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Manage Your EOS Camera's Sticky Shutter

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It all starts with some wonky shutter function...but not "wonky" in a good way. 

Sometimes it works fine, sometimes it only exposes half the frame, sometimes nothing at all.  Over time, your early model EOS camera stops taking photos all together.

You are the unfortunate victim of some poor engineering (or some say planned obsolescence) from Canon.  It is a common failure mode for early EOS cameras caused by a foam shutter bumper (some say a foam light seal) that has deteriorated over time and turned into a sticky black goo.  That goo gets all over your shutter and causes some funky shutter behavior in the beginning and a total malfunction over time.  For those of you who work with old cameras, deteriorated tar like foam seals are a common sight.  Usually, you scrape it off and apply new foam and move on with your life.  Here it is a little trickier!

I call it, "The Sticky Shutter Syndrome."

In this instructable, we will attempt to reclaim your Canon from paperweight mode and get back into picture taking mode!



 
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Step 1: Stuff You Will Need

Picture of Stuff You Will Need
OK, before we start this technique, let's get the disclaimer out of the way!  If you attempt to do this "repair", you will be working on the most delicate and crucial part of your EOS camera body....that is the shutter.  If you screw it up and destroy the shutter, your camera will be in paperweight mode permanently.  To repair it, you will have to send it off for a shutterectomy and have a transplant installed, all at considerable expense.  Actually, it would cost less to buy another camera body and use your old one as a planter.  Since the camera does not work anyway, I'd suggest you give it a try!

So, if you are still game here is what you will need:

1.  Cotton swabs (I used Q-tip brand).

2.  Stiff cardstock (3x5 cards).

3.  Naphtha (Zippo or Rodensol lighter fluid).

4.  Shears to cut the cardstock.

5.  An early EOS camera with sticky shutter syndrome.

6.  A steady hand and nerves of steel. 

One note about the solvent:  Some like to use isopropyl or methyl alcohol to dissolve the sticky residue of the shutter bumper.  It will work, but any alcohol will have water dissolved in it.  Once the alcohol evaporates, it may leave water behind.  Needless to say, water in an electronic device is usually not a good idea.  This is more likely in the enclosed spaces you will be working in for this instructable.  You may want to use technical grade (95%) alcohol that has less water, but this is difficult and expensive to acquire.  I stick with naphtha when working with cameras as it is cheap, available and evaporates without leaving anything behind.
Kevenaar2 years ago
great way of cleaning the shutter box and inbetween the shutter blades! gonna try this on my classic eos 500!
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