If you're currently putting your preordered EOS 7D Mark II through its paces, here's a word of warning – pay close attention while inserting your memory card. If you are not careful, your camera can be damaged by the improperly inserted card. I know as I have proven this fact.
I've been shooting with DSLRs for many years now and have never had an issue with inserting a memory card until yesterday. A moment of inattention was my downfall. Notice which way the pin holes are facing in the picture above. Unfortunately, it is possible to insert the card sideways into the slot (trust me, dont try it).
I was busy testing out the various features of the EOS 7D Mark II, removing the memory card to review images, re-inserting the memory card, rinsing and repeating.
After reviewing one particular set of images, I pulled the card from my card reader and was inserting the card into the camera. Something on my computer caught my eye, so I wasn't looking at the camera while the card was being inserted. Then I noticed something didn't feel right. The card didn't "click" into place.
When I looked back at the camera, I realized that the CompactFlash card wasn't oriented correctly in the camera; it was sideways. I immediately wondered, "How far was the card able to go in? Did I bend any of the pins?"
I quickly took the camera over to a window where the diffused sunlight offered the best lighting. Upon close inspection, I was dismayed to find I had bent one of the corner pins (the top, left pin when looking into the slot with the lens pointed upward). After a few muttered words, I calmly considered my options.
- Pack up the camera and send it to Canon Professional Services – As the damage was indeed my fault, I'd be responsible for the repair costs (which would likely be reasonable, but not necessarily cheap). Insured shipping alone for an $1,800.00 camera can run $35.00 - $45.00. If I wanted to delay the repair, the 7D II's secondary card slot would allow me to keep shooting until an optimal time to send the camera in for service.
- Try to fix the bent pin myself – If the CF pin board was damaged beyond repair, would it make any difference if I tried fixing it myself? Could I do any more damage than was already done? Maybe, but I thought it was worth a shot...
I scoured my home to find something that was small enough to fit inside the CF card slot yet rigid enough to bend the pin back into place. I have a collection of basic tools, but I didn't have anything perfectly suited for this task. However, after about 10 minutes of searching, I found something I thought would do the trick:
No, I'm not kidding. I attempted to fix my camera with a screw that I found lying around the house. The wall anchor (also shown in the image) was removed before attempting the repair.
First things first – I'm not advocating you attempt this if your camera's CF card pins are bent. Neither myself nor the site is responsible if you attempt to fix your CF card pins and you brick your camera. You have been warned! It's best to avoid the issue all together by paying attention to how you insert your memory card.
With the fine print out of the way, here's what I did:
- Remove the LP-E6/LP-E6N battery. When wondering whether or not I should remove the back-up battery, I realized – there isn't one (at least not a user-replaceable one).
- The location of the bent pin worked to my advantage. I could run the screw along the top edge of the CF card slot and fit the end right in between the bent pin and the card slot's wall. Working extremely carefully, I was able to drag the ridges of the screw across the pin so that the screw pulled the pin back into place. It took me several tries – with incremental progress with each attempt – to get the pin back into position.
- While I could pull the pin back in the direction of the other pins, I was relatively helpless to adjust the placement of the pin along the perpendicular axis. Fortunately, the pin fell right into place after a few minutes of fiddling with it.
- About a hundred test shots post-fix confirms that the camera is working properly. I'm hoping my rudimentary repair job stands the test of time. If not, I'll be falling back on Option #1.
Keep in mind, this issue isn't isolated to the 7D Mark II; I could have easily done this with my original 7D (but simply never did). The 5D III's CF card slot seems to be thinner and does not allow the memory card to be inserted incorrectly (at least, not easily). Please learn from my mistake – pay attention to how you insert a Compact Flash memory card! :-) [Sean]