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Canon EOS-1D X firmware update allows focusing with F8 lens combinations

By dpreview staff on Oct 18, 2012 at 19:04 GMT

Canon has issued firmware v1.1.1 for its flagship EOS-1D X full-frame DSLR. The update adds three options for indicating the selected AF point when in AI Servo autofocus mode. This includes red illumination, rather than just darkening the selected point, making the camera easier to work with in low light. The update also allows the central AF point to act as a cross-type point when working with lens/teleconverter combinations that give a maximum aperture of F8. This capability is currently only available with F5.6 (or brighter) combinations. 


Press Release:

CANON U.S.A. EXPANDS THE EOS-1D X DIGITAL SLR CAMERA AUTOFOCUS CAPABILITIES WITH NEW FIRMWARE UPDATE

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., October 17, 2012 – Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced a new firmware update in response to user requests which further enhances the capabilities of Canon’s flagship EOS-1D X Digital SLR camera. The EOS-1D X will now be capable of AF point illumination during AI Servo AF and cross-type AF for maximum apertures as small as f/8. The new firmware update is available now at no charge from the Canon U.S.A. website and can be downloaded by end users or through Canon Factory Service Centers.

AF Point Illumination During AI Servo AF

To support the needs of wedding, portrait, sports, wildlife, and theatrical performance photographers working in low light, the new firmware allows AF points in the EOS-1D X’s viewfinder to be illuminated in red when the shutter button is pressed halfway during AI Servo AF, for easy viewing of the selected point. This valuable feature will enhance the photographers’ ability to aim the camera accurately in low-light conditions, and when photographing dark subjects. To preserve exposure-metering accuracy, illumination is intermittent, not continuous. Three choices will be selectable from the menu system - Non-illuminated, Illuminated (Normal) and Illuminated (Brighter).

Cross-Type AF Support at f/8

The EOS-1D X is equipped with an innovative 61-point High Density Reticular AF System featuring up to 41 cross-type AF points, depending on the lens in use. The cross-type AF points recognize a wide variety of subject matter, making them highly desirable for maximum autofocus performance. Until now, cross-type AF on the EOS-1D X has been limited to EF lenses and lens/extender combinations with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or larger. The new firmware allows cross-type autofocusing with the center AF point even when the maximum aperture of a Canon EF lens/extender combination becomes as small as f/8.  Ideal for wildlife photographers and others who often use EF super-telephoto lenses with extenders, this new feature greatly expands the range of EF lens/extender combinations that support autofocus when used with the EOS-1D X.

If AF point expansion is selected with an f/8 maximum aperture lens/extender combination, the four AF points surrounding the center point will act as AF Assist points. This option effectively expands the size of the AF detection area to enhance autofocus performance with subjects that are small in the frame and difficult to track, such as small animals and birds in flight. AF points above and below the center will be sensitive to vertical contrast, while points to the left and right will be sensitive to horizontal contrast.

Comments

Total comments: 44
Le Kilt
By Le Kilt (Oct 21, 2012)

Couldn't believe it, went to pick up a 1Dx (in south-west France, I translate...) yesterday, and said to the sales guy "pity they haven't solved the f/8 focusing and the red focus indicator yet"...
He smiled and answered "they have, it was announced on dpreview this morning!" - a happy moment!
Well done Canon.

0 upvotes
EdwardtheCanuk
By EdwardtheCanuk (Oct 20, 2012)

Thanks Canon... I used my 1Dx on my 600F4 with 2x converter, in manual focus at the last aereobatics event I shot. When I ordered the body, I understood I needed to switch to one of my1Ds for auto focus at 1200mm. Now the 1Dx matches the 1Ds in that it uses only the centre spot at F8, so servo tracking means you have to keep the target centred. Now if only my 7D did same.

As for comments about updates, and why this was not included out of the box. I have had TWO firmware updates for the 1Dx since I got it, the 1Ds bodies have each had a number of updates, then there was the major update for my 7D.

Instead of complaining that Canon made a change, we should thank them for continued support and expanding the product's functions. I love new updates to products, especially when they add features, and would prefer they release tested firmware without rushing it out the door.

