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[Part 2] Comparing face detection performance and AF against obstruction

The EOS 7D Mark II, launched after nearly 5 years of development in the background, boasts specifications superior to the EOS 7D in almost every way. Steady progress has been achieved. How do the various upgraded functions change the actual shooting environment? In this series, we will explore the hidden capabilities of the EOS 7D Mark II from eight different points of view. Part 2 sees us comparing the camera's [Face detection performance and AF against obstruction]. (Report: Ryosuke Takahashi, Model: Hitomi Otsuki (Oscar Promotion))

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CHECK 2: Face detection ability

How to transfer the focus point?

Testing method

Set up the multi-arm on a tripod and then set up the EOS 7D and EOS 7D Mark II on it, fitting both cameras with an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM. Set the cameras to AI servo AF+High Speed Continuous Shooting+Automatic Selection AF (with default settings for the rest) and activate the shutters at the same time with a simultaneous shutter release that can accommodate up to 5 units. Finally, see the difference in focusing capability between photos of the target subject (a woman).

EOS 7D Mark II

With EOS iTR AF

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EOS 7D

Without EOS iTR AF

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EOS 7D Mark II tracks faces in all cuts

The EOS 7D Mark II’s AF system detects the subject based on the face and colour first captured. Even if the distance between the camera and subject changes, the subject is almost never lost. This function is supported by the detection capability of the 150,000 pixel RGB+IR (infrared) photo-sensor, which works seamlessly with the EOS iTR AF, allowing the camera to continuously track a specific subject. As the EOS 7D is not equipped with the same photo-sensor and AF system, the object in front is essentially detected as the subject. A certain level of skill is required of the photographer to continuously track a specific subject.

In the scene of a man and a woman running together, the EOS 7D Mark II focuses only on the woman whom it detected initially and does not shift focus even when the man moves in front of her. On the other hand, the selected focus point moves left and right for each frame in the EOS 7D, indicating that the focus position is being switched. In addition, the AI Servo AF on the EOS 7D Mark II also has a very high focusing accuracy as the focus point is precisely selected relative to the face. In the test above, the EOS 7D Mark II is correctly focused in all the cuts but several of the cuts are out of focus for the EOS 7D.

EOS 7D Mark II tracks faces in all cuts

Continuously capturing the faces of human subjects

The default setting of the EOS 7D Mark II is set to [Enable] so as to detect the faces of human subjects and colours of subjects as well as to track the focus point. This technology is taken from the EOS-1D X but is programmed with a new detection algorithm that allows for more precise tracking AF to be carried out. It is effective in zone AF and large zone AF including 65-point auto-select AF.

CHECK 3: AF against obstruction

What is Focus Yield?

Testing method

Set up the multi-arm on a tripod and then set up the EOS 7D and EOS 7D Mark II on it, fitting both cameras with an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM. Set to AI Servo AF+High Speed Continuous Shooting+Automatic Selection AF (with default settings for the rest) and activate the shutters at the same time with a simultaneous shutter release that can accommodate up to 5 units. Finally, see the difference in focusing capability between photos of the target subject (a woman)

EOS 7D Mark II

With the AF Configuration Tool

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EOS 7D

Without the AF Configuration Tool

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The EOS 7D Mark II maintains its focus despite obstructions

The EOS 7D Mark II’s AI Servo AF is equipped with an [AF Configuration Tool] that can be used to quickly change the AF settings to suit the scene. By selecting a Case from 1 – 6, the camera can adapt to changes in the subject’s movements and the appearance of obstructions. You can also customise the camera for each of the following Cases: [Continue to track subjects], [For subjects that accelerate or decelerate quickly] and [Instantly focus on subjects suddenly entering AF points].

The test in Check 3 is a verification of the effects of the AF against obstructions. On the EOS 7D Mark II, even when the man cut in front of the scene, the shift in focus on the woman was limited. In contrast, on the EOS 7D, when the man cut in front, the focus is drawn away, resulting in time spent to re-capture the focus on the woman. In addition, by customising the camera to [Continue to track subjects] on the EOS 7D Mark II, besides being able to further eliminate the impact of obstructions, you can also raise the focus yield by using the appropriate focus area selection mode. There is no [AF Configuration Tool] for the EOS 7D’s AI Servo AF, which means that the camera essentially focuses on the nearest object. As a result, the camera tends to be easily affected by obstructions in front of the subject and in scenes such as the test on this occasion, there is a limitation on the photography.

AF Configuration Tool

Customise AF characteristics

AI Servo AF customisation is also employed in the EOS-1D X. The default setting is Case 1 which can be used for a wide range of scenes while Cases 2 – 6 can be selected to change the AF characteristics to capture the subject’s movements. Press the INFO button to learn more about the specific expected shooting scenes.

*This design was produced using a prototype model. As a result, please note that the actual product may differ in terms of the appearance, image quality, etc.

Ryosuke Takahashi

Born in Aichi in 1960, Takahashi started his freelance career in 1987 after working with an advertising photo studio and a publishing house. Photographing for major magazines, he has travelled to many parts of the world from his bases in Japan and China. Takahashi is a member of the Japan Professional Photographers Society (JPS).

Digital Camera Magazine

A monthly magazine that believes that enjoyment of photography will increase the more one learns about camera functions. It delivers news on the latest cameras and features and regularly introduces various photography techniques.

Published by Impress Corporation

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