Canon EOS Camera Focus Sensors

Canon EOS Camera Focus Sensors

Canon EOS Camera Focus Sensors

The phase focusing system of modern digital-mirror cameras is built on special phase sensors that receive an image using additional camera mirror, analyze the data and give commands to the lens to focus in one direction or another.

В JVI special areas are visible on which the focusing is performed. These areas are just a visual representation of the focus sensors. In fact, these areas (points, or zones) of focusing on the focusing module are represented in a completely different way: they consist of vertical and horizontal stripes, as well as the so-called “cross-shaped sensors”. Vertical and horizontal areas are also called linear. Vertical bars (which may appear in JVI like vertical rectangles) are sensitive to the horizontal lines of the frame and insensitive to vertical. Horizontal stripes (which can be displayed in JVI like horizontal rectangles) are sensitive to vertical lines and insensitive to horizontal ones. Cross-shaped focus points (which can be displayed in JVI in the form of squares) were created just in order to be able to focus on anything and not worry about the orientation of the sensor relative to the subject. It is also worth noting that the focus areas can be significantly larger than their visual representation in JVI :)

Canon cameras use multiple focus modules, over time more advanced modules are being used in more 'simple' cameras, and more and more sophisticated focusing systems are being developed for flagship cameras.

In some models, cross-shaped focusing points consist of two components (2 'stripes') - vertical and horizontal, usually called precision cross points (high-precision sensor). Each has different lens aperture requirements. For example, the Canon EOS-1D Mark III camera has 19 cross-shaped focusing points of increased accuracy, but there is only one caveat - for lenses with a maximum relative aperture smaller than 1: 2.8, the horizontal component of such points does not work, and the cross-shaped points themselves turn into Normal vertical-oriented linear focus points (except center).

Please note that this refers to the maximum value of the relative aperture (aperture value F), and not the aperture value at which the shooting will be performed. Focusing is always carried out with the aperture fully open, and it must be taken into account.

If you install a lens with a maximum f-stop of F2.8, then the horizontal components of the cross-shaped dots are turned on and all 19 points work as expected, while having improved accuracy indicators compared to conventional cross-shaped dots. On the one hand, we get increased accuracy with F≤2.8, and on the other, we 'lose' the cross-shaped point with lenses F> 2.8.

Focus system concept for the Canon 1D Mark III

Focus system concept for the Canon 1D Mark III

There are also camera models in which the cross-shaped point continues to work normally (without increased accuracy) on 'dark' lenses, and when using a high-aperture lens, it simply gains additional accuracy. For instance, Canon 6D with 2.8 lenses

Canon 6D Focus System

Canon 6D Focus System

In some models, double cruciform points are used, it can be conventionally said that such points consist of two cruciform points rotated to each other by 45 degrees. Think of it as '+' and 'x' superimposed on each other. This combination dramatically improves focusing performance in difficult conditions.

Canon 20D Conceptual Focus System

Canon 20D Conceptual Focus System

Table: Phase focusing systems for all Canon EOS cameras. For the sake of this plate, I did the article.

Models Points / K.t. Additionally
D3o, D6o 3/0 There are no cross-shaped points, and the available 3 focus points have a vertical orientation.
300D, 350D, 10D, 1000D 7/1 The center point of the conventional cruciform type, works with F≤5.6
1100D, 1200D, 1300D 9/1 The center point of the conventional cruciform type, works with F≤5.6
20D, 20Da, 30D, 400D, 450D, 500D, 550D, 600D, 100D, 200D, 250D, 2000D, 4000D 9/1 High precision cruciform center point. Enhanced precision sensor works with F≤2.8 lenses, 2.8 lenses
40D, 50D, 60D, 60DA, 650D, 700D 9/9 The center cross point has an additional high precision cross-shaped sensor located diagonally to the main one (X-orientation), which works only with F≤2.8 lenses. Thus, the center point is double cruciform. Also, the common center cross-type sensor has a special zig-zag structure, which improves focus by 2 times when 2.8
7D, 70D, 750D, 760D 19/19 The center point has an additional high-precision cross-shaped sensor located diagonally (X-orientation), which works only with F≤2.8 lenses. Thus, the center point is double cruciform. Also, the 5 center cross dots (in the vertical row) have a special zig-zag pattern that improves focusing when 2.8
7D Mark II 65/65, -3 EV All points are cruciform. The center point has an additional high precision cross-shaped sensor that only works with F≤2.8 lenses. If a lens with F> 2.8 is used, the center point is the usual cross. Thus, the center point is double cruciform. All points except the center point are regular cross points with F≤5.6 lenses.

From 5.6

The focusing system supports iTR AF technology - Intelligent Tracking & Recognition AF, which works together with metering sensor and allows you to improve focus on the face, and also allows you to use information about the color distribution in the frame to improve focus.

