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The Fix is In

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We got our first "new" Canon 5D Mk III cameras today, the ones with the light leak fixed. You know me, I thought perhaps it would be a good idea to take one apart and see what was different. I had photos from the 'prefixed' 5D IIIs from a previous post, so comparison would be easy.

Let me say it here first: I knew this was going to be the fix since the first time I took one apart: Canon has this very cool black tape they used to cover circuit boards (I'm assuming either water resistance or electrical shielding or both) and I figured they'd just slap another piece over (or under, depending on your point of view) the top LCD light. Which is exactly what they did. Yes, I'm making fun, but it's a perfectly good solution and it works flawlessly.

Top assembly from original shipment of 5DIII
Top assembly from new shipment 5D III

And because I know you have enquiring minds: I did power the camera up with the shell off in a dark room. There is no more leak.

Addendum: for those who notice there is a black plastic piece over the shutter button that was removed in the first photo, but not this one.

Read This Please!!!

Sometimes I forget that other people don't spend most of their days looking in cameras and lenses. Some people seem to think tape is bad or cheap fix. It's not. Actually, I can't think of any SLR camera that doesn't have a bunch of tape inside. Nor can I remember any high quality zoom lens that doesn't have tape inside (some of the cheaper consumer grade lenses don't). This stuff lasts for the life of the camera and then some. Trust me, I've taken some water soaked equipment apart where the only thing still working was the tape.

In a previous post, I praised the broad sheets of the same tape used to cover all of the circuit boards: it obviously provides added protection. This solution seems silly, but it's logical and effective.

Roger Cicala

86 Responses to “The Fix is In”

Mark said:

Interesting point about only having it done "to protect the resale value".

Firstly, I find it amazing that you believe anyone will even remember there was ever an issue 2 or 3 years down the line when some of you pixel peepers sell your 5D3 to get the 5D4 with its zillion megapixel sensor.

Secondly, if you do get a potential buyer who is anal enough to remember this storm in a tea cup, chances are he/she will ask if the 'mod' was done and when you proudly say yes, he will say, sod that then, I am after one that hasn't been stripped down and bodged up.

He/she will then go and buy a secondhand one that hasn't had the 'mod' done in the full knowledge they will never actually be effected by the non-issue that is generating this short term hysteria.

Mark

PDCM said:

If fyou sell your camera, haven't sent it Canon for modification, you will have to advise your potentional buyers that it is not modified. Otherwise, you could yourself in court under the sale of goods act.And of course, the camera's value would be a lot less.

Traeton Garl said:

Can anyone confirm that 5D Mark III's that are now starting to ship with the sixth digit of 0 either have received the fix or do not exhibit this issue?

Geoff_K said:

PDCM .. used equipment is sold AS-IS when bought from a person. You do not have to disclose a MOD or nonMOD since this is not a safety issue. At least in the US anyway.

Kev said:

Well it was pretty obvious to me, as soon as i read about the "light leak" i thought i bet canon will fix it will some insulating tape or something like it. I actually have a roll of the tape they use, its very strong and durable and like you said, its not a cheap fix. I took a Fuji S1 pro DSLR apart about 6 years ago, and the whole back of the CCD chip was covered with the same kind of tape that actually held the CCD in place, at the time i thought was a rip off, an expensive camera held together with sticky tape!!! but it worked.

This has always been my argument, all the development has been done with these cameras with the past models, these are all upgrades, so why oh why do they charge so much for there cameras.

Im waiting until August, i hope then the 3 grand mk3 will be around £2200

temporary remedy -- black tape said:

a temporary remedy -- black tape

Canon ought to employ black flexible film to cut a molded film, and fixed with original screws.

a piece of adhesive tape the behavior is unlikeness Canon's craft manner, but is like cottage workshop.

in eos5d3, now Canon already habituated to paste adhesive tape everywhere? Look at here, more adhesive tape,
http://www.eoshd.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/canon5dmk3_olpf_004.jpg
http://www.eoshd.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/canon5dmk3_olpf_005.jpg

http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/media/2012/04/IMG_0007sml.jpg
http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/media/2012/04/IMG_0013sml.jpg

some viewpoints:
"cannot think of any SLR camera that doesn’t have a bunch of tape inside".
"tape is now effective" in 5d3.

