Canon EOS 5D Dust Problem

There has been an ongoing discussion at Canon EOS 5D forums regarding dust found in the Canon EOS 5D viewfinder. Below is the sample of Canon EOS 5D viewfinder with dust (not the sensor dust) that sits inside the finder and can not be removed with usual cleaning technique


One 5D user also has compared his experience with dust on EOS 5D and EOS 300D:

“In over 2 years I have had 0 issues with dust in the 300D viewfinder and also I have only ever had to blow dust of the CCD on 1 occasion. For the 5D in 4 weeks I have blow cleaned sensor 6 times and blown dust off focus screen almost every day”

By putting all input in similar threads in other photography forums together it seems to be fair to say that the 5D has an issue with dust in the finder. Let’s see if Canon will react on this…

29 Responses to “Canon EOS 5D Dust Problem”

  1. Keith Towers says:

    Well, I have had my 5d for just 4 weeks. When I changed the focus screen to an Ee-d grid type I had a white powdery dust fall onto the mirror when I opened the screen cradle, which I blew off with a rocket blower holding the camera face down. As soon as I put the new screen into the cradle and locked it off, high static activity pulled loads of debri onto the surface of the screen, or into the prism area, and it just won’t budge via blowing. In fact it just makes things worse. I now not only have dust in my viewfinder, but dust on the sensor that can’t be moved by just blowing. I have contacted Canon’s help department about it and hae had little response. I don’t just want to be told to send it in for cleaning and wait 6 weeks for its return, I want some kind of acknowledgement that this is a problem they will deal with as a matter of urgency and at least recognition that they will do so. It’s not much to ask considering the price of the camera and loss of enjoyment. My comment here is to warn others off buying this otherwise brilliant imaging machine untill Canon have sorted out their quality control.

  2. Keith..I have exactly the same problem as yours and it seems that Canon would not react on this problem anytime soon.. I think They might just going to release the new camera replacing 5D with Integrated Cleaning System..

  3. Keith Towers says:

    Thanks for the reply, but I don’t see that an integrated cleaning system on an upgrade of the 5d dealing with dust will help with what is clearly manufacture debris problem and one that seems to originate from the viewfinder, mirror or prism housing area. It seems to me that Canon need to spend more time ensuring clean, laboratory conditions, manufacture of cameras in the first place, before bringing out new models. In the UK we have a sales of good act that protects purchasers from this kind of shoddy workmanship, (for that’s all I can put it down to) and which I will probably have to evoke if no response is forthcoming from the Canon management soon. I hope you can resolve your problem too because it isn’t how Canon should be doing business with us if they want photographers like us to remain loyal to their cause.

  4. Teresa Wells says:

    I just couldn’t figure it out. I saw the dust and immediately thought it was on the sensor. After blowing, I realized the dust wasn’t on the sensor at all. Dare I say that I’d only had the 5D a few months and saw the dust while on my first vacation with it? It was only last night with the camera club and today while reading the posts above that I realize there is no easy solution. You would think that for the amount of money paid, Canon would be on top of the problem and forthcoming with a solution other than sending the camera off for weeks.

  5. Rip Tragle says:

    My 5D is about a year old and full of viewfinder dust. It appears to me it is collecting on the pentaprism behind the viewfinder eyepiece where you can’t clean it without disassembly. Blowing with air just sends MORE dust up there. This is very poor engineering……. it wouldn’t take much thought to design a simple seal. Quite disappointing.

  6. Zey says:

    My 5D was only 3 days old. I’ve got more than 10 little specks of dusts accumulating in the viewfinder. I regret blowing air into the viewfinder, which creates even more black cruds appearing. It’s sad, but I have to live with it…

  7. Scott says:


    I have had the same problem with my Canon 5D and also sent mine in to Canon for a cleaning which took nearly a month for it to be sent back. However, it doesn’t take much to get dust back onto the glass. I have learned not to clean it and basically live with the dust though it is virtually impossible to change out lenses and not get dust in there again despite how moist the surroundings might be, I have learned to improvise my images. The worst scenario with the dust specks is in a bright blue sky if you shoot landscapes. However, I tested this with and without using a tripod and noticed when I hand-hold the camera shooting the same scene there are fewer specks. I guess the slight movement from hand holding is just enough to make those annoying specks less in focus. Sounds strange but it is the only thing I can think of. You may have to sacrifice your shutter speed and ISO settings when shooting hand held but luckily the resolution of those 13 megs does not depreciate the image with noise that you would otherwise get with a lower res DSLR or of course a high-speed film. Until Canon fixes this issue, this is one way around it. Hope this helps.