Then there is of course there is Microsoft and their never ending Windows updates. :-)

2 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Oct 19, 2012)

Well, another fix that should have been part of the out of the box spec - wonder if this improvement was made as Nikon pro DSLR's had no problem with F8 from the off and someone at Canon HQ saw the danger (at a last) of even more customers floating over to Nikon or starting with Nikon from the off??

Lets hope that next week Canon confirm this improvement works with the 5D3 as well - after all the AF systems are meant to be very similar well now we'll find out.

3 upvotes
Buchanan
By Buchanan (Oct 19, 2012)

Canon: I would really appreciate the illuminated AF point for my 5D3 since I use the camera mostly for indoor sports. If you give the 5D3 this and the f/8 feature I promise to buy one of your teleconverters. Not to be too greedy, but enabling EC when shooting in M with auto ISO would be the icing on the cake and make it the nearly perfect camera for my needs.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Oct 19, 2012)

Ahem. 5D3?

1 upvote
hajime93
By hajime93 (Oct 19, 2012)

I thought the camera still focuses when you have an aperture smaller than F5.6 or F8 right? I don't really understand this... Does it mean that it will focus better now at F8? Thanks

0 upvotes
Buchanan
By Buchanan (Oct 19, 2012)

See Kapanak's comment below.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Oct 19, 2012)

It means it works with lens+teleconverter combinations that give a maximum aperture of F8.

It's not about the aperture you've selected (the camera keeps the aperture wide-open when focusing, then stops down for the exposure itself), it's about the maximum aperture available.

1 upvote
oysso
By oysso (Oct 23, 2012)

larger then you mean :p
Apertures that are smaller have a larger F-value

it is about lenscombinations that have smaller than 5.6 max aperture. Before it supoorted only combinations with larger or equal to F5.6. ( And larger here is of course more opening )

0 upvotes
KAllen
By KAllen (Oct 19, 2012)

Now add in-.camera HDR and it's got the lot and maybe clean hdmi

0 upvotes
StyleZ7
By StyleZ7 (Oct 19, 2012)

I really doubt but in the same time hope, that they will add the same featuure to upcomming 6D, as it has by Canon words nice feature to autoficus in as low light levels as -3 EV.
I just wish to use my TC with autofocus and without spending several T$ on a 1DX ;)

0 upvotes
Paul B Jones
By Paul B Jones (Oct 19, 2012)

So Canon listens and fixes two major user concerns with the 1DX.

This will cause some heads to explode.

3 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Oct 19, 2012)

Its good to see that someone at Canon HQ has done something about this 'problem', lets hope that they continue improving to compete with Nikon, let's also hope that this fix can be done to improve the 5D3....

1 upvote
kevin_r
By kevin_r (Oct 19, 2012)

Looks to me like this is a result of Nikon's competitive spirit. So Canon users should be doubly thankful for that competition.

Canon was totally content to chase the sale of high price lenses by limiting the sensitivity.

Now they have to provide a feature that was available all the time but that's been suppressed by simply not enabling it.

Even the Nikon D600 has sensitivity to f/8. Competition is good!. Long live competition!

5 upvotes
Sad Joe
By Sad Joe (Oct 19, 2012)

Yep - as a Canon user (I also use Nikon but Canon is my fav) its good to see Canon under pressure and AT LAST doing something about it, frankly when I view the spec of the 6D and D600 there is only one place my money is going and it ain't Canon !!

Perhaps perhaps the MASSIVE backlash against Canon and most of its recent DSLR models is having an effect?

2 upvotes
Zerg2905
By Zerg2905 (Oct 19, 2012)

Ta-daaa, and now, I will transform myself into a Canon "fanboy" (Canon "fangirls", please don't hesitate to join me! :) ), and say: EISA awarded Nikon's D4 only real "plus" vs the Canon 1D X was just lost. Cheers!

0 upvotes
Rocker44
By Rocker44 (Oct 19, 2012)

Keep on trolololing...

