The digital camera market has matured very quickly, which means a few things. First, prices are down, which for the consumer translates into high value. Second, first-time buyers are no longer early adopters and imaging enthusiasts; they’re non-tech oriented people looking for simple solutions. Third, many consumers are now in the market for replacement digital cameras. Face recognition will appeal to both types of consumers.
What is face recognition?
This is probably the most important new feature to emerge in the digital camera market because it addresses one of the most important aspects of photography—getting good pictures of people. Let’s face it, people shots account for most digital photos, but poor f*ocus and exposure of faces ruins a lot of them. Face recognition allows your camera to quickly discern where the face is in the picture and correct all the elements of the shot (as much as it’s able—it can’t comb hair or pick teeth) to better ensure a good image.
How does it work?
Most cameras that include this feature use a hardware chip that looks for facial elements (eyes, nose, chin ...) then instantly selects that area (or areas, in cases of multiple people, not multiple heads) to focus on. Most cameras do this quickly when the user presses the shutter button halfway down for pre-focus. New Panasonic cameras have an always-on focus mode that refocuses constantly so you don’t have to press the shutter half way to engage it.