The shutter broke on one of my Canon Mark II bodies while I was in Sri Lanka, shooting the one year anniversary of the tsunami. Here's what a broken shutter on a Mark II looks like...YIKES !

I had been shooting a bunch of tight portraits of Sri Lankan women, and hadn't bothered to look at the screen on the back of my camera. When I had a free moment to "chimp" (look at the back of my camera) I at first, thought that the strap had gotten caught on the lens hood, so I took a few more frames. Unfortunately I soon realized I had a broken shutter blade. I removed the lens, switched the camera to a three second exposure, tripped the shutter and looked inside....big problem ! I could see that one of the shutter blades was partially detached. With nothing to lose, I then switched the camera to a 500th of a second and high speed, multi frame (9 frames per second) and let her rip.....voila !, the shutter blade flipped back into place...I thought I was home free...but after replacing the lens and taking a few shots, I noticed that although the shutter blade had gone back where it was supposed to go, it was leaking light. At first it didn't seem all that bad, but later there was about a "2 stop" light leak across the lower one third of each frame....I had not choice but to stop using the camera.

I had perhaps 100,000 frames through that camera body when the shutter failed. Being that I was in Sri Lanka, accessing Canon Professional Services was not an option. Neither would it be an option when I got to my next destination which was Banda Aceh, Indonesia. I contemplated making a run for Bangkok to get it fixed but there just wasn't time so I limped along with a single camera body and lugged my dead Mark II around for another month. When I got home to the states, I did an internet search and found out that this shutter problem is not all that rare with the Mark II.

Anyway, Canon fixed it for free even though the camera was slightly out of warranty.

Now the Canon Mark II-N is out there, perhaps the shutter problem has been addressed. More about the differences between the Mark II and the Mark here .