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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”

Dave P said:

Hi Roger -

The million dollar question:

If YOU owned a “leaking” 5D3 would you send it in and have it played with or would you leave well enough alone?

The only downside I see is the potential for the camera to return with other problems.

Thoughts?

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Dave,

I wouldn’t bother, but I don’t do long exposure night photography with autometering. It wouldn’t make the slightest difference to me.

Roger

Phil Ross said:

Hi Roger, nice finding! I have a question about removing the top assembly. Do you need to peel away any part of the rubber grip? I figure that there could be some screws hidden behind. Once you peel it, does it stick back well enough after the re-assembly such that it does not lift at the edges? I’m asking this to know the pros and cons of sending my brand new 5D Mark3 it to Canon for this fix.

Janer said:

thanks Roger.

Nick Alamanos said:

As a wedding photographer, the light leak make no difference to me. I’m not planning to send mine in.

Abe said:

Exactly Roger. Who used autometering when doing long exposure night photography anyway? It is all manual exposure and the light meter never is useful for this kind of thing. I have a “leaking” 5DM3 and am not going to send it in. I do not see how this will ever affect my photos.

Roy Teo said:

There’s some changes from the old and new 5D3 isn’t there? Based on the photo above..the old one had a black “chipset” looking thing in the middle and the casing even had a slot to hold it but in the new photo, that black chipset in the middle is completely gone and the mount for it is also not in the casing..what’s that for?

Mike said:

Even if it didn’t have any effect I’d have mine fixed for the sake of resale value…

Maxis Gamez said:

Hi,

This whole thing is a big…. so what! The camera works just fine without the tape! LOL!

Keep up the good work LensRental!

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Phil, you have to peel all the grips, but they stick back nicely on a new camera. Not always the case with older bodies.

Dave Dugdale said:

Wow thanks for reporting on this. Now in my review of the 5D3 I don’t have to address that issue since it is not fixed.

Diego Eidelman said:

Do you know what is the sixth digit number for the bodies with the light leak fixed?
It seems cameras with “xxxxx1xxxxxx” or “xxxxx2xxxxxx” were the affected.

Regards,
Diego

Robert said:

I’m in the same boat; I’m going to leave well enough alone because I don’t want my camera disassembled just to fix this problem (that’s just asking for more problems). If I do need to do auto metering in dark environments, I’ll just not use the LCD light. Simple.

Vince said:

Love this kind of article. Thanks! Since you got them opened already, why not do an ifixit like full teardown. I’m sure it would be a hit or get lots of hits.. Component suppliers would be hard to get at first but it sure is not a priorty. Future teardowns would include lenses :)

Ranger 9 said:

So the official Canon factory fix, basically, is to stick some gaffer tape over the circuit board?

Pritzl said:

@Roy Teo, it’s all a matter of perspective, pun intended… :)

Jesse said:

Can I know the 6th digit of the serial number of the 5D3 body that you dismantled?
Thanks.

Johan Warfvinge said:

How much did Nikon pay???

Wesley said:

Great, naked goodness :)
Did you noticed any difference between the strength of the LCD cover?
I came along some posts on the interweb that mentioned less flex(and in the 2nd gen not able to push to black-out the lcd) in the new lcd cover and a thicker edge.

marc said:

we got some shipments of fixed cameras and the sixt number is “0″

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

These were all the thicker kind Wesley. Not sure if that’s a change or just different supplies.

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Jesse, ours were all “3″, but the folks at borrowlenses got some today with “0″

Jeff F said:

Hey Ranger 9 – A: It’s not gaffer tape, it’s a electronics grade insulating anti-static tape used throught the Canon product line (same as other brands); and B: It’s blocking light from a tiny LCD, not a radioactive fireball. Perspective, dude. I’ve got to believe you’ve got a few gaffer tape fixes in YOUR world.

twistypurple said:

…so the fix isn’t…to just turn the LCD off?
Or can’t you do that?

@Roy Teo note the tilt in the 2nd shot, probably obscures the “chipsety” thing that is clearly visible in the top one

Jimmy L. said:

Then we’ll all laugh when we’ll learn that the tape causes the circuit board to overheat? #joking ;)

Bong Villanueva said:

Does it attract dust at certain point?

Eric said:

Why do the two tops look so different. The stampings look like they are in different places and some of the internal components look different. Perhaps it’s more than just tape.

Pete Wilson said:

@Roy Teo: If you look more carefully, you’ll see the pictures are at different angles and the black tape covers up that extra unit in the middle (laps over the edge) and its ribbon cable.

Eyal Gurevitch said:

Nothing less than amazing.

I say – learn your camera’s behavior and flow with it.
If you light up your LCD at night, compensate the exposure
instead of having Canon open it up and put tape in it. Yuck.