  8. andy s says:

    just read about the guy with dust problems in view finder i,v got the same problem in my 5d tried the same things to no avail cost me a small fortune in cleaning products nothing works i,m not getting the proper benefits or enjoyment out of a so called top camera as i should be lets hope they can sort something out soon!! such a small problem to sort out don,t want to be sending camera back for cleaning every week?? what a waste of time could be out taking pictures!!!

  9. Sam says:


    Does anyone have any idea if these little specks on the viewfinder of the 5D can affect focus in anyhow??? i’ve compared the 5D ( i only brought it a week ago! ) using 24-105mm lens with a Sony DSC-R1 (10 mega) taking the same shot on tripod, the clarity and sharpness in the sony is much better than the 5d!

  10. i have had it four about four hours didnt even use it really and it has dust init!


  11. hrad white says:

    same problem I am going to look into the legal position been with canon for years no problems till this.. this isnt performing as it should at all.dust in viewfinder and on sensor barely had camera 4 weeks constantly having to clean
    never had dust like this in any other camera

  12. Jillian Ackemann Regan says:

    Did you ever get resolve about the dust. I’ve had same problem and thought it was my cleaning, although I baby my equipent and take care when changing out lenses.
    Also I’ve heard the mirror falls off of this camera. I’m not happy and prefer my old Canon 10D to the 5D
    If they will replace I’d love to update the camera. I’ve had for 2 years or less and problem was from the get go. I also sent it in to be cleaned and did not come back clean.
    thanks for any advice

  13. Paul says:

    When a bride contacted me about a shot outside in her white wedding dress with several black specs, I had no idea two years ago what could have happened. Upon investigating further, I discovered the nasty problem I would continue to have with my 5D. The local pro shop sold me the cleaning kit, yet I still have the problem. This is something Canon should correct for us but that would be PR suicide. The result HAS been the afore mentioned newer auto dust removing system built into the 40D. That does nothing for me and I think we deserve some compensation or remedy by the manufacturer.

  14. Gary Short says:

    Hi – In general it isn’t dust! It is grease/lube from inside the chamber. For the first 4 month of use I never removed my good quality lens with seal! but still loads of black speaks! The black specks in general can not be blown or brushed off, you have to wet clean! In fact if you try to dry brush (artic butterfly) you will probably make things much worse by smearing the grease!
    This isnt easy but works. Unfortunately for me there must have been two pin pricks in the IR sensor coating and they absorbed some of the cleaning chemical. So I recomend the first clean is done by a Canon approved dealer.

    Has anyone else self wet cleaned the sensor and experienced a similar problem?

  15. Dritan K says:

    Hello to everyone, I just read the comments of your problems with the Canon 5D, I can`t believe it, I was about to buy the camera, but now I can`t and I wont buy it, man, it is sad that this great company is reaping off photographers, this is insane….

    Can anyone advise me what camera should I buy, what about Canon 40D is there any problem with that camera?

  16. I have found that I can live with the viewfinder debris. To get the rest of the dust and crud out that actually reads in shots, I have to clean 2 or 3 times in a row, taking test shots and checking each one in a grid-like archaeological fashion between each round of cleaning to make sure I get all of it. I’m also one of those risk-taking mirror-cleaning people. Blowing on the mirror is useless – you need something slightly damp, and the liquid should be volatile, a methanol-based cleaner is what I use (yes – I know that it’s a dangerous practice, but I don’t do it often). It’s laborious and time consuming – but the 5D is such a fantastic piece of equipment – it’s worth it.

    I keep a second factory-cleaned & wrapped body in my bag at all times for those times when I’m on location, can’t clean, and MUST get THE SHOT.

  17. Phil says:

    Hi Jill…
    You still look great…

    New last name eh…you must really be enjoying your life now…
    It is ok to say hi to an old friend..


    Phil b.

  18. zz says:

    Dear All,

    you can try 5D MarkII

    or send ur 5D to Canon service center, they can clean it.

  19. Scott S says:

    I haven’t read any recent posts on the Canon 5D’s sensor problems. Any new developments? I’ve had my 5D for two years and I’m extremely frustrated with persistent dust in photographs that have just a modest aperature. Because I use a low ISO with maximum depth of field when I shoot landscapes and sometimes close ups, I have to spend up to thirty minutes zapping dust specks in Lightroom. Any suggestions? Are all Canon bodies like this???

  20. guillaume D says:

    the sensor of the 5D is very prone to attract dust (more than the recent sensor)when I first got it 3 months ago I had to clean it every 3 days. to compare I clean my 40D’s sensor only every 2-3 months …

    However, cleaning a sensor is very easy: I just tur my camera down and blow some air on the sensor and usually all the dust comes off. if they are persistent particules i use the “sensorklear” which is VERY efficient and easy to use, plus I have the feeling that, for some reason, the sensor attracts less dust.

