I tried to google, but only semi-decent answer was that ECF didn't work for some and was a nightmare for support group.

But are there any reasons modern Canons (or other major camera-makers) lack eye-controlled focus (ECF) system?

  • 2
    I don't know why manufacturers abandoned the technology, but I do have a Canon EOS 50e and a Canon EOS 5 with Eye Controlled Focus and I have to say that I found the feature very unreliable. When it worked it seemed like a great way to select a focus point. When it didn't work it felt like a great way to miss a shot while you tried several times to get the camera to select the correct focus point. It tended to be easier to select the focus point manually. – Arkanon Mar 27 '15 at 20:12

I agree that was an awesome technology but only to the beginners I suppose. And even thought it was very popular among a mass crowd it had a few setback:

  • It had to be calibrated with the eye of the user, which worked out easy for many but not everyone.
  • If a picture had to be clicked using ECF, the user must focus his eye on a particular place, and many professional photographers found it annoying as even after setting a point of focus they looked all around the scene and that caused the focus to shift and the subject became in and out of focus.
  • Manual focus was found to be more precise over this tech

So Canon found that a lot of users don't need this tech, and even though it seemed as the future of cameras Canon ruled it out of their latest DSLR cameras.

  • I always wondered myself why Canon abandoned ECF. I never used it, but I always thought it would be a really great feature. Camera manufacturers are always banging on about autofocus speed. I don't care how fast a camera can focus if it doesn't know what I want to focus on. I guess it makes sense that the photographer doesn't always necessarily look directly at the point of critical focus, but for sports photography for example, ECF sounds like a great idea to me. – osullic Mar 25 '15 at 10:58
  • it is all about practicality. And since Pros dont buy high-end cameras anuymore, it doesn't make sense to indulge them with cutting features that can be turned OFF... @Arun: I'd argue that even with ECF you still have AF-lock button or half-click, so wandering eye is not an issue. I never used more than 1 (central) AF zone in my cameras, just point where you need focus, AF/AE-lock on it, re-frame, shoot! So why not do same thing without moving camera around, just looking? Manual focus is strange argument, AF quality has nothing to do with ECF per se. – aaaaa says reinstate Monica Mar 25 '15 at 14:39
  • That is possible. "Locking your targets" but in practical use, focussing and holding it and then looking around seems a bit of extra work. I don't know, for me it is. I find manual focus very useful. – Arun Babu Mar 27 '15 at 7:12

I think the introduction of the joystick is really making a difference, too.

With plenty of AF points, it's a bit tedious to use both dials to select a particular one. The ECF can select horizontally and vertically at the same time. It can be considered a 2D input and is in principle superior to using dials.

DSLRs (some models) have a joystick which serves the same purpose. Given the choice between a joystick and ECF I prefer the joystick, because it does not have the disadvantages mentioned by Arun Babu in his answer. The ECF did not work very reliably for me.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.