in their cameras, this is where the real breakthrough is.
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1N 3 1V 1Ds I II III R R5
Dec 9, 2018
eye control RF was a signature feature of the EOS 3.
Yeah, I had that camera and I thought it worked well. I had a 1N, and if I recall correctly the 3 had a spot meter averaging mode and that eye control. I bought it for the former but the eye control was a pleasant surprise and I never understood why they didn't continue it.
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Jun 29, 2016
In a recent interview by DPReview with Canon folks at CP+ last month, they touch on all things Canon mirrorless and a few tidbits of what’s coming in the future. One of the more interesting bits of information is in regards to eye-controlled autofocus that we have in the Canon EOS R3. According to Canon,

See full article...
I am not going anywhere in the near future. Saving for the next eye controlled 1TB sensor of the R1 :cool:
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wildlife photography
May 8, 2015
I use it a lot.
I find it funny that people call whatever feature is not useful for themselves personally a gimmick.
Yes, good point.

An "underdeveloped tool to make photography easier, and a great marketing ploy" is how I see it.

"It's our mission as a camera manufacturer to figure out ways to make any camera system easier and more comfortable to operate." - Canon
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