There are features with some lenses.

6D 11/1 High precision cruciform center point. High precision horizontal line sensor works with F≤2.8 lenses, 2.8 lenses
5D, 5D Mark II 9/1 High precision cruciform center point. High precision sensor works with F≤2.8 lenses, 2.8 lenses JVI, 2 of which are cruciform, but only at F≤2.8 (at 2.8
1Ds, 1Ds Mark II, 1D, 1D Mark II, 1D Mark II N 45/7 High precision cruciform center point, high precision sensor works with F≤4 lenses, and 6 more high precision cross type sensors, high precision sensors work with F≤2.8 lenses. If used 4
1Ds Mark III, 1D Mark III 19 (45) / 19 High precision cruciform center point, high precision sensor works with F≤4 lenses, and 18 more high precision cross type sensors, high precision sensors work with F≤2.8 lenses. There are 26 vertically oriented linear auxiliary points. If 4
1D Mark IV 45/39 High precision cruciform center point, high precision sensor works with F≤4 lenses, and 38 more high precision cross type sensors, high precision sensors work with F≤2.8 lenses. If 4
1D X, 1D C, 5D Mark III, 5Ds, 5dsr 61/41

-2 EV

21 central cross points work with F≤5.6, and 20 lateral cross points work with F≤4 (if F> specified values, the points start working as normal linear ones). 5 center points have additional cross-shaped sensors of increased accuracy and, thus, are double cruciform. Additional cross-type probes of increased accuracy work only with F≤2.8.

From 5.6

1D X, 1D C, 5Ds, 5dsr use iTR AF technology - Intelligent Tracking & Recognition AF, which works together with metering sensor and allows you to improve focus on the face, and also allows you to use information about the color distribution in the frame to improve focus.

5D Mark III lacks this technology because its metering system exposure based on 63-zone sensor.

1D X, 1D C allows spot metering exposure by the selected focus point.

1D X Mark II, Canon 5D Mark IV 61/41

-3 EV

It uses 5 double cross points in the center. 61 points work with F≤8 (including 8 central cruciform points with F≤21). There are 41 cross points in total. 20 lateral cross-shaped points work with 4≤F≤5,6 (if F> specified values, the points start working as normal linear ones). The center point has a sensitivity of -3E.V. There are many features with some lenses. The data on the new focusing module is being updated.
80D, 90D, 77D, 800D, 850D, 6D Mark II 45/45 The center point has a sensitivity of -3E.V. All points are cruciform. The center point has an additional cross-shaped sensor of increased accuracy, located diagonally (X-orientation), which works only with lenses F≤2.8. Thus, the center point is double cruciform. Also, the central cruciform point has a special zigzag structure that improves focus. The X-shaped cross-shaped sensor consists of a double set of sensitive lines.

At 2.8

With F = 8, only 9 center focus points work

All points, except the central one, are ordinary cruciform points with lenses F≤5.6.

90D uses metering module / sensor exposure to help focus

Canon EOS1D X Mark III 191/155 Sensitivity from -4 EV. Deep learning technology, head and eye tracking. Work with F / 8. Uses module / metering sensor exposure to help focus

The instructions for some cameras indicate a list of lenses that do not fall under the general rule of focus points depending on the number F, especially when using teleconverters.

Only 'older' Canon cameras can use one or more center focus points for normal operation with lenses that 5.6.

Live view

Also, you can not ignore the focus using Live View, in this focus mode, the main mirror of the camera rises, and focusing is due to the main matrix of the camera.

Model Live View Focus
20Da There is no autofocus in Live View, you need to focus manually. There are 5x and 10x magnification in only the central area of ​​the image. By the way, 5x or 10x magnification is always on, i.e. it is impossible to display the whole picture on the display, with a magnification of 1x. Also, to take a picture, you need to exit this mode, and you cannot change the parameters during viewing. exposure.
40D, 1D Mark III, 1Ds Mark III There is no automatic focusing in Live View mode (Quick mode is based on focusing on phase sensors), you need to focus manually. There are 5 and 10-fold increase in the image area.
450D, 1000D, 1100D, 1200D, 1300D, 500D, 550D, 600D Normal 'slow' contrast focusing. Magnification of the selected area is available.
2000D, 4000D, 7D, 6D, 60D, 60DA, 50D, 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III, 1D Mark IV, 1D X, 1D C Normal 'slow' contrast focusing with face detection. Magnification of the selected area is available.
650D, 700D, Canon EOS M Hybrid CMOS AF system is used. Some of the matrix pixels are reserved for the autofocus system by measuring the phase difference, although such focusing works only in the central area of ​​the image and serves only for approximate focusing. Focus adjustment is carried out by usual 'slow' contrast focusing. The full potential of this focusing method is only available with Canon STM lenses. Selected area magnification is available, as well as FlexiZone Single, FlexiZone Multi and Face Priority focus modes.
100D, Canon EOS M2, Canon EOS M10 Hybrid CMOS AF II system is used. Some of the matrix pixels are allocated for the autofocus system by measuring the phase difference. The coverage area is 80% (vertical and horizontal), phase focusing in Live View, and is only for rough focusing. Focus adjustment is carried out by usual 'slow' contrast focusing. The full potential of this focusing method is only available with Canon STM lenses. Select area zoom is available, as well as FlexiZone Single, FlexiZone Multi, and Face Priority focusing modes.

