Canon’s Brilliant Solution to the 5D Mark III Light Leak Issue: Black Tape

Canon has received some pretty bad publicity over the past month due to the 5D Mark III’s “light leak” issue — a relatively minor flaw in which light from (or through) the LCD panel can affect the camera’s exposure readings in extremely dark environments. Last week Canon finished investigating the issue, and reported that it only affects a certain range of serial numbers, suggesting that the company has implemented a fix for newer bodies. It also announced that service centers would be providing free “inspections” for owners concerned about this issue.

If you were wondering what kind of fancy fix the company came up with, here it is: tape. The folks over at LensRentals received a batch of newer 5D Mark III cameras, and took one apart to compare with the old version. They found that the innards under the LCD screen are now covered with a large strip of black tape. And yes, the problem is gone.

(via LensRentals via Planet5D)

  • John Milleker

    Sounds like a good fix to me. “K.I.S.S” – Keep it simple stupid.

  • Erik Lauri Kulo

    You can argue that “if it works, it works” and whatever. But this is a DIY fix at best, it’s completely unacceptable that they fix a 3000 dollar camera like this – even if it works. 

  • Elizebay

    Do I really want to spend $4300 for a camera & lens that are taped together? Why couldn’t they have just built it right to begin with? Very disappointed in Canon.

  • HD Cam Team

    Doesn’t look too “professional” solution…

    It’s worth mentioning that the affected serial numbers are NOT those ending with “1” or “2”, but those with the sixth digit “1” or “2”, like: “xxxxx1xxxxxx” or “xxxxx2xxxxxx” ([x] represents any optional number.

    That’s according to Canon USA and posted at Canon EOS 5D Mark III – Product Advisory – Top LCD light leak resolution.

    We would’ve expected a more “rigid” solution indeed.

  • Michael Zhang

    You’re right. Thanks

  • guest

     You do realize this is a joke, right?

  • Matthew Lit

    Now just put a canon-mount Holga Toy Camera lens on it and you’re set!

  • Thomas Armstrong

    Years ago I had a IBM/lenovo notebook assigned, and when using skype everyone said I sounded very bad. I filed a complain. An IBM technician came to my office, removed a coves (no screws), put a 1cm piece of scotch tape over the micro, and placed the cover bak in its place. Problem solved.

  • Cochese

    If this is actually true, it wouldn’t be plain old “electrical tape,” but an industry standard dark film that is used in nearly every single piece of electronics to shield light leak from various places that emit light or are transparent. Take apart any MP3 player and you’ll find it covering the back of the LCD screen, it’s all over in my normal cameras and can even found inside of my computer mouse shielding the light from led from lighting up the rest of plastic mouse casing.

  • Moritzp

    They use the paper from 120 medium format film. There should still be plenty around. They just asked the local lab… ;-)

  • Snoop0x7b

    You do realize there are other spots in your Canon camera that contain tape right? The tape isn’t structural in this case. If it fixes the problem who really cares? Electrical tape used like this will last forever. 

  • Elizebay

    What is the possibility that their “tape fix” cause other problems such as heat being trapped in the camera, considering that it was never designed to have that tape in there to begin with. Increasing the heat inside the camera can lead to the components wearing out faster and decreased battery life. Do you think Canon took heat issues into consideration when they did this unacceptable repair? Also sense the camera was designed wrong to begin with, putting this layer of tape over the components could also trap moisture inside the camera due to temperature changes. This might be a quick fix for Canon but if you ask me it seems more like a headache waiting to happen for us Canon owners and Canon really needs to go back to the drawing table and build this camera right.

  • Lukephotographer

    Actually, it is not a joke, I have seen the same thing on many other websites. And it is not that rare that a camera company will use tape to fix a problem like this.

  • Lukephotographer

    I would hope Canon would do some tests with the tape to test for problems such as overheating. But, now I cannot be sure because they did not even notice the light leak problem in the first place! And I agree, Canon should go back look at the problems of the camera a update it a bit.

  • Snoop0x7b

    I don’t see why… Obviously they’d prefer to have a plastic part that fits in there in the original design, but that wouldn’t be an option without a fairly costly redesign of the top plate. Properties they need:

    1. Adhesive to stick it in place
    2. Blocks light
    3. Thin.
    4. Insulates so no shorts occur.

    Describes electrical tape perfectly. I’ll also mention that light seals on film cameras are basically foam tape and it’s not the only place in that camera that has tape. 

  • Spider- Man

    LOL apparently you have not seen what happens with poor quality electrical tape over the corse of a year exposed to heat cycles…

  • Giannis Drakos

    Perfect. This is the exact same solution that the guys in Lomography offer you for there cameras too.

    But, 1) You don’t mind a Holga or a Diana with a light leak problem, you love just love them being leaky.

    and 2) You haven’t paid a fortune to get them.

  • Snoop0x7b

    It’s also not likely to be crappy tape, and that’s not likely to be a hot spot. Sure you may take that camera out on a hot summer day and it may be 105, but 105 doesn’t really degrade it. It’ll get gummy if it gets hot enough, but I doubt that spot will get to that temperature. What do you think of the other spots in Canon DSLRs that contain similar tape? Tape like that’s used throughout the consumer electronics industry to block light. 

  • Snoop0x7b

    It’s fairly similar to electrical tape, but you’re right. 

  • Spider- Man

    Yes but I can’t trust the engineers to build it right in the first place what makes me think they use good electrical tape on the fix? This is just a stop gap till the problem is solved. High quality gaffers tape would have been a better bet.

