Canon 5D Mark 3 – Flange back repair (again)

10-17-16 detail KI6A3918

Bottom left corner detail 2016 copyright Douglas Stockdale

I recently left my Canon 5D Mark 3 body at the Canon Service center in Costa Mesa for repair of the “flange back”, which the camera technicians stated was the reason for my latest series of crappy-corner images. Latest, in as this is the same image issue I had with my earlier Canon 5D (the original 5D).

The image issue is that that apparently something tweaks the “flange back” interface on the camera body, the interfaces with the camera lens mount, in such a manner that the sensor plane is out of alignment with the lens focus point. The image artifact, photo above, is a slightly soft out of focus region within the image capture. Regretfully, this is a really small area on an 8 x10″ image and for me, not noticeable until you decide to make 16 x 20″ prints, and especially when you make 30 x 40″ prints.

The Canon camera tech tells me that I must have dropped the camera (nope, did not do this), use a really big lens (rarely use my 70-200mm L lens) as I almost exclusively have the 24-105 mm L lens on the 5Dmk3, or maybe just a lot of weight by a lens on the camera over time. Okay, so for the later, I carry the 24-105 mm L lens on my 5DMk3 for long duration’s on my shoulder as I walk-about. Now the 24-105 mm L lens is the “kit” lens that Canon likes to sell/push for the Canon 5D series bodies. So what I am to understand, the 5D series of bodies is not designed or built to carry their kit lens for long durations. WTF!

Oh yes, this is not a warranty issue, so this little repair is costing me 219 bucks. Canon wants me to bring in the 24-105 lens to make sure it’s not tweaked either. For the earlier fix of my Canon 5D, there were other shutter issues as well, so Canon replaced the shutter and adjusted the flange back that time under warranty; no cost to me. But NOT this time; I am guessing from their perspective I must have done something wrong. I am now guessing that Canon sees a lot of these flange back issues (first thing that the tech stated could be the problem).

Reminds me of the commercial of the car needing repair regarding the insure company; maybe I have the wrong camera system. Mind you, I have been using Canon camera equipment for over 30 years, but this is more than two strikes as I have a ton of crappy corner images to show for it, both from my Ciociaria project (2 and half years back and forth to Italy, 3,500 + images, with the 5D), and now the Middle Ground project, as I find this corner issue going back to October 2016 for a project that I thought is complete (a year and half of work, 2,000 + images) and currently working with a printer to self-publish a photobook in the next couple of months. Again; WTF!!

I have not seen any alerts from Canon to be watching for this issue with this camera body and lens combination (have you??). Second, this defect is not something I notice until I make some big enlargements and I do not create these until later in the project development. The sample photo with this post is a big enlargement of the corner and even then, not really apparent. So if I stay with Canon, I am assuming that they expect me to continually monitor the corners to ensure that their crappy designed camera is still okay to use. Also assumes that once Canon fixes this, it’s permanent fix, but now I am doubting that; so if I keep this rig, I need to be constantly monitoring my photos for potential camera equipment defects. I would rather be concerned about the image composition and lighting, not crummy photo equipment.

So I am taking inventory of all of my Canon equipment and accessories and evaluating some alternatives, like Nikon. All of this while I was starting to evaluate a 24″ wide-format Canon printer to replace my Epson 4800. Maybe staying with an Epson printer as well.

Not a happy camper. Not someone who is going to be quick to recommend Canon.


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