Canon patent details AI-powered auto-zoom feature

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An example from a patent application shows how the auto-zoom feature can detect an object within a frame and adjust the composition accordingly via digital and / or optical zoom.

Canon has been granted a patent detailing a new technology that uses AI to automatically detect an object within a frame and adjust the zoom of the camera or lens to better frame the object.

Patent number 2021020239, Published May 23, 2022, highlights the underlying technology and interface that will enable Canon to effectively put ‘auto-zoom’ technology in its camera. As explained in the patent literature, this technology can work with both digital and optical zoom to frame topics with minimal input from the camera operator.

Additional images show how the auto-zoom feature will detect where the frame is located and adjust the zoom based on parameters set by the camera operator.

Canon says the camera operator will be able to control how much content is placed in the frame from the various composition options in the camera menu. In particular, “Face Up”, “Bust Up” and “Hole Body” ‘Options’ will determine the size of the subject image as the basis of the zoom control based on the selected composition.’ There is also mention of touch-based tracking, which enables photographers to tap a subject into the composition on a touchscreen display and keep the camera focused on that particular subject.

The subject tracking and capture technology that Canon uses in its Powershot Peak PTZ camera all sound similar. But based on the fact that it was recently approved, it has been suggested that it differs from the technology used in PowerShot Peak, which is now available for purchase for some time (albeit through very limited channels).

Canon’s PowerShot Peak Camera automatically tracks topics and captures images with minimal input, effectively serving as a small robotic camera for events.

The patent application explains how this feature can work with both handheld and tripod shooting modes, but handheld shooting modes refer to this technology almost exclusively in the context of taking selfies. So, at least in its current form, it seems that this auto-zoom feature has all sorts of features and more Middle stage-Style feature, which Apple uses on its iPad models to help the subject (s) move around the scene by digitally cropping images during video calls.

We see a hint of this technology in consumer Canon cameras a few years before it was implemented, but it shows that software and AI-powered technologies will continue to be a driving force and differentiator between camera and camera companies as digital photography continues. Evolved

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