Canon Defends 5D Mark III, Claims “Light Leak” Doesn’t Affect the Captured Image

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve covered every aspect of the Canon 5D Mark III “light leak” issue. Starting initially as a rumor, Canon eventually confirmed that the camera’s top LCD did, in fact, alter the exposure reading by 1/3 of a stop in dark environments. A week ago the company even put shipments on hold while they investigated the issue more extensively.

That investigation culminated in a press release earlier today. Besides specifying that only 5D’s with a serial number whose sixth digit is “1” or “2” are affected by the issue, the press release also claimed that while the LCD does change the display exposure, the image will only be affected in “extremely dark environments,” and even then not “noticeably.” Those customers who are still concerned and want further peace of mind will have the opportunity to send in their cameras for an inspection free of charge starting in mid-May.

On the other side of the dispute, Canon customers might find it hard to believe that the issue is being brushed off so nonchalantly. With so many 5D owners complaining and claiming obvious before-and-after evidence, users may not entirely trust Canon’s judgement on the matter. By admitting there’s a problem and specifying the serial numbers affected, 5D owners may rightfully expect a recall — but it doesn’t seems as if Canon have any intention of going down that road.

Let us know what you think in the comments down below. Is Canon brushing off the issue too quickly? Or is the company doing enough by offering free camera inspections?

Image credit: Canon EOS 5D Mark III by Axel Bührmann

  • Veston Di Donato

    I can’t seem to remember if Canon did a recall on the 1D Mark III’s that had the mirror issue.  Either way, I’m a Canon shooter, and will continue to be one.  I feel every new product, be it cars or cameras, has issues on the first run.  Things need to be improved, and you can’t figure those out only in a test lab.  Wait a few months for new firmware, and for the initial issues to be fixed, then you’ll be golden.

  • ThermiteCrab

    Mark III morons should have bought a Pentax.  

  • Guest

    Canon did not recall the Mark IIIs.  They did however, like in this case, offer free repair/inspection to resolve the issue.

  • Calgary Photographer

    As a Canon shooter, I have learned to wait — wait for the inevitable bugs to be fixed and then, only then, part with my hard-earned cash.

  • Guillew

    firmware upgrade solution: when the trigger is pressed then  turns off the lcd light.

  • HD Cam Team

    Canon should offer more clearly free repair for owners of cameras with those serial numbers who want a repair.

    The words “free inspection” is too vague for a camera of this price. This is not a $300 P&S camera.

    This may seem out of topic, but it’s a “coincidence” that Canon has also released today firmware update 1.1.2 for the 5D Mark 3:

    The weird thing: it seems Canon did not fix the already reported issue on some lenses with Image Stabilizacion system (nor improved some also reported low performance in ALL-I mode, etc..)

    Let’s hope Canon fix it and improve performance of some functions.

  • Jeroen Horlings

    Yes, Canon is too vague by calling it an issue that isn’t affecting images ‘noticeably’. Sure, it’s only in a few conditions and an experienced photographer can easily do a workaround. But even then, it is a hardware ‘defect’. The fact that only the first batches (serials 1 and 2) are affected means that Canon has fixed the issue in newer 5D III batches. 

    You can see a before and after photo here (move the mouse on the photo to see the underexposed photo):

  • Flgraphics

    the LCD light only stays on for a matter of seconds anyways. Still Canon should just fix the problem for anyone who wants it fixed. this is supposed to be a professional level camera

  • t_linn

    I read this as Canon saying, “Yeah, it’s flawed.  Live with it.”  The only real thing they accomplished was diminishing the resale value of the bodies with those serial numbers.  I’m actually inclined to return my body more for that reason than the original problem.

  • Happy_Tinfoil_Cat

    Over the last three decades of dealing with Japanese corporations I have learned this is the typical response. I think it’s a cultural thing. They are sure to fix the problem all the while denying it ever was a problem. It used to really annoy me, now I just laugh.

  • jdm8

    The language is a little vague on whether the inspection would include a correction if the problem is found.  If I had the problem, I probably would have just returned it.

  • SwedishKiwi

    I don’t know… Sure, it’s a very expensive camera and should work in every situation.

    But on the other hand, the issue really is minor. It has no effect whatsoever on everyday shooting and only a small effect in a special situation when doing long exposures.

    If Canon had said “yes, we screwed up, send in your camera so we can fix it/replace it for another and we’ll throw in a $50 gift card on top of that”, I wouldn’t have sent it in. The issue is just too minor. I don’t care that much.

