AF fail on RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS...Because of firmware update?

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,825
1,053
Southeastern USA
I received a new RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS from an authorized dealer today. Tried it out of the box and was astounded by the speed of the AF and the sharpness of the lens. It had firmware 1.0.3.

I then installed the update, 1.0.6. The camera reported the procedure as successful.

Immediately afterwards the AF became sluggish at 70mm on up to almost 200mm, struggling in fact. But at 200mm, complete fail, no acquisition of any target at any distance. Light was good. Targets had contrast and plenty of varied patterns. One target is the statue in our home that I always use to test new lenses, as the face is fairly lifelike.

It did seem that toggling the delimiter while at any focal length, and then zooming to 200mm, triggered the issue consistently. A few times when AF failed at 200mm I could attain focus by varying the distance to subject until AF "woke up" again, but most of the times it just would not begin to function again at 200mm unless I zoomed back to 70mm. Going again to 200mm would cause AF to fail again

Canon CPS talked me through a few trouble shooting steps but felt that none of my camera settings should have had any effect. Fortunately I did have a second R body on hand to make sure it was only the lens having a problem. Identical AF fail on both bodies.

So, to sum up, after updating to 1.0.6, the AF would fail consistently when zooming to 200mm. And AF at all focal lengths struggled. Before the firmware update all was well.

Of course I kick myself for having updated so fast, but the CPS tech said once it's released it's assumed safe.

He did want me to send the camera to Canon, but understood I wanted to get it back to the dealer ASAP.

Now I'm worried about getting another one until hearing more about how the firmware is playing out, or maybe seeing a revision.
 
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Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
4,419
1,064
What a bummer! I agree no settings should cause this. The good news is that if it’s easy replicable it will be easier to fix .
 
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YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,825
1,053
Southeastern USA
OK! A pretty significant update here, from my perspective. I called Canon CPS again to discuss the issue. The tech I talked to this time said that they have seen this type of problem on lens firmware updates in general, though not specifically the rf 70-200mm. He said that there had been quite a discussion about having users update firmware for lenses, and that only with the R has it been widely promoted. (Apparently before the lens updates were mostly for super telephotos.)

So here is the point: He said that though there is not an explicit instruction published, lens updates should be done sequentially. I should have, he said, updated from 1.0.3 to 1.0.5, and THEN to 1.0.6. Again, this tech said that the type of issue I experienced with AF failing has been seen before when updates are "leapfrogged."

I hope this helps others avoid the AF fail experienced here!
 
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koenkooi

EOS 7D MK II
Feb 25, 2015
737
496
The last time something similar happened to me, the new firmware for an external BD-ROM drive said "Improve UHD support", by which LG meant "Disable it completely". The store where I bought it said "Well, we have a 30 day like-it-or-return-it policy, so send it back and we'll send you a new one with the old firmware". So ask your dealer for a replacement and test the leap-frog thing.
If the leap-frog theory is correct, the Canon software engineers need to google "Design for failure" and get a lot better at their jobs.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,694
865
OK! A pretty significant update here, from my perspective. I called Canon CPS again to discuss the issue. The tech I talked to this time said that they have seen this type of problem on lens firmware updates in general, though not specifically the rf 70-200mm. He said that there had been quite a discussion about having users update firmware for lenses, and that only with the R has it been widely promoted. (Apparently before the lens updates were mostly for super telephotos.)

So here is the point: He said that though there is not an explicit instruction published, lens updates should be done sequentially. I should have, he said, updated from 1.0.3 to 1.0.5, and THEN to 1.0.6. Again, this tech said that the type of issue I experienced with AF failing has been seen before when updates are "leapfrogged."

I hope this helps others avoid the AF fail experienced here!
I'd exchange it and do the updates sequentially. It will be fixed and appear in the Canon refurb store eventually. A virtually new lens with just a firmware update.
 
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bhf3737

---
Sep 9, 2015
501
622
Calgary, Canada
www.flickr.com
I don't know whether this is the way you did in your experiment. I had somehow similar problem with RF 24-105.
If I focus on something close and then something else far away, without turning the focus ring the R+RF24-105mm combo acquires focus very fast, as expected. But if I set the lens to 24mm and focus on something close then quickly change to 105mm and try to focus on something far away, the combo of R+RF24-105mm struggles quite a bit to acquire focus. One of the forum members said that it is perhaps because the lens is parfocal? Firmware update for 24-105 did not change this.
BTW. I got RF 70-200, updated the firmware from 1.0.3 to 1.0.6 similarly. Tested as above and this problem did not happen.
 

