You’ve probably heard a lot about so-called Eye AF mode over the past couple years. Ever since it wowed photographers with its performance in the Sony A9, manufacturer after manufacturer has released firmware updates for their flagship cameras, adding their own version of Eye AF.
In this guide we’ll first explain what Eye AF is and briefly how it works, then we’ll round up our picks for the best cameras with Eye AF you can currently buy.
In other words: what follows below are what we believe are the cameras offering the best Eye AF performance. This may sound like a very niche list, but if you’re a working professional or take your portraiture very seriously, Eye AF could be the most important feature to consider when buying a new camera.
What is Eye AF?
Eye AF is effectively an evolution of Face Detection. In Face Detection mode your camera is programmed to recognise a mouth, nose and eyes. Eye AF mode takes this concept a step further.
Sony was the first to introduce Eye AF back in 2013, but it only really became something that photographers took notice of when it was made to work in continuous AF (C-AF) mode. When it’s active, it enables the camera to identify an eye in the scene and focus on it. In C-AF mode it will track the eye around the frame and keep it sharp.
Its popularity has prompted other manufacturers to introduce the technology, and in those cameras Eye AF works largely the same.
Not to be outdone, Sony has responded in the past year by pushing the envelope further and introducing a new Animal Eye AF mode. You can read all about Animal Eye AF here and how it works.
When to use Eye AF?
Eye AF is really useful for social and wedding photographers because it enables them to ensure the most important part of the subject is sharp.
It also means that photographers can shoot at wider apertures because they don’t need the security of the extra depth of field when they know the eyes are sharp.