    (And yes, I do own the Mark III. I also have the “right” serial number and have confirmed that it has the same issue.)

  • Dee

    what Ann said I am in shock that a stay at home mom can get paid $4442 in 1 month on the computer. did you see this page !!!

  • Jonas N

    I only saw reports of a notable problem with the lens cap on. For those professional photographers, I recommend they shoot with the lens cap off before they start wondering whether their camera has an actual problem.

  • kendon

     also turn off the sun and whatever else might be shining AT the top lcd and thereby leaking light?

  • Images

    Canon did the right thing here imo. Very few people will shoot at night, and if
    you do, just wait til the LCD light goes off before you shoot. I personally never use the LCD light much, and when i do to just check settings, its off way before i shoot.

  • planetMitch

    Good golly – still trying to make huge headlines of this Michael? It isn’t a “light leak” – light leaks happen when light gets to the sensor and ruins an image.. this is nothing like that.

    Yes, Canon needs to address this issue and they have. They aren’t hiding anything and I’m proud of them. I do wish they’d clarified the repairs if they plan to do them, but we’ll get there.

  • Knur

    Canon excuse < FAIL!

  • Brandon

    I’ve got one and i don’t consider it a real problem. a bit of an embarrassment for canon, yes. a design flaw that would have any perfectionist mad.  at least on my camera not a “real” problem. As for light coming though the lcd and affecting the metering, i took my mk3 into a dark closet, and hit the lcd from every angle at close range with a 220 lum light. no metering change. now if i start getting into taking photos with the lens cap on while using the top LCD, while using some auto mode, yes i’ll likely have a problem. actually i guess even then i could use the exposure comp system ..

  • Coaxialav

    Less worrying about leaks and more about shooting!

  • Mr

     yes and its been tested with a small hand light!!

  • Guillew

    Pfff the problem it’s with the internal light…

  • Suman Chakrabarti

    So they could throw away their photos afterwards. You’re right.

  • Suman Chakrabarti

    Um. Turn off the backlight when shooting in the dark. Any good photog knows that.

  • Michael Godek

    the whole point of making a camera is to control the light…if you make a product that is faulty with doing just that, then there needs to be a fix….sure even many professionals will actually not notice it…but even if that IS the case, it’s the principal of it all.

    If you are making people shell out over 3 Grand for a camera, it’s your responsibility as a company to make sure it’s absolutely perfect in every way it can be…this isn’t some Casio point ‘n shoot for $130

  • Tom

    You wouldn’t take a 50$ gift card and free fix?….

  • SwedishKiwi

    Let me explain.

    I really like my Mark III. Besides this issue, I can’t find any flaws. I have customized it to what I use it for and built a favorites menu to my likings.

    Then Canon contacts me and says “We’ve accidentally scratched the inside of the battery compartment when the camera was made. You won’t notice it unless you look really hard, but then you might be upset. Please send in the camera and we’ll fix it.”

    Why would I do that? It’s basically a non-issue. And to go through all that hassle with filling out a form, getting a box, sending in the camera, waiting for the new one, customize the new camera, building a favorites menu… Just so that a small issue could be fixed.

    What if I discover that the new camera has a flaw? A real one this time? The sensor broken, the LCD screen with a dead pixel…

    If Canon came home to me, maybe then I would do it, but now? No. It’s not worth it.

  • hershey

     not so. All my outdoor shots in bright sun were underexposed. Covering the LCD with black electrical tape fixed that problem: no more underexposures. I sent my camera back.

  • vglgb

    I have several Canon cameras that don’t have the issue. Bottom line it SHOULD NOT HAVE THE PROBLEM. This is not camera 101 and it is not the first body they made.
    Also what happen to quality control!! in manufacturing stop making excuses for canon.
    I did return mine and will purchase another in the future when all the bugs are worked out.BTW I have many Canon products.

  • aclm70

    What happens is that camera’s manufactures have to keep up with a bunch of morons that can’t wait for the new products to come out so they can run to the stores and tell everyone they have the new toy that they feel the need to rush and release the new product before making sure it is working they way they claim it should. Canon is getting a bad reputation for that and I am amazed by those hard fans that, after paying about 4 thousand for their new faulty cameras, still defend the company that screw them in the first place. I guess it is their own fault after all.
    I shoot with Canon but I am not an idiot who defends a Camera manufacturer that make millions, if not billions, after being screwed by them.