  • Canon EOS M2 uses 31 focus points in Live View
  • Canon EOS M10 uses 49 focus points in Live View
Canon EOS M3, 760D, 750D The Hybrid CMOS AF III system is used. Theoretically 4 times faster than Hybrid CMOS AF II technology. Part of the matrix pixels is reserved for the autofocus system by measuring the phase difference. The coverage area is 80% horizontal and 70% vertical. It is possible to enlarge the selected area, as well as focusing modes Tracking AF (only in 760D), FlexiZone Single, FlexiZone Multi and Face Priority. The system works fine only with lenses with F≤5.6. If F> 5.6, the usual contrast focusing is activated.
70D, 7D Mark II The system uses Dual Pixel CMOS AF. Each pixel on the matrix (80% of the matrix) is divided into two separate photodiodes, for reading the phase difference. Thus, all pixels are similar to phase focus points. Lenses with F≤11 are supported. To fine tune the focus, the contrast method is used. The technology is not trivial, because the detailed explanation is very large. Available enlargement of the selected area, as well as focus modes FlexiZone Single, FlexiZone Multi and the function with priority face. Focusing is fast enough.
1D X Mark II, Canon 5D Mark IV, 6D Mark II The system uses Dual Pixel CMOS AF. The technology is the same as that of 70D, 80D, 7D Mark II. Details are being specified.
Canon EOS M5, M6, M6 Mark II, M50, M50 Mark II

80D, 90D, 77D

800D, 850D, 200D250D

The system uses Dual Pixel CMOS AF. The technology is the same as that of 70D, 7D Mark II, 1D X Mark II. Details are being specified.
Canon EOS1D X Mark III The system uses Dual Pixel CMOS AF. Sensitivity -6-18 EV, work with F / 11. Coverage 90% Horizontal and 100% Vertical
R, RP, RA Used Dual Pixel CMOS AF system
R5, R6 The system uses Dual Pixel CMOS AF II (second generation). Sensitivity from -6.5 or -6 to + 20, available for selection of 1053 focus areas over the entire field of the frame, Deep Learning system

By the way, when viewing with Live View, all cameras have the ability to use Quick mode, in which the camera exits Live View, focuses using phase focus sensors, and then turns on Live View again. 20Da cameras, 40D, 1D Mark III and 1Ds Mark III really do not have full auto focus in Live View using the camera’s matrix directly.

I would be grateful for the repost and addition of information in the comments :)

In the comments, you can ask a question on the topic and they will answer you, as well as you can express your opinion or describe your experience. For the selection of photographic equipment, I recommend large catalogs, for example E-Catalog. Many little things for the photo can be found on AliExpress.

The material was prepared by Arkady Shapoval. My Youtube channeland Radozhiva's group on Facebook и VK.

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Comments: 94 on the subject: Canon EOS camera focus sensors

  • Simon

    Write pliz how to find the three screws that align the sensor?
    People say that you can do this at home:

    Canon EOS 5D

    Does anyone have experience how to get to three screws in 5D?

    The plastic plate covering the three screws is peeled off the body, and then glued back without problems, there is an adhesive layer on it. It does not break, flexible. The screws are controlled by some kind of transparent gel, and the head of one of the screws was covered with smudge, had to be removed.

    To tighten the screws you need a 1,5 mm hexagon. To parallel shift the platform with autofocus sensors, you need to twist all three screws at the same angle. In my case, to correct the front focus, I had to rotate them about 150 degrees counterclockwise.

    I twisted them 15 degrees before each test, but you can turn them 30 - 45 or even more at first. It took not 15 minutes at all, but 2 hours - I tested it with different lenses, and at first I missed, checking only on hole 2,8.

    It is imperative to check with different apertures, for example 2,8 and 5,6 at least. In a nutshell - the front blur starts much earlier than the back blur; when everything is actually set up optimally, there is a slight front-focus feeling across the full hole. And the zone of maximum sharpness shifts with aperture, just like in books on optics. We have to choose the middle ground.

  • Andrey

    As far as I know, there is no cross-shaped focus sensor on the 20D / 30D.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Is.

