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Rob Galbraith: Canon EOS 1D focus issues finally resolved?
by David Rasnake -  8/4/2008

Rob Galbraith's name is likely familiar to those who've followed developments with Canon's EOS 1D Mark III and EOS 1Ds Mark III professional DSLRs. The author, photojournalist, and editor of the photography info site RobGalbraith.com was among the first to report in depth on issues with tracking moving subjects using Canon's flagship pro cameras.

Canon EOS 1D Mark III

For more than a year, Galbraith has chronicled his exploration of and conversations with Canon about issues with the 1D Mark III, especially, that lead to unstable AF tracking when shooting fast-action sequences. In response to concerns uncovered by Galbraith and other sports shooters, Canon has worked extensively to remedy front-focus during action shooting – providing several firmware updates on both models as well as an adjustment to the sub-mirror assembly on the 1D.

Working on the stated assumption that Canon is unlikely to provide additional major correctives, Galbraith released a final recap this week on the official fixes as well as proposed work-arounds and what impact (if any) these have had in tightening up AF performance on the Mark III cameras.

"Both of Canon's current 1-series models now deliver acceptably stable and accurate autofocus of subjects that are stationary or whose distance to the camera is changing fairly slowly," Galbraith writes in the final update, repeatedly reminding readers that the issues documented throughout have been unique to fast-action shooting.

However, Galbraith notes that his initial concerns with the cameras' AF performance, though often misunderstood or misinterpreted in internet forums and the like, remain: "Canon has put considerable effort into correcting and improving EOS-1D Mark III autofocus in the 14 months since the cameras was introduced, but they have not yet made it, or its high-resolution counterpart the EOS-1Ds Mark III, deliver reliable autofocus of subjects in motion."

In spite of persistent issues, it's interesting to note that Galbraith continues to praise the Mark III cameras for their impressive image quality. He writes, "These cameras offer more than just great image quality: almost every component in the EOS-1D Mark III and EOS-1Ds Mark III – other than autofocus – is the best Canon has ever developed."

Galbraith's praise for the top-flight cameras emphasizes an important larger point – namely, that the focus concerns discussed at length in his analysis are unlikely to seriously impact the work of most Mark III shooters. Nonetheless, Galbraith has provided an interesting wrap-up to what's been an interesting saga to follow for some time now.

For the full three-page analysis, head over to RobGalbraith.com.

Via Luminous Landscape