Canon Patents

Patent: Canon continues Quad-Pixel autofocus development

This site contains affiliate links to products and services. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The next autofocus advancement coming from Canon will likely be in the form of quad-pixel autofocus, I would think we’d see such technology appear in the Canon EOS R1 first.

Quad-Pixel AF would improve the autofocus performance when you’re shooting in any orientation.

Canon Quad-Pixel Overview

  • [Publication Number] Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. 2022-2383 (P2022-2383A)
  • [Publication date] January 6, 2022
  • INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY: An image pickup device, an image pickup device, and a focus detection method.
  • [Application date] June 22, 2020
  • [Applicant]
    [Identification number] 000001007
    [Name or name] Canon Inc.
  • PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To increase the division direction of a pupil region while suppressing variation in sensitivity of an image signal.
  • [0002]
    As one of the focus detection methods of an image pickup device, a so-called image pickup surface phase difference method, in which a pupil division signal is acquired by using a focus detection pixel formed in an image pickup device and focus detection Is Performed By A Phase Difference Method, Is Used. Are Known. As A Focus Detection Pixel, A Configuration In Which One Microlens And A Plurality Of Sensitivity Regions Are Formed In Each Pixel Is Known, And Each Of The Plurality Of Sensitivity Regions Is Light The pupil division signal can be acquired by receiving light.
  • PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED: To solve a problem.
    [0005]
    Generally, in a phase difference type focus detection, focus detection is performed when the brightness pattern of a subject, that is, the direction in which the luminance changes is close to the division direction of the pupil division signal. There is a problem that the accuracy of the
  • [0006]
    Even if an image pickup device that divides the pupil division signal in a total of four directions by combining the pixels described in Patent Document 1 is configured, the characteristics are aligned between the pixels having different division directions. However, the image signal obtained by adding the pupil division signal for each pixel will vary.
  • [0007]
    The present invention has been made in view of the above problems, and an object of the present invention is to make it possible to increase the division direction of the pupil region while suppressing variations in the sensitivity of image signals.

Antono Refa

EOS R
Mar 26, 2014
1,409
505
Samsung is hot on Canon's heels (page 9/22)...

PS
Neither seems to use a quad-pixel design (each pixel has a pair of photodiodes - just rotated in different directions)?
AFAIK, DSLR autofocus sensors don't measure in two directions on the same sensor spot, just close enough to do the trick. Also, they have a larger area than a pixel.

Does seem odd to me that there's a correlation between the direction in which the AF is sensitive and the pixel colors - the horizontal & vertical ones are all on blue & green pixels, while the diagonal ones are all on red pixels. I know the pixels' response is on a wide spectrum with a peak in the relevant color (not exactly red, blue, and green), but I wonder whether this will hurt AF performance.

[I doubt this would be a big problem, one could probably autofocus in a working orientation and rotate/recompose. That, or the actual distribution might differ to prevent that.]
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

scottburgess

Canonical Canon
Jun 20, 2013
245
37
PS
Neither seems to use a quad-pixel design (each pixel has a pair of photodiodes - just rotated in different directions)?
The diagram illustrates a design change. The notation about "sensitivity differences" between sites might indicate that Canon intends to turn each pixel into a Bayer color array (I don't know Japanese, so I can't say with any certainty if the shading is for color), effectively obtaining the Foveon-esque pixel element they've long sought. That's speculative, though. It's really hard to say from a small snippet of one patent how the phase difference elements will be deployed or what the long-term strategy is.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

bbasiaga

Canon Shooter
Nov 15, 2011
568
714
USA
Could be exciting! I'd like to see what they can do with it. The AF performance is so amazing already. This seems like it would take the last 'weakness' out of the system.

An R1, a 300 2.8, a set of extenders would be my dream kit, in addition to what I have. Just need the funds, and one of those neuralizers from MIB to make my wife 'remember' that she gave me permission to buy it all.

Brian
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

Hector1970

EOS R
CR Pro
Mar 22, 2012
1,459
958
The modern camera is ridiculously good. Focusing is almost the last thing to perfect
Could be exciting! I'd like to see what they can do with it. The AF performance is so amazing already. This seems like it would take the last 'weakness' out of the system.

An R1, a 300 2.8, a set of extenders would be my dream kit, in addition to what I have. Just need the funds, and one of those neuralizers from MIB to make my wife 'remember' that she gave me permission to buy it all.

Brian
Modern camera's have gotten so good, they are close to perfection. I'm sure high ISO performance can be improved a little but is remarkably good compared to a few years ago. I'm sure we will have higher MP and more FPS but both can become more trouble than they are worth.
Focusing really is the last thing to perfect. It's good but far from perfect. It will be interesting how much better they can make it. Maybe quad pixel AF sensor will be a breakthrough.
I liked your last comment , some day I must tell my wife if anything happens to me to sell my photography gear for 10 times what I said I paid for it.
 

Juangrande

EOS RP
Mar 6, 2017
237
308
The modern camera is ridiculously good. Focusing is almost the last thing to perfect

Modern camera's have gotten so good, they are close to perfection. I'm sure high ISO performance can be improved a little but is remarkably good compared to a few years ago. I'm sure we will have higher MP and more FPS but both can become more trouble than they are worth.
Focusing really is the last thing to perfect. It's good but far from perfect. It will be interesting how much better they can make it. Maybe quad pixel AF sensor will be a breakthrough.
I liked your last comment , some day I must tell my wife if anything happens to me to sell my photography gear for 10 times what I said I paid for it.
As a portrait photographer that uses multiple strobes 95% of the time, even outdoors, the holy grail is a sensor that can do flash sync at any shutter speed. This is all I’ve ever wanted. Everything else is pretty much there in the R5.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

privatebydesign

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
10,673
6,112
As a portrait photographer that uses multiple strobes 95% of the time, even outdoors, the holy grail is a sensor that can do flash sync at any shutter speed. This is all I’ve ever wanted. Everything else is pretty much there in the R5.
Only when that sync speed is matched with flash that a can output meaningful light levels at those shorter durations. The two go hand in hand and at this point in time the flash power isn’t there...
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users

privatebydesign

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
10,673
6,112
My ProFoto lights can go as fast 1/80,000s
Yes if you are talking about the Pro-10 it outputs 2.4 Ws at 1/80,000 sec which is about as useful as a small candle, and that is just a copout t0.5 time.

The same $16,000 power pack and $3,000 head flash actually takes 1/400 sec to output a full power flash in normal mode. Any shutter speed faster than 1/400 second is going to limit flash power. And that was my point.....

CE1F6D24-BDAB-4369-A1B0-D7DD268E94A7.jpeg
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users