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Author Topic: Canon 1ds3 alignment problems  (Read 79363 times)
blansky
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« on: January 09, 2008, 12:51:44 PM »
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I noticed a couple of posts on DP preview and Northlight about problems people are noticing on their Canon 1ds Mark 3 that there is from a degree to 5 degrees tilt between what they are seeing on the viewfinder and what they get from the sensor or live view. The horizon seems to tilt and a correction ccw needs to be taken to line it up.

Being a portrait photographer, I don't think I would have noticed this and perhaps it was present in other DSLRs that I've had. On top of that I never print full frame 35mm anyway but prefer the 8x10 crop.

Has anyone else noticed this on their new or even their older DSLRs.


Michael
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2008, 01:37:36 PM »
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If you don't have the grid line focusing screen, getting horizons perfectly level can be hard. I've never had any alignment issues with 3 different Canon DSLRs.
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mcbroomf
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2008, 06:33:16 PM »
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Ditto.  I spent 2 days walking around Hampton Court Palace over Christmas week.  While I do have a few that need tweaking (all were developed with DPP which doesn't have a leveling option) most were fine.

mike

http://www.pbase.com/mike_broomfield/hampton_ct_and_molesey
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jeffok
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2008, 08:49:24 PM »
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I saw those posts too but I have not noticed anything out of line on my 1DsIII. I suppose if you look hard enough at any camera, you can find some kind of flaw, however minor.
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David Anderson
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2008, 10:28:27 PM »
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I haven't seen any problems yet, in fact I'm still very impressed with the thing ..

The grid on live view is handy for tripod stuff.
(not that I ever have time for tripods, but if I did !   )
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jsch
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« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2008, 02:26:23 AM »
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I heard of that problem with the Mark III too.

I have a Mark II and do a lot of architecture with it. If I level with the grid screen or a bubble level (very exact one, not the junk you stick to the hotshoe) there is a misalignment of the sensor of about 1.5 degree. That sounds not to be much. But for my architecture work it is clearly visible and I have to align all architecture shots.

So this is not new to me, but 5 degree - that is a joke.

Best,
Johannes
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carl dw
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« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2008, 12:17:44 PM »
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I have also experienced sensor misalignment problems with 1Ds Mk3's.

Being a very satisfied 1DsMk2 user for three years I ordered my 1Ds Mk3 about six months ago. The body (serial 609xxx) arrived six days ago. On testing I discovered it had an obvious clockwise misalignment problem between the viewfinder and the sensor.

The error was about 1 degree (that's the rotation required in Photoshop to put it right). It doesn't sound like much but just imagine carefully lining a horizontal line along the top edge of the frame in the viewfinder and taking a photograph. On the beautiful new rear screen the horizontal line drops about 4mm from left to right - a huge discrepancy.

Also, because of the degree of the error part of the image is turned out of frame completely! - hardly a 100% viewfinder!!

I returned to my dealer here in the UK and demonstrated the problem. He looked both surprised and bemused but instantly offered me a replacement which we tested there and then in the shop. Guess what - same problem!

My dealer offered to contact Canon to discuss the issue and find out when they would be receiving more units. I have known my dealer for many years and was happy to leave the camera (and the thousands of pounds of dept on my credit card) for a few days while he sought an answer.

He has since received two more bodies which we have tested together. They also have the same problem. All FOUR bodies have now gone back to Canon as 'dead on arrival'.

Is it just a batch? ..... serials ranged from 606xxx to 609xxx (yes, the later cameras to arrive did have lower numbers) - that seems like a whole lot of cameras to me!

I also contacted Canon who told me I'd have a response in 3 days.... no response.

I am not a camera technician, but suspect one of three things could be at fault. Either the sensor isn't secured in the correct position, the viewfinder mask is not in the correct position, or the mirror is not aligned correctly across it's diagonal. Whatever, it's a real dumb mistake not related to the cutting edge technology that has been squeezed into this otherwise stunning piece of engineering.

I understand Canon are accepting cameras to be adjusted under warranty... but do you really want someone taking your brand new almost 6000 camera to bits before you've taken a single snap?!! - I don't.

I've noticed that a number of people have dismissed the error as 'nit picking' but as a professional photographer who relies on a grid screen in a viewfinder to line up compositions on a daily basis... the fault makes an otherwise great tool useless.