However, is Canon ought to use the more tape? Did you like tape manner everywhere? Did not like a better craft and design?
In a camera its inside having a fewer of tape to be good "logical", but habitual action is everywhere tape would be disappointing.

a temporary remedy -- black tape

TGIF said:

@temporary remedy,

Disappointing? Why?

Oh, You are such a amateur, who never seen inside a mobile phone.
Look at the iPhone. They use a same type of an insulating stuff on the electronic circuit inside.

Please stop making yourself so idiot.

FYI, even D7000 from Nikon, it use the black film around the AF sensor.
Thanks,

Francesco said:

This seems a sensible fix to me.
My question is: the two casings seems a little different, not only for the angles or the black plastic piece under the shutter, but also for the serial numbers: I can read 41159 (or 2) on the fixed one, while the unfixed ends with a 32. There is also a bluish sign in the small circle under the serial number which is vertical in the fixed and horizontal in the unfixed.
Was another piece of casing present in the first photo or did the Canon repair involve the substitution of the case, too, in addition to the black tape? Or maybe I am misreading the numbers ?
Thanks for your blog which I've discovered only recently.. and keep up the excellent work :)

Venus said:

Seems like 2 different cam model casings to me.. is tis a prank from N camp?

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Sigh. . . . It's not two different cameras - it's two different 5D IIIs. Shot with different lenses, different lighting, even slightly different angles on different days. But spend, say, oh, 0.5 seconds and look at the detail on the opposite side from the tape. There are days the paranoiac rantings of fanboys do try my nerves.

Francesco said:

Roger I was not ranting if you were referring to me! Sorry if that was the impression. I had misunderstood "new" and "prefixed" and thought that it was one of the same cameras, fixed. I was just curious.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Francesco, not you at all, your remarks are sensible. The remarks that it was a Nikon prank to make Canon look bad (and I totally disagree it makes Canon look bad) along with several comments not on this blog led me to frustration. I guess I must be fairly evenhanded since I've been called both a Nikon plant and a Canon Fanboy today :-)

They do look somewhat different, mostly because they were shot at different worktables with different lights and cameras. There also are a couple of extra screws removed on one disassembly compared to the other.

Nissanka Karunaratne said:

You say; [Top assembly from new shipment 5D III] If this is correct, is this a LEFT-Handed Canon EOS 5D Mark III ? How-come no one spotted that the image has been inverted but the numbers have been corrected? It has to be, since the grip is on the LEFT HAND side.

Stanley Zheng said:

Light leak issue is actually not a problem, until canon usa made it a big problem by issuing a stupid statement by revealing the serial number that are affected without having the initiative to recall those serial numbers and replace them with the one that have been modified. For canon user, this is the biggest problem that you should be furious about.... think about the resale value of your camera with that serial number, yeah they will fix it, i know that too, but for some freaks.. the camera that has been opened will suffer from a lower resale value!!! Stupid Canon USA..... !!!! Dumb ass!!!! dont u guys out there still have a brain???? y people with the serial number of 1 and 2 have to bear all the consequences, when they are proven to be a loyal canon customer for becoming an early adopter of a new model. And they have to pay for that????? STupid Company policy, may be their brain freeze after the tsunami!!!

Kev said:

oh its obvious they are both mk3 bodies, can you not tell, the angles different and so is the lighting, but they are mk3 bodies. Big deal they stuck some tape in it, so what, its fixed isn't it?

Why would someone from Nikon buy 2 mk3 bodies, take them apart and try to ruin Canons reputation? don't make sense to me wasting that much cash.

