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Thread started 12 Jun 2012 (Tuesday) 21:46
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PLEASE bring back eye-control AF!

 
kfreels
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May 01, 2014 19:03 |  #601

Hogloff wrote in post #16874831 (external link)
Hope you boys aren't losing any sleep waiting for ECF. I'd hate to see your baggy eyes after 10 years of waiting.:)

Well, maybe it will be 15 years....or maybe 20. Hope not though.


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Canon 7D and a bunch of other stuff

  
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May 05, 2014 02:52 |  #602

Apparently someone on sony's r&d must have seen this thread:

"Improvements beyond the sensor. As well as the new AF sensor, Sony has tweaked autofocus in other areas for improved performance and versatility. There's a new Eye AF function that recognizes and focuses on your subject's eyes. You can also specify a distance range within which the AF system will operate, and have five-step control over the speed with which the A77 II will react to sudden changes in focus distance."

source: http://www.imaging-resource.com …y-a77-ii/sony-a77-iiA.HTM (external link)

a77 mk ii preorders anyone?


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kfreels
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May 05, 2014 08:27 |  #603

But that's not the type of eye control AF we're discussing here. What we're talking about is based on the old system from the 1990s that Canon put into the Elan and Eos 3 cameras. It would let you push your AF select button but rather than scrolling through your AF points in your viewfinder with the thumb and finger wheel, it simply reads what AF point you're looking at and selects it.
Some people had problems with it and it was an expensive piece of tech a the time. The Elan series had both an ECF and non ECF version because of the cost difference.

They were pushing the limits of processor capabilities at the time and it was rough on the batteries as well. When digital came out they were pushing the limits of processor capabilities again even without it. It also had some cumbersome calibration you had to go through because everyone's eyes are different and move differently. Glasses created a lot of problems for people. Sensor cost was high and cameras like the 1D required 2 processors already to do their job. There just weren't the extra processes available to include something like this as the cost would be even higher to develop and with the problems some users had before, it wouldn't likely be a quick seller.

But things have changed over the last few years. Processors have become much more efficient with both data and power use while battery tech has improved as well. In a camera like the 7D with dual processors, we believe the next iteration with dual digic 5 processors would have enough spare processes available to do the job. Not only that, it could do the job better than the old version because it could sample more frequently and have intelligent eye calibration that could learn and deal with different situations without the user having to calibrate and intervene.

It was a fantastic product for those of us that it worked well for. There were a few issues with it and correcting a wrong AF point would be a lot easier as well with the joystick enabled cameras and a timeout function that leaves the traditional AF selection methods active even while using the ECF so you could nudge left, right, up, down as needed quickly if it happened to get the wrong AF point for some reason. At some point this HAS to resurface. Whether Canon will do it or someone else, it's just bound to happen. Camera makers are finding it harder and harder to differentiate and this tool is just sitting in Canon's toolbox. We're really hoping it comes out on the 7DII. If not, surely it will make it out in the next few years.

If you ever get a chance, rent or borrow an EOS 3 and check it out. It's pretty freaking awesome and it's OLD technology.


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rrblint
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Jul 21, 2014 08:01 as a reply to  @ kfreels's post |  #604

Well...Two years and still waiting.


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GeoKras1989
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Jul 21, 2014 08:24 |  #605
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rrblint wrote in post #17045550 (external link)
Well...Two years and still waiting.

Get in line. I think the 7DII guys (and girls) have you beat. I know the 100-400 II crowd has been waiting about 10 years.

I played with ECF on an old film camera. At the time, I was so used to shooting center of frame from using a split prism that I thought it was a pointless novelty. It grew on me, but I never thought it was as fast as my fingers on a button. I am sure with modern computer power, it would behave much better, if ever implemented. I think ECF would be great on a 6D. I've been using the 6D's weird AF point control system for a year, and still struggle with it somedays.


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pwm2
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Jul 21, 2014 08:29 |  #606

GeoKras1989 wrote in post #17045598 (external link)
Get in line. I think the 7DII guys (and girls) have you beat. I know the 100-400 II crowd has been waiting about 10 years.

I played with ECF on an old film camera. At the time, I was so used to shooting center of frame from using a split prism that I thought it was a pointless novelty. It grew on me, but I never thought it was as fast as my fingers on a button. I am sure with modern computer power, it would behave much better, if ever implemented. I think ECF would be great on a 6D. I've been using the 6D's weird AF point control system for a year, and still struggle with it somedays.

ECF isn't as meaningful if the camera only has a few AF points - then no AF point is many key presses away. But having 50+ AF points, means it is no fun anymore to use a joystick or press buttons to step around, compared to just looking at a specific point and press a single button once to "confirm".


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Jul 21, 2014 08:52 |  #607

EOS D3 anybody? With eye control focus, 28 mp and dynamic range and high ISO capabilities that blow Nikon in the weeds?

Unfortunately, I don't see Canon investing the resources to make this happen as their too busy setting up the orchestra on their Titanic copy machine deck.


