Patent: The return of eye-controlled focus, but for mirrorless cameras

slclick

Unsolicited & Always Free
Dec 17, 2013
4,444
2,662
I have an EOS 30v (Elan 7NE/7S) which is my favourite film camera and the last film camera Canon ever made (2003)
It works well including the eye controlled focus (for me anyway) and I found this feature works best if you use a large eye cup which holds your eye in a fixed position such as Hoodman's (which are also much more comfortable than the awful standard ones)
I believe people with low contrast irises had poor results though.
Just imagine how well it could work today especially in combination with DPAF ii and using the initial selection by your eyes followed by the automated eye tracking.
Great security feature too which could unlock your camera at the start of each session
Really hope this is included on the R7
Are you implying the last film body launch? The EOS 1v was made until 2010. (debuted in 2000)
 
Mar 8, 2013
5
7
I bought the A2e (EOS 5) back in the early 90’s. The ‘e’ stood for eye. I bought the ‘e’ version as a lark since I’m a total gadget geek and thought it world be fun to play sith. I bought it with low to no expectations.

The eye focus was AMAZING! Absolutely loved it. So wonderful to frame an image as you want it, then glance at the focus point and shoot! The focus was good. The exposure would be good (since exposure was set with the framing). A total joy. I had a lot of fun with it.

Of course that was when I was still in my late 30’s and I could still see without glasses. I don’t think that generation worked with glasses at all.

Jim in Colorado
 

mb66energy

EOS 5D Mark IV
Dec 18, 2011
1,502
369
Germany
www.MichaelBockhorst.de
I always wondered, if eye-controlled AF is save and could not cause any damage to the retina.
If you use infrared which is far from the visible spectrum you can use very low intensities + "infrared photons" have very low energy, to low to induce chemical reactions so there are lots of reasons to see it as non-dangerous.
But today it should be easy to observe the "focusing" eye with a small camer with e.g. VGA (640x480) resolution and to evaluate the image for the position of the eye and the direction of its optical axis - maybe a "waste product" of eye AF with some tweaks?!
 
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Del Paso

M3 Singlestroke
Aug 9, 2018
1,141
1,186
I just wonder if this AF could become precise enough to "trap" a little bird in dense foliage.
This being a typical situation, where normal AF often encounters difficulties, focusing on the right subject.
Which tiny part of the human eye will the system use to center on ???
 

stefang

EOS M50
Dec 15, 2014
36
28
The EOS 5 was my first Canon and I loved it, but didn't care much for the eye control. Setting the focus point manually worked better for me.
But if it works well, eye control could be a nice addition: just look at a certain point and press a button to move focus to that point.
 

canonmike

EOS RP
CR Pro
Jan 5, 2013
285
251
I wonder how well it would work for eyeglass wearers.
I had two EOS 3 film bodies and, as an eye glass wearer, much to my surprise, it worked perfectly for me. Like others, I was surprised they never offered this feature in any of their digital camera body offerings. You could manually turn on/off this feature, as well, calibrating the body to your own eye(s). To my knowledge, no other Mfg ever offered this feature. I believe the A2e body was the first Canon body to offer the eye controlled focus capability and I owned one. Good body but the Eye focus feature only worked in landscape mode, not vertical portrait mode, so it's usefullness was limited. When they solved this problem with the production of the EOS 3 body, I jumped on it. While some users found eye controlled focus lacking, it worked great for me. I would think that any new version would be much more capable, given Canon's current tech capabilities.
 

Bonich

EOS M50
Apr 29, 2019
44
37
in my experience with the elan 7e which had 7 autofocus zones and the 5d2 i replaced it with that had 9 autofocus points in a diamond, i could use the 5d2's joy stick to get the focus point just as fast, and more reliably than the eye controlled focus thing.
Exactly!
All those being exited about this feature never used it.

The only application I can think about this being useful: Eye-AF with more than one eye/person in the frame selecting the desired one.
But the thumb is free to be used and doing so is a fast way of control.
 
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gruhl28

Canon 70D
Jul 26, 2013
128
37
So they light up your eye with infrared LEDs and take a picture of it using a small dual pixel AF sensor in the top of the EVF.

They seem to go way deeper than just AF control with this. The patents talks about identifiying different users based on their iris signature and saving user specific subject preferences. If I understand it correctly, you and your partner could share a body. When one of you prefers taking pictures of flowers, flowers will be recognized as the most likely subject in a scene when this user operates the camera, and if the other user prefers birds for example, those will be their default subjects. Which also implies that the bodies will have greater subject recognition capabilities in the first place.

Wasn't there a thread just a while back about people wishing for more security on their devices? Seems like with essentially an iris scanner built into the EVF, that might be another application they could look at since they process that information anyway.
Exactly; this is different from the eye-controlled autofocus of years ago. And the quoted section of the patent doesn’t even mention anything about tracking where the eye is looking.
 

