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Cleaning the focusing screen on a 5D Mk I - hydro method


I cleaned my focusing screen today on my 5D and it was not hard at all.  I tried a technique rarely talked about online.  It took less than 5 minutes and now my screen looks great!  IMPORTANT: This method is only for the removal and cleaning of the focusing screen (not mirror, and not sensor) on the 5Ds, other models may vary.

1. Wash hands with warm water and dry.

2. Remove lens and gently pull (with index finger) focusing screen retaining latch.  The screen bracket will drop down into a lower position for removal.

3. Using clean tweezers, grasp protruding plastic tab on the right side of focusing screen and pull it up and out of bracket.

4. Using clean fingers grasp focusing screen on two adjacent corners and rinse both sides with luke warm water.  This should remove any dust or debris that is sitting on the external surfaces (front and back) of the screen.

5. Still holding onto the 2 outside edges of the focusing screen, wick off any large droplets of water using the corner edge of a piece of paper towel.  Then using a hair dryer set to low blow the remaining surfaces dry holding the screen at least 12 inches from the hair dryer.  The idea is to NOT heat the screen but to blow dry the 2 surfaces of the screen.  This took about 2-3 minutes.

6. Still holding onto the screen the same 2 fingers use tweezers to grab on to the protruding plastic tab on the screen and gently rest it back into its internal bracket.  Once in the bracket you can gently pull up on the bracket until the screen bracket latch clicks into place.

7. Attach lens and test.

This is all there is to it.  What you don't want to do with this focusing screen is rub it with anything that may polish off (or scratch) the exterior frosted surface, it is delicate.  Water is not abrasive but cloths, Qtips, and even brushes are.  If you did hurt this screen its not the end of the world, $40 can get you a new one on eBay.  

Let me know if anyone has tried this method.




Rising Star

Glad you found a technique that works for you.  The only thing I'd adjust is to use distilled water, or even better, isopropyl alcohol (highest % you can get) and use in a squeeze bottle.  Using tap water and drying with hair dryer may deposit hard minerals onto the delicate focusing screen (i.e. hard water spots on car after carwash).




Rebel XT, 7D, 5Dm3, 5DmIV (current), EOS R, EOS R5 (current)

That's great advice Jae.....thanks! 


You guys realize, dust on the mirror and focusing screen doesn't affect image quality at all. People often waste time, plus risk, cleaning the mirror and focusing screen.  A couple or a few specks of dust are meaningless.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

What I had on my focusing screen were black specks either caused from the rubber bulb of the airblaster or mirror cushion foam.  They were in the center, very distracting.


That's fine and I know dust can be distracting but I wanted to let people know they are not improving the image quality by cleaning the mirror and focusing screen. I might add I would avoid using any chemical no matter how safe you may think it is on the focusing screen.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

I agree, I have seen alcohol dissolve some plastics.  Water is one of the best solvents known to man.  I do like the ideal of using distilled or boiled water just to be in the safe side.

Boiling water does not remove anything from the water that would contaminate the screen. Vaporizing the water and collecting the condensed vapor (distilling it) does.


FWIW, isopropyl alcohol comes in 91%. I use it for many things along with acetone...but not on photography equipment.


Canon EOS T7; EF-S 18-55mm IS; EF 28-135mm IS; EF 75-300mm; Sigma 150-600mm DG


Never ever use acetone on your camera gear!

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!