Antiquity said:

Tap dancing on the head of a pin and tiptoeing through the tulips defending an obviously expedient get it to market fast shabby "shade tree duct tape" fix when in all likelyhood canon engineers are working on a more professional un-sticky back solution seems absurd to me.

How many of you think that canon isn't addressing this issue in a more professional manner? They did indicate they were seeking a remedy. It may be a remedy, as is duct taping the grill back on your car its far from the solution one would expect on a $3500.00 device. Like all the other early adopter teething pains will be addressed as the bugs are worked out.

Phil Ross said:

I am not returning my camera for this. Think about it: the 5D2 has exactly the same behaviour with the top LCD but there has never been any service advisory on it. Thousands including myself have used the 5D2 without even noticing it or being affected by it in real life photography. Why did Canon have to issue a service advisory on the 5D3? I say that the whole thing has been blown out of proportion by novice users and poor communication from Canon.

Antiquity said:

I've seen "tape" used in cell phones and cameras in essentially three ways. One to further secure a push-in connector and another to secure wire harnesses in position and a third to act as or hold an insulator in place.

Using "black tape" to light seal a $3500.00 camera is pretty shabby. What to do with camera bodies with the "1" or "2" designation is a predicament. Who wants a camera opened to stick in some black tape rather than a slicker fix. If this is the best canon can do it's less than impressive.

I've learned not to be an early adopter and let inexpected issues get ironed out at others expense.

No one is forcing Phil to return his camera and I find his annoyance of in his mind "lesser photographers" odd. I'd rather hold canon to a higher standard and not congratulate them on a shabby, cheap but expedient duct-tape fix.

J Wells said:

The two pictures do show different casings. The serial numbers inside the dome do not match. My guess is that they replaced the top casing entirely. The black tape is probably covering up some other things that they fixed or changed.

Why the hysteria over some insulating tape? If it works it works. People are hardly going to be opening up their cameras and playing with the tape. What is so shabby about using insulating tape? What were you expecting a complete redesign? What slicker fix were you wanting? a complete redesing costing millions or something that actually does the job?

J Wells said:

The two pictures do show different casings. The serial numbers inside the dome do not match. My guess is that they replaced the top casing entirely. The black tape is probably covering up some other things that they fixed or changed.

Why the hysteria over some insulating tape? If it works it works. People are hardly going to be opening up their cameras and playing with the tape. What is so shabby about using insulating tape? What slicker fix were you wanting? a complete redesign costing millions or something that actually does the job?

Antiquity said:

Those are two different castings because they are from two different bodies. The first from a body prior to the problem being discovered and the second a post fix body and all they did was stick on a crappy piece of tape. One would be commitable to return their body to repair for such a shabby fix.

A slicker fix in a $3500.00 body would not to cheap out on duct tape to actually fix a design problem. The least one would expect would be a molded insert. Better than that a redesign of the LCD module to not leak light into the interior of the body in the first place.

Jerry Utah said:

Near the right thumb in the top picture is a silvery metallic plate. In the bottom picture, it is now black.

My question is this: We all see one clear change---the added tape---but might there also be another dozen changes, such as one I mentioned above?

Also, for those who complain about the black tape mod---I don't understand that kind of thinking. I guess it is a priority of form over function, but what I can't be sure of this: Does the complaint prove an unhappy life, prone to complain about the smallest little thing. Or does it prove a happy life, where you have to go with the silliest things on earth or you would have nothing to complain of?

Antiquity said:

The original author made clear he removed the black shutter release button in the early photo but not in the second.
No multitude of improvements, just some black tape.

Antiquity said:

I quote orig author.
"Addendum: for those who notice there is a black plastic piece over the shutter button that was removed in the first photo, but not this one."

Jerry Utah said:

Antiquity ... interesting. You quote: "Addendum: for those who notice there is a black plastic piece over the shutter button that was removed in the first photo, but not this one." I did not know that that refers to what I was referring to. I find it a little vague. Are we looking up from the base of the camera (which I assumed) or down from the top?

