The Canon EOS R3 has Canon’s most advanced AF ever – and that’s quite a claim. I’ve had the chance to have a look at the camera in action and study the manual of more than one thousand pages. I’ve previously referred to the EOS R5 and EOS R6’s AF as witchcraft, and the new system starts there and goes beyond.
Eye Control AF in the EOS R3 is not a gimmick; the camera watches your eye position as you look around the frame for the subject of interest just by raising the camera to your eye. When you press the shutter, or AF-ON button, it will move the AF point to where you’re looking, even with a single AF point active.
Then it starts to focus track your subject, leaving you free to look elsewhere in the frame for the next subject. When you want to switch AF to the other subject, just release the focus button, then press it again to move the AF point to the new subject. It’s really instinctive and works very well.
While the best Canon cameras have been able to track subjects across the focus area for ages, the EOS R3 adds a new subject tracking ability that’ll move the focus point of any AF method with the subject as the camera or subject moves. For traditionalists used to working with a single AF point this is going to feel like machines taking over, but you can toggle subject tracking on or off.
Finally, there’s subject detection, now with three distinct subjects to detect: people, animals and vehicles. People is like the R5/R6 with the added ability to track the body, as well as head, faces and eyes. The R3 will switch based on what it needs. Animal subject detection is nearly the same as R5/R6. Vehicle tracking is new to the R3 and optimized for motor sports where the subject is wearing a full-face helmet. You can opt for detection of the vehicle or helmet.
If this is the future, I look forward to it. Like all systems you’ll still need to know what settings to use and when…
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