Just came into my mind before the launch of 5Dmk2, were there a lot of disappoint on the 5D AF focus? If yes, why there isn't much improvement done on the mk2? I wonder will mk3 be given at least the 7d AF system.
The AF system on the 5DII may have its limitations but it is still an accurate AF system so does job in the environment which it was expected to work - weddings, studio, landscapes etc. It also has the ability to AF in low light (on the centre AF point) where others give up.
The AF system is pretty much the same as the film cameras (except the top pro versions) which is where a lot of the customers came from as the 21mp gave 'film resolution in digital'. At its launch the 5DII the AF system was 'middle of the road' but has now fallen behind in peoples' expectations after 4 years of significant progress (like in the current 7D, and even the 40D had (minor but significant) improvements)
I think to sum up I would say that in my opinion the 5DII AF is not flawed as it works reliably and accurately but has limitations that current models have long surpassed for general use. In my opinion to 5DII should have been designed with the same AF as the 50D. I had a 50D at the same time as my 5DII and in day to day use in good light there was nothing betwen them, it was just in poor light when the non central points of the 5DII started to struggle.
I think the skills of the 5DII user base has changed so that they now are less able than the film users who would have found the AF system very acceptable (I am one of those)
With the next generation 5DII I am sure we will find the AF will be significantly improved - it is one area which Canon can make major improvements on the 5DII. Perhaps we will get autofocus for film users as well. The sensor is very close to the magic (for video people) 2k, so perhaps an updated sensor will come in too (perhaps also with better high iso performance too). The introduction of the Digic 5 processor might mean a small increase of fps to 5. These changes would mean the new generation 5D would have a higher spec than the venerable 1Ds3
As one of those from the film days - i can appreciate what you're saying. I would be happy if it were down t using freznel and split screen focusing - but it's not.
Like other manufacturers, Canon has moved into the multi AF point focusing system, and we've some how been forced to adapt to it. I don't mind adapting (like ihave from film to digital) - but at least provide the proper tools for the job.
Wedding and portrait photographers often photograph with the camera in porterait position - so it seems only right to expect a decent AF point to use with the camera in that position. And that's where my gripe comes from...
I could happily survive with 5 AF points - if only they were all of the same quality as the centre one...