Last month Canon announced the imminent release of a new firmware update to the EOS R (v 1.4), expected to drop by the end of September. In a video released at the same time as the announcement, Canon showed what appeared to be massive improvements to the face and eye tracking features of the auto focus system on the EOS R. These improvements would go a long way toward making the EOS R a world class camera in terms of auto-focus capability. Check out the video below to see the difference between the old firmware and the one what will be released soon. The difference is dramatic.
Recently, the folks from ThePhoblographer.com were invited by Canon to test out the new firmware and their review concludes that “the entire system was able to perform on par with what I feel most Sony cameras can do.” To summarize for non-Sony users, they’re saying it’s really good! It appears the the new firmware enables the camera to identify a face and even a person’s closest eye from across a room almost immediately. The only two issues they found with the new firmware update is that the tracking often failed to identify faces when a person was wearing sunglasses or if a subject was looking away from the camera. Aside from those two issues, they reported “the tracking to be pretty much flawless.”
In the end, they found the firmware update to be:
- “Pretty much comparable to Sony’s“
- “Far better than Nikon’s“
- “Much better than Fujifilm’s X and GF series”
- “Significantly better than Panasonic’s S1 and S1R series of cameras”
As someone who has shot with the EOS R for the last year, I can say that one of the things that has frustrated me the most has been the inconsistent face and eye tracking. As a wedding photographer, I want to be able to use face and eye tracking when the bride is coming down the aisle. At this point it just takes too long to identify a face and hold it, so I’m relegated to the archaic method of using a spread of focus points. I’m beyond excited to get my hands on this new firmware update to see if it really performs as advertised. If it does, I’ll be ecstatic and Canon will be well on its way to catching up with Sony.