|Chuck Westfall, pictured in front of our studio test scene on a visit to DPReview to show us the EOS 7D Mark II, in 2014.|
We were sad to learn that Chuck Westfall, 35-year veteran of Canon USA and friend of the site, passed away last week. At the time of his death he held the position of Product Planning Advisor for Canon's Imaging Technology & Communications Group.
After DPReview moved to Seattle in 2010, Chuck became our primary point of contact for technical questions and product briefings on high-end products in the USA. His pride in Canon's portfolio of cameras and lenses and his very genuine love of photography was undimmed, even after more than 30 years at the company. During this time he played a key role in the development of countless flagship products, both film and digital.
A legendary figure within our industry, probably the nearest Chuck ever came to being a household name was as a result of the briefly-famous 'fake Chuck Westfall' blog of the late 2000s - which could not have been further from the character of the man himself. The real Chuck Westfall was polite, reserved and unfailingly professional.
While we didn't work with him for as long as some of our US-based peers (we'd recommend reading Dave Etchells' heartfelt tribute at Imaging Resource) all of us at DPReview have benefited from Chuck's expertise in one way or another. He didn't talk about his illness and it didn't stop him working; he was a welcome presence at product briefings and trade-shows until relatively recently, and he will be greatly missed by everyone here at DPReview.
A fund has been created for Chuck's daughter Anna's college tuition, here.
Remembering Chuck Westfall
Barnaby Britton, Senior Editor
The first time I came across Chuck Westfall was in 2000 or 2001, when researching the purchase of my first professional SLR. Being a student, I couldn't afford the then-current EOS-1V, so I had my eye on a (much) used EOS-1. I sent off for archived magazine camera reviews from the late 1980s and 90s (remember when you could still do that?) and spent hours searching around in obscure corners of the Internet for any information about that long-discontinued model.
During the course of my research I dug up an incredibly detailed technical paper on the EOS-1's flash metering and autofocus systems. In terms of informational content, it was far more informative than any review I'd been able to find, while still being readable. The author was Chuck Westfall.
Although it was years before we met in person, the way that paper was written said a lot about Chuck as a person.
During my time with DPReview I have met and spoken to Chuck on countless occasions about Canon's latest digital cameras. In late 2014 I spent a few days with him in Montana, during the filming of a long-form video that featured the then-new EOS 7D Mark II. I had limited access to the camera before the shoot, and his help was invaluable when it came to navigating the camera's menu systems and custom options, while (equally as important) speaking coherently about them on-camera. I took my treasured EOS D30 along to shoot some behind the scenes images of the production, and I peppered Chuck with questions about his memories of the early days of digital imaging at Canon - a hugely important period when it seemed like new technologies were being unveiled almost every week.
For as long as I knew him professionally, I never stopped asking him Chuck about the cameras I used to aspire to owning when I was still a kid. Cameras like the T90, the EOS-1, the D30 and Canon's first-generation professional DSLRs. I'll miss those tangents, which invariably came in the middle of what should have been an interview or a briefing about some or other new Canon camera or lens.
Chuck was a key figure at Canon during one of the most important periods in the company's history, and his breadth of experience was just one of the reasons he was so valuable both to Canon, and to the journalists and analysts that he worked with. If you've shot with a Canon camera at any point in the last 30 or so years, the chances are that you've benefited from his expertise. We'll miss him.
Please note that comments have been enabled on this article to enable our readers to share their memories of Chuck. Please be respectful.
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