Canon 1Ds won't format CF cards HELP!

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by ben_speegle, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. Hello all,
    I am new to the forum, but I decided to create an account because I am killing myself over here over this problem I'm having with my Canon 1Ds.
    A little history: I purchased my 1Ds as my first venture into full-frame digital photography and was thrilled when I got it in the mail. Sure, the camera is 11 years old and half a dozen newer models have come out--still, it is a great camera. I just looked at my eBay history yesterday and was reminded that I purchased this camera on November 1, 2013. This means I have had a little over a month of problem-free shooting in glorious full frame. When I purchased the camera, it came with one Kingston 8gb 133x CF card, a strap, Canon 28-105mm lens (damaged, but still working, if only in autufocus mode) and battery charger. Since then, I have purchased a spare battery and now two new CF cards (which I hadn't opened until just last week).
    However, when I came back the other day from shooting on the coast in Northern California, I came across a problem. As I took the original (from the previous owner) CF card and attempted to copy the photos to my computer, my computer refused to recognize the CF card. I blame this on the reader I had, a cheap plastic thing that was constantly falling a part. An Amazon prime purchase and two days later, I had a new card reader. I tried it on another computer and it worked fine. I then copied the pictures onto my laptop. After properly ejecting the card, I put it back into my camera and turned on my camera to find . . . nothing. Despite a full charge, the only part of the camera that functioned with the old CF card was the rear LCD screen, displaying the AWB, RAW and Card indicators. I was surprised that neither the top LCD screen nor the rear LCD monitor (where the pictures are displayed after being taken) would work. Additionally, none of the buttons worked. I thought that was weird, but when I turned the main power switch to the "off" position, suddenly the top LCD screen turned on. However, none of the buttons worked and the LCD monitor still displayed nothing. Worried that I could not operate it and could not turn it off, I removed the battery and then took out the CF card.
    I thought that possibly something was wrong with the card. No worries, I thought, I have a Kingston 16gb 266x CF card as a backup, just in case I needed it. I had never tried it with the camera, however, as I hadn't needed it up to that point. Well, when I put the memory card in the camera, normal functions seemed to have resumed: the menu buttons worked, the correct screens lit up and I was even prompted to format the card. I smiled to myself as I selected the ok button to format my card, thinking, "good, you didn't just spend $500+ on a heavy paperweight."
    Three hours later, the progress bar on the format screen was still completely grey (i.e., had not even begun to format) and "busy" was still displayed. This now gave me plenty of cause to worry. I am not a wealthy man and cannot afford to buy a new camera. My mind began going through all of my options, when I stopped at what I thought was possibly a pretty good reason for it to not work: perhaps the 16gb 266x CF card was simply too new or fast to be used with such an old camera. No worries, I thought (well, some worries) -- I will just have to try another smaller, slower card with the camera. As I put in my purchase order, I also fired off an email to Canon support, hoping there was a simple solution to the problem (or that they had at least heard of the problem before). Their reply scared me.
    They gave me seemingly standard advice for if anything goes wrong with the camera (turn it off, remove the lens and battery, clean lens contacts, try a different card, try resetting settings (not even an option on my camera's menu)). Then they reminded me of something I already knew, that Canon no longer services this model. They did tell me about the Canon Loyalty Program, but something tells me that even at a "discounted fee," I won't be able to afford a comparable refurbished model direct from them.
    I was still holding out hope, however, for the new slower memory card. Well, I received it today. And I'm sad to tell you that I am now writing this post hoping somebody, somewhere, has seen this problem or knows how to fix it.
    I have contacted the seller of the item on eBay (he's out of town for the holidays of course) and asked him about the warranty that was included with the camera when I purchased it. Hopefully that will pan out to something, but as of right now I am at a loss about what to do. I didn't really spend this much money for a month and a half of joy, did I?
    Used Canon 1Ds memory card makes camera go wonky; camera stalls on reformatting new CF cards. PLEASE HELP!
  2. It is quite possible the 1Ds can't handle a 16 GB card -- perhaps that is a problem? All in all, the sequence of events you describe doesn't inspire much confidence. Eleven years ago the astronomical capacity of today's memory cards was only a future fantasy and some hardware that old may not work with the large cards.
