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EOS 5D mark 3 exposure metering problem


Today, I got a problem with my 5D mark 3. I was using my 5D mark 3 and speedlite on Camera. After finished shooting, I took off the flash from the camera and shot it in Program mode (P) without flash, and auto ISO setting. I found out that my camera's exposure meter is getting wrong. The result image is too much underexposed even the metre show the exposure value 0. I changed the setting to Aperture Priority mode (Av), I still have the same problem. Then I tried the Shutter Priority mode (Tv), I still have the same problem, so I tried to shoot with Manual mode and I found out that I need to shot in five stop over to see the image. In other settings, Shutter speed is getting to high (or) the aperture is too narrow for the low light condition even when the ISO is 100.

Then I tried to shoot it while LCD is on. The exposure meter reading is correct and get the right exposure. No problem at all. But when I shoot while LCD is off, I got the problem again. Too much under exposed. I tried to shoot with flash. The result is OK. 

I think my camera is still thinking that it's attached with the flash, but I don't know how to solve the problem. I tried to reset all the setting but I still got the problem. I couldn't find any post for that problem on internet (may be I don't know how to find). 

Can anyone help me how to solve that problem ? 

Thanks & Regards



Was the camera on a tripod? If so, was the rubber eyepiece cover on? I believe the purpose of the eyepiece cover is to keep light from entering the eyepiece and confusing the metering system. If it wasn't there and there was a bright light source behind the camera, it might have the effect you describe.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA


This sounds like the camera thinks there is something on the hotshoe, and maybe it thinks that it's a flash. With Auto ISO it often jumps to ISO 400 with flash.


There is a microswitch on under the side of the hotshoe. Do you have anything else on the hotshoe, like a hotshoe cover or similar?


One other thought, did you set the AE lock to hold the exposure? Of course the switch off/on of the camera should reset this.


Brian / p4pictures

EOS specialist trainer, photographer and author
-- Note: my spell checker is set for EN-GB, not EN-US --

I think the same way ... but there is nothing on the hotshoe.

Even I set the ISO 12800, shutter speed become 250, aperture become 22 or something so narrow while I was shooting in Program mode in the room with a single lamp. Then you can imagine the result, too much under expose. Normally that is not the right setting for that room. When I shot with Manual mode, I set the right aperture and shutter speed and ISO, exposure metre shown the wrong information, too much over expose, but the result is fine. 


Anyway thank both of you for your kind suggestions 🙂 

I may have to repair/change the hotshoe. I don't know how much it will cost. 



What metering mode are you using?  (evaluative, center-weighted, spot)


What are metering a particularly "white" or particularly "black" subject (those use cases are known to throw the accuracy of meters that use reflected light (all built-in meters do this) vs. incident light (e.g. hand-held light meters))?


Have you asked your camera to reset all settings?



Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Yes. I have tried resetting all the camera settings. Even I have re-installed the updated firmware. I have tried all the metering modes too.

I believe even if I use the wrong metering mode, the exposure different may be around 1 or 2 stops in maximum (mostly I shoot with spot metering, and evaluated metering modes). Now the exposure different on my camera is more than 5 stops. It is not normal and already out of zone system too to get the right exposure. If I use flash I don't have any problem and the result is fine. The meter reading is ok while I use LCD Monitor.

I am using 60D, 5D mark 2 and 5D mark 3.  I don't have any problem with my other cameras. This is the very first time I have problem with Canon DSLR. My camera's problem really make me dizzy. I found out light leak problem with 5D mark 3 on some forums, but my problem is different with that light leak problem. 

I have shot and attached a video to show you all how my camera's metering system work and result pictures. I have set the ISO 10000 according to my room's light. Here you can see it (Sorry for the quality).  



Please view and suggest me what should I do. 



Thanks for posting those images with EXIF data intact.


I recommend you contact Canon service to arrange for repair.  Your "meter" believes you are receiving an extreme or possibly infinite amount of light and isn't just metering high (and underexposing by a stop or two.)


Here's why:


Your first shot is a "manual" exposure.  


You used:

1/12 sec


ISO 10000

You would have to pick all of these settings.


Your second shot used Aperture priority.  This means you get to pick the aperture, the camera will pick the shutter speed.

Aperture priority

1/8192 sec <- camera picked this value

f/4 <- you picked this value.

ISO 10000

As you can see, the camera pixed the fastest shutter speed possible.  I suspect it would have chosen an even faster speed if only it were possible.... but 1/8192 is the limit for that camera.


Your third shot used shutter priority.

Shutter priority

1/21 sec <- you picked (you probably picked 1/20th but it got rounded by the EXIF data)

f/22 <- camera picked this... but note the high f-stop value.    That's the smallest available aperture on the lens.

ISO 10000

As you can see here, the camera tried to constrain the light as much as possible by setting the smallest aperture opening (highest f-stop value) the lens can provide.


And that brings us to your final example... Program AE


1/8192 sec <- camera picked this value

f/22 <- camera picked this value too

ISO 10000

As you can see... everytime you give the camera control over the setting... it does everything it can do to cut the light.  


This is not merely an example of exposure compensation being a stop or two below standard... your camera thinks it needs to do everything it can to reduce the light.  It's as though the meter believes it is getting an infinite amount of light.


This is not a camera setting we can "adjust" (we can control the meter within a few stops).  This is an issue which would need professional repair.




Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Yes. I have no other choice than sending my camera to service centre (May be to Singapore, because I am currently in Myanmar). I just shared my problem here because I couldn't find any post about the same problem on the internet. My camera is just 5 month old and I still have warranty (service only in my region). 

Thank you all for your time and advises. I will get back to you all after they can find the solution. 🙂


Was this ever resolved?  I bought a 5dMkIII a few months ago and have only used it tethered to a laptop in manual.  Now that I have tried the two main auto-exposure modes (Shutter and/or Aperature Priority) I see that I'm 5-7 stops under exposed.  Program mode works fine.

Was this ever resolved?  I bought a 5dMkIII a few months ago and have only used it tethered to a laptop in manual.  Now that I have tried the two main auto-exposure modes (Shutter and/or Aperature Priority) I see that I'm 5-7 stops under exposed.  Program mode works fine.

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