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An analysis of EOS-1D Mark III autofocus performance - Continued
February 3, 2008: Canon USA informing VIPs of new EOS-1D Mark III AF fix
Starting on February 1, 2008, Canon USA began informing key photographers and key organizations using the EOS-1D Mark III that engineers at Canon in Japan have developed a new fix for the camera's autofocus, a fix that's in addition to the change in the sub-mirror mechanism and firmware updates introduced in 2007.
In closed door meetings at the PMA 2008 trade show in Las Vegas, at Super Bowl XLII in Phoenix, Arizona and on the phone, by our count it's a minimum of four different professional market reps that have revealed to photographers or managers at seven different sites using the EOS-1D Mark III that a new fix is in the works. In other words, Canon USA reps have been directed by their superiors to begin contacting VIP customers, and to tell those customers that there's good news pending on the EOS-1D Mark III autofocus front.
Details are scant right now. Here's some of what's being said by Canon USA reps:
  • Canon's autofocus engineers have determined the root cause of the EOS-1D Mark III's warm/sunny autofocus problems. They now know precisely what's wrong, and can completely correct it with the new autofocus solution. The phrase "root cause" or "underlying root cause" seems to be common to most or all of the briefings, suggesting the upcoming solution is meant to go well beyond the improvements introduced with the sub-mirror repair and the algorithm changes rolled into firmware v1.1.3.

  • Some are being told that the new fix is comprised of both a hardware change and new firmware, others are being told that it's not known yet at Canon USA whether the fix is comprised of hardware, firmware or both. This apparent discrepancy in what reps are saying is probably indicative of how new this information is to them, and how little information they themselves have been given so far by higher ups in the Canon organization. Canon USA reps aren't sharing any other specifics about the nature of the new fix.

  • VIP customers are not being told when the new fix will come available, or when Canon in the U.S. and elsewhere will begin broadcasting this news more widely, though some have been told that a public announcement will be made.

Historically, whispers like this from reps are followed fairly closely by an official release of information, since whispers have a way of spreading like wildfire among pro shooters. Particularly when large numbers of them congregate at events like this weekend's Super Bowl. It therefore seems likely that a Canon website posting or press announcement will come sooner rather than later, and that the announcement is likely to contain a bit more about the what and the when of Canon's newest effort to improve EOS-1D Mark III autofocus. The level of detail in any Canon announcement will probably be driven by how far out in the future the new fix's availability is.

That's all we know so far.
Next Page: February 26, 2008 update
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