  • Alexander

    When shooting with Canon 1100D and manual MC Helios-81H with a non-programmable adapter, I noticed that autofocus stops working at closed apertures of 8 or more. I thought it was a malfunction, but then I came across your article. It turns out that for the center cross-shaped point to work, focusing “should always be done with the aperture fully open” (2 - 2.8), and the simplified sequence of actions when shooting with a manual lens should look like:
    1. Focusing on the center point on the subject;
    2. INSTALLATION OF THE NECESSARY FOR CAPTURE OF THE VALUE OF THE IRIS;
    3. Frame layout;
    4. Shooting.
    Do I understand everything correctly?

  • anonym

    very good thanks

  • anonym

    1Ds Mark III, 1D Mark III - 45/19 - Focus points / cross points

  • Denis

    Hello Arkady! Such a problem: autofocus on my 50d is constantly mistaken. Moreover, the errors are not systematic in nature, but depend on the direction of rotation of the lens (from MDF or from infinity). Autofocus adjustments through the menu did not have the desired effect, autofocus actually lives its own life. And, as evil, in my city there were no Canon service centers. What can cause this behavior?

    • Novel

      Have you tested the autofocus on other lenses?

      • Denis

        Agreed on this, the next few days I will check through the glass of another person.

    • Michael

      Do you have 18-55 tea?

      • Denis

        50 / 1,8. There is a whale too, but it is not critical on it.

    • Yana

      Did you solve the problem?

  • Vyacheslav

    Good day! I would be grateful if someone would help to figure it out.
    I recently purchased a used 80D camera (excellent condition). Faced a problem: only the central AF point works exactly through the viewfinder. The remaining 44 cross points do not give an accurate hit. Most often, back focus. The lens costs Tamron sp 35mm f1.8. I tried different apertures, from 1.8 to 8, the result is the same.

    Because of this, it is impossible to use the tracking focus in all 45 points in the device, the object is simply out of focus when it leaves the center.

    Tell me what it is? Can I fix it?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Main reasons
      1. maybe 80d is not compatible with the Tamron 35 / 1,8, this often happens. This is a flashing lens error
      2. maybe there really is a back / front on the camera. Can check with another lens

  • Sergei

    I ask a newbie to answer! What is the preferred autofocus method for shooting stills and movies with the EOS M100 - tracking, zone, one-point? Please describe the pros and cons of each method

    • B. R. P.

      Choose the af method, depending on what you shoot.

  • Pokemon

    Tonight I estimated the difference in the operation of the AF module between 1Ds_mk2 and 1Ds_mk3.
    Tokina 28-70 / 2.6-2.8 lens, the room includes a chandelier and a night light, and there and there are energy-saving lamps. 1Ds_mk2 focuses slowly and uncertainly or refuses to do this the first time. 1Ds_mk3 is much faster and more accurately focused. The difference is very noticeable and more noticeable than between for example D4 and D700.

  • Alexey

    Hello Arkady! Thanks so much for the article. I dare to offer you to supplement it with a description of the points and focusing system of the Canon EOS R and Canon EOS RP cameras, since they also belong to the EOS system. Thank you in advance.

  • Maria

    Good evening. Yesterday I had to compare the focusing system on Nikon and on Canon.

    I did not quite understand from the text of the article and may have missed it: when the subject of photography (its border) falls into sharpness - the sensor beeps, highlights the point in red. Everything as a whole, like Nikone.

    But on Nikon there is still a certain circle in the lower left that burns while the object is in the zone of sharpness, and goes out when the object comes out of it. This is convenient, since the photographer sees once again that the subject did not come out of sharpness.

    Is there a similar possibility on Canon, or is it all just an eye, through the viewfinder or LV?

  • Paul Kretz

    Quick mode has long been removed from Live View. So not “all cameras have”, but only old ones, such as 70D, 600D, 100D ... For example, in 200D and 80D this mode is no longer there. But instead of Continuous AF, Servo AF appeared in Live View (not to be confused with Servo for OVI, although the essence is the same). However, now Continuous AF has returned to R, RP, 90D and others ... I tell a lot about this on my YouTube channel - Paul Kretz. PS This is my first comment on the site, although I have been a fan for a long time. Many thanks for all the materials!

  • Konstantin

    Canon 650D Question: Are the phase sensors adjustable or are they glued to Chinese glue like on Canon 1100D? I have back focus. I think it's easier to move the phase sensors or move the matrix. And how much to turn the bolts. Back focus 1,5 cm. Half a turn is enough? Who has experience?

    • Ivan

      You already answered in another chat. Read it, everything is written in detail there. There are no phase sensors in the chamber. There is one AF sensor, with one matrix, working on the phase principle. Of course, you can just turn it like that, but it will be an adjustment “by eye”, “from the bulldozer”. Correct configuration is done with special hardware and service software. For example, see how this is done on the Nikon D90 camera:
      http://libraphoto.com/blog/wedding-blog/Nikon-D90-Inspection-and-Adjustment-program.html

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