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View Poll Results: Do you want eye controlled autofocus on your DSLR?

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Thread: Do you want them to bring back eye controlled autofocus?

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    Do you want them to bring back eye controlled autofocus?

    The first SLR i used was a canon eos50 maybe 15 years ago, and you were able to select one of it's few (3) focus points with your eye, i.e. where you were looking it would use the closest focus point.

    This feature seemed to die a death without much fuss.

    So now 15 or so years on, we have cameras with dozens of focus points and many complicated ways of setting them up and selecting them.
    Surely technology has advanced that we can bring this back into our cameras?

    There are so many complicated settings in cameras now, that it seems the developers have forgotten to focus on making the user camera experience a more natural fuss free one, so that you can focus on taking good images rather than scrolling through menus all the time.

    Am I missing any obvious problems with it? Yes it wouldn't work in all situations, but it would be amazing to have as an option again.
    I tend to be quite lazy and do the center focus and recompose. I'd much prefer to select appropriate focus points to get more accurate results.

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    I am from the school of thought which dictates that the photographer -- not the camera -- should make the decisions.

    In my book, eye-controlled autofocus is a solutution looking for a problem.

    I'm quite fine with the current, smart-enough AF system my camera has, even when working at apertures of f/1.2 and f/1.4.

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    That doesn't make sense to me, when you select a particular focus point, you press a button and move the joystick thingy around... With eye control, you just look where you want it to focus when holding the focus button, so both situations, YOU are telling the camera where to focus, just with different parts of your body. The latter of which (assuming they can get it right) is far more fluid.
    Last edited by pmack; 25-08-2012 at 9:34pm.

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    I have no need to move a joystick. I focus and re-compose if necessary.

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    What exactly is "eye controlled"?
    It sounds like some expensive military gizmo for controlling targeting. Not something that has ever been put on a camera.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Might work with a few focus points, but with the 50 or more that are offered now, it would probably have trouble working out exactly which one the photographer wanted to use. Besides, I look all around my viewfinder just before I press the shutter, to make sure I don't have something in the shot that I do not want, like a bit of rubbish on the ground in the corner etc. I think my photography methodology would confuse the crap out of this system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Besides, I look all around my viewfinder just before I press the shutter, to make sure I don't have something in the shot that I do not want, like a bit of rubbish on the ground in the corner etc. I think my photography methodology would confuse the crap out of this system.
    For the same reason, eye-controlled AF wouldn't work for me either.

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    My guess is eye controlled wouldn't be running the whole time, just when you press something equivalent to the AF on button or the like, so you could still scan your whole scene without confusing it. But to me it's just yet another thing to go wrong. Though I must admit, the iPhone's system of just touching the screen where you want it to take all it's exposure measurements etc is pretty fantastic for quickly and easily telling the camera what you want. If you could do something similar by LOOKING at the points you want for exposure and for focus with your DSLR, then it's certainly another step in the direction of the incredible ease of use that made iPhones so popular in the early days.
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    I can see it useful in some applications but it would mean adapting my technique. I use AF-ON so I can look at a spot, AF-ON to quickly jump to that AF point and focus.
    Let go of the AF-ON, look around the VF at the composition and trigger the shutter when ready without affecting AF point.
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    I think I would get myself into a lot of trouble if I used eye control - I seem to look everywhere on the image and the poor camera would be constantly trying to re-focus, a bit like the poor AF when I try to take a photo of my black cat with her eyes closed!
    Choice, not chance, determines destiny.

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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I think it's a great idea. I can think of heaps of uses for it and I'm sure I'd get accustomed to it quite quickly. Trouble is it ain't possible ------ yet. Imagine the technology needed to detect where your eye was looking. That would take some serious smarts. I think I have heard of similar things built into military pilots helmets, but that's not within our price range. I can't understand why anyone would say they wouldn't want it, even if it's not possible.

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    As Ezookiel said, it would only work out where your eye was when you wanted it to change the focus point, for for example when you pressed a back button. I don't think it'd be a huge issue if it can't work out which of your 50 focus points you really wanted, if it's close enough, you'll see which one it picks and just work with that. Assuming good quality focus points, it will be more accurate than center focus and recompose (which I currently do 99% of the time)

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Axford View Post
    I think it's a great idea. I can think of heaps of uses for it and I'm sure I'd get accustomed to it quite quickly. Trouble is it ain't possible ------ yet. Imagine the technology needed to detect where your eye was looking. That would take some serious smarts. I think I have heard of similar things built into military pilots helmets, but that's not within our price range. I can't understand why anyone would say they wouldn't want it, even if it's not possible.

