Canon 5Ds Teardown

Published June 19, 2015

When first got the first Canon 5Ds and 5D sr cameras in stock, Aaron and I immediately started screaming that we wanted to take one apart. It turns out we received enough 5Ds cameras to let us have a day with one to do just that. Of course, we don’t expect to find out anything amazing and revealing. We expect it will look pretty much like the Canon 5DIII and 7DII on the inside. But hey, you never know. Plus we’ll be repairing these soon enough, so we might as well find our way around now.

If you want to do some comparisons yourself, you can compare this to our Canon 5D III teardown and Canon 7D II teardown. Or if you’d rather follow along from home with your own 5Ds go grab your screwdrivers and let’s get started!

From the outside looking in, there’s not a lot of difference in appearance from the 5D Mk III.


All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


The side panel covering the I/O ports comes off first.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


Looking into the camera we see a welcome sight. There are robust metal plates and screws holding the port assembly very firmly. Anyone who has had an HDMI or other port pull off the circuit board when a connected cable gets tugged too hard will appreciate this.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


The bottom plate is removed next.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


The tripod base is now exposed. It is supposed to be more robust than previous 5D cameras but we can’t tell a lot from here, although there do seem to be more screws holding it to the chassis than with the 5D Mk III.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


The back cover assembly removes in an identical manner to the 5D Mk III.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


There is a slightly different connector from the back assembly to the PCB.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


And the back panel assembly has only minor differences from the 5D III. One worth noting is the aluminum LCD backing plate is stronger with some stamped strengthening areas pressed into it. In previous 5D cameras the LCD could be pressed down into the camera pretty easily because the backing plate was pretty thin.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


Internally, the camera looks a little different because the PCB is partly covered with a thick, plastic adhesive sheet rather than the thin sticky-taped vinyl we usually see.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


This is the material used in the 7DII, and is a lot easier to work with than the 5DIII’s flimsy vinyl tape. It doesn’t make a bit of difference to anyone who doesn’t repair cameras, but I do repair cameras and so I was pleased. This is much easier to peel up without tearing.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


The electrical shields are removed easily.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


And now the PCB and most of the camera’s chips are exposed.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


Unhooking a LOT of flexes and taking out a few screws lets us remove the PCB. One thing you probably didn’t notice, but that made us weep with joy: the I/O ports are NOT soldered to the PCB. They are on a separate board that we’ll show you later. This is a big thing, because now if you pull one of the I/O loose, it no longer means a PCB replacement is necessary.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


For you chip hunters, here’s the PCB out of the camera.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


Looking beneath the PCB in the camera body, we can see the sensor’s circuit board in the center and the CF card assembly over on the right.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


Next step in stripping the camera is removing the front plate, which is quite straightforward.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


With the front, sides, bottom and back removed, there’s only one more screw left before we can remove the top plate.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


The top plate itself isn’t much different than what we’ve seen in numerous other Canon DSLRs.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


And finally the bottom tripod mounting plate was removed.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


We had been told the tripod plate was more robust than in the 5DIII, and that certainly is true. It’s mounted to numerous chassis points with a total of 8 very long screws. I don’t usually show pictures of screws, but theses are serious things, way longer than what we are used to seeing mount tripod plates to cameras. And while a camera breaking at the tripod mount is untypical, it’s nice to see that these cameras are getting more and more robust.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


The side view shows the metal in the plate is thicker than we’re used to seeing, too.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


Finally we took off the memory card door. It didn’t have to wait until last, but we like to do it that way because of the door-shut sensor underneath; it’s easy to break and breaking it results in major problems.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


Here is the paper-thin door shut sensor, which fits through a little slot in the memory card door. Bend it and the camera thinks the door is open and won’t power on.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


With all the external covers and cases off we can take a look around the insides of the camera a bit. The overall front view gives a nice look at the pentaprism up on top showing you just why SLRs all have that hump in the middle. On the left is the battery housing PCB and battery housing.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


One thing we weren’t thrilled about is the plastic lever on the metal lens-release-locking pin. It may be just fine, probably is just fine. But my inner-paranoid repair guy comes out and thinks ‘if that plastic lever comes loose from the pin, a lens is locked on to the camera body’.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


Going underneath the camera, we can get a good look at the AF sensor. Well, not the sensor itself, the housing of the AF sensor (red arrow). The housing is black and difficult to see, but you can see some white marks it. Also note the adjustment screws and the thick glue used to keep it locked in place after it was adjusted at the factory.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


