Canon 1D mark III teardown

What is worse than having a leak in the roof of your house? -Leaving your super expensive Canon camera right under it.


After one night of “Chinese water torture”, my camera gave up and didn’t power on any more, even after some drying on a heating.

It was actually three months ago, but I only had the time/need to do something about that just now (and of course, the warranty expired two months before it happened).

As I didn’t have much to loose, I decided to give a try and to fix it myself.

The quality of the photos should be better, but I didn’t really have the time or the motivation for that. Sorry. I took a lot of them when I was actually re-assembling the camera, so it’s not a *real* teardown (I was really desperate of the camera not working any more)

The basic tools are a set of philips screwdrivers and some boxes to put the screws (there are different lengths/threads). Tweezers and a plastic spudger can help. I also used electrostatic protective wrist band and electrostatic mat.



To access any screw, you need to undress the camera first by pulling off the pieces of rubber (I don’t know if it’s the glue used or my extreme way of using my cameras, but they were easy to peel).

The rubber on the memory card door doesn’t actually need to be removed. No screw there.

All the screws need to be removed and sorted.

This small piece of copper looks like a capacitive hand presence detector (there’s an other one on the other side of the grip) but it’s  not, as it isn’t connected to anything. If anyone knows what its purpose is, don’t hesitate to comment.

Once all the visible screws are unscrewed, it’s possible to remove the back panel with the LCD screen. It’s connected to the mainboard by two flat flexes and two sets of cables. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of it.

A view from the back of the guts

Not-so-easy-to-spot-screw, holding the front assembly.

At first, I wondered what the two holes on the bottom were for..

This last screw is holding the top assembly. Tricky to spot, especially if you don’t remove the front cover..

More flex cables!!

The power management board. Note how some of the chips pins are coated. The black/red cable on the left comes from the battery DC/DC converter (a small PCB on the top of the battery compartment). As you can see, there are several SMD fuses on the board. Unfortunately, all of them were good.

Removing the power mngt board reveals one of the memory cards slot

Water is good for humans, not for $4000 cameras.

And the other side is affected too. The small board on the bottom is the battery DC/DC converter.

Caution! The next photo is really graphic. Don’t click to see it full size.

You never listen…

That’s also a good reason why it’s important to clean/dry any electronics that were in contact with water immediately. “Do what I say, not what I do”

After cleaning. Already better. There’s still some hope.

Nope. The hope is gone.

Let’s put it back and see what happens.

Next water damaged part: the top LCD and its buttons.

Ok, this one isn’t as horrible as the rotten PCB.

The top LCD assembly with the backlight, exposure correction and ISO buttons.

Backlighting/LCD display sandwich, held pressed together by the metallic piece laying on the right and two screws. There’s foam around the LCD to prevent condensation between it and the sealed transparent plexiglas.

Water was here. Come on Canon, stainless steel?


After more cleaning and re-screwing all the screws in the right order, I tried to power up the camera again. This time, it worked!

Unfortunately, the top LCD isn’t working. Luckily, all its information can be displayed on the main screen (“00” because no lens attached):

Also, more annoying, all the info in the viewfinder are gone. The AF system, AF points selection and all the rest seem to work as good as new (ok, as before the water damage). I’m not doing sport photography any more, so I should be able to use the camera like that and wait till I have enough money to send it to service or to buy a new one.