Canon EOS R and RP get improved autofocus with new firmware update

Both Canon's mirrorless full-color cameras feature face tracking and autofocus (AF) for eye detection. However, in use, the EOS R and EOS RP AF systems were not quite leading and could not match the performance of a mirrorless Sony or Panasonic full-screen shooter.

Fortunately, Canon has recognized this and released the firmware updates 1.4.0 and 1.3.0 for the EOS R and RP, which give the face tracking and the eye-recognition AF of the two cameras a significant performance boost.

With the new update, both cameras can capture the face and eye of a subject from a distance away, although no details have been given about how much this has improved.

The cameras can now focus and track even smaller subjects, making it easier to keep up with your playful puppy or track an antelope on your safari trip.

The biggest problem we faced when testing the two full-screen snapshots was the significant delay between the AF lock and the blue focus field in the viewfinder (or the rear view when using Live View). This update also fixes this problem. Canon promises that the delay has now been reduced.

The above video, released in August, shows how the AF system of mirrorless Canon full-frame cameras has improved. At that point, the software was still being developed.

In the case of the EOS R, a bug was fixed where the AF frame size in the servo AF mode remained unchanged. Users should now be able to change the AF frame from small to "normal" depending on the situation.

An EOS RP-specific update to version 1.3.0 resolves the problem that "the main dial icon is not displayed when the zoom in / out button is pressed while the picture is playing". That would be in the review window on the back of the LCD, if someone had missed something earlier.

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We have not tested the new firmware yet, and we're not sure it can outperform Sony's top-notch AF performance, but we're sure that this will enable Canon to release the Nikon Z7 and Z6 eye-recognition AF, which were introduced, equate as firmware update in may.

The Canon firmware update for the two full-frame mirrorless cameras is already available for download in some regions – Canon websites for Australia, Japan, Mexico and France offer links for download – although Canon UK and Canon USA had links at the time of writing not released the firmware. If you are a little patient, it should not be too long before the update is introduced globally.

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