Canon 5D Mark III Light Leak Issue Fix

As you may already know, the very first batches of the Canon 5D Mark III had a manufacturing defect, where light would leak through the top LCD panel as shown in this video. After a thorough investigation, Canon confirmed that the camera indeed had a problem, so it issued an official statement that it would fix the issue if you send the camera to Canon (free of charge).

Original 5D Mark III

Folks at had a chance to disassemble both an original and a “fixed” Canon 5D Mark III and they discovered that Canon used a black tape over the camera components, which essentially takes care of the problem completely. Here is a picture of the black tape covering the components:

Fixed Canon 5D Mark III

For more information, see this article on

I am currently working on the Canon 5D Mark III review and I am planning to publish it by the end of next week. Aside from the above issue (which is really not that big of a deal), I really like the camera so far. I was really hoping to get a sample of the new Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens, but it is nowhere to be found. Once the review is published, I will be working on reviewing the Canon 50mm f/1.2L lens, along with the Canon 24mm f/1.4L. Expect some comparisons to the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G and Nikon 24mm f/1.4G.


  1. 1) Jeff
    May 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Wow, that’s a cheap fix. I would be pissed if my camera brand “new” camera was fixed like that.

    • 1.1) Bill
      May 3, 2012 at 1:16 am

      Who the hell cares how it gets fixed? Just as long as it fixes the problem and doesn’t cause any others.

      • 1.1.1) Jeff
        May 3, 2012 at 4:32 am

        Well if they put gum over it you wouldnt care too i guess.

      • 1.1.2) Omar
        May 3, 2012 at 7:31 am

        Really? You wouldn’t care? Would you accept a similar repair on your car? If I spend thousands on a camera I would be disappointed with what amounts to a piece of electrical tape to fix a light leak. If light can get in there, I imagine other things could as well.

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          May 3, 2012 at 8:05 am

          Omar, what happens here is the light comes through the LCD and then through some holes right under the LCD goes into the camera, which affects the camera meter. Using a black tape solves the problem and prevents the light from leaking into the camera. Do I like the solution? Not really. I think Canon should have used a black plastic material instead, or it should have redesigned that particular area of the camera so that it does not leak light. Who knows how the tape will do in extreme weather conditions…

    • May 3, 2012 at 8:02 am

      Jeff, it is quite common for lens and camera manufacturers to use simple tape inside the components, so it is not all that bad…but yes, I do agree that Canon should have used something more serious than black tape.

  2. May 2, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Shame on you Canon. I had a plan to buy one. Now, it’s canceled with deep hatred. Obviously I won’t buy a taped DSLR for 3.5 K and use it for 5 years !!!

    • May 3, 2012 at 8:12 am

      On the other hand, as I have already said, Canon have used tape to solve problems in the past. I can’t seem to find the URL, but it has been previously reported that some of the Canon lenses had black tape inside them to keep some components together…

    • 2.2) Paul
      July 21, 2012 at 10:14 am

      I have just canceled my order of 5D Mark III and if its previously reported that some of the Canon lenses had black tape inside them to keep some components together… all new buyers do what I am doing and buy a Nikon

  3. 3) peter 2
    May 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    no, it’s just a reinforcement to the weather-seal capability of the camera.

    • May 3, 2012 at 7:45 am

      Well … Let’s say it is a good fix FOR NOW …. so now the question is … how long will the tape last before degrading, how much heat and cold can it take before beggining to crack and flake into the guts of the camera?

      • May 3, 2012 at 7:48 am

        Let’s make that beginning …. ;-)) … see I am beginning to crack already ..

      • May 3, 2012 at 8:13 am

        I agree – extreme heat and cold could potentially crack the tape…

        • solartempest
          May 3, 2012 at 9:03 am

          There are so many different qualities and types of adhesive tapes out there. I have done a fair bit of work relating to thermal aging and degradation (including tapes for nuclear use in extreme environments) and it’s highly dependent on what material/adhesives are used.

          It’s a very simple and foolproof fix. As long as they chose a high quality tape, I doubt photographers will have any problems with it.

          Depending on the clearance inside the camera, a hard plastic piece may be much more difficult to install securely or too delicate (without significant redesign for retrofit into existing cameras).

      • 3.1.3) Paul
        July 21, 2012 at 10:16 am

        or just drop off

  4. 4) Gerald
    May 3, 2012 at 3:18 am

    Surely a custom molded plastic component should have been designed, someone was bound to open one up sooner or later. Canon design has gone downhill since the original EOS concept, this just goes to prove it’s time for a major change, or lose out big time!

