Canon News has uncovered a patent that shows how Canon plans to add eye control focus technology in the upcoming Canon EOS R3 EVF.

From Japan Patent Application 2021-076832:

… an object of the present invention is to propose an optimum arrangement of the EVF in the image pickup apparatus, which is provided with the EVF and can suppress the deterioration of the operability of the image pickup apparatus provided with the line-of-sight input function.

Canon is using a small image sensor that is positioned on the side of the main display in the EVF and using a diving prism to direct light to this sensor. IR LEDs illuminate your eye for pupil detection and are located around the main EVF display.

patentevf 02 - Patent: Eye-control focus in an EVF, this will appear in the Canon EOS R3

The image above shows the path of the IR light being sent to your pupil for detection by the eye control sensor.

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37 comments

  1. Interresting to see that they use the aspherical geometry of the cornea and it reflexion to deduce the alignement of the eye.
    I think the IR led are the main inovation compared to the old EOS 3 mechanism. WIth the IR led they can illuminate more powerfully the eye without disturbing it, and then, maybe avoid false reflexions due to googles. It may works well with soft contact lens but not sure with old rigid ones
  2. Wouldn't this system also allow you to turn the viewfinder on and off with your pupils being detected by the viewfinder, instead of a simple proximity sensor?

    That would be nice for limiting accidentally turning on the EVF when the camera is on your shoulder, etc.
  3. Memory has it IR was used for eye control in film days. I still have an EOS A2E around the house somehwhere which was the pinnacle of the tech at that time, the early '90s. There was also a lower priced Elan model which had the tech. Of course, memory had me initially remember the camera model as A5E.
  4. Memory has it IR was used for eye control in film days. I still have an EOS A2E around the house somehwhere which was the pinnacle of the tech at that time, the early '90s. There was also a lower priced Elan model which had the tech. Of course, memory had me initially remember the camera model as A5E.
    Hopefully it works better than it did on my old EOS3 which was a very capable camera but the eye control focus on it never really worked that well for me and I ended up trading it in for a 30D. Ironically I found the eye control focus was more realiable on my Elan 7E probably because there were far fewer focus points. I really enjoyed the Elan, it was nice and light.
  5. Hopefully it works better than it did on my old EOS3 which was a very capable camera but the eye control focus on it never really worked that well for me and I ended up trading it in for a 30D. Ironically I found the eye control focus was more realiable on my Elan 7E probably because there were far fewer focus points. I really enjoyed the Elan, it was nice and light.
    I too had both and agree with your summation. The 3 was a far more robust and dependable camera yet I did not use the eye control due to it being unreliable but did on my Elan 7e. However the Elan had more mechanical issues and was nowhere as field worthy. To me, the EOS 3 was the precursor to the 5D line. Sturdy, dependable, sealed and ergonomically balanced.
  6. Quite frankly I would rather they refine the eye/animal auto focus they already have in the R5. Not interested in all these bells and whistles they seem to be focused on.
  7. Quite frankly I would rather they refine the eye/animal auto focus they already have in the R5. Not interested in all these bells and whistles they seem to be focused on.

    Eye-controlled AF could well be more useful to a wider set of photographers than eye-identification AF. Many people shoot much more than just living creatures.

    To me, for example, eye-ID AF is irrelevant for about 90% of shots. But being able to change the AF point quickly just by looking would benefit me in 100% of shots, as compared to having to take my thumb off the AF button to chug the AF point around with the control stick. When does it reach the edge of the field ... oh crap it's wrapped around to the far edge now, push it back... can it go higher? No! Oh just take the shot... gah too late! Quite often I just revert to central-point-and-recompose as it's faster than moving the focus point.
  8. Quite frankly I would rather they refine the eye/animal auto focus they already have in the R5. Not interested in all these bells and whistles they seem to be focused on.
    I would say it really depends on how well it works. First time I heard of eye AF (obviously not from Canon), I thought it was a gimmick but quite frankly it is more useful as it becomes more reliable.
  9. Isn't IR bad for eyes? Especially in this case it seems to be directly pointed at the photographer's eyes to detect where he/she is looking at?
    IR radiation is heat radiation. Thus, it depends only on the intensity of the IR. Yes, your eyes will be damaged if you put a glowing piece of iron right in front of your eyes (criminals used, in some countries, to be blinded in this manner). I would be very surprised if the intensity of the IR in the eye-focus mechanism is high enough to damage your eyesight, even if you spend hours looking in an eye-focusing EVF.
    (BTW, UV radiation is far more harmful to your eyes; that's why we wear sunglasses.)
  10. IR radiation is heat radiation. Thus, it depends only on the intensity of the IR. Yes, your eyes will be damaged if you put a glowing piece of iron right in front of your eyes (criminals used, in some countries, to be blinded in this manner). I would be very surprised if the intensity of the IR in the eye-focus mechanism is high enough to damage your eyesight, even if you spend hours looking in an eye-focusing EVF.
    (BTW, UV radiation is far more harmful to your eyes; that's why we wear sunglasses.)

    Thank you!
  11. Isn't IR bad for eyes? Especially in this case it seems to be directly pointed at the photographer's eyes to detect where he/she is looking at?
    As said above, like any light it depends on the intensity. The trouble with infrared is that, because we can't see it, the automatic system which closes the iris down doesn't work for it. Thats why it's considered dangerous despite the actual photons having less energy than visible light. (UV, which we also can't see, has more energy than visible light, which is why we hear so much about the risks.)

    Do you trust Canon to build the electronics so some kind of failure doesn't result in a higher intensity than intended?

    In my judgement, even a small risk is not justifiable for such an unnecessary function, especially since in my case it probably wouldn't work well anyway. So I would certainly turn it off, but given the decades of history of lousy firmware from Japanese camera makers, and the fact that the hardware could also fail on, I wouldn't trust it was actually off, and will never buy a camera with it.
  12. Really, this is about the strangest thought I've heard from a human in weeks. There are real things to worry about in this world, and you're busy worrying about this?
    I'm not worrying about it, but simply writing the camera off as of no possible interest to me among the many possible cameras that might be. It may seem unfair, but people use seemingly minor things all the time to winnow selections down to a manageable number. It's the way the world works.

    As for the rest of your post, you apparently did not read my description of the dangers of invisible light. To give another example: extended exposure to UV from walking around outside isn't good, but in contrast some of the sterilisation devices that emit concentrated UV out of proportion from what you'd find in sunlight are extremely dangerous.
  13. As said above, like any light it depends on the intensity. The trouble with infrared is that, because we can't see it, the automatic system which closes the iris down doesn't work for it. Thats why it's considered dangerous despite the actual photons having less energy than visible light. (UV, which we also can't see, has more energy than visible light, which is why we hear so much about the risks.)

    Do you trust Canon to build the electronics so some kind of failure doesn't result in a higher intensity than intended?

    In my judgement, even a small risk is not justifiable for such an unnecessary function, especially since in my case it probably wouldn't work well anyway. So I would certainly turn it off, but given the decades of history of lousy firmware from Japanese camera makers, and the fact that the hardware could also fail on, I wouldn't trust it was actually off, and will never buy a camera with it.

    Just so people know, IR means infra-red. which means it below the visible spectrum of light. which means it's lower energy than sunlight (longer wavelength, lower frequency, less energy). so if this scares you, you better stay indoors all the time and block out the windows and wear sunglasses 24/7. or better yet, never open your eyes to the dangerous visible light.

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