While we’re looking around, I should probably mention weather sealing because many of you are fascinated by it. Canon presents the 5Ds and 5D sr as studio cameras and the weather sealing clearly isn’t as robust as that we saw in the 7D Mk II, but it’s still pretty good, particularly around the doors. You can see foamed sealing around the memory card door in an earlier image. There’s similar sealing around the battery door on both sides. We didn’t see any rubber gaskets around the top assembly, rear assembly, etc.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


The bottom line is this is standard weather sealing. Would I take it out in the rain? Hell no. But I wouldn’t take any other camera out in the rain without plastic bags over everything, either. I don’t trust ‘weather sealing’ and neither do the manufacturers. Otherwise their warranty would cover water damage, and it doesn’t.

We also wanted to take a closer look at the I/O ports on this camera. Most of you have probably never had a problem with this, but having to replace a PCB because an I/O port has been yanked off is becoming more and more common as people attach more external devices to their cameras.

I’m most impressed by Canon’s approach to this. The ports are all on a separate board, connected by wires to the main PCB. So a broken I/O port means simply replacing this board.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015

The removal shows just how seriously Canon has planned this out. The board is strongly braced directly to the camera chassis at several places, so the ports are much less likely to bend and tear off in the first place. If you look back at our 7D Mk II teardown you can see the I/O ports were strengthened and partially moved off of the PCB; the 5Ds cameras improve this even further.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


As an aside, removing the I/O assembly, its covering tapes, and the metal shield uncovers the four Analog Devices A/D converters.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


We did take out the CF card assembly, which is thankfully on a separate board. (Some cameras solder this to the PCB, too, so when a pin is bent or broken a PCB replacement may be needed.) The SD card slot is soldered to the back of the PCB, but SD card slots are far less likely to break than CF slots are.

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


With everything removed we could get a glimpse at the edges of the image sensor around its circuit board (the green board in the center of the image above).

All photographs Roger Cicala,, 2015


Taking the image sensor and mirror box out will have to wait for another day, I’m afraid. Stock is still short and this camera had to be reassembled, tested, and shipped out today. Removing the sensor-mirror box assembly might have put things out of alignment and while we are gutsy, we aren’t dumb enough to be certain we could have gotten that all corrected in another hour or two.


Outside of the stuff we already know about the new Canon cameras, there were not many surprises looking inside, and the few surprises we had were positive. There was Canon’s usual very clean design and layout. There were incremental improvements in the engineering, like the separated I/O system, more robust tripod mount assembly, and improved inner tapes and shields. I have a little concern about the lens release pin, but it probably will not be an issue. After all, I’m known to be paranoid.

When we get more stock and demand slows down we’ll pull the sensor out of one for closer examination, but that will have to wait a month or two.


Roger Cicala and Aaron Closz

June, 2015





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 Equipment
  • steele arber

    1. Please can you tell us what camera and lens you used to take pictures of the Teardown (great images).
    What would be the go to camera and lens used for the majority of Lens Rentals review and posts, that is, the most useful kit for general everyday, I need to take a photo and share it so we at Lens Rentals find we generally reach for the ???

  • Mk.82

    “But I wouldn’t take any other camera out in the rain without plastic bags over everything, either. I don’t trust ‘weather sealing’ and neither do the manufacturers. Otherwise their warranty would cover water damage, and it doesn’t.”

    I would and take. I trust them as engineers has designed those weather sealed cameras like Olympus E-M1 and PRO line lenses.

    It is lawyers talking to include the “warranty doesn’t cover water damage” as it simply needs to be there because if someone pours water in, it doesn’t need to be covered. Or if user leaves sealed doors open, it is user fault.

    And in different countries warranty is enforced by the government in the consumer rights, if the manufacturer markets product to be used under rain or such conditions, then warranty covers all the marketed presentations even when manufacturer denies them.

    And that is the PR (read Propaganda) department job. So engineers are working between lawyers and PR people who has high demands and though restrictions.

  • great informative article… i have the 5DSR… mostly happy with it, but one BIG complaint: canon took out GPS. why???????????????????????? didn’t it fit? it is dumb to sell a 3900$ camera and insult customers by ‘saving’ on the GPS, an amazingly important feature for profesisonal photographers.
    do you have an opinion as why they did it?