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GeoKras1989
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Jul 21, 2014 09:35 |  #608
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pwm2 wrote in post #17045608 (external link)
ECF isn't as meaningful if the camera only has a few AF points - then no AF point is many key presses away. But having 50+ AF points, means it is no fun anymore to use a joystick or press buttons to step around, compared to just looking at a specific point and press a single button once to "confirm".

It would be easy to implement with 9 or 11 AF points. Doing it with 19 would be more challenging. I would guess that doing it with more than 19 would be a technical nightmare. Your eye placement AND the calibration would have to be so precise and repeatable that making it work would be impossible with 45 or 61 AF points. A work around would be a good zone system ECF, though.

Pressing buttons and scrolling wheels does not require your eye to be in EXACTLY the same place it was the last (calibration) you used ECF. My guess is it won't ever happen on the bodies with a huge amount of AF points. For those of you who love the idea, I hope I am wrong.


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pwm2
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Jul 21, 2014 10:11 |  #609

GeoKras1989 wrote in post #17045703 (external link)
It would be easy to implement with 9 or 11 AF points. Doing it with 19 would be more challenging. I would guess that doing it with more than 19 would be a technical nightmare. Your eye placement AND the calibration would have to be so precise and repeatable that making it work would be impossible with 45 or 61 AF points. A work around would be a good zone system ECF, though.

Pressing buttons and scrolling wheels does not require your eye to be in EXACTLY the same place it was the last (calibration) you used ECF. My guess is it won't ever happen on the bodies with a huge amount of AF points. For those of you who love the idea, I hope I am wrong.

It was implemented with 40+ AF points many, many, many years ago. When the cameras was powered with tiny batteries and had power-hungry processors that still only delivered a fraction of the processing power of a modern pocket calculator and with extremely limited amount of memory.

Why do you think it was be a technical nightmare to do it today with many thousands of times more processing power and with dirt-cheap eye sensors that can produce many, many, many times better measurements of the eye direction?

Consider the complexity of this - that was possible to do many, many, many years ago - with the complexity of todays cameras that detects smiling faces and people that happens to blink.


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kfreels
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Jul 21, 2014 10:36 |  #610

Yeah. on the 7D as it is, 19 points even after working with it for several years, the process to get from the top left to bottom right point is to press the button then scrolling a wheel 4 clicks then a different wheel 2 clicks. With the 5D3, it's 11 clicks and 4 clicks. And every one of those 61 points has a different combination to get you there. So you have to go slow enough that you don't overshoot it in both directions. I'm sure that with enough daily practice with the same camera you could get super efficient at this - moving both wheels simultaneously but the speed would only be the best of the best that could pull it off and even then it would be less accurate if you were moving that fast and you would have plenty of times where you had to correct it after your first go at it.

Alternatively you could press the button and look at your point simultaneously and be done with it almost instantly. On a current version you could accidentally look at the wrong point and if you miss by one you could quickly nudge it with the joystick and even after correction be done much faster than most of us can get to the proper AF point through traditional means.

I'm not sure what you mean by it being slow though. The 3 point was the elan IIe and it just wasn't ideal for it. I had an Eos 3 and an elan IIe and the Eos 3 was about twice as fast though. But even with the 3 points, if I remember correctly, you had to push a button, rotate through your points, then half-press your shutter button to set your point. (My memory may be off here). Only then could you use it. I think on the ECF you just pushed the button, looked, and released when it beeped and then used it. Either way, with 3 points it may have been pretty pointless and taken about the same amount of time. but still cool. :-) On a modern version that 5 second wait or whatever would just disappear as soon as you started to use the AF so it would all be nearly instantaneous once calibrated.

I do know there were some consistency problems because everyone's eyes are different. They are always moving and they "wiggle" as you move them as well and discerning a wiggle from an intentional movement was a little tough for an early 90s computer processor in a device. When the Elan IIe was released in 1995, the most powerful consumer processor was the pentium pro clocking in at a super-duper 200 Mhz. It required a huge fan and heat sink and that package was about the size of a baseball. It used a boatload of power. When it came to something that would fit into a camera, there's not much information around. The processing power was negligible and especially made to perform specific functions. My best guess puts the processor in the Elan and/or Eos 3 around the 64K mark. That's 64 kilohertz. And I may be too generous here. Contrast that with my already obsolete Galaxy S4 phone which has a 1.9 Ghz (1,900,000 Kilohertz) - quad core processor which is basically 4 1.9 ghz processors running in parallel. It's integrated into a "system on a chip" which is basically the entire computer package minus the storage. And that entire system sits on a space about the size of a quarter.
One thing I mentioned in a previous past was that the needs of the camera itself until recently were always pushing the limits of the camera's processing capabilities. The 7D required 2 separate Digic 4 processors to process the digital data of its 18MP images at 8fps while simultaneously handling all those other advanced AF and metering functions. The processors were barely able to keep up with the megapixel race. But the megapixel race has slowed down while the mobile processor technology has accelerated. The Digic 5 is supposedly 6 times faster than then Digic 4. The Digic 5+ 17 times faster than that. It's in the 5D3. The 1DX has a pair of these. Moving forward, they have a Digic 6 out already being used in the G16 which shoots 12 fps. There's no reason to think a Digic 6+ won't be out soon - maybe in the 7D replacement. A dual digic 6+ processor would have WAY more power than is needed for a nearly flawless eye control. The sampling frequency of the infrared beam could be ran up so high that it would be incredibly accurate. (One problem before was from the frequency of a person's natural eye shake matching closely to the frequency of the infrared beam sampling). Or they could skip infrared altogether and just use an imaging sensor like on your front facing camera on a phone which might be cheaper and even more accurate. When you're selecting AF points, it usually isn't processing images simultaneously so it should have plenty of CPU cycles available to make it damned near perfect.

