How do I use the face recognition feature
What does the face recognition function actually do?
The camera does not know what the most important parts of the picture are and therefore what you want to have in focus. Traditionally, autofocus systems have simply selected the closest object near the center of the image and focused on it. This can easily fail with irrelevant foreground details.
Face detection assumes that if there are people in the picture, you will likely want to focus on their faces. By recognizing the position of faces, the autofocus system can be instructed more precisely.
For such a scheme to work, you need to be able to read the image data continuously and focus on any point in the image. This basically means that for face detection you need live view and contrast-detection AF. This is one of the reasons why the feature has been slow to become available on DSLRs. Contrast detection is still slower than phase detection, so it's not the primary method of focusing on DSLRs. Another factor is that DSLR users tend to have a little more control over the operation of the camera and prefer to manually select AF points.
The really interesting development is that the Canon 1DX has a metering sensor that is high enough resolution to detect faces, so face detection can be used in conjunction with phase detection AF.
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