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EOS 5D proper mirror and focusing screen cleaning?

trossit
Enthusiast

Hi Forum,

I just recently acquired a mint condition 5D from the mid 2000s with very little use, looks like new, but has been sitting for 15 years.  It did have a small amount of dust in the focusing screen prism that I wanted to remove since it was visible through the viewfinder.  I made the mistake of trying to whisk the dust particles away using one of those small inexpensive (cheap) lens brushes with the blower bulb.  When I did this the brush shed one of its hairs (about the size of long eyelash onto my focusing screen.  It was very difficult to remove the hair but I believe it finally came off, hopefully OUT of the camera.  My questions is what is the best way to clean a Canon EOS focusing screen and mirror?  Is there a dry and wet method?  I am not touching the sensor yet.  I did order one of the large Giotto's blower bulbs as this is what I should have used today but did not have.  

Thanks.

12 REPLIES 12

jrhoffman75
Legend

Dust on the mirror or focusing screen will not affect your picture quality. As you have seen, attempting to clean them can often lead to more problems.

Use the blower. Hold the camera opening down so any removed particles will fall out. Be careful with the point of the blower. If that doesn't remove everything either take it to a professional shop for cleaning or live with it.

As far as the sensor goes, first thing to do tis take the camera outside on a clear cloudless day with a nice blue sky. Set the camera to Av and set the smallest aperture for your lens. Take a photo of the sky. That will show you if you have any dirt spots on the sensor.

Similar caution for cleaning the sensor. Set the camera to manual sensor clean and use your blower. Be sure you have a fully charged battery. Do not put the blower nozzle inside the camera. 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LR Classic

John, just a question.  Why do you recommend not placing the blower nozzle inside the camera?  Is it to avoid physical contact with sensitive internals of the lightbox?  Back to the blower brush question, I think it was a bad idea for me to do that for sure.  If the foreign particles on the focusing screen or mirror have any moisture to them the brush it will smear and make the issue worse.  To clean the kind of contaminate that does not come off with air forces you into a wet clean approach. I am hoping a camera tech might be watching this forum and share their secrets they use in the shop for this type of clean that will not degrade the plastic focusing screen or mirror.

trossit
Enthusiast

Thanks John.  Yes, I regret trying to gently remove dust from the focusing screen with the crazy lens brush, those shed hairs, and large ones. I can only hope that strand of 1/3" hair fell out of the lightbox.  YouTube has a variety of good and bad ideas for cleaning this area, anywhere from brushes, moistening Qtips and dab the dust particle out to pre-moistened lens cleaning towelettes (aggressive).  I felt pretty fortunate to come across this unmolested 5D Mark I and I don't want to hurt it.  It is time capsule mint condition.  At this point I am still hesitant to have a shop clean it as these days my trust factor on who might actually do the work is low, and I doubt Canon would service this 5D as its 15+ years old.

jrhoffman75
Legend

Yes on why to keep blower out of mirror box. If you are careful then it’s fine, but I find it difficult to hold camera face down so anything that gets dislodged comes out and at the same time see where the nozzle is inside. When cleaning the sensor any inadvertent button touch could cause the mirror to come down. If nozzle is inside it could damage mirror. 

If the 5D has replaceable focus screen maybe you could remove and clean. 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LR Classic

ebiggs1
Legend

"I am still hesitant to have a shop clean it as these days my trust factor on who might actually do the work is low, and I doubt Canon would service this 5D as its 15+ years old."

 

Agree on both counts!  But there are good off brand private repair shops. Midwest Camera Repair is one. Cleaning the inside of the mirror box isn't difficult but I always and have always recommended new folks to have a pro do it for the first time.  Hopefully and best case, you could watch him/her.

The best advice is to put nothing smaller that a football in your ears or the mirror box. Especially true for an old camera, or ears, where parts may be a challenge to get. Midwest can run a complete check to make sure all specs are what they need to be.

 

The 5D is a great camera. I loved mine. 😁

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

Tintype_18
Mentor

Sorry I don't have a name but I have chatted with a Canon dealer in Nashville, Tennessee. trossit, welcome to the forum.

jaewoosong
Enthusiast

I've cleaned the mirror using the full frame sensor cleaning kit with swab and cleaning fluid.  Wet swab to clean, dry swab to dry.  I also tried cleaning the focusing screen on my 5Dm3 with same tools and I messed up the focusing screen.  It's hard to tell but the focusing screen is made of plastic and has micro ridges.  You can easily damage the screen.  I sent it in to Canon Repair and the screen was replaced as part of their out of warranty cleaning service ($50 in 2017).  TLDR: don't try cleaning the focus screen aside from blower.  Try looking for EE-A or EE-D focus  screens on ebay if you need to replace it all together.  Cleaning the sensor is not as scary as you think.

"Cleaning the sensor is not as scary as you think."

 

It can be for some folks and first timers.

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

Thanks for sharing.  Are the focusing screens now made from different materials say verses the older AE-1 style 35mm cameras?  I remember when I had  my AV-1 I used the brush to clean the screen.  If the screen is smudged from debris and humidity there has to be some "secret sauce" that camera techs use to clean the screens to avoid replacement.  Were should like to know what that sauce is.

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