Antiquity said:

Accepting mediocrity is what killed Detroit.
Duct tape replaced once a week may hold your liscence plate on but I prefer stainless steel nuts and bolts.
Again this is a $3500.00 camera body not a five dollar cardboard camera where glue and tape would be expected.

Maybe it's because I work on helicopters where a shoddy fix means the undertaker but I tend to strive for the best the human race can do, not the shoddiest.

Antiquity said:

We're looking at the inside of the top shell shutter release to the right with old and "taped" version oriented in the same way.
It's the cover removed and flipped over with the right side on the right.
Seriously who would feel good about returning a body to canon repair to be cracked open for some tape to be stuck in rather than a clean real non-stickyback fix.

Each to his own, but when I see roaches in the dining room of a restuarant I can only imagine what the kitchen looks like.

Jerry Utah said:

Antiquity---it seems safe to say that you vastly prefer style over substance.

How do you handle having your car repaired?---"No no no, your repair was too simple. You have to do something much more involved. I don't care whether your repair worked perfectly or not. I paid top dollar for this car, and its repairs should reflect that. Accepting mediocrity is what killed Detroit." Am I being fair? Do I understand your position adequately well?

Antiquity said:

I hardly see electrical tape used to light seal a $3500.00 camera as substance. Canon was in a hurry to find an expedient "patch" so they could get it to market. They didnt exactly explain in a press release that all they did was stick in some tape that could leave a gummy mess inside a black camera body over time and when heated by the sun or dry up and fall off. One would hope future production has a better solution. I don't think it's wise to be an early adoptor. There is a higher standard on a $3500.00 camera body than on. 50 cent toy tin robot and that's the way it should be.

RC said:

I think some you tweebs need to get a life and not spend your time ranting about fricking tape.

Antiquity said:

On the contrary, I think it's a positive thing that you took the time to expose canon's shoddy "fricking" gooey tape "fix."

Disheartened said:

I FULLY agree with Antiquity. I have saved for 3 years to buy the 5D Mark 3 only to find out today that this is how they "fix" an issue. My brother, dad, and grandfather are all engineers and they are in full agreement with Antiquity. I didn't save and wait this long to buy a $3500 camera with tape as a "fix".
"A slicker fix in a $3500.00 body would not to cheap out on duct tape to actually fix a design problem. The least one would expect would be a molded insert. Better than that a redesign of the LCD module to not leak light into the interior of the body in the first place...Canon was in a hurry to find an expedient “patch” so they could get it to market. They didnt exactly explain in a press release that all they did was stick in some tape that could leave a gummy mess inside a black camera body over time and when heated by the sun or dry up and fall off. One would hope future production has a better solution."
AMEN, Antiquity, AMEN!!!!

VicVanGo said:

Disheartened, I'm an engineer too and I think it's a shame that there are so many engineers out there that are completely oblivious to the "big" picture.

The whole point of engineering is to design products that can be built to serve a purpose. The purpose of a full-frame digital SLR is to take good pictures in a variety of conditions. That is main reason why people buy them. Someone at Canon decided to fix this. Maybe they thought it would help the tiny fraction of users that may actually experience the problem, maybe they wanted to be sure their camera does the best job out to the limits of it's operation, or maybe they didn't want to be dragged through the mud more over such a trivial issue. At that point an engineering team was tasked with designing a fix, testing it, and handing it off to the production and repair groups. Now that part of the point of engineering where I said "can be built" includes the need for the product to be commercially viable. If there are several ways to fix something with equal reliability and performance, you have to choose the least expensive. Over-engineering things to make you feel better about them is bad for the company long-term (and they are who pay your salary, so disregard at your own peril). The Canon engineers found a way to use tape to block the light completely. The tape solves the problem at a minimal cost with no adverse effects. That is the definition of an optimal solution.