  3. Is it possible that pins in CF compartment in the camera got jammed? Remove the card and have a look there with a flash light. I can not explain the chain of events you describe any other way
  4. I think I successfully used 8 and 16 gigabyte CF cards with the 1Ds, but I can't be entirely certain. As others said check the pins on the CF card slot are not bent. It should not normally be necessary to format the card in the camera, despite what certain net-personalities say. See if you can get hold of a smaller card, say 2 gigs, format it with your PC, and then take some photos on it.
  5. Back in 2002 Dpreview tested the performance of the 1Ds with 512 MB CF cards (24 x 133/266 x was science fiction then) and a 1 GB microdrive. The first thing I'd try is use a small (to todays standards) CF card, if you can find one. And even if Canon doesn't repair these bodies some independent companies/persons may still do.
  6. I agree. Look for bent pins in the card slot, try an older smaller capacity card and also try resetting the camera.
  7. I concur. Check for bent pins, reset camera by pulling main and any backup battery, and try a smaller card.
  8. Also check you have the latest firmware on your 1Ds.
  9. I think it may be, as said, that the camera just doesn't reliably handle larger cards. Here's what jayadef had to say about the 1Dmkii at - might be the case with other earlier models too.
    Here's the deal with memory cards. Any card up to 2Gb works great at the advertised speed.

    Over 2Gb is problematical. I've tried many different Sandisk models: Ultra, Ultra II, Extreme, Extreme III, etc. If the card is 4Gb or larger, the write speed is actually slower than with 2Gb cards. The only large capacity card I have found that gave decent speed is the Sandisk 16Gb 90mb/sec Extreme III card, and even it is not as fast as the old 2Gb 15mb/sec Ultra cards. I have found many fellow sports photographers have noticed the same issue. 4Gb or larger Intermediate speed cards; 20mb/sec, 30mb/sec, 45mb/sec, 60mb/sec are all slower than the older 2Gb cards.​
  10. I checked the specs for the looks like it supports both FAT16 and FAT32, so it should support cards greater than
    2GB. That said, I've had devices technically support FAT32 but still have trouble reading certain larger cards (typically
    32GB and 64GB cards, however) due to firmware or other issues unrelated to the file system. Other information I am
    reading suggests 8GB may be the largest size card the camera can format itself, and other information suggesting it is
    limited to reading 8GB cards as well. Other information suggests 4GB. Still might want to try a 2GB or smaller card, they are probably pretty cheap on auction sites and whatnot. And definitely double check the firmware version.
  11. Hi, I'm the OP on this thread
    Here is an album displaying what I have found out in the last couple of days . . . basically I have a bent pin in my 1Ds. So now I have the question . . . what now? Some people have suggested bending the pin back with some sort of a tool (I don't think I will be able to do that -- really tight space to work with), while others with cameras still serviced by Canon have sent it back for a (costly) repair. What can I do? Any advice helps! Thanks!
  12. Well you could take the philosophical tack that you have an old non-working camera and if you try to bend the pin back and are unsuccessful, you still have an old non-working camera.
    Unfortunately, i would consider it likely that attempts to straighten pins like those could result in them breaking off. If what appears to be a gap about half way down that one row is what we're talking about, it looks to my ancient eyes as though the pin could be missing now. One pin at the bottom right looks wonky, but I think it may be intentionally shorter to avoid connecting power on a partially connected card.
  13. I don't how it is in where you live, but here in Moscow, I went to photo service, non-Canon one, and they replaced the slot. I've spent US$75 or so on this. Do not try to unbent the pin. You might make things worse
  14. If it were me I would try and straighten the pin. Even if it snaps off it will not make the repair cost any more expensive as the repair centre will replace the whole card slot, not just fiddle with the pins.
    If you do manage to get it straightened my advice would be to then buy yourself a good quality CF card, carefully insert it and leave it in the camera permanently to avoid stressing the pins. Transfer your images using a USB cable direct from the camera to your computer.
    I've done this for years with my Canon 5D MkII using a 32GB card. It never leaves the camera for 2 reasons
    1. The CF pins will never get bent.
    2. I will never leave the house without a CF card (something I have done a few times in the past with older cameras).
  15. The original 1Ds doesn't have USB, you must use Firewire to connect it to a PC. If you want to avoid damaging the CF card slot you could use a CF-to-SD adaptor, keep the adaptor in the camera and pop out the SD card from it as needed. I had mixed results using an Eye-fi SD card to transfer wirelessly.
