This is a burst sequence taken with a Canon 1D Mark II N in high-speed mode (8fps). You can see the bright line down the center and the dark area in the upper-right. I have several other sequences with similar artifacts.

Is my shutter failing, or is there something else going on?

Image 1 of 3 Image 2 of 3 Image 3 of 3

Shutter count utilities at http://www.foxbat.me.uk/2.0/index.php#/1dcount and http://www.camerashuttercount.com/ both indicate a shutter count of ~79,000, though I do not know the accuracy of these sites, nor do I have an estimate of the camera's shutter count as I got the camera used with no pedigree. My understanding is that this particular model's shutter life expectancy is around 200,000 actuations and I've heard of people getting over 400,000.

UPDATE: The problem is almost certainly the shutter; see my answer below with image.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I assume the pictures were taken in portrait orientation. The shutter speed info can also hint to what's wrong here (was it 1/1000 - 1/2000 sec ?) \$\endgroup\$
    – ysap
    May 15, 2012 at 20:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ This particular sequence was in portrait orientation, but I have some in landscape orientation that demonstrate the same symptoms. The range of shutter speeds is between 1/800 - 1/2000. Possibly worth noting that the symptoms show with both single shots as well as with burst sequences. Lens was 70-200 2.8 non-IS with aperture f/5.6 (Aperture priority mode). \$\endgroup\$
    – djangodude
    May 15, 2012 at 20:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ That light spot looks more like mirror than shutter; it's cut off at the top, but it's distinctly trapezoidal. If it were the shutter, it wouldn't look like that. The dark area does look like one of the shutter curtains was obstructed or jammed for a while (either the first curtain didn't completely open or the second didn't completely reset); if the mirror were the culprit and it were blocking light, it couldn't be at that angle without you noticing it in the viewfinder. The camera needs servicing, but my guess is that the servicing it needs is a good cleaning/lube. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    May 15, 2012 at 21:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Great final photo. \$\endgroup\$
    – Drew
    May 16, 2012 at 0:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think your answer is the most definitive, but ysap's was clearly helpful. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    May 16, 2012 at 3:14

2 Answers 2


My guess for the shutter speed in the comment was based on the approximate width of the bright strip relative to the image width, multiplied by the sync-speed. I assumed a 1/250sec sync speed.

Just a speculation: it looks like the shutter blades get stuck for an brief instance around the middle of the frame. It is possible that you have a piece of dirt stuck there, or that the spring or rails are about to fail. Try to decrease and increase the speed by a stop and see if the stripe gets twice as wide and as narrow. If so, it is indicative that it is indeed the shutter having a problem.

UPDATE after the mystery was resolved - I'd think the first thing to do (OK, maybe the second) would be to remove the lens and have a look at the internals... but that's just me ;-)


Inspecting the camera with the mirror up, it's evident that the problem is indeed the shutter:

Image of camera sensor showing broken shutter blade

My shop (who will send it off to Canon) estimates around 400 USD to repair.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Just a little update for anyone who may care: got my camera back ($400), and not only was the shutter replaced but also the DC/DC circuit board which was shorting, and the mirror charge. It's now in better shape (inside, anyway) than when I originally bought it :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – djangodude
    May 31, 2012 at 23:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ thank you for the update it just happen to me today (midshoot) \$\endgroup\$
    – user56189
    Aug 29, 2016 at 1:52

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