  • Michael Zhang

    Thanks, edited the post

  • Miki

    genius! Simple and efective. And for those of you that think that this is a bad solution. Go figure, macbooks have some parts taped with tape too, as an original design.

  • Nathaniel Burwell

    3500 + tax buddy

  • NeilR

    Does it mean the black tape fix is seen only in the ones with XXXXX1XXXXX and XXXXX2XXXXX serial numbers only… as I understand Canon mentions this problem is only with the cameras with those 2 serial nos. Is my understanding right? can anyone confirm?

  • Michael Rasmussen

    They must have checked in with the Diana and Holga owners.  Those folks know light leaks like nobody else.

  • Ninpou_kobanashi

    This is absolutely an acceptable fix, as long as there are no side effects [i.e. excess heat retention, electrical issues, etc.].

  • Bua

    Brilliant solution for a almost non-existent problem. I wonder whether they could have used a small moulded plastic instead.

  • Ninpou_kobanashi

    You should take a peek at this!
    Oh the insanity!

  • 9inchnail

     Then don’t effin’ buy it and shut up already.

  • Gavin Stokes

    Anyone who knows anything about fixes in electrical equipment after a release is aware that the problem with this is unknown side effects, this will not have been tested exhaustively and is a quick fix which will lead to further issues  more than likely…if id bought one id be pissed. 
    Its one thing to use a material as part of the original design another if its rammed in as a fix, and your naive if you’d accept this after paying that kind of money

  • mythbuster

    Read the post of Roger Cicala of march 12th in this web. He was then praising the construction of a Sony Nex camera. No tape in the photographs… Why now he says there is not a camera without tape inside?

  • Gavin Stokes

    I’m actually stunned that people not only think this is an acceptable fix but a great fix…more money than sense.

  • Slash_Cynic

    Most DSLRs use this tape inside in some form or another.

  • Gavin Stokes

    Yeah I think this has been stated ad nauseam, try reading some of the posts which explain why this is this is a shit solution.

  • Steve Waugh

    as Helen said I’m taken by surprise that some one can make $9028 in 1 month on the computer. did you read this web site===>>

  • Johnny Pio

    Nikon Forever! ♥

  • Marja

    Heat is something that would worry me.  Last summer, my good ol’ Canon 10D overheated on a 100F sunny day while on a shoot (I stayed in the shade most of the time).  The thing went crazy.  I had to put it in a freezer!   Yeah, it’s older and more of a pro-sumer than the 5D series, but it’s not that old when I think back to all my film cameras that never had this happen.

  • Marja

    LOL, I was gonna joke “If tape is good enough for my Holga, it’s good enough for the 5D!” but I think you beat me to it!

  • Martin

    Hi,In the shade of the light leak issue on the Canon 5D MK III, is there another error… a software error that makes your 5D completely locked and not usable.ERR 70 occurs when your CF card has been in the computer/card reader and you either on purpose or accidentally hit a button on the computer so the Raw file get tagged in Photo Mechanic 4.6.9 Beta.The 5D mk III is not compatible with Photo Mechanic and the above mentioned problem results in your camera locks up and is not usable before you format the card in the computer.This is a major problem for professionals who is expected to work fast – cause you cant quickly tag a couple of files on the card and send ftp/send and then get back to work, and shoot on the same card. Problem is for a press photographer or photo journalist is, in the daily work, that you often do not have the time to ingest all of the files before editing. And the problem is – even though you dont tag your photos becuase of the ERR 70 you can accidentally hit a button on your computer when your working fast and deadline is near., and this will result in the camera locking up and only way to resolve this is formatting the card or change card (if these is clean of tags of any kind).all other Canon slrs is perfectly fine when you put the Card back in to the camera, you can star rate, color tag even write in ipct info on the files… But not with the 5D MK III.also i’ve noticed that the 5D MK III dosn’t work/speak together with other canon cameras.if you have a card with for instance 1D MK II, 1D MK III or 5D MK II files you cant often not even format the card in the 5D MK III.In my opinion this is way to delicate for a professional camera who is suppose to work all the time and be reliable in every situation so you as a photographer don’t miss the moment.Other Errors ive experienced:ERR 70 when the mirror makes error and locks up.Error when the usm lens is set to MF and you turn front and back wheel and / or push the AF-Drive button.Error when the camera go in to sleep/standby mode/auto power offthese above mentioned errors is only fixed when you take out the battery several times often more than 10 times.this is the second 5D MK III I’ve returned, the first one died after 5  exposures and it sounded like everything was ratteling around inside the camera. Oh… and by the way it also produced the ERR 70 as all my colleges 5D MK III’s

  • Ewens

    Best solution, buy a Nikon…

  • Scott Thomas

    Both my 5d Mk3’s are locking up
    intermittently. So far I’ve lost two wedding ceremonies from these
    camera. I’m using genuine Sandisk extreme pro 32gb cards. I’m trying
    now to induce the problem at home to see if I can work out what is
    going on. So far it seems to me that the camera may be trying to
    write a file larger than fat32 will allow. Times the cameras have
    locked up have been around the moment the camera is about to split
    the file and start a new file to reach the 29 min mark. When the
    problem happens the footage starts to skip on the display for about 3
    seconds then freezes. Only taking the battery out will unfreeze the
    camera. The footage of the previous 12 mins is lost completely. Does
    any one know of a forum dealing with this problem I can join? Canon
    really need to do something about this ASAP. The camera is useless
    for events until you can trust it will not loose your footage!