You and Antiquity may like to dismiss this tape as "duct tape" but it's not. It won't leave a gummy mess inside your camera body because it was engineered for applications like this and has already been used in cameras for many years. It's more expensive than duct tape because it performs better for this specialized purpose. If it was all-purpose and cheap, you'd find it in every hardware store (like duct tape). If you don't understand the difference, don't pretend to understand engineering design decisions and stop presenting yourself as some sort of authority. If you do know the difference, you're being disingenuous when you deride it as "duct tape" and claim it is a gooey mess.

Future hardware versions may well modify the LCD module to stop light there. That doesn't diminish the fact that this is the best retrofit solution. Did you even read the post Roger linked to where he praised the broad sheets of similar tape?

Dishearted, Antiquity: Your opinion of the internal aesthetics is utterly irrelevant to others. Your obsessions are not a problem for a reasonable consumer. I've already wasted far too much text on refuting your position. Oh well.

And regarding the resale concerns others mention, everyone should know that a used camera is only worth as much as someone else will pay you for it. Early adopters should be ok with the idea that they may not get as much money when selling an earlier copy of a camera. It doesn't matter if the annoying potential customers are being reasonable and fair or not about such matters, your serial number falling in a particular range might scare certain buyers off and could affect the price you can get. It's just one of many risks you take if you want to buy early and sell later. Get used to it or find better buyers.

Disheartened said:

VicVanGo....REALLY?! I wonder where you got your "engineering degree" because I'm going to continue to listen to the advice of Harvard and Purdue University graduates in Mechanical, Industrial, and Metallurgical Engineering...instead of yours! I, along with others, would gladly pay a little extra money to have a problem solved LONG TERM rather than a temporary "band aid" put over a problem. "If there are several ways to fix something with equal reliability and performance, you have to choose the least expensive." Glorified electrical tape is not equally reliable as a redesign of the LCD module. Which goes back to the whole phrase "quality over quantity." This would be an (as you said) "optimal solution" if the camera was $200 or less, but not for a $3500 camera.

Your comments have a lot of flagrant errors based on assumptions and judgements. For example, "At that point an engineering team was tasked with designing a fix, testing it, and handing it off to the production and repair groups." How could a quality engineering team do all of those things between April 19 (a Thursday) when the light leak was announced and April 23 (a Monday) when they announced there was a light leak resolution? This doesn't even make sense..."Over-engineering things to make you feel better about them is bad for the company long-term (and they are who pay your salary, so disregard at your own peril)." How do they pay our salary? Yet again flagrant errors based on assumptions and judgements.

Suzanne said:

Here it is, a year later. I found this site by searching "white balance and CFL" on dpreview.com. I hope you can help.

I just started using my client's MIII and keep getting baffling results. I shoot jewelry in a tabletop white tent, in a very dark room. I custom white-balance the CFL-lit scene, and shoot RAWs. Occasionally while looking through the eyepiece/viewfinder, I have caught the exposure readout fluctuating but hadn't thought too much about it. Still, I have not been able to understand why my pictures are very consistently underexposed and why the white background gets weird color-balance shifts (pink-y background, or green-y, for example). I check the histogram after each shot, and don't change my single exposures much, only a 1/3 stop at a time, for insurance. (I shoot lots of the same thing, just trying to get the right flash in the gemstone or whatever.) Have you heard of this?

Graham Stretch said:

I don't know if it is worth mentioning this now as this is such an old post but I got half wat down and by then I was so pissed about this numbers thing I needed to comment.
The numbers seen in the two housings are NOT SERIAL numbers they are die numbers, you don't think Canon only has one die for this item do you?
The idea behind die numbers is to enable a die that has a problem to be instantly identified and removed from service until it can be fixed or it will be scrapped if beyond repair. If it is a multi cavity die and only one cavity is damaged it is sometimes enough to block the runner to the one cavity and continue using the remaining cavities in the die.
How do I know this, fourteen years as a toolmaker dealing with injection and gravity die casting!

Cheers Graham.

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