I used to think face recognition was a gimmick but no longer hold that opinion.
Then I bought a Canon SD890 IS and didn’t discover until reading the manual that it has face detection. I decided to set aside my skepticism and give it a try.
To be quite honest, I became absolutely fascinated when I saw how Face Recognition works.
Face recognition follows the eyes
I was taking photos of a four-month old child and the focus box followed every place her eyes moved. When full face, the FR focus square was large; it reduced in size when she moved her head to the side and only a small portion of one eye showed.
The box followed her eyes whenever she changed the position of her head, no matter how fast or slow. The FD focus box disappeared completely if she turned her head so her eyes didn’t show at all; then the regular focus indicators appeared.
I now realize face recognition can be quite effective photographing people, especially when shooting in difficult situations such as low light or when a person is backlit.
What’s interesting is that the face recognition technology not only focuses on faces, but exposes and sets white balance for them too. As a result, flash photos of people are often much better exposed than when not using face detection.
Face Select and Track
You can set the camera to track a specific face (manual page 96). When the camera is in face designation mode, the autofocus frame will follow the designated subject within a certain range.
Face detection, while not a must-have feature, is a welcome technology particularly for those who don’t want to fuss with camera settings.