Maps

EOS M7 (please)
Jan 10, 2021
46
91
For instance, a modern eye-tracking system may not need to be used for selection of a specific autofocus point, but rather subject selection.
I think CV is still too finicky to pull it off just yet, but this is an awesome idea as things evolve.
 
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FamilyGuy

EOS 90D
Feb 5, 2020
178
295
Interesting idea. Curious about deployment. In the new EVF’s, I’m looking at a lot of things. The histogram, the level, other settings, maybe focus is on one of my children based on their position, but I’m scanning the others to make sure eyes are open and tongues aren’t sticking out.

I assume you look at your target, push a button to lock in, then go about business normally?
 

HikeBike

R6 / R
CR Pro
Feb 6, 2019
143
151
Maryland, USA
Ancestors
 

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Maps

EOS M7 (please)
Jan 10, 2021
46
91
Interesting idea. Curious about deployment. In the new EVF’s, I’m looking at a lot of things. The histogram, the level, other settings, maybe focus is on one of my children based on their position, but I’m scanning the others to make sure eyes are open and tongues aren’t sticking out.

I assume you look at your target, push a button to lock in, then go about business normally?

Maybe it should lock focus on the kids with their eyes open and send the ones pulling faces into the background?
 

slclick

Unsolicited & Always Free
Dec 17, 2013
4,444
2,662
More and more I am seeing people wanting a camera body to do more and more 'thinking'. At first, smart phones were the culprit in the demise of dslr's and now I see mirrorless tech being the demise of the 'photographer'.

Years ago, photographers had to really stand up for it being an art form or not in the eyes of the critics. Now with it losing it's 'craft' level of study, technique training, having an eye for framing and interest, where will the field go when AI is controlling more aspects of the shot than the human?

Why even have manual modes then? You might argue it's the future, it's evolution but what I see is the person behind the viewfinder is slowly becoming less relevant. So, will the new saying be "It's about which camera you buy, not who is behind the lens"

Meanwhile, film is still a thing thank goodness so there is hope there.
 
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Joules

doom
CR Pro
Jul 16, 2017
1,594
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Hamburg, Germany
More and more I am seeing people wanting a camera body to do more and more 'thinking'. At first, smart phones were the culprit in the demise of dslr's and now I see mirrorless tech being the demise of the 'photographer'.

Years ago, photographers had to really stand up for it being an art form or not in the eyes of the critics. Now with it losing it's 'craft' level of study, technique training, having an eye for framing and interest, where will the field go when AI is controlling more aspects of the shot than the human?

Why even have manual modes then? You might argue it's the future, it's evolution but what I see is the person behind the viewfinder is slowly becoming less relevant. So, will the new saying be "It's about which camera you buy, not who is behind the lens"

Meanwhile, film is still a thing thank goodness so there is hope there.
Are you referring to moving the AF with your eye? How is that taking away from the art side of photography? I see it more as offering a more natural means of operating the camera compared to using dials or a joystick.

So, it is actually the camera being less in the way of the art, isn't it?
 
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Maps

EOS M7 (please)
Jan 10, 2021
46
91
More and more I am seeing people wanting a camera body to do more and more 'thinking'. At first, smart phones were the culprit in the demise of dslr's and now I see mirrorless tech being the demise of the 'photographer'.

Years ago, photographers had to really stand up for it being an art form or not in the eyes of the critics. Now with it losing it's 'craft' level of study, technique training, having an eye for framing and interest, where will the field go when AI is controlling more aspects of the shot than the human?

Why even have manual modes then? You might argue it's the future, it's evolution but what I see is the person behind the viewfinder is slowly becoming less relevant. So, will the new saying be "It's about which camera you buy, not who is behind the lens"

Meanwhile, film is still a thing thank goodness so there is hope there.

I’m strongly in favor of packing every “smart” feature into a camera body that you can. I’m equally adamant though about retaining the ability to turn them off when I don’t want them, which (for me at least) is probably most of the time.
 

amorse

EOS RP
Jan 26, 2017
785
1,046
www.instagram.com
More and more I am seeing people wanting a camera body to do more and more 'thinking'. At first, smart phones were the culprit in the demise of dslr's and now I see mirrorless tech being the demise of the 'photographer'.

Years ago, photographers had to really stand up for it being an art form or not in the eyes of the critics. Now with it losing it's 'craft' level of study, technique training, having an eye for framing and interest, where will the field go when AI is controlling more aspects of the shot than the human?

Why even have manual modes then? You might argue it's the future, it's evolution but what I see is the person behind the viewfinder is slowly becoming less relevant. So, will the new saying be "It's about which camera you buy, not who is behind the lens"

Meanwhile, film is still a thing thank goodness so there is hope there.
Personally, I'd argue that what a photographer chooses to point their camera at is just as important as their technique. If modern cameras help to offset deficiencies in a person's technique I don't think that takes from the art form - plenty of famous/popular/revered images are not technically perfect but are relevant because of the subject or story they tell. A technically perfect image of an uninteresting subject/story, for me, is less inspiring than a technically flawed image with an interesting/compelling story or subject. To each their own!
 
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