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Canon's Chuck Westfall Is Dead At 65 Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

17 March 2018

Chuck Westfall, who nurtured the budding digital imaging industry with candor and kindness as Canon's media spokesperson for professional imagine products, has passed away after a long fight with kidney cancer at the age of 65.

His sister Nancy Winings made the announcement on her Facebook page, saying, "This gentle man passed away today. He was a loving son, husband, father, brother and friend."

Not surprisingly, tributes have been flowing in from every corner of the digital imaging world. There was hardly anyone in the young industry he didn't help. All you had to do was ask.

He was indeed a kind man, as considerate of the newbie journalist with no following as the publisher of a major site. He was a reliable presence at every trade show and always promptly answered his email.

While most of the tributes today praise his character and friendship, we most appreciated his candor.

We once asked him what Canon's infamous ERR99 really means, since nobody seemed to know. He wrote back right away:

ERR99 appears as a generic error message to the user but its cause can be isolated when the camera is examined by a qualified service technician using Canon's diagnostic software, which is not available for consumers.

That wasn't going to be good news for our readers (send your camera in?) so we followed up, asking if a procedure we ran across on the Web would help diagnose the problem.

Pepcom 2008. Westfall answers a few questions from the media.

Chuck took the trouble to check with Canon's service department to see if the procedure would actually be any help.

In his reply, he quoted a service manager, "I would not call this 'Canon's official advice,' but it is a sound method to confirm the cause of the error."

That's a step further than most people would go.

But he also was diplomatic about where he could not go.

We had been researching Canon's Picture Styles for an article when we discovered that some styles with identical settings for the four parameters of Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation and Color Tone yielded different results. There were only those four option to set. So how could the results differ?

Clueless, we asked Chuck, "What am I missing here? Is there another parameter at work?"

He wrote back:

Your observation is correct: There is more involved in Canon's Picture Style concept than simple adjustments of contrast, sharpness, saturation and color tone. Although the precise details are confidential, differences between individual Picture Styles also exist in terms of tone curve manipulations within individual color channels. Using these methods, it's possible to emphasize specific hues and color ranges for a particular effect.

Most people would have left it at "the precise details are confidential."

But Chuck was a photographer himself, a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology, who worked in commercial photography and photo retail for 10 years before joining Canon in 1982 as a technical representative. He knew what we needed to know and didn't short-change us.

Among his favorite quotes, was this line from Mose Allison:

I don't worry about a thing 'cos I know nothin's gonna be all right.

Certainly nothing feels all right about anything now that Chuck has gone. Our deepest condolences to his family, friends and our fellow members of the press who relied on his advice and cherished his friendship.

He will be missed.

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