  5. May 3, 2012 at 4:15 am

    Moisture will also get into body through the light leakage passage. This DSLR will not serve a photographer’s purpose unless design rectification is undertaken. Canon must take all the sold out bodies back and replace them with newly designed bodies. I’m really concerned not only about Canon DSLRs but the 2 giants as a whole. Nikon has been releasing junky bodies lately crammed with megapixels that is bound to affect IQ.

    After climbing to the pinnacle; next motion is downwards. It applies to both Canon and Nikon.

    Who the photographers will turn to now?

    Will Sony rise up to the challenge? Or can Leica become more cost effective and fill in the impending gap? Only time can tell.

    • 5.1) Daniel Huang
      May 3, 2012 at 4:43 am

      ” Nikon has been releasing junky bodies lately crammed with megapixels that is bound to affect IQ. ”

      What “junky” camera crammed with megapixels are you talking about? D3200, maybe, but we don’t know yet.
      D800 has an excellent sensor, best consumer camera in the world for dynamic range and ability to pull shadows. If you look at the DXOMark, 36mp clearly has no compromise for the D800 other than shooting fps. You need to do your research more before you say things.

      I do however, think that there are too many issues with both Canon and Nikon, in terms of reliability of their new cameras, fault AF, screen color cast/weird WB, and light leak on Canon’s side

      • May 3, 2012 at 7:53 am

        Yeah … guess I’ll go ahead and get the extended warranty for my D800 …. got it for my D200 5 years ago …never needed it … Might be a different story now days? Just wondering how many are getting the extended warranty?

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          May 3, 2012 at 8:20 am

          David, in my honest opinion, any extended warranty is a waste of money. But it is totally up to you if that makes you feel safer ;)

          • C. David Hemp
            May 3, 2012 at 9:02 am

            Yeah …. That’s how I figured it too … for the cost of the $189 for 2 more years of extended warranty that money could be used to pay for a fix anyway if ever!

            … on my D200 was the first extended warranty I ever got … and didn’t even rememeber getting it until I got all the info together to give the camera and the DX 18-200mm Nikkor lens to my daughter and soninlaw … If it had broken I would have taken it in to my local camera Rep and paid for it anyway .. ;-((

            I know the FX lens on the DX makes for great 1.5X telephoto photos & portraits with my new AF-S 50mm f1.4G … but they were as excited to get my old one as I was to get my new D800 …
            and if I can’t do it all with one camera I Ain’t doin it anyway.

      • May 3, 2012 at 9:07 am

        If 36 mp is ok on a full frame sensor; why did Nikon load only 16 mp resolution on the latest flagship D4? They must be cheating either group of users, aren’t they?

        • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov Nasim Mansurov
          May 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm

          Quazi, it goes like this – the D4 is a low-light sports/action camera that can shoot at extremely high ISOs such as ISO 204,800, which is why it uses larger pixels and hence less megapixels. The Nikon D800 is a high-resolution everyday camera that is maxed out at ISO 25,600. Different cameras for different needs…

  6. 6) donski
    May 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm


    The D4 is considered more for action photography where buffer and frame rate is a necessity.
    If it was 36mp and yielded 30 shots or so @ 10fps before the buffer fills, the length of time the camera would take to write those 45mb files on the card, will be long enough to grab a coffee. =P
    It’s all about balance hence the difference in pixels between the 2 bodies.

    • May 3, 2012 at 11:08 pm

      So, D4 should not be used for indoor or landscape photography right? The D3 users used it and are still using it for all purposes. In my opinion both the makers have gone nuts.

      U know why? Because these days they are playing to the gallery. Many Point & Shoot users are buying DSLRs now. I’ve seen some using it holding the camera in front of them and composing on the LCD (obviously always shooting in Auto mode). These people never heard about anything like good focusing, metering, low light capabilities, ISO range, noise free images, burst rate and so forth. None of them knows what is IQ! All they crave for is megapixels. U must have noticed them in camera shops asking for pixel count, haven’t u? The makers have grabbed this opportunity and packing their DSLRs with abnormally high megapixels. No doubt it’s selling well. However, they failed to notice now a days many youngsters are taking up Media Communication as their preferred subject and subsequent career. I have talked to some of them. They are already unhappy with the noisy images that these high mp DSLRs produce.

      If Canon and Nikon don’t return to their senses; they will have to meet their well deserved destiny.

