Canon 1D and 1Ds mark III firmware update

If you haven’t already heard canon released a much anticipated firmware update for its two flagship 1 series cameras, the 1D mark III and 1Ds Mark III.  The firmware is intended to improve autofocus reliability in both cameras as well as add some new functionality via custom functions.

The most notable new feature is the added functionality of the multicontroller joystick on the rear of the camera.  It can now be used to select autofocus points, something that has been available in the prosumer line up since the 20D was released.  Having owned a 20D and now 5D, both of which have this functionality, I can say it is a welcome feature.  I was constantly anoid by how cubersome it was to select autofocus points using two separate dials the entire time I owned a 1D Mark IIN.

For most however, the real interest in this firmware update is whether or not Canon has finally figured out and fixed the root cause of the focus problems that have plagued the 1D mark III since it was first released last year.  For some it seems the issue of unreliable autofocus was never a problem.  I can say, having owned 2 separate mark III bodies this year that mine exhibited a tremendous amount of inconsistency.  I tested both bodies excessively and found the autofocus to be flawed.  Even worse were results I had during real world shooting events (often paid work).  I don’t pretend to be perfect in my technique and never expected 100% of my shots to be in perfect focus, there are just too many variables involved.  But, I’ve never had such a high percentage of shots out of focus or slightly off, especially when compared to my  mark IIN.  I expected the mark III to be at least as good as its predessor, which it is not.  I subsequently returned both mark III bodies and bought a 5D to get me by until Canon resolved the problem.

It’s unfortunate the mark III was hampered by this AF issue because everything else about the camera from the construction to the menu layouts is awesome.  The high ISO capability of this camera is simply great and the image quality when the af was on is absolutely fantastic.  I can only hope the problems have been resolved and I can feel confident in purchasing a camera body that functions as designed, especially since these things aren’t cheap!

I’ve included a link below to the firmware update itself as well as a shot taken using the 1D mark III before returning it last fall.    Enjoy

1D mark III firmware:  http://web.canon.jp/imaging/eos1dm3/firmware.html

1Ds mark III firmware: http://web.canon.jp/imaging/eosd/eos1dsm3/firmware-e.html

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~ by kurtbudliger on May 3, 2008.

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