The Canon EOS R3 introduced a host of technical innovations, but one of the most talked-about of these was a refinement of a revolutionary technology from the past: Eye Control Autofocus. Originally developed 30 years ago, Eye Control AF enables the camera to set or switch the autofocus point by detecting what you're looking at in the viewfinder. In the EOS R3, the technology has been reimagined for a new generation of cameras.
It's important to bear in mind the difference between Eye Control and Eye Detection/Tracking – the two autofocus technologies work together, as we'll see, but they are distinct from each other. A number of Canon EOS DSLR and mirrorless cameras include Eye Detection and Tracking AF, enabling them to lock on to the eyes of human and animal subjects and keep them in focus, but as of mid-2022 only the EOS R3 has Eye Control AF, which monitors the photographer's eye to set or move the autofocus point.
Here, we delve into the development of Eye Control AF, speak to Canon Europe Senior Product Specialist Mike Burnhill about the innovations behind the current technology and how Canon engineers refined its accuracy, and discover how professionals such as sports photographer Łukasz Skwiot are using it to capture sharp shots of decisive moments.