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Image problems with Canon 7D

When Canon released their fantastic 5D Mark II last year the excitement didn’t last long. Within weeks it turned out that this new high-end camera was having problems with

strange black dots which appeared on some images. Subsequent firmware updates removed the problem, yet Canon’s reputation suffered a little as a result. In this dog-eat-dog world of digital SLRs every little cock-up dents your reputation and may be – and often is – ruthlessly used against you.

Nikon seems to release newer and better cameras at the same breakneck speed as Canon, yet their high-end gear doesn’t suffer from random and unexplained issues.

So you’d think Canon would learn from its mistakes, right? Well, to be fair, it has. But only to a degree.

Its latest addition to the DSLR family, the Canon 7D, was a result of worldwide consultations with photographers, who told Canon what they want, what should change, and what should go. As a result, the camera boasts some radical improvements, including 19 cross-type AF points, something the 5D Mark II could do with, 8 frames per second, dual DIGIC 4 processors etc. And an improved on/off button, my personal pet hate and something Canon should have addressed years ago.

So what do you do now with this camera which does what people want it to do? Erm, you spoil the fun. Again.

This from Canon’s today’s press release:

In images captured by continuous shooting, and under certain conditions, barely noticeable traces of the immediately preceding frame may be visible. This phenomenon is not noticeable in an image with optimal exposure. The phenomenon may become more noticeable if a retouching process such as level compensation is applied to emphasize the image. Canon is currently investigating and analyzing the cause of this phenomenon, and we are planning to release a firmware update to address this issue.

It’s fair to assume that people who invested in this camera did so because it’s cheaper than the 5D, but also because it can take almost twice as many pictures per second than the 5D Mark II. Therefore to give them a product which cannot function properly during a continuous shoot is simply damn silly. Yes, the firmware will hopefully fix it, but it’s another dent in Canon’s reputation. I wish they didn’t rush their products to the market like that.

Nikon execs must be rubbing their hands in joy….

Hopefully Canon 1D Mark IV, which is about to be released, has been thoroughly and more rigorously tested.

UPDATE: Canon has now released a firmware update, which corrects the above issue. You can download it from here.

Image © Axel Bührmann via Flickr, used under Creative Commons licence

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