Canon has been awarded a patent for a new artificial intelligence (AI) control technology that will automatically zoom in to better frame the shot before shooting.
Canon’s new AI Zoom technology seeks to identify subjects in the frame and then optically or digitally zoom into the image without the need for the photographer to manually adjust.
Furthermore, the camera will have a variety of layout options for camera operators to choose from to limit the amount of auto-zoom the camera will choose. According to patent application – discovered by Information Digicame – options will include “face up”, “close-up” and “whole body”, plus a manual option via the camera’s touchscreen LCD, which allows touching a subject in the composition and lock focus on that subject.
The patent also seems to indicate that the auto-zoom feature can be used in both tripod and handheld modes, but looking at the examples, it looks like its main focus could be used. when the camera operator is also in front of the camera. Selfie mode can be part of auto-zoom, as well as face tracking, like what Apple did with Center Stage on the iPad.
At first glance, the feature doesn’t seem to depict an end result as anything particularly new. There are some cameras, like Canon’s Powershot PICK and even Facebook’s Portal camera, that can lock onto a subject and keep them in focus and framed as they move around the scene.
This is mainly handled by digitally zooming in and out of the 4K image and transmitting it at 1080p. The patent case turns out to be unique as it could be the first time this idea has been combined with a camera that will automatically zoom optically to keep the subject in the frame according to a preset input.
As usual with patents, Canon didn’t say what kind of product it might include this AI control feature. It makes sense that it could appear in the next-gen PowerShot PICK, if Canon chooses to continue to repeat that design, but it will likely never see the light of day. Only time will answer.