      • May 4, 2012 at 12:16 am

        Quazi … For your edification, what may appear on my extant expose of Nikon and Canon to be just a patois of misspelled words and poor punctuation is actually my very distinct and cultural bias toward mega megapixels! But …. for the timorous I would be reticent to not say that my multifarious, ubiquitous, eclectic support of Nikon’s AF and Quazi Auto photo programs to be tasteful and erudite yet not unalaterally quixotic and didactic. …. So Quazimoto … Go With the Flow Bro! ub2 passe, truculent, hackneyed, somnolent, loquacious and way too sycophantically inclined to be taken as rational.
        Although I am the first to admit my love and dedicataion of Nikon’s Megapixel explosion has prolly warped my own perspective to be predisposed toward verbosity & prolixity I am still mesmeric, pragmatic & blithe yet still filled with lores & 100% probity to placate, yet not abrogate, to the incurable dogmatic, parsimonious, anal retentive! This is certainly not meant as a pejorative to be opprobrious, vituperative or to be contumelious to any race, color, creed or nation!
        I just hope this aphorism has not been too plethoric to question your obvious high regard of your own Menssa quality IQ! … I also hope any obfuscation due to misinterpretation will not lead to pusillanimous attempts at a malicious retort to my comments! OKY DOKY?
        Doc Hempster

        • donski
          May 4, 2012 at 7:17 am

          I see what you did there, Doc. :D
          All I did was answer his question as to why the D4 can not possibly have 36mp and shoot at 10fps and he gets hostile on his reply. Hell, the D3x was ~25mp and shot at 5fps. :|
          He’s just misinformed and I’ll leave it at that. :)

          On topic:
          Canon’s solution is simple yet effective but as mentioned, we don’t know how this “fix” will handle the extreme weather conditions that some photographers put their gear through.

  7. May 4, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Have it your way, no one can dispute that. If I upgrade and if possible I’ll go for either Canon1Dx or Nikon D4. As simple as that. Got it DOKY ?

    • 7.1) donski
      May 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      I’m sure either camera will make you happy and give you the results you want. Good luck.

  8. 8) steve
    May 7, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Well I had to return a brand new Nikon D3s because of a dead pixel problem, not something anyone would expect out of a pro grade camera, but oh well, not sure what to think.

    • 8.1) Ron Benson
      May 8, 2012 at 4:45 am

      Hey Steve,

      Every sensor has dead pixels. Even class X sensors have dead pixels. I can garantee you that sensors in cameras are far from being class X. In standard machin vision cameras, we use class 1 sensors

      On all cameras, the dead pixels are mapped and the camera interpolates the light values of the dead (or hot) photosites. Nikon probably remapped you D3 and sold it as a refurb.

      If it were possible to upload an image, I would upload you a defect table for sensors classes. You would be surprised how many defective pixels there are of those chips.

      NASIM, I’ll send you the table to you address. Would you care make it available to Steve.



  9. 9) Don
    May 7, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    I guarantee you, Canon DID NOT want that picture of the black tape to come out. OUCH!

  10. 10) George
    May 21, 2012 at 8:39 am

    ha ha ha ha! LOOOOOL! Canon is very DECADENT!
    Ha ha ha ha! A black tape over the camera components! Ha ha ha ha! Like Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy! Canon is very decadent.

    • May 21, 2012 at 10:12 am

      U c George, both the words “Canon” and “Clown” start with the letter “C”. I think better u call them clowns. That may at least ensure them a place in a circus party !

      • 10.1.1) Professional engineer
        May 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm

        My friends, the best fix, from a technical stand point, is not always the one that looks the best. I admit that this looks bad, but what we’re after here is effectiveness: cost effectiveness and functional effectiveness. The fix is inside the hood, who care what it looks like as long as Canon has been responsible enough to perform accelerated ageing tests on their fix to ensure the adhesive they used will stand years of abuse.



  11. 11) Paul
    July 21, 2012 at 10:29 am

    If light can get in then dust and moisture can get in, it looks like a 2 year old put the tape in, look at both ends and see how well it is stuck down *facepalm*

  12. July 22, 2012 at 12:35 am

    It seems Canon has lost its ability to turn out flawless products. Problems with the recently released 1Dx and 5D3 have already grabbed headlines.

    Their most recent release Canon EOS 650D entry level DSLR body has been diagnosed with infectious rubber grip that can cause allergic reactions on your palms.

    My advice to Canon is; they should encourage their camera department to seriously consider setting up chain grocery stores round the globe.

  13. 13) ageha
    August 12, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    How did Canon prevent the light leaking in later batches? Are they shipping with duct tape?

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