Apparently, the focusing problem with the Canon 1D Mark III is not associated with a firmware problem, but rather a hardware issue:
I just got off the phone with Canon support, and as of TODAY they finally have a statement they can give to 1d3 owners who call in about the focusing issue.
THEY HAVE IDENTIFIED A FIX, AND IT IS NOT FIRMWARE. IT’S A “SUBMIRROR ASSEMBLY” THAT MUST BE REPLACED.
. . . .
The support rep, who I shall leave unnamed, said they are to start collecting names of owners to contact, in addition to going off of existing registration data . . . to set up RMA’s for resolution. . . . (via DPReview.com forums)
More from Canon:
After thorough research, Canon has found that some EOS-1D Mark III cameras have an issue with the sub-mirror mechanism which is part of the autofocus optical system. This issue may cause unstable focus prediction performance with moving subjects in AI-Servo AF and continuous shooting modes particularly in higher than normal temperatures. The process for repair of the EOS-1D Mark III cameras, for those customers who are dissatisfied with the focus prediction performance, will be announced on the Canon USA Web site in late October.
If you are not currently experiencing this issue with your EOS-1D Mark III then it will not happen in the future. Cameras with this problem manifest it from the time the camera is purchased. However, we will contact you as soon as the repair program is finalized. (via)
Update from Canon:
My name is Ron and I am the supervisor of Canon s e-mail support group in Virginia. In conducting a review of e-mail responses to our customers, I noticed that our recent response to you regarding your EOS 1D Mark III was not entirely complete, so I wanted to take the opportunity to fully address your questions.
Not all EOS-1D Mark III cameras have issues with the sub-mirror mechanism, and Canon USA is waiting for additional information from Canon, Inc. regarding how affected models will be identified. Since we do not yet have this information, at this time we cannot conclusively let owners know if they have an affected unit. Also, since environmental conditions, particularly higher than normal temperatures, may increase the likelihood of unstable auto-focus prediction in AI Servo mode, it may be difficult for owners to tell if their camera is affected. So, given the situation, we anticipate that any EOS-1D Mark III owner who is unhappy with the focus prediction performance will be able to send in their camera for a no-charge evaluation and, if needed, repair. As we do not yet have all of the required information from Canon, Inc., this issue is difficult to fully explain via e-mail, but rest assured we are going to take care of our EOS-1D Mark III owners.
Since your request also involved the calibration of multiple lenses to your EOS-1D Mark III body, I will personally contact you when the repair program is finalized, which should occur by the end of October, so we can process your request. Our factory service team will get everyone taken care of as quickly as possible, and your patience and understanding is appreciated.
If at any time you need to contact me, you can reply directly to this e-mail and it will be routed to my inbox. (via)
12/10/07: Rob Galbraith has an in-depth analysis of the sub-mirror fix and why it’s not necessarily a complete fix. Read more.
[tags]canon, 1d, mark, iii, 3, focus, problem, fix, firmware, submirror[/tags]