  • Ari

    Could it be so that the weather sealing of the 5DSR is better than the 5DS? The reason for my wondering is the 5DSR is (also) marketed as a outdoor landscape camera, where as the 5DS is marketed as foremost a studio camera. Could you take apart a 5DSR also just o find out?

    Thanks again for all of the great and explicit information.


  • wic woodford

    Eldar inquired about interchangeability of 5D III and 5DS-R focusing screens — and I’m iterested in that too. Like Mr Hague, I also use Otus lenses. If I could replace the standard 5DS-R screen with my custom-built 5DIII split screen, I’d be thrilled!

  • Jarno

    It seems the integration level of DSLRs is far behind smartphones. So many discrete components, so large PWB.

  • Tony

    I have to ask: how often do you encounter damaged CF sockets? And I couldn’t care less about brand vs brand comparisons. Really.

  • I also looked for info on the AD80282, and also found nothing 🙁

  • Markus

    So, all those plates (top, bottom, front, back are magnesium alloy or is this engineering plastic? Looks like some sort of plastic but I can’t really believe that this is the case.
    Just wondering…


  • Bryan

    So that new small bump just next to the ports on the left hand side of the camera is actually for nothing? Just cosmetic purpose?

  • etudiant

    Again just fascinating stuff. The engineering man hours to put this thing into production must be large. Amazing that Canon can recoup these costs in the brief model run that is now the norm.
    The reinforced tripod mount perhaps reflects the increased popularity of carry slings that attach to the tripod mount. With a heavy lens attached, that really stresses the mount point.

  • Lee Saxon

    Hmmm, if I only had the space to separate some of the ports onto its own PCB because of the likelyhood of rough treatment, I would’ve made the exact opposite choice that Canon did.

  • Roger Cicala

    William, not very often maybe one time in 100 or so.

  • Roger Cicala

    Barton, about the same as the III.

  • Roger Cicala

    George, I would say it’s the same, or perhaps very slightly better than the 5D Mk III

  • Thomas

    With regards to the HDMI/USB ports not being on a separate PCB – these are very high speed interfaces which are much more difficult and expensive to move off the main board compared to the other connectors, not surprising they didn’t do it.

  • Roger,

    Thanks again for another great investigation. I am somewhat concerned by your description of the lack of weather sealing. These cameras are also positioned as ideal for landscape photography where weather sealing would be important.

    Question: Do you believe that the weather sealing on the 5Ds is better, worse, or the same as the 5D MKIII?

    Thanks again for all of the great information.


  • David

    I known there is a lot of people going crazy over the new Canon. But I don’t think the tear down said anything that we didn’t already know.
    What I would love to see you tear down would be the new phase one Medium format camera body. That body is said to hold in side it secrets that will be released in the future with firmware releases. So if you popped one open we could see if they added GPS, gyroscopes or other crazy stuff that is dormant now and will only come to life in the future.

  • Jake

    Nice. Build quality still counts in my book. I didn’t expect tear down so soon; good job!

  • Will Humber

    Any chance of a teardown for a D810/D800 body? It would be really interesting to see how they compare.

  • Hi Roger

    Are you saying the weather sealing is not as good as the 5D III: “Canon presents the 5Ds and 5D sr as studio cameras …”? My 5D III ends up in the rain fairly regularly without any issue — just light rain, the plastic bags come out as soon as possible.

  • william

    It’s fascinating looking at the internals of something I’d never be brave enough to take apart. Thank you. How often would you take something apart and ‘break’ it?

  • Barus


    But, where is ‘the argyle flex’? 🙂

  • Eldar Hauge

    I was very disappointed that it did not support changeable focusing screens, since I am using Zeiss lenses a lot. But I have a custom made S-type screen for 5DIII and was wondering if I could use that on the 5DSR?

  • Roger Cicala

    Matt, they are, but they are braced by the I/O subassembly very tightly against the chassis. I’d like to have them on a separate board, too, but it’s still far more robust than just poking them out through the case, which is the case with most cameras.

  • Matt

    It looks like the HDMI and USB ports are still on the main board.

    I can’t find much information at all about those Analog Devices parts (AD80282)

  • Max Rockbin

    Thank you for another wonderful tear down! I was hoping to see the door-shut sensor for the battery compartment (as you showed for the CF card door). It broke on my camera (I think – Canon warranty repair wasn’t that specific), and supposedly they often break when people misthread the cable on AC adapters.

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