Beware Canon users! Lenses falling off… http://bit.ly/canonlens. Spread the word people. It’s not a myth. Via @gavinseim
For original 2009 post scroll down (highlighted in red).
05/21/12: Latest update & 5D MK3 Notes.
More comments keep coming in and the lenses are still falling. This design flaw in the MK2 that allows the lens release button to be ultra sensitive. Be very careful and watch for lenses coming loose. Often you can catch it before it falls if you’re aware of the issue. Some users go for years without it happening. Others deal with on a regular basis.
According to the latest reports, Canon claims they’ve never heard of such a thing, even though many have called in about the issue. It would appear Canon support reps are being directed to lie about the issue.
5D MK III. We’re hoping this issue does not occur with the MK3. In fact I was assured by an executive at Canon who I will leave unnamed, that this WILL NOT happen on the MK3. So far so good but we shall see. In the meantime, keep posting comments and keep hammering Canon until they give is a real fix for this problem on effected bodies like the MK2, some 1D series and the 7D… Gav
09/15/11: When Does Someone Get Hurt?
Canon seems to still be ignoring the issue, but it keeps happening. People keep stumbling on this post and telling of their own lens disasters. But here’s an even more scary tidbit. A Canon lens fell from the sky recently and hit a home, damaging it. It was in Petaluma around Sept 2nd. Seems a Canon lens fell from the air, damaging the roof and slicing thru two window screen. Thankfully no one was injured. More Details on the incident here.
Police and FAA can’t seem to pin it down. Maybe they should read this blog ;) Of course I can’t say for sure what happened, but based on what we’ve seen, it’s not hard to imagine that the lens slipped off during an aerial photo session. This raises the question. How long till someone really gets hurt because of Canon lack of responsibility in dealing with this flaw? THE LENS RELEASE IS TO SENSITIVE CANON!
Imagine of of these heavy lenses falling on someones head at a wedding or event? Hang on to those lenses folks. And call your Canon rep… Gav
UPDATE 11.20.10: Pro Gear?
This article has brought quite a bit in discussion in the past few days. I want to reiterate that this is not a case of clumsy, stupid photographers. Most of these are the same people that have earlier models with no issues. Did we suddenly get dumber when we bought the effected bodies? I’m not the kind of guy that blames the coffee shop because I spill on myself. If I was simply screwing up, this post would not be here. I myself had a 10D, 20D, and 30D prior to my MK2 and while the release design is very similar, this never occurred.
Some suggest a lack of maintenance or that parts are worn. As you’ll see in my earlier updates, I sent my nearly new MK2 body to Canon for repair and they said their was NOTHING WRONG. The loaner Canon sent me during one such inspection had the same issue as my own. This also seems to be cropping up on more Canon bodies, some new (such as the 7D), some older (such as the 5D MK1). It begs the question. Is the position of the Canon release button in general simply a poor design?
This is equipment used in bustling job situations like weddings and events. Attempting to replicate this as a test offers little help, because in real situations you’re just working, zooming, or holding to that lens to stabilize. You’re not expecting the lens releasing, even though general active use is all it seems to takes It would seem (though we’re not positive) that the button is brushed by the hand in the right way while using the lens and is far too sensitive. It releases. At that point a simple zoom or focus is all it takes to rotate the lens off.
Some, in defense of Canon (such as on the Canon forums), blame users saying that their holding their cameras the wrong way. I think we should consider that this is expensive pro level gear. There is nowhere in the manual that says how we have to hold the camera, nor should there be. The camera needs to be able to position in any manner we need it to.
THERE IS NO WRONG WAY TO HOLD IT. If we are using pro gear in pro situation and it cannot handle the task without coming apart in our hands, that would indicate a poor design that needs to be addressed. Note that while the user prefs of many photographers have so far kept them from experiencing this issue, it does not excuse the problem. It should be noted that this problem has not been reported on ANY OTHER CAMERA BRAND. People should ask themselves. Do I want a camera I have to babysit or do I want a camera I can use in any situation and not have to worry?
If professional gear cannot withstand professional use, then it is poorly designed and needs to be fixed. This is not a life altering problem. It’s just one that Canon needs to man up and deal with, so we don’t have to worry about breaking expensive gear every time we pick up our cameras. Canon should take some pride in the refinement of their engineering and fix this flaw. Nikon seems to have avoided this problem Canon. Why can’t you?