  16. I would also attempt to unbend the pin myself before sending it for service. I was able to use a pair of tweezers to fix a bend pin in a posit
    and shoot camera in the early digital days without much difficulty. Depends on how bad the pin is bend, but it might work, and worst case
    scenario you still just have to send it in for repair. If you do a good enough job, leaving the CF card in the slot permanently might now be
    required...I was able to use the camera I repaired for another year or two after that without major issues inserting and removing the cards
    as required. That said, if the bend is very severe, as in more than 90 degrees, you probably won't be able to bend it back that well. Like
    others have suggested, that may be the time to seek a third party repair shop. Usually there is one out there who can do a repair like this
    for less than Canon would charge.
  17. david_henderson


    Are you sure that the roots of this problem weren't present when you first got this camera? Have you yet managed to explore the options you may have under the warranty? I have no doubt that the seller will say that "it was OK when it left me" and that some (but not all) of those that say this are telling the truth. It does seem counter-intuitive to sell a camera with a problem and then offer a warranty- or a useful warranty anyway.
    If it were me, I'd want to get this issue resolved before committing to spend on a repair.
  18. Have you checked the card you inserted for a plugged hole? Bottom line is that the camera was working, and now is not, that's not the sellers fault, and bent pins aren't usually covered under any kind of warranty (afterall, strictly speaking, you bent it -even though you obviously didn't intend to), though issuing any kind of warranty for a used decade old 1Ds is kind of foolhardy IMO.
    I would recommend attempting the repair yourself. As others have pointed out having it professionally repaired (via Canon or any other source) will replace the entire connector (or as likely, the PCB in it's entirety). So doing more damage to the pins is not a significant risk.
    It is also possible that you may be able to find a replacement part and do the repair yourself. That would be a replacement side PCB (I have no idea what the p/n is). It may turn out this is necessary, you've shorted pin 13 and 14 which are +5v, and ground. This explains the symptoms - camera wide - and may have done other electronic damage... either way, I wouldn't try to turn on the camera again until those pins are un shorted!
    If you are able to repair the connector (vs. replacing it), leaving a single card in it is a great idea. The camera should be capable of taking up to a 32gb (fat32) card (and even a 133x card speed is going to max out the write capability of the camera). And that should give you enough capacity to shoot just about any single event.
    Alternatively, using a CF-SD adapter is probably a better idea, since a) speed isn't critical, and b) it gives you a bit of flexibility. Aside from potential incompatibility issues, the only downside is that to access the SD card without removing the adapter, you'll have to get one that inserts from the rear not the side of the adapter. The only ones I've seen like that are actually CF- microSD adapters. ... talk about risking a fingerflub! I've lost those on my vinyl floor... much less in the field...
  19. " It may turn out this is necessary, you've shorted pin 13 and 14 which are +5v, and ground. This explains the symptoms - camera wide - and may have done other electronic damage... either way, I wouldn't try to turn on the camera again until those pins are un shorted!"
    Good diagnosis here, but I think the bent pin is actually 13, or if I'm looking at it upside down, 38.
    The good news is, these are both +5V, so if you break one off, the other will still power the card. I actually had this happen in a Marantz PMD-660 portable audio recorder. The center pin in one row was bent. I attempted to straighten it, figuring I had nothing to lose, and it broke. But, the recorder worked, and continues to work. I didn't give it much thought at the time, but the diagram above explains why.
    And if you screw it up, a competent repair shop should be able to replace the socket. This requires specialized tools and skills, so I wouldn't recommend trying it yourself unless you do this kind of repair for a living.
  20. It looked to me like pin 13 (+5v) was the bent pin as well. This isn't surprising since pin 13 is often longer than the data pins, so first to hit card and easier to bend. It is the 1-25 side (based on the 'headroom' for a TypeII card).
    Whether or not one +5v pin will be adequate to power the card depends (mostly) on the card though. I don't believe the 1Ds is sensitive to the differential drain between +5v pins (though some devices are). In some respects, using a modern card is good news, since they generally require much less 5V supply than older CF Cards (and especially microdrives!), even though their capacity is much higher.

Share This Page