Canon has released version 1.4.0 firmware update for Canon EOS-R Full Frame Mirrorless camera, and with it comes improved autofocus and enhanced eye detection at a greater distance. Not to be left out, Canon also released version 1.3 for the EOS-RP, which solves a simple annoyance in the menu system. Still, if you're an EOS-R shooter, this is one update you'll want to jump on...after a day or two to make sure it works correctly.
"The firmware update aims to add detection of the subject’s eye when the subject is at a distance, improve overall AF frame tracking for moving subjects, as well as improve initial subject recognition and start tracking when subjects are at a distance."
The big feature of 2019 for autofocus cameras is eye detection. That's where the camera will pick up eye movement and lock onto it, rather than mere face detection. This makes autofocus not only more accurate but faster in performance. Canon was late to the game when it came out with eye detection a few weeks back, but now it seems that they are playing catch up to make their ED autofocus better at acquiring a subject and autofocusing based on their eyes, especially at a distance.
Here's a breakdown of what is coming in version 1.4.0 for the EOS-R:
- Enhanced eye detection Auto Focus (AF) for improved face and eye recognition at greater distances.
- Improved Auto Focus (AF) performance helps the camera to focus on and track smaller subjects.
- Reduced lag time between the actual Auto Focus (AF) and the AF frame display for images in the viewfinder or on the LCD.
- Fixed a phenomenon in which the AF frame size cannot be changed in the Servo AF setting.
- Fixed PTP communication vulnerability.
Frankly, I think just as important, or maybe even more so, is that Canon has managed to reduce the latency that occurs between the actual autofocus and when the result appears in your viewfinder or LCD. If your subject is on the move, and the camera is in servo, it pays to be able to see when the autofocus changes in real-time. It's likely a matter of milliseconds, but that's enough to buy the shooter some peace of mind.
As for the lower end EOS-RP camera, Canon has issued a separate update, version 1.3, that not only includes most of the features in 1.4 but fixes a problem where the main dial icon is not displayed when pressing the zoom in/out button while the image is playing. So that's essentially a housekeeping fix to solve an annoyance, which, if we're talking annoyances, the update doesn't address the problem where the RP can't change the autofocus frame size in Servo, it Why not fix both? Well, I'm guessing that the RP never supported the AF Frame Size feature in the first place, or that's part of a future firmware update.
Both firmware version 1.4.0 and 1.3.0 are available for download from CanonUSA.