PS. Needless to say. After all this, I doubt I’ll ever get that invite to Canon Explorers of Light that I always dreamed about. Oh well. Life goes on ;)
PSS. I am still unsure if only certain copies of the suspected models are flawed, or if all of them are and it’s just a matter of how some people hold their camera. Time will tell I hope.
UPDATE 11/18/10: Canon Ignores Us.
Lenses keep coming loose and falling off. This thread has over 100 comments now and I wounder how many people have had the problem and not spoke up. Not realized it’s a Canon design flaw. How many have had their lenses come loose, but have realized it before the pavement smack, twisted it back and just went on.
People keep explaining, keep mentioning this post to Canon, but Canon seems to be pretending it does not exist and tells people THEY dropped their lens. I say it’s time to ramp this up. People are getting mad (me included). Some are thinking of switching. Call your Canon dealer or rep, post to your twitter, facebook, forums. Let your friends know. You can read through the many comments and updates, as well as the original article below for more details. Bottom line. All it seems all it takes is brushing your hand in the right spot while zooming, focusing etc and it’s released.
Andy brought up something in a comment that I have had concerns about as well, but to see it spelled out gave me chills. What happens when a Canon lens falls off from a balcony at an event and lands on a guests head? Not good. I for one am doubly careful when using my lens over an open space.
Some are skeptical, so let me add that this is not a freaked out conspiracy theory. We’re just regular photographers, but with broken lenses. This has NEVER happened on a Nikon that I’ve been able to find. There is no excuse for Canon. It may not be happening to you yet, but be aware and don’t think because you’ve not been hit with the issue, that this cannot effect you next.
UPDATE 08/10/10: Now included on the Canon 7D
It’s been over a year since this post was started. Everyone has not had the problem, but as verified by more continual comments, the issue very real. Many don’t realize how serious it is until it happens to them (which can be at any time). At this point I don’t see how it can be denied that there’s a serious design flaw in some of Canon’s release mechanisms. Shame on your Canon for ignoring this problem. To anyone having this issue, let everyone know. If you get lens damage due to this, don’t just pay up. If you’re a CPS member contact your Canon rep and explain the issue. Ask them to fix the lens under warranty. If you don’t know who your rep is, contact Canon customer service (800-652-2666). Don’t hesitate to direct reps to this post to backup what you’re telling them. The easiest way is with the short link… http://bit.ly/canonlens
It looks like the issue may have also started on the Canon 7D. Apparently canon did not address the problem when they designed the new body. Based on this, I recommend all Canon users be cautious. This keeps happening on more Canon bodies and depending on how you hold your camera you could be next. I don’t plan on a brand switch at this time, but if Canon does not address this issue I’m nearing a point where I may stop recommending their SLR’s. We’ll see how this plays out. In the meantime please share your comments and tell people anytime it happens. You’re not alone… Gav
UPDATE 12/01/09: No Response
Complaints keep trickling in and sadly there’s been no resolution. Not everyone is having the problem, but it’s far too many. Canon has not responded (shame on you Canon). For now all I can suggest to those having the issue is to contact Canon and voice your thoughts. Also keep leaving comments and letting people know about the issue. When shooting these days I’m just very aware of the problem and watch for lenses coming loose, in hopes of avoiding further accidents.
UPDATE 09/09/09: It’s not a problem.
I sent my MK2 body and broken 24-70L lens to Canon. They returned my body stating everything was up to spec and sent a repair quote for the lens which broke when it fell off at my last wedding. My rep got them to repair the lens at no charge. I’m thankful he worked with me, but forced to wounder. Would he have been allowed to help had I been non media related? I don’t know.
The bigger concern I have is that Canon did not acknowledge the problem. What happens the next time a lens falls off in the middle of a shoot. They come loose frequently and usually I catch it before disaster strikes, but not always. Will Canon keep fixing lenses for no charge? I have my doubts .
I use a battery grip, so perhaps my hand is held slightly different? I’m curios if others having the issue are using the grip. I’ve talked to my rep about possible causes and we’ve come up with no answers. The bottom line it that a locked lens can be detached (presumably from a button touch while zooming) and if not caught in time (easy during the heat of an event such as a wedding) it falls off.
This keeps happening, but not to everyone. We’ll see where it goes and I have hopes that Canon will find a solution for those of us dealing with it. Please keep reporting your findings. If you break a lens because of this Contact your Canon rep, see if they’ll take care of it and let us all know how it goes. If I get further info I’ll let you know.
