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Gear & Apps

FROZEN! Canon EOS-1D X/C AF Malfunctioning in Extreme Cold

By Anthony Thurston on April 3rd 2014

Confirmed reports are starting to hit the web of a somewhat major issue with Canon’s flagship DSLRs. According to a report over on Canon Rumors, the Canon EOS-1DX and EOS-1DC malfunction in extreme cold, specifically the AF stops working entirely below temperatures of 0 degrees Celsius.


In reality, people have been reporting this issue for sometime, but since it requires being in very cold temperatures, many users of the cameras could be unaware the issue even exists. The Canon Rumors contains what appears to be an internal Canon repair memo about the issue, which you can see below:


Camera “does not autofocus,” “does not search in AF,” or “does not focus in AF search” depending on the reporter or the camera settings; specifically, the focus cannot be achieved in low temperatures (under 0 degree Celsius).

* Although there has been no reported occurrence on the EOS-1D C, the mechanical structure of the Mirror Box Ass’y is the same as the EOS-1DX, so the EOS-1D C is included in the affected product.

This phenomenon is due to the Locking Claw of the Sub Mirror (mirror for AF) going over the Locking Pin. The Sub Mirror’s angle becomes deviated and the light rays for AF does not fall on the AF sensors, causing the “does not autofocus” phenomenon.

Service of Affected Product:
To control the torque, the process to check the Locking Claw’s going over torque of Locking Pin has been newly incorporated. (From production on January 24)

Repair Procedure:
Handling of units in question: If the user complains about this specific phenomenon (does not autofocus in low temperature), replace the Mirror Box Ass’y with the ones to be shipped in the future (CY3-1661-010 or CY3-1687-010).

Handling of general repairs: If the user does not mention this phenomenon, please handle as normal repair.


It seems pretty clear to me, assuming that this memo is real, that Canon is aware of the problem and has a solution. What worries me though, is the bit, “if the use doesn’t mention it, then don’t fix it.” While this saves them a ton of money, it is a little shady of them, in my opinion.

What are your thoughts on this? Should Canon be fixing this issue in all of their 1 D X/C bodies, regardless of if the user notices the problem?

[via Canon Rumors]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Daniel

    Just got home from a job where I used my 1DX. Rain and cold weather (0 – +3C) for 15 minutes, did that AF was not working. Had to manually focus, throughout the job.

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  2. Richard

    Please feel free to send me 2 or 3 of these sad working 1D Xs, I will of course pay for the shipping.

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  3. Ian Hylands

    Not sure what qualifies as extreme cold, but 0 degrees Celsius isn’t it. I shot Red Bull crashed at temperatures down to -35 C (-31 F) and had issues where the lubricant in my lenses froze (focus and zoom both barely usable) and the LCD screens (including the readouts inside the camera) stopped working. I researched cold weather shooting and also talked to Nikon about it, and was told that their cameras for the most part aren’t guaranteed to work or warrantied below 0 C. This is not just a digital issue either as film has been known to freeze and crack at low temps, and I found one story about a shutter actually exploding somewhere around -40.

    Issues at 0 C aren’t extreme cold issues, they’re normal every day shooting issues, and need to be resolved. Glad I shoot Nikon…

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  4. rudy

    If it is not mentioned, why fix it? If I am a sports shooter and my AF works fine, I don’t want them to mess with it. Same for wedding or portraits and wildlife. If I happen to be one of those and I shoot in very cold conditions, then I would most likely have experienced it and would want it fixed. If it ain’t broke , don’t fix it.

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  5. Luis ureña

    that’s interesting, I have experienced the same thing while I was in Panama shooting. but the difference was the temperature, it was 35 degrees and extremely dry. my camera stopped working in the jungle, I could see photos and change settings, but the AF/ mirror was locked, after 2 days all went back to normal when I returned to Panama City.

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  6. mary

    How weak.

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  7. danny

    This guy doesn’t seem to have too many issues with it.

    “At -15 degrees Celsius the Canon 1DX performed flawlessly and I was able to squeeze out nearly 600 frames without any effort, finding no need to warm the battery or swap it for another from a warm pocket.”

    So, I don’t know. I can’t afford one, so I can’t test it out for myself. Hopefully they can fix the issue if it really becomes a problem.
    Also, I know that there are Canon shooters at the Winter Olympics, and some of them could be using this camera as well.

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  8. Paul Carter

    They really don’t need to worry about it. There won’t be another winter olympics for four years, by then it’ll be replaced and the pros will still be able to get shots with the next flagship model.
    Of course in that time don’t plan on shots of any winter sport (or any mountain sport) coming from the flagship Canon. A pro isn’t gonna risk being in the middle of nowhere with a camera that might not perform if you get one cold night.

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  9. Peter

    My D4 doesn’t have that problem. #Justsaying

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