Canon 5d mark III Shutter Replacement

My 5d mk 3 finally crossed the 150,000 cycle mark on its shutter actuations, so I sent it off to Canon’s Irvine service center for replacement.  Do people go way past 150,000 actuations without any trouble?  Sure.  But people also go past 60,000 miles on their car without replacing the timing belt.  If you’re a casual photographer who doesn’t depend on your camera to pay bills, you may not care about the 150,000 actuation mark.  Might as well run the thing until it breaks down, and you actually have to pay the bill.  For me, the idea of my shutter jamming up in the middle of a wedding is the stuff nightmares are made of.  Sure I have other cameras, but why invite risk?

As a Platinum CPS member, I get 30% off both labor and parts.  Plus Canon pays for overnight shipping both ways, and they strive to meet a goal of two-business-day turnaround.  That means I can ship the camera in on Monday, they have it Tuesday and Wednesday, and it’s back to me by Thursday or Friday – ready for the next weekend’s job.

My bill for the shutter replacement this time on my 5d mk III was $219.00, which to me is quite cheap for the peace of mind it brings.  That’s no guarantee of what your price will be, but this gives you a ballpark idea.

Based on a conversation I had with Canon some years ago, it’s my understanding that every second shutter replacement is more expensive because they also replace the mirror box.  Personally I’ve never hit the second replacement on a camera – I’ve always moved on to a newer version by then.

Have you ever made it to two shutter replacements?  Did you notice it was more expensive the second (and fourth, and sixth) time around?

Author: Gavin Farrington Photography

San Francisco & Los Angeles wedding photographer specializing in capturing natural, candid moments.

4 thoughts on “Canon 5d mark III Shutter Replacement”

  1. hi 🙂 I have a 5D3 that is wayyyy past 300K actuations and still working very well. I just had to fix the SD card slot’s write lock mechanism recently and i’ve replaced a plastic viewing window on top of the camera (cracked because dropped)

    regards from Australia!


  2. Glad I found your post on shutter replacement on your 5D MIII. I just took a big chance and bought a used MIII. It looks great on the outside – almost new. But inside the mirror was obviously dirty. I just got it back from C.R.I.S. in Chandler, AZ – I’m temporarily in Phoenix. They cleaned, adjusted, and updated firmware. They also informed me the shutter count is 277K. Eeek. Of course, I’d been told it was stored and was only 277. Yah, right. I doubted that, but hoped for less then this! Glad to see David’s is over 300K and still clickin’. I’m no pro, and I shoot other cameras as well, so maybe, at 74, this shutter will outlast me yet. If it doesn’t, though, I’ll live with 2 or 300 to replace the shutter.


  3. Shutters aren’t meant to be replaced at their actuation rating. That’s merely an average time between failures based on their internal testing. You don’t preemptively send it in for replacement, you replace it when it fails. Shutters are like hard drives. They can die immediately or go way beyond their rated lifetime. Having a good backup strategy for both is the key.


    1. Totally accurate, Travis. I choose to replace preemptively only because I’m a wedding photographer. Losing one camera on the job means I’m now dependent on my backup. With no backup for my backup, I effectively have no backup.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.