-eyalg

Jesse said:

Roger and marc,

It seems that “3″ has the black electric tape as *fix*.
How about “0″? Does it have thicker top LCD edges?

Thanks.

Ross Lewis said:

Hi, I would not trust myself to attempt a repair myself and I would also try to avoid accepting a repair to a new camera if I could.

I would seriously consider returning for a refund. I would then re-purchase a new unit that is known to be good factory sealed etc. This would hopefully mean no waiting time usually associated with a repair and assuming that a fixed new camera was available off the shelf. This would simply be for peace of mind now and in the future when I upgrade the outgoing camera which may hopefully realise good realistic resale values (to put towards a new Mark 4… if an when it happens).

Dave Dugdale said:

Oops. I just re-read what I wrote above and I meant to say that I don’t have to test this issue now that the problem is fixed, and tested by you guys.

Gordon said:

Jesse, don’t you know that “3 is a magic number” or so the song says.
I can’t wait for people to start questioning the reason for every type of electrical tape in a camera body as if Canon are trying to cover a multitude of sins.

Edson said:

I came to this blog through a link to the “hammerforum” post just the other day.

Since then I can’t help but read every past entry in this site!

The style is clever and the exposition clear. Moreover, the humour is never absent!

Can you recommend other photography sites with similar excellent writing?

Best regards,

Rob said:

I like the solution, sometimes the simplest fix is the best…

Jim Wiltsee said:

Hello all,

Excellent research on the 5DMK III. A further condideration for all regardless of each user’s particular camera use habits, or needs. Are you willing to possibly void your individual Manufacturers warranty by doing any opening and self tinkering – taping on you own or by having it done by someone than an authorized Canon warranty repair shop?

In my own case I will not need to have the taping job done at all. Yet this is a question all
shooters must think about before making a rash decision they might regret further down the
road.

Ernie said:

Hi Roger,

I still have the option of returning mine to the place of purchase. I do shoot long exposures and I know mine is affected. Do you think I should return it for a new one?

The Ninth said:

Hi guys,

Won’t send in my 5D3, at least not right now: the issue does not affect me and I guess the original design went through much more testing than the fixed on. The previous mention of overheating might have been a joke, but you never know the side effects such a thing could have.

Cheers, Robert

peet van den berg said:

Love the article – love the writing style – you’ve just gained a follower! Cannot wait to get my hands om me own MKIII

Marco J. Ophof said:

I do prefer orange tape instead of black….it looks more stylish…. ;-)

Obiwong said:

Awesome article and thanks for pulling apart the “fixed” camera! Just wondering if any of you know if direct sunlight into the LCD screen affects metering, if the LCD light is not on? I’m just thinking in wedding photography, where ur moving around a lot, if light is falling directly onto the LCD screen is this going to affect ur metering?

Peter Steenbergen said:

No big deal, and it shouldn’t be a surprise. After all the slogan sais it all:
“Canon, delighting you always”

Rob Wilson said:

Such a lot of fuss over nothing. The light leak on long exposures, first you have to keep the light on
while you take the picture and as some have already said, would you use auto exposure on night shots anyway.
Some clever dick testing the camera purposely to find a fault. Use the camera, don’t play with it.
Many other camera do this anyway, even light entering from behind through the eyepiece have an effect on the metering. Anyone that knows what they are doing will not be worried about this.

Fred Schenck said:

Thanks for the info and Fix, havwe a 5D2, will wait a couple of months b4 getting 5D3

Jeff said:

^its the principle. Its a $3500 camera. Whether its a big issue or not its something. I dont see anyone complaining about it for D800.

Peter Dove said:

The problem isn’t that they need to add tape to fix a light leak. Isn’t it obvious that they left the tape out in the first place to save weight? Now, how are you supposed to lug the thing around with that great honkin’ glob of tape digging the strap into your neck?

John said:

I like simple fixes. It reminds me of my very practical grandfather the engineer.

And, does this truly affect anyone at all? How many people have the LCD light ON during an autoexposure in the dark???? Raise your hands so I can see you…

Jesse said:

Obiwong,

It could affect your wedding photos. If the overhead light is brighter than what comes in from the lens, then it’s an issue.

Antiquity said:

One would have hoped they would modify the LCD so it would not emit light into the body and/or mold a nice rubber light shield in a $3500.00 body. This is Rube Goldberg expediency. With all due respect a “duct tape” fix is a patch not a fix.

Do you think in the 5DmkIV this “fix” would be acceptable or perhaps that canon is working on a real fix.

Richard said:

Is that $3600 Canon body weather resistant? I don’t see any gasketing. Also, I’m amazed how thin they can make the magnesium casting. Makes me wonder how strong it is.

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