My dealer has returned my money.... for the time being.

P.S. I've been looking at the LL website / forums here for a few years and have gleaned some great info (and purchased some excellent videos) This is my first post so I'd just like to apologize for the rather negative content. Anyway - hello to all!
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djgarcia
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2008, 12:48:56 AM »
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I took mine out for some landscapes last weekend and hadn't noticed, but I just checked mine with my 50" TV and a test pattern for more reference, though just aligning the top would give you a clue. Noticeable. I wonder if it's a side-effect of the sensor cleaning vibration mechanism which makes it harder to align precisely at assembly time.

But here's the workaround, at least until Canon decides what to do, for precision shots: use Live View to frame your shot - perfect alignment guaranteed every time . Kind of a bit of a fly in the ointment. So far I love the camera, both operationally and the resulting images I've been getting, and frankly I can't really tell in the tree-laden images I shot or the wider landscapes with lots of horizon. Architectural shots would probably be a different story though.

I can see the next Rob Galbraith saga coming up ...
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2008, 04:49:49 AM »
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Has anyone with this "problem" bothered to check that their focusing screen is aligned/seated properly? Given that the 1-series' screens can be removed and replaced, it would seem that reseating the screen would be a quick and effective fix to this problem without the hassle of returning/replacing the camera. A bit of tape applied to the right spot on the edge of the screen would easily fix this issue permanently; returning the camera over such a trivial thing seems a bit of an overreaction.
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carl dw
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2008, 05:44:04 AM »
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Has anyone with this "problem" bothered to check that their focusing screen is aligned/seated properly? Given that the 1-series' screens can be removed and replaced, it would seem that reseating the screen would be a quick and effective fix to this problem without the hassle of returning/replacing the camera. A bit of tape applied to the right spot on the edge of the screen would easily fix this issue permanently; returning the camera over such a trivial thing seems a bit of an overreaction.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=166472\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

This issue may seem trivial to an amateur using the camera for his/her holiday snaps, but if you are earning a living from it's use then it's a different game altogether. A camera of the type is supposed to save time and hassle - not give the photographer something else to think about.

With reference to your "easy fix" the position of the removable screen has no effect on the position of the mask attached to the lower face of the prism. It's the relationship between this mask, the mirror and the sensor that is at fault.

There is no getting away from the fact that a 6000 camera intended for professional use should produce images as per the composition in the viewfinder - out of the box!
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2008, 07:23:28 AM »
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This issue may seem trivial to an amateur using the camera for his/her holiday snaps, but if you are earning a living from it's use then it's a different game altogether. A camera of the type is supposed to save time and hassle - not give the photographer something else to think about.

With reference to your "easy fix" the position of the removable screen has no effect on the position of the mask attached to the lower face of the prism. It's the relationship between this mask, the mirror and the sensor that is at fault.

Before joining the Army, I did earn my living with my cameras. My experience is that "eyeballing" horizons/verticals is tough to do more accurately than +/- 2 degrees or so, especially if they are near the center of the frame and your reference is is the edge of the frame. If you're serious about perfect horizon/vertical alignment via the viewfinder, you should be using the grid focusing screen, in which case the tape trick I mentioned in my previous post will work just fine, if there are any remaining alignment issues switching screens doesn't solve.

In any event, using Live View tethered is an even better option, and renders the issue moot.
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carl dw
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2008, 09:42:21 AM »
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Before joining the Army, I did earn my living with my cameras. My experience is that "eyeballing" horizons/verticals is tough to do more accurately than +/- 2 degrees or so, especially if they are near the center of the frame and your reference is is the edge of the frame. If you're serious about perfect horizon/vertical alignment via the viewfinder, you should be using the grid focusing screen, in which case the tape trick I mentioned in my previous post will work just fine, if there are any remaining alignment issues switching screens doesn't solve.

In any event, using Live View tethered is an even better option, and renders the issue moot.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=166487\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yes I am serious about perfect horizon/vertical alignment (not just of horizons) via the viewfinder, yes I do use a grid screen all the time. I also have the camera on either a studio stand or tripod 99% of the time - the operation of the camera should improve my workflow....not make it go backwards.

No, your bit of tape fix method will not work - I don't think you are understanding either the problem or the fact that an investment of this amount of money should result in a 100% correlation between viewfinder and sensor - not sticking bits of tape on the inside of a 6000 camera body to make the image 'appear' correct.

