A DIY Guide to Replacing Your DSLR Camera’s Shutter

Watching your camera shutter die a slow and painful death is unnerving. That’s exactly what happened to photographer Myles Dunphy while on a trip to Fiji. The shutter on his Canon 5D Mark II huffed and puffed and then simply gave up. A quick check of the repair shop gave Dunphy a quote of $500 to get it fixed. Knowing that a replacement shutter costs only $90, Dunphy decided to have a go at it himself. But only after deliberating about it for six months and gathering enough courage to finally dismantle his camera:

The process of unscrewing the camera and the million different components inside is a bit tricky, but nothing compared to putting everything together again. Unless you want to end up being unable to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again, Dunphy suggests that you keep the disassembled components in a clock-wise order with the screws placed in their original location. That way when you are reassembling everything you can simply work counter-clockwise.

replacing a dead shutter on your dslr

DIY: How to replace your 5D Mark II shutter

Warning: Do not attempt any repairs without considering the risks to your safety—and to your camera’s functionality and warranty!

You will need a number of tools to successfully accomplish the task. Dunphy used the following:

  • “Phillips #00 screwdriver
  • Torx T7 screwdriver: required for 3 screws – to remove the sensor unit
  • Tweezers and/or some very small needle pliers
  • A piece of sticky tape
  • Double sided adhesive or glue (to reattach the rubber grips)
  • Soldering iron: if the replacement shutter does not come with wires connected to the motor you will need to de-solder the wires from the old unit and solder onto the new
  • A sense of bravery”

Dunphy’s website also has some additional safety recommendations.

Having replaced his shutter successfully, Dunphy says this is perfectly doable and anyone looking to save a handsome amount of money (think of what you could buy yourself some with that kind of money) can take heart.

Would you attempt to repair your camera yourself? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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One Comment

  1. John Weston says:

    After working for 16 +years for myself on repairing cameras I would be thinking very carefully about replacing a shutter in a DSLR. I have replaced quite a few even dismantled some shutter assemblies to remove grit from the gears, having repair manual and resetting equipment to adjust settings I consider neccessary and if your soldering iron is not 100% suitable you are asking for trouble. If your camera is out of wack (speeds,AF,plus more problems) after you have assembled it and you send it to a repairer to have it adjusted it could cost you more than the original quote to replace the shutter so think before you attack this instrument called a camera. Just a final note – study up static electricity and its effect on electronic components.
    John Weston ex Northern Photographics – Geelong

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