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Looking back: Canon’s eye-controlled focus

The Canon EOS 5 (known as the EOS A2/A2E in the Americas) was the world’s first SLR cam with eye-controlled focus.
Over the past couple of years, we have actually become spoiled by a great deal of excellent autofocus innovations like face detection, tap-to-focus, and subject tracking. However prior to we had those things, we had Canon’s eye-controlled focus, an innovation that made its appearance in film SLRs, but which never quite made the dive to digital cameras.
For those not familiar with eye-controlled focus, let me offer a fast primer. The system made its debut way back in 1992 on the EOS A2E, and remained part of the Canon system until the EOS Elan 7NE in 2004. It assured ‘focus where you look’ functionality, suggesting you could trigger your AF point of choice simply by looking at it.
As I remember, there were usually 2 sets of users when it concerned this innovation: those for whom it worked, and those for whom it absolutely didn’t. There weren’t numerous in between.
Even today, whenever we review a Canon cam, somebody will publish a remark expressing a desire for Canon to bring back eye-controlled focus. And I have to confess, I’m right there with them. I have excellent memories of it.

The Canon EOS Elan IIE, presented in 1995, had a 3-point autofocus system with eye-controlled focus.
I got my first taste of eye-controlled focus on the EOS Elan II E, and quickly fell in love with it. In fact, I liked utilizing it a lot that I changed from a Nikon to a Canon system. The capability to focus by eye was simply too much to withstand.
I later on updated to the EOS 3– still among my favorite video cameras of all time– which had a far more innovative 45-point AF system. Eye control on the EOS 3 was more advanced than on the Elan II E: it had a calibration procedure that included looking at chosen AF points in a prescribed manner, enabling the cam to tailor its reaction to your eye. Allegedly, if you duplicated the calibration procedure under different conditions, performance would enhance with time.
The EOS 3 likewise had the ability to save 3 registers of calibration data. This was particularly beneficial for glasses users due to the fact that you might use one register to calibrate for your naked eye, and another to adjust while wearing glasses or contact lenses.
Did it work? It depends on who you ask. Even around the DPReview workplace, you’ll find opposing views. In my experience, the system didn’t constantly land on the precise AF point that I wanted to use, but it normally landed close enough that it wasn’t a problem. At least that’s the method I remember it.
But as all of us understand, memories can be selective. I sometimes question if eye-controlled focus was as good as I remember it being, or if those memories are simply an outcome of fond memories for a bygone innovation. To find out, I pulled those old Canon cams out of a closet and put them to the test.


Unlike the Elan IIE, whose autofocus points were really far apart, the EOS 3’s 45 autofocus points were packed really close together. This made it more difficult to activate a single, specific AF point by eye. (Diagram from the EOS 3 Instruction Manual.).
So, would I exchange today’s contemporary AF systems for eye-controlled focus? Not a chance. Features like face detection (and even eye detection) in fact solve the ‘where to focus’ problem in most cases, and features like subject tracking would be tough to give up.
Nevertheless, I still enjoy the concept of eye-control focus and think it would have an useful put on today’s electronic cameras. There are times when I’m moving focus points around with a joystick or D-pad and discover myself believing ‘I wish I could just look at my topic and focus.’.
Innovation has advanced a lot in the past couple decades. When eye-controlled focus was presented in 1992, Microsoft was just releasing Windows 3.1, and CERN was still rolling out this new thing called’ The Web.’ In that context, I’m sure a modern-day eye-controlled focus system could be a lot more efficient, and work for a greater percentage of users, than one presented throughout the film period.
So here’s my plea to Canon: Please consider bringing back eye-controlled focus!
I believe that many of you reading this utilized eye-controlled focus eventually. How did it work for you? Would you prefer to see it added to contemporary AF systems? Or, am I entirely off my rocker, chasing down an useless innovation that should never see the light of day again? Let me know in the comments.


The Canon EOS 3, introduced in 1998, had a sophisticated 45-point autofocus system with eye-controlled focus.
The Elan II E worked just as well as I remembered it, carrying out at about 90% accuracy in my hands. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that this camera had a fairly rudimentary 3-point AF system, with well-isolated AF points. Essentially, the electronic camera just needed to find out which 3rd of the viewfinder you were looking at to select the right AF point.
The EOS 3 was a little a various story. Its 45 AF points were crowded close together, requiring a greater degree of precision when responding to eye motion. I could dependably get it to focus on the general area of the viewfinder I was looking at, however not with the degree of precision I remember.
With a little practice, I make certain I could improve my success rate a bit, which is most likely why I remember the system working much better than it carries out in my hands today. Alternatively, it’s nostalgia. To be truthful, I’m not sure which it is.