Having to correct each image by rotation on Photoshop will result in interpolation of pixels, whats the point of upgrading from a smaller pixel count just to shove the new pixels through an additional degrading hoop?

No, live view is not a solution rendering the issue moot. It is a pain in the butt that shouldn't be necessary. All I'm asking for is a capture of what I see in the viewfinder. I can see you feel I'm being unreasonable. So maybe we should move on.
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djgarcia
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2008, 10:12:14 AM »
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I'm afraid I have to agree with Carl. I suggested Liveview as a stop-gap solution, not a permanent one, while the problem gets resolved. It is a bit of pain in the butt, and chews up the battery and gets the sensor hot. While it's probably a handy thing to have on occasion, I'm not crazy about using it as my main shooting mode. I really do like the new Info LCD mode though, which I was planning on having on all the time.

Knowing Canon's mute tendency until the very last moment when dealing with this kind of thing, let's see how long this is going to take ...
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jsch
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2008, 12:34:46 PM »
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Sorry for the OT question -  What kind of level is your "very exact one" - can you post a link?  The only ones I've found with a method for attaching to a camera are the hotshoe ones, which are hit or miss in accuracy.

Thanks!
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The one in the image. Sorry the website is only in german:
[a href=\"http://www.manufactum.de/Produkt/0/761690/WasserwaageAcryl.html?suchbegriff=wasserwaage]http://www.manufactum.de/Produkt/0/761690/...iff=wasserwaage[/url]

[attachment=4601:attachment]

You hold it to the front end of the lens barrel first for vertical alignment. Then you put it on the hot shoe for horizontal alignment, measure this a second time with the level turned 180 to find out whether the hot shoe is not in level.

Best,
Johannes
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MatthewCromer
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2008, 12:57:45 PM »
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Apparently a 24MP full-frame Sony Alpha is imminently going to be announced at PMA with built-in sensor-based antishake for $3000-$4000 or so.  A Nikon D3x is also expected albeit probably in the $5000 range, and Nikon offers the incomparable 14-24/2.8 which absolutely thrashes every Canon wide angle lens, prime or zoom, in its range.

Perhaps some potential buyers of the 1DsIII will consider whether it is worth paying almost ten grand for a body with slapdash assembly standards and QC, using subpar wide angle glass and a defective autofocus system.

It's time for Canon to step up to the plate and stop acting like they own the high end marketplace, permanently, and can charge any price for their products.
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2008, 01:25:55 PM »
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Something like this happened to a Pentax Super Program I owned once. I had bought it second hand and discovered the problem after photographing artwork, which I had been very careful to frame properly using a tripod. I thought I might have introduced a bias because of bad technique (hitting the shutter button too hard maybe; couldn't remember if I had used the cable release) but when I tried again using a different camera, the tilt went away. I took it into a repair shop and the tech refused to believe me. He put the camera into a device, exposed a couple of frames and then showed me that the exposed image was perfectly parallel with the film edges. I tried to tell him that the prism (or penta-mirror) was out of alignment, not the film transport, but he refused to look at it more closely and blamed it on user error. I figure a previous owner might have knocked the prism (or mirror, or focus screen) out of alignment.

I feel the same as some of the earlier posters about the issue in the current camera. If the problem is real, assuming it is based on the presented evidence, for that kind of money I'd be upset and would not be satisfied with quick fixes to compensate for the tilt. Buying new equipment for top dollar is what you do when you want to avoid this kind of problem. Whether I buy a Kia or a Porsche, I expect it to be in alignment when I take delivery; I'd be a lot more upset with the Porsche than the Kia if they were not, however, but I wouldn't be happy either way.
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carl dw
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« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2008, 01:27:41 PM »
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Apparently a 24MP full-frame Sony Alpha is imminently going to be announced at PMA with built-in sensor-based antishake for $3000-$4000 or so.  A Nikon D3x is also expected albeit probably in the $5000 range, and Nikon offers the incomparable 14-24/2.8 which absolutely thrashes every Canon wide angle lens, prime or zoom, in its range.

Perhaps some potential buyers of the 1DsIII will consider whether it is worth paying almost ten grand for a body with slapdash assembly standards and QC, using subpar wide angle glass and a defective autofocus system.

