(Or why your Canon DSLR might malfunction)
THE DAY Canon’s 5D MkIII camera body was announced my 5D MkII went haywire. prompting me to quip that Canon must have a built-in self-destruct mechanism, to make 5D users part with their cash for new models.
The coincidence seemed all the more peculiar because my 5D MkI had started acting up around the same time that the Mk II came out, making the decision to part with $2,600 for the MkII body easier to make than it otherwise would have been,
To my surprise, it turned out that the “self-destruct” idea was not quite as wide of the mark as I originally thought.
Tucked away at the bottom of the flash connector and USB port compartment is a little drawer, held in place by a tiny screw, that contains the innocently named “date-time (back up) battery”. The camera manual breezily declares “If you turn on the camera and the date/time is reset, replace the battery…”
What the manual does not say is that if the date/time continues to display normally but the camera drains batteries within a handful of shots, or refuses to recognise lenses, or won’t connect properly with a PC to upload images… then it might just be that the hidden, forgotten battery has reached the end of its life.
The inadequate instructions in the manual can prove very expensive. I spend around $100 on new batteries for the 5D MkI, all of which appeared to be defective, before concluding that the camera itself must be faulty, Then, because the charges levied by the local agent are outrageous and the cost of a repair might be excessive for a four-year-old camera, I bought a new MkII – and for the next several years the MkI sat idle as I was unaware that a little $3 battery and two minutes with a tiny screwdriver was all that was needed to put it back into service.
Of course, the batteries I bought years ago no longer hold their full charge and need replacing (another $20) but at least they don’t die completely after a handful of shots.
I’m grateful to Susan on the Shutterstock forums for pointing this solution out to me and I’m posting it here to help others who may find their Canon cameras start behaving oddly.
Both my 5Ds now have new date-time batteries (the MkII takes a CR1616, the original 5D takes a CR2016) and are behaving themselves again, and should do for another four or five years.