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Weekend Humor: Canon Firmware Bug Renders All Photos of Musicians as Their Instruments

by Julius Motal on 05/18/2013

Chris Gampat Nikon D3s Concerts (2 of 22)

Weekend Humor isn’t meant to be taken seriously. So don’t, ya rube.

It was supposed to be a standard firmware update for Canon, but due to a few sleeping interns, it was one that produced unsavory results. A line of code was accidentally slipped into the update that triggered the camera’s microphone when taking still images. The sound received then screwed with the sensor in that it changed the content of the image. Canon-toting concert photographers everywhere noticed this when their photographs rendered musicians as the sum of their parts.


Devon McNally was on assignment for Rolling Stone at Mumford & Sons’ Edinburgh gig when he realized that something wasn’t quite right with his 5D Mark III. “I was there thinkin’, ‘Man, I love their banjos.’ And I was getting all of these great shots. At least, I thought I was,” McNally told us. When he brought the images into Lightroom back at his flat, he saw that something had gone horribly wrong. Every photo of the band was just a pile of banjos on stage. The number of banjos per photo varied depending on when during any given song he took the shot. Some photos taken during “I Will Wait” showed mountains of banjos.

On the other side of the pond, John Smitts was photographing Justin Bieber’s gig at Nassau Coliseum when his 1D X gave him results that made him giggle, but made his editors at Teen Bop seethe. The Canadian pop sensation appeared as a pile of Teletubbies on Smitts’ Mac. To Smitts and those who listen to actual music, the mishap made sense, but the editors at Teen Bob were on edge, knowing full well that their demographic would be up in arms over this transgression.

According to an internal memo, Canon’s executives largely sighed when shown what the firmware bug had caused. They plugged the hole eventually, but not before a surreptitious photographer for Vibe Magazine managed to snap a few shots of Beyoncé. The bug turned her into 10,000 song writers and Eric Bana’s Hulk.

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