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,825
1,053
Southeastern USA
I don't know whether this is the way you did in your experiment. I had somehow similar problem with RF 24-105.
If I focus on something close and then something else far away, without turning the focus ring the R+RF24-105mm combo acquires focus very fast, as expected. But if I set the lens to 24mm and focus on something close then quickly change to 105mm and try to focus on something far away, the combo of R+RF24-105mm struggles quite a bit to acquire focus. One of the forum members said that it is perhaps because the lens is parfocal? Firmware update for 24-105 did not change this.
BTW. I got RF 70-200, updated the firmware from 1.0.3 to 1.0.6 similarly. Tested as above and this problem did not happen.
It is odd that this happens erratically. My plan for my replacement is to follow the sequential update suggestion of CPS. Apparently there is essential code needed for the 70-200mm in update 1.0.5 that the update which follows depends on for stable execution.

Your experience with the 24-105mm is very similar to mine with the 70-200mm--except that once mine failed at 200mm, it was as if AF had been switched off. There was no more AF at 200mm. But retracting back to 70mm, AF functioned again, but struggling, maybe two or three attempts to lock onto any subject, any distance.
 

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,825
1,053
Southeastern USA
I'd exchange it and do the updates sequentially. It will be fixed and appear in the Canon refurb store eventually. A virtually new lens with just a firmware update.
Great! CPS did tell me that at this point, firmware rollbacks cannot be done by customers; Canon techs must clear everything out and start the firmware programming from scratch.
 

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,825
1,053
Southeastern USA
The last time something similar happened to me, the new firmware for an external BD-ROM drive said "Improve UHD support", by which LG meant "Disable it completely". The store where I bought it said "Well, we have a 30 day like-it-or-return-it policy, so send it back and we'll send you a new one with the old firmware". So ask your dealer for a replacement and test the leap-frog thing.
If the leap-frog theory is correct, the Canon software engineers need to google "Design for failure" and get a lot better at their jobs.
And it would HELP if they wrote clear and explicit instructions on the download page and in the .pdf file that comes with the firmware update!!! But apparently they have had mixed reports about whether the sequential updating is truly necessary.
 
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kennybroh

1DXII, 5DRS, R
May 11, 2015
2
0
Baltimore, MD
Is the firmware installed in the camera or the lens, or both? I assume you are past the date when you can return the body... If you don't have a Canon Tech locally they should at least pay for expedited shipping both ways and do the repair immediately.
 

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,825
1,053
Southeastern USA
Is the firmware installed in the camera or the lens, or both? I assume you are past the date when you can return the body... If you don't have a Canon Tech locally they should at least pay for expedited shipping both ways and do the repair immediately.
Afaik, lens firmware affects lens only. I only had the lens one day, then shipped it back.
 

Aussie shooter

@brett.guy.photography
Dec 6, 2016
609
730
Did you actually suffer the initial focusing problem that prompted the new firmware in the first place? Or did you just do the update because there was a problem reported with the lenses?
 

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,825
1,053
Southeastern USA
Did you actually suffer the initial focusing problem that prompted the new firmware in the first place? Or did you just do the update because there was a problem reported with the lenses?
I did not experience the problem because I didn't even test for it. I simply took Canon's advice to update the firmware. By the way, the 70-200mm is the only RF lens offering a firmware update at this point.

I'm not a chronic firmware updater with bodies if they are working, but this seemed like a fix for a known problem, so I just had faith. Fortunately it happened with a new lens on the first day of the 30 day grace period!

There were actually two problems, one with the MFD, and one where the AF stopped focusing when zoomed out to 200mm. I only knew about the MFD problem, not the earlier problem addressed in 1.0.5. So, maybe when I "jumped" over 1.0.5 straight to 1.0.6, I didn't address that problem related to the zoom, and somehow the most recent update made things worse--to the point of AF failure.

Now I have the replacement lens. I updated to 1.0.5 first, as instructed, and it took several minutes to process. When I updated to 1.0.6, the process only took less than a minute. (Last week when I went straight to 1.0.6 it took several minutes too.)

In any event, AF now performs as expected, even with fast action, and zooming, and changing target distances drastically (near to far, far to near).

And I am seeing no focus shift issue at 200mm, MFD. Spot on!
 
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YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,825
1,053
Southeastern USA
Thanks! I looked and looked at the USA site but could not find the updates for the other lenses on the support page, but as soon as I Googled after reading your post, I found the correct page.

My 24-105mm has 2.0.0 and seems to work fine. There is a 2.0.1. Hmmm.... :D
 

koenkooi

EOS 7D MK II
Feb 25, 2015
737
496
Thanks! I looked and looked at the USA site but could not find the updates for the other lenses on the support page, but as soon as I Googled after reading your post, I found the correct page.

My 24-105mm has 2.0.0 and seems to work fine. There is a 2.0.1. Hmmm.... :D
I had to look up each lens seperately, the Canon site(s) have no way to show all updates. I knew the 24-70 and 24-105 had updates, since I always update lens firmware when I rent them :)
 
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