  21. dano says:

    Same problems with dust– everywhere. I thought
    my eyes were the problem, until I read the posts about the viewfinder.

  22. anil kumar.k.r. says:

    i am dubai based photographer faciing dust problem in the sensor.

  23. Valerie Safai says:

    I have had my 5D for 2.5 years now and I thought maybe it was me…and crazy traveling adventures and changing of lenses that were attracting so much dust.

    I’ve tried to clean it several times, and it never really comes out perfect.

    This is extremely frustrating, especially for a photographer who spends LOADS of time in AFRICA shooting the SKY! (I also live in Switzerland where the sky is equally as amazing in the mountainous areas).

    I’d rather spend more time shooting and less time in the digital dark room and this chronic problem has taken much of my enjoyment of shooting away.

    There are many things I love about my 5D. But this completely bogus for the caliper of this camera.

    I have a long-life warranty and after my recent return from Africa with over 2000 images I’m seriously considering putting my warranty to good use and putting up a stink with Canon to upgrade the body at no cost.

  24. Steve H says:

    I had a 1D MkIII and determined it was too much camera for my needs. I went with the 5D MkII and took a trip to Grand Tetons to try it out. I am always very careful changing the lens (facing camera down, etc…) On day 2 sunrise on Mormon Row I was horrified to see my viewfinder full of black specs. That has been almost a year now and I have just learned to live with it. I can’t get the specs off and finally gave up out of frustration. For the first time ever I am downloading Nikon brochures and giving serious thought to jumping over.

  25. Omar says:

    I am having the same problem with the 5D Mark II. It’s driving me nuts, especially cause I do a lot of landscape photography with bright blue skies at very small apertures – the dust and specks simply ruin all the photos.

    I will take it to Canon and see what they say, but I’m not willing to simply live with it – especially at the price of this body.

  26. Terry says:

    I’ve owned my 5D Mark II for a couple years now.
    It’s impossible to shoot video with dust and dirt specks dropping on the sensor all of the time! I performed a test.
    Cleaned sensor and verified that it was clear of dust or any specks.
    I connected HD monitor to 5D. Connect my 100-400mm lens to it.
    All looks good for about a min or two. I then noticed dust and specks
    showing up on the sensor while monitoring it on my HD monitor. I really believe the sensor is drawing the dust and whatever while on.
    This is totally useless for video work using telephoto lenses.
    I don’t see much of a problem when shooting photos with it.

  27. Steve K says:

    I’ve had my 5D for about three years now. I have to say I am in the same situation as everyone else here with the dust issue! Plus I have a friend with the same situation; he got rid of his 5D. I just deal with it. I thought I was getting an awesome piece of equipment by paying the price. It seems not that one gets what they pay for in this situation. The question that I want to know from everyone on here is; when does this camera produce a white? I can’t seem to get a white out of this camera without doing some major image manipulation. I carefully work with my exposures, check my settings, but it seems that I can only get a muddy blaaaa image from this $2800 steaming pile of mediocrity!!! Where is the dynamic range in tonality from this “bleepin” camera? I see $200 cameras that get better tonal range straight out of the box. Mud, Mud, Mud. Not only that, I can’t get a consistent exposure with the 580EX! Plus I get serious flash vignette. Another guy I know who is a serious (high dollar) wedding photographer dumped all of his Canon and switched to Nikon because he was having the same problems with exposure. He used Canon for years. I also own 2 EOS 1 “paper weights” film cameras that I miss using so bad!!!! I literally couldn’t take a bad exposure with them and especially with the 430EZ…Absolutely the best cameras I have ever owned!!! I don’t have any hair left to pull out. Any comments? Anyone have any solutions? ( not about the hair of course. HA!)

  28. Mike Walker says:

    My 5D Classic, which I have had for about 5 years, has always had dust problems, both in the view finder and on the sensor. My 5D Mk II, which I have had for about 1 year, does not have either issue. I have never cleaned the Mk II sensor and it currently has no dust on it. The Classic on the other hand, must be cleaned after every use.

  29. Dennis MDonald says:

    I have had a 5D for 3 years. Just recently I noticed the same dust problem in the sky. Any darker areas you do not notice the dust. What a pain. Canon should admit there is a design fault and have a recall to rectify the problem. I have been a Nikon man with film cameras but when I changed to digital I only went Canon because they were the only ones producing a full 35 mm digital. Sure wish I did not make the change. The 5D has all sorts of problems working with the Canon flash. When I contacted the man in charge of cameras at Canon Australia he told me he was also a wedding photographer and that he was disappointed with the flash. He said the only way to get around it is to set the 5D on manual at around 30 secs on F5 at 400 ISO. Isn’t that going back 30 years? But it seems to be the only way to get half reasonable shots. Has anyone else had this problem?

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