I'm keeping my hopes up. I feel certain it will come back eventually. It's getting harder to differentiate these cameras and this one has been sitting in their vault with a lot of lessons learned just waiting for the right moment. That moment may be now. Canon has caught hell for lack of innovation (despite me having a 5 year old 7D that still beats the hell out of most DSLRs on the market with the exception of DR). The 7D replacement has been a long time coming and I have this dream of them just throwing out all the stops and giving us a 7DII with 10fps, wifi, gps, radio slave control, integrated grip, dual card slots, the 1DX AF system, dual-pixel cmos, 2 stops in raw DR gain and 2 stops ISO improvement with an improved version of the eye control AF that can track your eye from AF point to AF point as you follow a moving subject in the screen and make adjustments based on the dual-pixel cmos between shots giving you perfect tracking AF accuracy on a moving target. How freaking cool would that be?


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pwm2
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Jul 21, 2014 11:10 |  #611

We know the R&D means "research" and "development".

A number of Canon patents shows that they do work on "research" because they still add new patents regularly.

But we haven't seen much of "development" for a while. But at the same time, we haven't seen newspaper articles about Canon laying off lots of engineers.

And engineers aren't generic people that can be randomly moved between "R" and "D". So even when we aren't seeing lots of "R" or "D" showing up in stores near us, Canon are still forced to make use of all their engineers that they are constantly giving lots of salaries to show up at work.

So in the end, it's quite likely that there are a number of new functionalities that has been directly shelved that will show up some day - most probably when they can be combined with some new sensor technology that make Canon feel that they have a winning camera worthy of introducing new technology in.

Adding GPS and WiFI to the 6D did not require any larger amount of "D" resources, so a large part of the available "D" resources just has to have been busy somewhere else. Adding dual-pixel AF to the 70D did consume a significant amount of "D " resources. But the total R&D capabilities of Canon is rather large - damn them for having us waiting for so long to see exactly what they are doing with all their R&D money that we can see constantly being burned in the annual economic reports.

We can hope/guess they are working on eye-controlled AF.
We can hope/guess they are working on a new line of mirror-less complete with multiple wide/medium lenses.
We can hope/guess that they can introduce fast and extremely exact on-sensor phase-detect AF in all bodies.
...


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Jul 21, 2014 12:36 |  #612

GeoKras1989 wrote in post #17045703 (external link)
It would be easy to implement with 9 or 11 AF points. Doing it with 19 would be more challenging. I would guess that doing it with more than 19 would be a technical nightmare. Your eye placement AND the calibration would have to be so precise and repeatable that making it work would be impossible with 45 or 61 AF points. A work around would be a good zone system ECF, though.

Pressing buttons and scrolling wheels does not require your eye to be in EXACTLY the same place it was the last (calibration) you used ECF. My guess is it won't ever happen on the bodies with a huge amount of AF points. For those of you who love the idea, I hope I am wrong.

Already been done with the EOS 3 film SLR.


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Jul 21, 2014 14:28 |  #613
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rrblint wrote in post #17046087 (external link)
Already been done with the EOS 3 film SLR.

I didn't know they had that on more than one camera. Thanks.


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Hogloff
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Jul 21, 2014 15:18 |  #614
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pwm2 wrote in post #17045608 (external link)
ECF isn't as meaningful if the camera only has a few AF points - then no AF point is many key presses away. But having 50+ AF points, means it is no fun anymore to use a joystick or press buttons to step around, compared to just looking at a specific point and press a single button once to "confirm".

That's implying that the system can adequately hit that one out of 50 poi ts as you look at the subject. I found I had to constantly tweak the point by lokking again and again at the point until it finally got the right point. This was majorily frustrating. This was with the EOS-3.




  
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Hogloff
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Jul 21, 2014 15:21 |  #615
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pwm2 wrote in post #17045795 (external link)
It was implemented with 40+ AF points many, many, many years ago. When the cameras was powered with tiny batteries and had power-hungry processors that still only delivered a fraction of the processing power of a modern pocket calculator and with extremely limited amount of memory.

Why do you think it was be a technical nightmare to do it today with many thousands of times more processing power and with dirt-cheap eye sensors that can produce many, many, many times better measurements of the eye direction?

Consider the complexity of this - that was possible to do many, many, many years ago - with the complexity of todays cameras that detects smiling faces and people that happens to blink.

Well, many many years ago this technology did not work for many. I found it unreliable, frustrating and a constant battle. I was not the only one.

I just want reliable outer focus points in dim light...that should be doable with today's technology...but we still have limits on this.




  
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PLEASE bring back eye-control AF!
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