In appreciation of shooting monochrome landscapes

Taking color out of the formula requires the audience to focus on shapes and textures
In an age of broad color range displays and HDR-everything, DPR routine Nicolas Alexander Otto urges his fellow landscape shooters to welcome shooting in black-and-white. Here are a few reasons that he accepts black and white for landscape work– and believes you must too.
Minimizing images to its basics, simplifying to texture and shape, can help render the image more accessible to the eye. In this circumstances- a shot of the Iceland’s popular Vestrahorn- the patterns in the dunes leading the eye towards the range of mountains in the distance are not aesthetically overwritten by the color of the grass in the fore- and mid-ground hence stand apart more and are enough to lend the foreground dynamism which may otherwise be not noticeable enough.

Canon launches EOS Rebel T7i, 77D, and M6

Canon revealed three brand-new cam models today, which consist of the EOS Rebel T7i (also understood as 800D outside the United States and Kiss K9i in Japan) and the EOS 77D DSLRs and the EOS M6 mirrorless electronic camera.

The Rebel T7i is a spending plan DSLR and an update to the Rebel T6i (750D). It features the very same 24.2 megapixel APS-C sensing unit but with a new 45-point all cross-type AF system for the optical viewfinder and Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF with phase detection in live view. It also has the brand-new DIGIC 7 image processor and can 6.0 fps burst rate and ISO 100-25600. The T71 likewise consists of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC for included connectivity choices. The T7i likewise includes HDR movie and time lapse motion picture modes over the T6i.

The Rebel T7i will be offered in April 2017 for $749.99 body-only, $899.99 with the brand-new EF-S 18-55mm f/4 -5.6 IS STM lens and $1,299 with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5 -5.6 IS STM lens.
The EOS 77D is like a budget 80D, with a 24.2 megapixel APS-C sensing unit with 45-point all cross-type AF system, Dual Pixel CMOS AF, DIGIC 7 image processor, 7650-pixel RBG+IR Metering Sensing unit, Anti-Flicker shooting mode, leading LCD panel and fast control dial. It includes all the connection options on the T7i.
The 77D will be readily available in April 2017 for $899.99 body-only, $1,049 with the brand-new EF-S 18-55mm f/4 -5.6 IS STM lens and $1,499 with the EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5 -5.6 IS USM lens.

Lastly, there is the Canon M6, the latest entrant into the Canon mirrorless lineup. Regardless of the name, the M6 sits under the M5 and replaces the previous M3. It has a 24.2 megapixel APS-C sensing unit with Dual Pixel CMOS AF with phase detection, DIGIC 7 image processor, 7.0 fps burst rate, 9.0 fps with AF lock, ISO 100-25600, five-axis image stabilization when utilized with compatible lenses, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC, 3.0-inch tilting touchscreen, and 1080p60 video.

The EOS M6 will be readily available in April 2017 for $779.99 body-only, $899.99 with EF-M 15-45mm/ F3.5-6.3 IS STM zoom set lens and $1,279.99 with the EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5 -6.3 IS STM lens.

Canon likewise revealed the new EF-S 18-55mm f/4 -5.6 IS STM lens which is 20% smaller than the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5 -5.6 IS STM lens. It’s priced at $249.99. Then there’s the Wireless Push-button Control BR-E1, a Bluetooth remote that works with all 3 video cameras discussed above, letting you control them within a 16-foot radius from the camera. It’s priced at $50.

Ways to Pick a Digital Camera

There are a lot of type of digital cams out there that when you’re ready to purchase a brand-new one, it’s hard to understand where to start. Here are some things to look at when selecting a digital camera.

  • Variety of megapixels:An image on a digital camera is made of thousands of tiny dots. A megapixel is a million pixels. The more megapixels your camera has, the much better the resolution of your photographs will be. Many people do not require a camera with more than 6 megapixels
  • Type of camera:There are different kinds of video cameras on the market, from fundamental point-and-shoot video cameras for taking images of family and friends to sophisticated cameras with lots of features for real photography enthusiasts. A standard camera may cost between $70 and $500. A sophisticated camera will run you anywhere from $350 to $2000.
  • Features:Consider what functions you want in a camera. These may include manual direct exposure settings and focus, zoom lens range, shooting, focus and flash modes, video as well as 3-dimensional capability. Take a look at the lens quality, battery power and kind of memory cards the different cameras utilize. Some “clever electronic cameras” can set the exposure, focus and color balance, and can even discover smiles or warn you when an image subject blinked in the shot.
  • Brand:name Do some research to learn exactly what brands and designs consumers recommend. Different brands are understood for selling cams with different attributes, so keep this in mind if you already know what type of camera you’re looking for.
  • Where to go shopping:Think about shopping online, where you can find both a wide choice and low prices. Most shops just have one or the other. You might wish to enter into a store and try the video cameras out before buying it over the Internet, though. Electronic cameras have various tricks that you wouldn’t always notice by simply taking a look at a picture on a Website.
  • Price:Obviously you don’t want to pay a small fortune for your camera, however beware of prices that appear extremely low. This might be due to the fact that the camera is reconditioned or being sold on the gray market.