UPDATE 08/26/09: How it might happen.
The release button position falls directly into the thumb path for many of us while zooming (especially on short lenses). Larger lenses are not entirely immune, but seem to have less issues. Perhaps due to more wight (more force to turn loose) and perhaps that the control hand would be further up on the barrel with a large lens and close to the release button on smaller lenses.
More reports keep coming in and I had yet another lens disaster. Last weekend at a wedding, I had multiple lenses come loose including my 17-40 and 24-70, but I was wary and realized it. Then at a later point during heavy shooting, the 24-70 came loose and fell about 6ft to a ceramic floor with a sickening smack. It no longer works properly.
My Canon rep sent me loaner MK2 and 24-70. I’ve not shot with it yet, but from my tests, the lens seems to release every bit as easily as my body I just sent to Canon service, along with my damaged lens. The button is so sensitive that a slight touch will unlatch it. If you don’t realize it, it’s a simple matter to it to turn entirely loose and fall off. Especially since lens mount seems looser than previous models like my 30D. Further experimentation on my 30D shows me that the lens can still come off, but the difference must be enough that it has never been a problem for me or others.
I fear that Canon will say there’s nothing wrong. I can’t tolerate this and neither should anyone having the problem. Could it be I’ll have to turn to Nikon after using Canon my entire career? I have not heard one such report on Nikon bodies. We’ll see how Canon responds. They have a good track record and hopefully with rise to this and find a solution. I’ll keep you all posted.
UPDATE 06/29/09: It keeps happening.
The lens keeps unlatching, but I’m watching for it and have not had any more falls. With me it happens on the 24-70 L. Other reports keep coming in however. I compared it with my 30D, and it just seems like the release button it hypersensitive, making it easy to turn the lens off while zooming. I spoke with Mike, my Canon rep and he’s going to arrange a loner body so I can send this one in and have them look at whats happening. I’ll report back.
UPDATE 05/31/09: Experimentation..
Doing further experimentation. The lens worked loose twice at Saturdays wedding but did not fall off as I was watching for it. It seems (especially on the 24-70 2.8 Canon) that it’s VERY easy to Inadvertently hit the release button while zooming. It’s very sensitive and and takes only a slight touch to release the lens allowing it to turn while you zoom. Perhaps the button is more touchy on the MK2 vs other Canon bodies? Or even just certain units in the MK2 model? Will update again soon.
Original Article. 05/18/09. Lenses falling off.
by Gavin Seim: Please share this so we can use the net to get feedback or tips on it. I’ve sent the tweet on my twitter and requested RT’s. You can paste it and do the same if you like. This is a simple way to hear from the world on their experience with this…
Those who listen to the PPS podcast are aware that I recently sent my brand new 24-70 2.8 L lens to Canon for repair because it fell off my 5D MK2. I love my MK2, but I was on the dance floor at a wedding happily shooting away and next thing I know my twelve hundred dollar lens is rolling on the floor. Pretty disconcerting.
There’s was that chilling intake of breath from the crowd, that most of us who have publicly dropped a piece of gear are all to familiar with. Like any pro, I kicked the lens off the dance floor with disdain, while casually saying. “Heck that old thing. I have a whole case of them in the car”. OK seriously though, I kept cool and finished the wedding just fine. If you want to hear about that listen to PPS podcast #58.
Naturally Canon treated the situation as if I’d dropped the lens outright and the the repair cost me about $200. Not a huge deal. I figured perhaps I somehow hit the release button. Then I got to thinking. Should that happen since you we you have to to rotate a lens with some pressure to take it off. Probably most people thought I was being clumsy and did something wrong. I was using the camera quite normally however.
I was about to let it go when I found I’m not the only one this is happening to. Seems that there’s various reports coming in about lenses falling off the MK2. More all the time. So I decided to write this post to talk about this. Does this happen commonly? How about on other cameras besides the MK2. Do Nikon’s ever have this issue?
This is not some conspiracy theory about Canon having a plot to make all our lenses fall off and break, so we’ll buy new ones. (then again… Just kidding) I just want to know. Have you had this problem? I’m concerned that the locking mechanism does NOT always stay locked. These are VERY expensive lenses we photograph with. The risk of the dropping them is bad enough. We don’t need them falling off too.