Canon has recently patented new technology that lets you zoom the camera’s lens automatically. It’s made to be AI-operated, and it zooms the lens on your behalf to help you reframe the shot.
Digicame-info picked up the news first and reported on the features of Canon’s latest patent. It automatically detects the subject of your shot and controls the zoom so your composition is spot-on. What spot-on means is open for discussion though, but it appears that the technology follows some basic pre-set principles.
If your subject is a human, you can choose to zoom and position your subject to be “face up,” “bust up,” or “whole body,” depending on how much of the person you want to include in your shot. When you select your preferred composition, the camera will always keep the size of the subject the same in the frame.
On the minus side, when you select the composition feature in advance, you need to change the setting every time when you change the type of the scene you’re capturing (a landscape, street, cityscape, etc.) Also, you have to change the setting if the photo includes more people or if they are moving.
I personally don’t see the use of this tech. I mean, how hard could it be to just turn the zoom ring on your lens? However, it might be useful for visually impaired photographers to help them get the composition they want.
Canon has experimented with AI technology before, but not with too much success. Let’s take a moment to remember the Canon PowerShot Pick, the tiny AI-based camera that was only available in Japan. And let’s not forget the Canon 470EX-AI, a speedlight equipped with motion control. Not surprisingly, it didn’t stay in the market for a long time. As far as the self-zooming lens goes, we have two options from here: it will be Canon’s next AI project… Or it will never see the light of day.