Eye-controlled focus a thing of the past?
The Canon EOS-5/A2(E) was produced between 1992 and 2000.
After hearing about this
I started to wonder if Canon or other camera companies had plans to include their eye-controlled auto focus function on newer digital SLR cameras.
Canon created their EOS-5 camera with a pretty unique feature in the world of photography. For those not familiar with the conventional SLR, a user basically employs autofocus by choosing a selected sensor point (depending on the camera make and model) within the viewfinder and then depressing the shutter button halfway, activating the auto focus and sharpening the lens to that selected point. Typically, there are various auto focus “points” to choose from, and these are often broken into a grid that spans the general scene. Using a control on the back of the SLR, a shooter manually selects the point of focus. But Canon created their EOS-5 with eye control in mind, probably utilizing technology from high end geometrical surveying equipment. The photographer looks at one of five auto focus sensor point in the viewfinder. The camera, using infrared tracking with the eye, focuses on the selected point.
The view from inside the viewfinder.
This cut out a few manual steps in the focusing process in an effort to save time, making for intuitive and lightning quick focus so you wouldn’t miss the shot.
Seems like a pretty good idea, right?
There were some problems with the tech — for one, the camera required calibration with the user’s eye, and there were only 5 calibration settings. So it couldn’t work for all people, all the time. But with further developments in eye tracking technology into the 21st century, it seems like a step around this problem now wouldn’t be too difficult.
For whatever reason, Canon has yet to add this feature to their latest digital SLR cameras. A quick google search for Canon’s eye-controlled focus will yield plenty of photo-themed message boards lighting up with questions for Canon and speculation about why it’s not yet been featured. But with so many people using cameras these days, it might be worth looking at again…