    Some people are afraid of change, but i think you missed where I said they had it 15 years ago on some film SLR's! It couldn't have been that expensive, though perhaps it did have costs associated with it that caused the removal from later cameras.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_E...olled_focusing

    Through the tracking of eyeball movements, EOS cameras equipped with eye-controlled focusing (ECF) are able to choose the appropriate autofocus point based on where the user is looking in the viewfinder frame. ECF comes especially useful in sports photography where the subject may shift its position in the frame rapidly.
    EOS cameras equipped with ECF are the EOS A2E (U.S. model names are shown; see the table below for equivalents in other countries), EOS Elan IIE, EOS IXe, EOS-3, EOS Elan 7E, and EOS Elan 7NE.
    Canon has not continued its use of eye-controlled focusing with its digital SLRs, however. The EOS Elan 7NE is the last EOS camera to have this function.
    Last edited by pmack; 26-08-2012 at 3:40pm.

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    I would welcome this extra feature if it can be easily switched on and off.

    Try to do focus and recompose at f1.2 on 85mm, good luck trying to keep it still sharp and in focus after you have recomposed.

    Would definitely be usable in a controlled environment when shooting food, portraiture, studio work etc

  14. #14
    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmack View Post
    As Ezookiel said, it would only work out where your eye was when you wanted it to change the focus point, for for example when you pressed a back button. I don't think it'd be a huge issue if it can't work out which of your 50 focus points you really wanted, if it's close enough, you'll see which one it picks and just work with that. Assuming good quality focus points, it will be more accurate than center focus and recompose (which I currently do 99% of the time)




    Some people are afraid of change, but i think you missed where I said they had it 15 years ago on some film SLR's! It couldn't have been that expensive, though perhaps it did have costs associated with it that caused the removal from later cameras.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_E...olled_focusing

    Through the tracking of eyeball movements, EOS cameras equipped with eye-controlled focusing (ECF) are able to choose the appropriate autofocus point based on where the user is looking in the viewfinder frame. ECF comes especially useful in sports photography where the subject may shift its position in the frame rapidly.
    EOS cameras equipped with ECF are the EOS A2E (U.S. model names are shown; see the table below for equivalents in other countries), EOS Elan IIE, EOS IXe, EOS-3, EOS Elan 7E, and EOS Elan 7NE.
    Canon has not continued its use of eye-controlled focusing with its digital SLRs, however. The EOS Elan 7NE is the last EOS camera to have this function.
    Amazing! It obviously didn't work very well as it was canned. But the idea, if it could be made to work, is excellent. I could have used it this morning when is was trying to photograph a platypus. It is good to get it full frame but the focus should be on the eyes and you only have a few seconds. Eye controlled focus would have been perfect, but I suspect it never worked very well. Its never going to catch on if it's unreliable, but with current technology it just might work. But, as you say, who'll take the risk?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    ....

    Try to do focus and recompose at f1.2 on 85mm, good luck trying to keep it still sharp and in focus after you have recomposed.

    ....
    Ditto!

    The mere fact that you have moved even tho you are supposed to have only rotated, means that you have almost certainly moved with respect to the focused distance to the subject.
    If you only shoot at small aperture settings this may work consistently, but as already said at very wide open aperture settings where DOF is minimal .. not focus and recompose is not ideal.

    Focus and recompose is only useful in a very limited number of situations!
    I stopped using it almost as immediately as I once tried it!

    Some of the higher end bodies have focus tracking, where you initially begin focusing on a subject and the camera follows that subject as you recompose.
    The D3 and D300 first had it years back(3D tracking), and I haven't seen it work in newer bodies .. but on the D300(and D3 that I once tried) .. it wasn't ideal.
    In some cases it worked perfectly but too many times it failed(to follow the initial subject focused on).

    if they can at least work on perfecting that system to get it to 99% foolproofness! .. now that'd be handy.
    I'd have a go at focus and recompose again one day.

    I suppose for a system such as that which pmack describes, for it to work 'properly' they'd have to perfect the contrast detect focus method and make it as quick as phase detect.
    That way you wouldn't be reliant on having a focus point to work with .. the entire sensor would act as a focus point.

    The other issue would be that it would have to introduce another layer of electronics over the already dim viewfinder system, one that is needed to follow the eye as it moves.
    We don't want more dim viewfinders.

    But the idea as a whole sounds useful if they can get it to work right. And for those that wouldn't use it, they only need switch their AF mode to a non eyeball tracking mode .. just as we do now with our 3D tracking capable cameras.
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    the boffins at canon couldn't understand why the model's breasts always fell on the focal plane.
    back to the drawing board, boys.

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