Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Training Course Notes: Face detection on the XF305 and XF300

Face Detection on the XF300 and XF305
Normally I try to persuade people not to use auto focus. But, the Canon XF305 and XF105 cameras have a great feature – Face Detection (which only works in auto).

I was very sceptical about face detection on a pro camera. But, I have tried it on several interviews and have to say it works very well. So, if you are about to do a lot of interviews you may find it helpful, especially if you are a self-shooter or video journalist working alone. It should mean there is one less thing to worry about and you can concentrate on asking questions and listening to the answers.

These are my course notes on using face detection on the XF300 and XF305. I'll post notes for the XF100 and XF105 on a separate page.

To start using face detection on the XF300 and XF305 you must be in full auto focus mode...

First of all make sure the camera is in the infinity ring mode. Press the PUSH button on the lens and rotate the ring upwards to select AF/MF mode. Now when you turn the focus ring it should go round and round and round (ie there will be no end stops).

Select infinity ring focusing 

Next select Auto focus.

Switch focus to A for auto

Almost there... Now we need to switch on the face detection function in the menu:
  • Press the MENU button
  • Scroll to CAMERA SETUP menu and select
  • Scroll down to AF MODE and select
  • Scroll to FACE AF and select
  • Select ON
  • Press the MENU button to leave the menu

Face detection menu XF300 and XF305

Now, if you point the camera at someone you should see a white box appear around their face. Even if they move around, the camera will track them.

If you intend to use this feature a lot I recommend you set this function to an assign button (see below). That way you will be able to easily switch it on and off.


Only one face, in any shot, can have the white box. If there is more than one person in the shot, the main face (ie usually the largest or nearest to the camera) will have the white box.

If a face gets a white box - that is the face the camera is focusing on.

Any other faces that are in the shot will have grey boxes. This means the camera knows they are there but isn't deliberately focusing on them.

In this shot both people are equal distance from the camera so, it wouldn't matter which one gets the white box.

Of course the camera might give priority to the wrong face - but that's ok you can change which face gets the white box - ie which one the camera will focus on.

First of all - you will have to assign one of the assign buttons to SELECT FACE...
  • Press MENU
  • Scroll to THE OTHER FUNCTIONS menu and select
  • Select an UNASSIGNED BUTTON (eg 8)
  • Select FACE AF
  • Select another UNASSIGNED BUTTON (eg 10)
  • Select SELECT FACE
  • Press the MENU button to leave the menu.
Assign Button Menu

The playback buttons double up as assignable buttons in camera mode

With button 8 you will be able to switch face detection on and off. While button 10 can be used to set which face is the most important in the shot. As you press button 10 you’ll see the grey box will turn white – this means this becomes the priority face and the camera will keep focus on that person. This could be very useful if you are doing an interview with two people and want to focus pull from one person to the other as they speak.

Hopefully you found these training notes helpful. But, if you need more help with your camera I offer one-to-one and group training.

Christina Fox