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I have the exact same problem, took it completely apart removed the zoom motor, physically turned the zoom gear and retracted the lens, reinstalled the motor, put it all back together, and found that I had the same problem and the lens wouldn't move out, so im pretty certain that the motor is bad, as the lens moves smoothly once the motor is not attached to it... looking for a replacement motor as i type...
You can also get a 1.4 or 2x teleconverter to further increase the power of a telephoto lens. However, the cameras are unable to auto-focus when the minimum f-stop exceeds f/8, which can happen when you use one (or both) of the teleconverters on these longer lenses, so you have to manually focus the lens.
You can also get telephoto lenses from other manufacturers such as Tamron and Sigma that are built to work with Canon cameras. However, the Canon lenses are generally regarded as the best quality.
I won't say this is a solution but to prevent the lens retraction E18 message which seems to be common with Canon zoom lenses, I put the extension tube on mine. Sometimes I put a polarizer lens on it but usually I just leave it on to protect the lens when it is on. I have dropped it (on the carpeting at home) and never had a problem. If you have a Canon with a zoom lens, get a lens hood for it ASAP!! My wife's A520 has one on hers too. No problems.
There are lots of other places on the web with suggested fixes. Keep looking and keep enjoying this camera. Merry Christmas all.
only way to use zoom function in sx100 is by using CHDK software on sd card, you can zoom in/out it actually makes ur camera perform better then som dv camcorder.
google chdk & look in youtube for examples. Roomi2@hotmail.com for more info.
Your zoom probably does not come out all the way and therefore you get some blurry shots. Had the same problem on a Panasonic camera. Solution: replace zoom motor and gears. Results=expensive. Goes beyond the value of the camera. You might want to buy another used A85 or newer digital camera.
some Canon user forums have posted that you can GENTLY tap the lens with a softer object (wood preferred) and the lens will go back upon the next power up. I have not tried this, but they say it works, but you should be extremely careful.