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Old Mar 6, 2008, 4:23 PM   #1
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I've heard a lot of stuff concerning the Mark III auto-focus problem. Then I read this...

http://askthephotographer.com/2008/0...rmware-update/

Does that mean it's actually fixed? Because I don't want to go out and spend an insane amount of money on something that doesn't have a AF that works well.

And do firmware updates consistantly change mechanical problems in a camera, is this something I should be updating on my 20D?
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 5:42 PM   #2
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All I can say is that neither JohnG or myself have issues with our 1D mkIIIs (unless something has changed John). One thing I would say is that we didn't have experience ofsomething like the 1D mkIIn to compare with as John came from the 20D and I came from 30D and 5D (both of which I still have in the kit). I've been very happy with my camera in the short time that I've had it I've been able to shoot about 8 hockey matches, 1 wedding and a party. Some of the hockey matches were not in the heat (winter here) but very bright sunlight and focus was fine. I'm sure that as this is such a high profile issue even if there was still a 'problem' then Canon would get it completely fixed.

What sort of shooting do you do?
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Old Mar 6, 2008, 6:35 PM   #3
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Yes - I've had my mkIII for about 8 months and have not encountered the issue. Realize the issue occurs under a very specific set of circumstances (heat, bright sun, shallow DOF i.e. 300mm 2.8 or shallower). I've followed the web hype on this and the challenge is there are a LOT of people commenting that have never even owned the camera. So that muddies the water quite a bit. I will say there have been photogs I respect who have reported problems and photogs I respect who have had the problem, sent in for a fix and it's fixed and there are people who have never had the problem.

My personal take is there was a QC problem potentially involving multiple components so it's difficult to nail down exact root cause. But I'm confident it's not an all-encompassing problem. At this point I have no intention of sending my camera in for a fix.
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Old Mar 7, 2008, 1:53 PM   #4
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I shoot a lot of sports around the Spokane, Wash. area. That's why I've been looking into getting the Mark III because of its speed, but obviously since I'm shooting with a 20D I'm on a college student budget.

That's why I'm kind of wary of this whole autofocus deal.
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Old Mar 7, 2008, 2:57 PM   #5
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I believe that the problem(s) have been fixed - at least that's what I hear. Bodies made with the fix incorporated have a blue dot on the box. In the various forums, they are referred to as "blue dot" bodies. You can also search for the serial number that the "fixed" bodies have - any serial number higher than 123456, (example), will be ok. If you call a reputable dealer, ask if they are selling blue dot bodies and/or for the range of serial numbers they are selling.
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Old Mar 7, 2008, 11:07 PM   #6
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Rob Gailgraith's site seems to have done the most in-depth study of the issue, and his results are mixed. The executive summary:

Q. Is the autofocus better in the production EOS-1D Mark III than it was in the preproduction unit?
No. The autofocus problems of the preproduction unit are mirrored in production EOS-1D Mark IIIs.
Q. What are the camera's autofocus problems?
  1. It has four, all of which are related to the camera's autofocus performance:
    Under certain conditions, the EOS-1D Mark III has difficulty acquiring focus initially. In a multi-frame burst, the camera will sometimes shoot three to five frames before a moving subject comes into focus, and occasionally a moving subject will not actually snap into focus before the burst is completed.[/*]
  2. Under certain conditions, the camera is unable to properly track a moving subject. We've shot numerous sequences of 20+ frames where no more than five or six frames are in focus, even when the AF point has been on the subject throughout.[/*]
  3. Focus can shift slightly but constantly at times when the subject isn't moving. Under certain conditions, the subject may not actually come into focus through a sequence of frames, even though the point of focus can be seen to be shifting throughout the sequence. This is true whether the camera is set to AI Servo and focus is active throughout the sequence, or when it's set to One Shot and focus is activated between each frame.[/*]
  4. When tracking a subject that's moving somewhat erratically, the camera is far too quick to shift focus elsewhere - to the background or, with a field sport like soccer, to a player passing through in the foreground. With the first three problems, autofocus settings changes don't make things better or worse. With this problem, Custom Function III-2, AI Servo Tracking Sensitivity, does have an impact. But regardless of how this Custom Function is set, it's not possible to make the camera's tracking sensitivity be right. There's more on this ahead in the article.[/*]
Q. Have you tested the EOS-1D Mark III's autofocus with beta firmware v1.1.1 installed?
Yes. We have had installed in two EOS-1D Mark IIIs here the same beta firmware as was made available to photographers covering the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Osaka, Japan in late August.
Q. Does it correct the more serious of the camera's autofocus problems?
No. There seem to be changes to the AI Servo Tracking Sensitivity timings, changes that improve the feel of the autofocus. But in bright light, the camera's three most significant autofocus problems - poor initial focus, poor tracking and fidgety focus on static objects - remain. And as before, warmer ambient temperatures seem to make the problems worse." read more...


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Old Mar 8, 2008, 1:45 AM   #7
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Another thing to remember to ask is "Is everyone with a 1D mkIII having the same problem?" A. NO!

If these problems were common with the vast number of pro shooters using it there would be an outcry. There are quite a few of us with one here and I've not heard any with this problem.
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Old Mar 8, 2008, 8:47 AM   #8
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Yes, in my opinion if you're worried about the mkIIIs performance shooting sports you should look for people that shoot sports with the camera - preferably in the conditions specified. As an owner, I've paid a lot of attention to the discussion. Easily 90% (no exageration) of posters on the subjects dont even own the camera.

And while I greatly respect RG, as Mark indicated there are a number of happy people using it. When you filter out the people who aren't you'll see the vast majority of owners have very positive things to say about it. I'm at about 14,000 actuations. Believe me if I thought my $4500 investment had a problem I would have returned it for service or replacement.


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Old Mar 8, 2008, 7:24 PM   #9
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Correct me if I'm wrong John but I think you are using a pre blue dot version as well. Oh ur not shooting enough sport I'm at about 6,000 actuations already LOL.
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