1 upvote
Zerg2905
By Zerg2905 (Oct 20, 2012)

Sorry, Rocker44... And please remember the third Harvard surviving rule: "Don't take yourself too seriously". Because I do.

1 upvote
photo nuts
By photo nuts (Oct 19, 2012)

I thought DPReview is boycotting news from Canon...

2 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Oct 19, 2012)

I don't know why you're draw that conclusion.

1 upvote
Donnie G
By Donnie G (Oct 19, 2012)

Canon's 1D series cameras have always had the ability to autofocus at f8 with the center focus point until the 1D X, so I'm not surprised that they were able to add this feature to the new camera. It probably took them a little longer to do so in order to improve on the autofocus performance by making it a true cross type at f8 instead of just single line sensitive as were the older cameras. Good job Canon.

0 upvotes
Octane
By Octane (Oct 18, 2012)

Firmware can not change the physical design of the AF system. Most cameras did AF ok in some situations at one f-stop beyond the official limit, nothing new. It's not a matter of software/firmware, it's a matter of physical design. The AF sensors are designed to only see the light from a certain aperture. IOW, an AF sensor that is designed to see at f/2.8 will not see more with a 1.4 lens, nor does it get more light. Of course it will work with a faster lens, but when it comes to slower lenses it's more a matter of generous tolerances.
This firmware update can only allow for some more tolerance, it can't change the design. The AF system was not designed to work at f/8, like for example Nikon did for the D4. Of course that didn't sit well with Canon so they are pushing it now to match it. Real life will show how well it actually works.

4 upvotes
raincoat
By raincoat (Oct 18, 2012)

1DX hasn't been out for long, and already they have an update. Does it mean it was pushed out half cocked? Or is it now Canon policy to rely on firmware updates rather than getting it right the 1st time?

2 upvotes
sodacan
By sodacan (Oct 18, 2012)

Octane, happen to have s source for this claim or is it just fanboy banter?

0 upvotes
kapanak
By kapanak (Oct 18, 2012)

What's wrong with improving something afterwards? Clearly, Canon did not see a need to fine-tune their AF for F/8. They saw a demand for it, and now they have added it. They never promised it from the start, so you can't claim half-baked. This is an ADDITION to the original specifications, not a improvement of an already existing feature. Now if they just add clean, uncompressed HDMI out, and improve the WiFi capabilities with the adapter, then it will make the camera even more attractive.

Comment edited 47 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Oct 19, 2012)

Maybe they improved the AF algorithm so now focusing at f/8 meet the minimum accuracy level required by engineers.

Something like 60% of f/8 focus is accurate and therefore acceptable whereas before only 30% accurate so the feature was locked out.

2 upvotes
Marianne Oelund
By Marianne Oelund (Oct 19, 2012)

Since previous models from Canon have had some f/8 capability in the center AF point, the physical design of the 1DX AF system may very well have already provided for it.
The detail of how the handoff from f/8 arrays to f/5.6 or wider-angle arrays is done during focus acquisition or tracking, would be a matter of firmware. Perhaps the initial firmware release was simply short of the development required for this to happen without issues.

2 upvotes
xtoph
By xtoph (Oct 19, 2012)

While your basic point is correct, if you read the actual announcement you will see how canon ganged the central points together to act as a sort of amalgamated cross sensor.

This has the potential to offer the best of all worlds: the increased precision of the current system over f/8 designs, and functionality with f/8 lenses.

A lot will depend on how it works in practice, which we'll have to wait to see.

1 upvote
Alejandro del Pielago
By Alejandro del Pielago (Oct 18, 2012)

Dear DP: And what about the full review of the Canon EOS-1D X ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Please, CONNECT you with your readers ! ! ! ! ! !

4 upvotes
Allar
By Allar (Oct 18, 2012)

Great Question!

1 upvote
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Oct 19, 2012)

We do try to connect with our readers (it's just hard to do so in a way that everyone notices, and a news story announcing which cameras have arrived wouldn't be very exciting or useful).

We have recently received a 1D X but don't have anyone able to work on it at present (there were quite a few cameras at Photokina that will appeal to more people). We hope to do something on it, but that won't be soon, I'm afraid.

