How To's

How to Change your Camera’s LCD Cover

Published February 16, 2012

Inevitably, over time the plastic LCD cover on the back of your camera gets scratched, scuffed and generally ends up looking older than the camera really is. Most of the time it doesn’t matter much, you can see the images and menus just fine. But given enough scratches light glare may interfere with seeing the LCD. Or you just may hate that your pride and joy doesn’t look great. We certainly do.

Changing that old LCD cover for a new one is easy to do and inexpensive. We’re going to show you how using a 5D Mk II for an example, but changing it out on other cameras is exactly the same (as is changing out smaller secondary LCD covers if your camera has those). For almost all Canon and Nikon cameras you can find factory replacement covers (and tape, make sure it comes with tape) on eBay or from some camera repair shops that resell parts. You can also buy them direct from Canon or Nikon parts at the moment, but Nikon plans to stop selling all parts soon except to authorized repair centers (who won’t resell parts) so Nikon supplies will probably be drying up. You can sometimes find LCD covers for other brands, but they’re more difficult to come by.

Once you have the new cover, changing won’t take more than 15 minutes. And I should note, all we’re doing is changing the cover, we aren’t doing anything to the actual LCD itself. BUT, if you’re clumsy you could scratch the actual LCD while doing this and that will require an expensive repair. So consider yourself warned.

Tools and Parts

First, you need a camera with a nasty LCD cover like this one:

Plus a shiny new replacement LCD cover and the tape needed to apply it (about $20-$35 on eBay depending on the camera)

As for tools all you need is a hair dryer and something flat and thin to pry up the old screen: X-acto knife, very small flat screwdriver, etc.

Taking the old cover off

Use the hairdryer on medium heat to slowly warm up the LCD cover on the camera. You need to get it warm to the touch to soften the adhesive, but you don’t want to cook the camera’s electronics. How warm? Well, like I said warm (not hot) to the touch. I’m not OCD enough to take the temperature of the screen, but it usually takes 2-3 minutes on medium heat.

Once it is warm, find the corner of the LCD cover that seems to have the most room to insert a small knife, screwdriver, etc. Personally, I use a lens cloth under the tools to protect the camera’s finish and find that two pry tools work better than one. The cover is only a mm or so thick and you DON’t want to let the tool move over the LCD screen if it slips. Notice in the picture that both tools are aimed away from the LCD.

Different people recommend different ways to do this. One of the more common is to go ahead and break the cover which makes it easier to pull up. I haven’t been able to summon up the guts to try this method, so I stick with prying up. It may take a couple of times reheating and reprying but once a corner starts to come loose, the screen will pull up very easily.

Finally, you’ll need to clean up. There will almost always be some old tape left that you can gently scrape off with a screwdriver blade or similar tool. I do not recommend using an adhesive remover – you don’t want any gunk getting on the LCD. As for the LCD screen itself, simply blowing it off with a rocket blower should be all you need to do. But if necessary we’ve found using a Lenspen or soft brush causes no problems.

Applying the New Screen

For most cameras, the replacement tape comes on an LCD size pad with a center protective area – ┬áthe double-sided strip of tape is only around the edges. Simply remove the paper over the tape

and apply it to the LCD area.

Smooth it down firmly and then remove the paper backing, leaving only the tape behind. It always amazes me how easily this works.

Make one last check to see if any dust has settled on the LCD, then place the new cover on top of the tape, press down on the edges firmly, and you’re all done. Nice, shiny clean new LCD cover!!!

Strictly for your benefit, my readers, I have demonstrated what happens if you don’t check the underside of the new LCD cover for dust before you apply it. If you notice it (like I did) before you’ve pressed the edges down tightly you can probably pry a corner up and blow it out. If not, well, go back to step 1.


Roger Cicala

February, 2012

Author: Roger Cicala

I’m Roger and I am the founder of Hailed as one of the optic nerds here, I enjoy shooting collimated light through 30X microscope objectives in my spare time. When I do take real pictures I like using something different: a Medium format, or Pentax K1, or a Sony RX1R.

Posted in How To's
  • Zoltan

    Hello:) can s.y help me .how to change the rear display broken glass on the canon 7 d.My camera is from 2009.Its still working,but the crack is visible.
    Thank You,

  • Jared M

    I was forced to break my top LCD cover on my 5DII after prying from the edges would not work. I was a bit scared, but after cutting myself with a razor trying to pry the cover off I was getting a bit pissed! I used a blunt object to break the LCD in several spots until a piece raised up enough to pry it off. From there it was simple, and no damage whatsoever was done to the LCD. So yeah, I guess it works that way, too!

  • oooooooooooohhhhhh!!!

  • Roger Cicala

    Hi Peter,

    I put the cover down with one hand and a blower in the other and really haven’t seen much trouble trapping dust. Probably some of that, though, is the one’s we change screens on look so bad before the makeover that I’m more focused on the improvement rather than being really picky about tiny dust.

  • I like pulling up the cover with a suction cup. I use the one that sticks my shower caddy to the shower wall; no worries about scratching the LCD!

  • Carl

    I’ve used plastic protective covers. It adds some glare, but I really don’t have a problem seeing all I need to see through it. Replacing the cover itself looks like a lot more trouble.

  • As always, Roger, very informative and helpful. But, this time you missed something important! Well, you actually glossed over it parenthetically at the end.

    Seems the “dust” trapped in-between the new cover and the LCD itself will be noticeable to some very finicky users. It’s almost impossible not to trap some small amounts of dust when doing this operation. I do not recommend doing this at home if you are a finicky type person. I’m exceedingly finicky!

    Note: I’ve worked in “Class 100 to Class 1000 Super Cleanrooms” for over 20 years. I know of what I speak.

  • Roger Cicala

    The 7D is a different kettle of fish: we’ve been told you can replace just the screen but haven’t heard or seen anyone doing it. Seems to be the only choice is to replace the entire LCD assembly.

  • David

    Great tutorial even though I knew most of the stuff already. Makes you wonder about those LCD screen protectors that you see so many people getting. Seems not worth it since it just won’t be as clear.

    Anyone have any thoughts about using a suction cup thing to pull the cover off instead of prying it off from the corner as mentioned in the article?

  • This is very useful, thanks. What’s the story with cameras such as the Canon 7D that have “optical elastic material between the LCD and the cover glass”?

    LCD covers (the ones that cover the manufacturer’s cover) are a pain, but an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

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