gear: February 2010 Archives

When the Canon EOS 7D was released in September last year, I was excited. I rushed out to buy one and quickly sold my 50D. I managed to get my hands on one almost immediately upon retail availability.

After a few weeks of shooting and testing, I began to wonder whether or not there was a problem with the body, since a large percentage of images captured with the camera and various L-series lenses were "soft". Initial reports from a handful of other users on various online forums suggested that at least some 7D bodies were experiencing erratic autofocus. Almost immediately, most of these reports were chalked up to "user error" or "ignorance" in the face of a new and revamped camera which required a higher level of user education and skill to operate effectively.

I attributed my own experiences to user error as well, and continued to work with the camera. As months went by, I found I wasn't using the camera much, since I couldn't depend on the results, and when I needed to shoot, I was reaching for my 5D Mark II instead. When I checked back for updates on the situation, I found many examples of sharp, critically in-focus shots from other 7D bodies and users. And a few reports of others still having problems with theirs.

I took the 7D to the Zoo a few weeks back and shot over 300 frames. Of those, less than 10 were what I considered critically in-focus and sharp. This is shooting relatively stationary high-contrast subjects from various distances. Even looking through the viewfinder, it seemed as though the AF system was locking on to random points as opposed to the single, center AF point that it was confirming it had focused on.

Enough being enough, I decided to call Canon Canada Service. Not surprisingly, they'd never heard of anyone reporting any AF problems with a 7D. Unsurprisingly, given the situation with the 1D Mark III and its AF problems. Even so, they suggested I bring the camera in for service.

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