0 upvotes
RXVGS
By RXVGS (Oct 19, 2012)

They never reviewed the 1D Mk III :P

5 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Oct 19, 2012)

No. Though there's a 50% of a review sitting on our servers (a lot of the test work and hundreds of sample images).

It's been explained many, many times why we didn't ever manage to review the 1D III (recruiting and training new staff meant no-one was available to review it). But, given that those staff have now been here for five years, it seems a bit picky to still get hung-up on it.

0 upvotes
dholl
By dholl (Oct 21, 2012)

"We have recently received a 1D X but don't have anyone able to work on it at present. We hope to do something on it, but that won't be soon, I'm afraid."

Not reviewing Canon's flagship camera again would be the final confirmation that this site, which genuinely used to be the best place to come for reviews, is not the best review site on the net anymore.

It's a sign you're reprioritising. Nothing wrong with that, it's healthy to adapt and evolve. I think you will do very well, as you have possibly the liveliest & most diverse community of picture-taking folk on the interwebs and you are feeding them with all sorts of features.

But there has to be a cost, and you've decided that timely reviews of high-end DSLR's will be sacrificed.

Just an observation.

2 upvotes
Rickard Hansson
By Rickard Hansson (Oct 28, 2012)

dholl - Most people doesn´t base their purchase of a camera solely on one review.
So, even if dpreview reviews it, then i guess most people paying those moeny for a camera will check other reviews and more important, TRY THE CAMERA in stores.
If you look at the people on this site, majority of them is not the target audience for an 1Dx or similar model anyway, that goes for the D4 from nikon also.
I guess dpreview have an broader customer base to please and therefore prioritize other cameras first.

0 upvotes
Maxis Gamez
By Maxis Gamez (Oct 18, 2012)

Can't wait to try focusing at f/8 with my 800mm.. Hopefully will be faster than with the 1D MKIV.

Glad Canon Listened!

www.gvisions.org - Bird Photography

1 upvote
kapanak
By kapanak (Oct 18, 2012)

._. You have a 800mm F/5.6, correct? That focuses at f/5.6, regardless of what aperture you select. AF is always done at max aperture.

This update adds the capability of focusing lenses that have a maximum effective aperture of lower than f/5.6, for example, your 800mm with a 1.4X TC.

All Canon lenses have a max aperture of at least f/5.6 (or faster), so this problem only arises with lenses used with a Tele-Converter.

6 upvotes
Rickard Hansson
By Rickard Hansson (Oct 28, 2012)

To focus at f8 with that lens would require you to mount an 1.4x teleconverter.
As kapanak says, all modern cameras always focus using wide open aperture and stops down first when it is time to take the shot. Regardless if you have setup your camera to take an shot at f8 or f11 or f5.6, the lens will always be used at f5.6 when focusing (the lens we are talking about now).

0 upvotes
nekrosoft13
By nekrosoft13 (Oct 18, 2012)

I hope so, since its is the same focus system

1 upvote
Denton Taylor
By Denton Taylor (Oct 18, 2012)

Hopefully 5Dmkiii comes right behind...

4 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (Oct 18, 2012)

just about to say it too....please~~~ do it for 5D3!!!

6 upvotes
DavesMan
By DavesMan (Oct 19, 2012)

I think that the illumination wil make its way to next 5D Mark III firmware for sure.
But the f/8 AF? It is possible for sure - it shares the same AF sensor. But will Canon do this? That is a big question. The f/8 has always been a privilege of 1D class. But on the other hand, the biggest rival D800 can focus up to f/8 so it would make sense to put this feature into 5D Mark III firmware.

2 upvotes
StephaneB
By StephaneB (Oct 19, 2012)

Not so. I used to have an EOS 3 (yes, film) and its AF was the same as the EOS 1v, allowing AF at f/8.

0 upvotes
DavesMan
By DavesMan (Oct 19, 2012)

Yes, yes. I am aware of this camera, but I am talking about the digital era (1D class) of EOS system.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 44