It's time for Canon to step up to the plate and stop acting like they own the high end marketplace, permanently, and can charge any price for their products.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=166557\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I do agree that Canon have rested on their laurels for too long and the result seems to be showing it's presence in the 'professional' end of their range with this and the 1D Mk3.

I don't think that four faulty 1Ds Mk3 cameras in a row is just bad luck on my part, so I will be looking very carefully at the next one I receive. I do like the camera, the results and handling - as I did with my Mk2 so I have no intention of changing to Nikon (although I do still use F3 bodies when I'm traveling).

I have little interest in high ISO performance so with it's lower pixel count than my 1DsMk2 the D3 would be a step backwards in it's present form.

If I have any more doubt's or problems with the 1Ds Mk3 I'll stick with me Mk2 and medium format back for the near future.

I called Canon again today as they failed to respond within the promised three days. Apparently they have no knowledge of the issue (surprise) but it's been given a high priority and I should here from someone on Monday..... don't hold your breath.
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MatthewCromer
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« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2008, 02:26:18 PM »
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I have little interest in high ISO performance so with it's lower pixel count than my 1DsMk2 the D3 would be a step backwards in it's present form.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=166566\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Well the D3x is rumored to be announced at the end of the month with 24MP.

We'll see if it happens or not.  Canon can certainly use the competition!
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Misirlou
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« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2008, 03:28:26 PM »
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I used to be a surveyor. There's no way in the world that any small bubble level device is sensitive enough to allow you to level a camera with respect to the local horizon to any greater tolerance than about plus or minus 5 degrees. They just aren't that precise. The really precise bubble levels, like the ones used on high order survey instruments, are so sensitive that if you shine a flashlight on one end (at night of course), you can see the bubble start to move as the glass vial is heated differentially by the light. Those are good to under a degree (or maybe a lot more, depending on the instrument). Also, in that kind of work, rather than just center the bubble, we read it's actual location against numbered marks on the vial, at several different pointing positions.

Knowing that, if we're interested in absolute alignment, we need to align the image to the local level plane. Levelling the tripod or the camera body is insufficient. If there's an alignment problem between the image (either the digital sensor or the film frame window) and the viewfinder, then you've got to either get the misalignment corrected, or in the case of a digital camera, use live view to match the image itself with the horizon. Thus Jonathan's suggestion. You don't have to shoot with live view, just use it to verify your setup, and then shoot using whatever other method you prefer. Of course, that won't do you much good for handheld work, but if you're trying to shoot architecture or something of that nature handheld, you've got all kinds of other problems.

When I'm shooting panoramas for QuicktimeVR, I use an ancient Canon point and shoot, since all the extra data from a DSLR would be more storage trouble than I need for my low-res result. That particular camera has about a 5 degree sensor/camera level discrepancy (I've heard anectdotal evidence that many or most of the same model are similar; probably an engineering/packaging design decision). I use a bubble level to set the tripod. Then I turn on the live view and rotate the camera around the vertical axis to check alignment. I use the tripod head to adjust the horizontal angle of the camera until I'm satisfied that the images will be level. Then I shoot. Piece of cake, and neatly sidesteps all the issues associated with tripod and camera leveling.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2008, 06:14:32 PM »
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No, your bit of tape fix method will not work - I don't think you are understanding either the problem or the fact that an investment of this amount of money should result in a 100% correlation between viewfinder and sensor - not sticking bits of tape on the inside of a 6000 camera body to make the image 'appear' correct.

Having to correct each image by rotation on Photoshop will result in interpolation of pixels, whats the point of upgrading from a smaller pixel count just to shove the new pixels through an additional degrading hoop?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=166513\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Jonathan's advice works. If you align correctly the line of the grids then you will not need to rotate the image in PS.

The problem that his fix does solve is the crop since the wrong positioning of the mask of the camera will result in the viewfinder not being in fact 100%. In other words, you will shoot a correctly oriented image, but you will not see the full area of the image. Depending on the mask's misalignement, this could make you waste as many as 1 or 2 MP or sensor real estate.

As a side comment, the orientation sensor of the D3 is key, since it enables the photograph - even on the fly - to align his images much better, which reduces the need to crop, and therefore makes you win as much as 10% pixel counts compared to images taken with a camera without this feature. Thanks to it a 20MP D3x would practically have the same pixel count as a 22MP Mamiya ZD.

Cheers,
Bernard
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