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Need advice - Canon 1D M3 "blue dot" version

Steve Silverman , Nov 03, 2009; 11:24 a.m.

Someone has offered me a really good deal on a 1D Mk3 'blue dot' version and I'm tempted but still confused about what exactly that means. Are these cameras sent back to Canon to correct auto focus issues or newer versions recently off the Canon production line. Can someone clarify.


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Giampi . , Nov 03, 2009; 11:31 a.m.

Never heard of a "Blue Dot" line...is it a scam?

Tony Correa , Nov 03, 2009; 11:37 a.m.

Canon Blue Dot are Mk3 that have been 'fixed' by Canon to correct the focus issue:

Michael Liczbanski , Nov 03, 2009; 11:41 a.m.

Canon has marked different batches of 1D3, and 1Ds3, bodies with a different dot color (on the box) depending on the stage of the "AF debacle" in which the camera was released. My first pair of 1D3 had no dots but the second pair had a yellow dot and the third pair a blue dot (making the "blue dot" bodies released later and thus - most likely - having more fixes applied.) FWIW my personal 1Ds3 was marked with the green dot.
Really, the color of the dot is not very important but what repairs/adjustments were performed on the body is. You may want to inquire the seller and/or contact Canon support. In any event, since the 1D3 bodies were practically recalled by Canon because of the issues with AF, Canon Service should fix any remaining AF issues free of charge. Again, you may want to contact Canon Service.

Steve Silverman , Nov 03, 2009; 11:49 a.m.

Michael, the seller tells me that it's the blue dot version and he has the official documentation from Canon. I'm really not sure what that means.

Scott Ferris , Nov 03, 2009; 11:51 a.m.


Don't sweat it too much. If you read too many reports you will find any combination of pre blue dot, blue dot, yellow dot, green dot etc never having had issues or always having issues. Besides unscrupulous vendors don't have too much difficulty getting blue, yellow and green dot stickers!

I would not buy a 1D MkIII or a 1Ds MkIII without a money back period or a good pre purchase test. Some cameras work perfectly (I have no complaints about focus on my 1Ds MkIII) some do have issues there is no doubt. They do take a little setting up but it is not rocket science, in factory settings (reset all custom functions) then it should hold good tracking focus, if it doesn't don't buy it. If they won't let you test it, don't buy it. If you can't put the money in Escrow or get a money back guarantee, in writing, don't buy it.

The 1D MkIII is not a classic camera and the second hand market will work out their value very quickly next year when masses of them are dumped by unhappy owners and those that want/need the video of the 1D MkIV. I suspect that they will level out surprisingly low for a 1 Series camera.

Michael Liczbanski , Nov 03, 2009; 12:11 p.m.

Blue dot= fixes to AF applied before shippment. Sometimes there are also two small white dots inside the battery compartment if the camera's serial number falls within the affected range and the AF has been applied. Ask the seller what documentation from Canon he's got, most likely it will be a service ticket. Get the serial number and call Canon to check whether the camera's serial number falls into the affected range.
As an aside: 1D3 is a wonderful, complex and complicated to use camera that got a lot of bad rap on the internet by constant reposting and rehashing of the relatively few initial reports about its AF perfomance in pretty extreme situations. Most users have never experienced any AF issues with 1D3 and a lot of whining on the internet comes from very suspect sources. I wouldn't expect price to go really low for used 1D3 in good cosmetic and mechanical/electrical condition because a lot of these cameras were literally driven into the ground by heavy professional use and most "nice looking" specimens come from the relatively small number of semi-pro/amateur/hobbyst users of 1D3. The replacement (1D4) is priced at $5K in the US, BTW, which may give a long pause to many non-pro users...

Steve Silverman , Nov 03, 2009; 12:23 p.m.

Scott, good advice, thanks for your input.

Scott Ferris , Nov 03, 2009; 07:44 p.m.

Thanks Steve you are very welcome.

Michael, with limited numbers of the Mk III currently on the market even good condition ones fail to make much over $2,000 (link) when more come on the market that figure will drop, it can't not drop, supply and demand etc. The Mk IV might list at $5,000 now but when the first people get them and the initial rush drops off the price of all this stuff usually eases. I wouldn't put any investment money into speculating the 1D MkIII values will hold. I intent to pick one up next year as a backup for my FF and also for the higher fps over my current crop camera. I think the MkIII will represent superb value for money.

Take care, Scott.

Yakim Peled , Nov 04, 2009; 09:34 a.m.

I'd buy a 1D3 if - and only if -

  1. The camera had had all the fixes and the seller has documentation for that. IIANM there were 3 fixes. First and second were relating to the AF assembly and the third was related to oil spots on LPF Surface. If the camera is a blue dot then the first fix was done in the factory before shipment and you only need to see documentation for the last two.
  2. Either the seller is a reputable one and has a reasonable return policy or I'd test it myself.
  3. Happy shooting,


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