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First, remove the card, and look in the slot for any bent flash card pins. If you see any, don't fret, it's possible that you can fix this yourself. See this article on how to unbend flash card pins.
But if no pent pins are seen, then the camera's clock battery has worn out, and is likely causing this problem. Unfortunately this battery is internal to the camera. But Canon will fix this for you (for the S400 only) for free, with free shipping. Please see the Canon advisory for your camera here.
Try inserting other compact flash cards, if the fault occurs with any card the camera can be assumed faulty. Sometimes the pins which connect to the card can become damaged when inserting and require straightening or replacement. You will need to have a service centre repair it for you. Good luck!
For your model camera, the problem is likely that your camera's internal clock battery has worn out. But Canon will repair this free of charge, including free shipping. Please see the following link for more info:
The clock button battery inside the camera has expired. Canon will fix this for free (or if you want, will send you a replacement battery with instructions on changing it out). Read the following recall advisory, then contact Canon at 1-800-OK-CANON:
Take no more pics until you've recovered the photos, take the card out of the camera. Here's some freeware photo recovery software that should be what you're looking for. Recommend the last program listed on this page:
After you've recovered the photos and backed them up on your computer, recommend formatting the card in your camera (note that this will erase all photos on your card). Look for the "Low Level" format option in your camera's menus. A low level format should help prevent this from happening again.
Hi momincali - I posted a solution for someone that seemed to have the same problem as you. If you didn't see it, this is what I wrote:
I had the same problem on my PowerShot S400 as well as I couldn't reformat the compact flash
when using the feature on the camera. The solution that worked for me
was reseating a small battery (about the size of a watch battery) in
side the camera. To get to it you have to take the case apart. I found this solution by googling and typing: powershot S400 E50 error I'm not sure if this site will allow me to add the web link - but this link had a picture of the camera and where the battery is located. http://www.pinoyhack.com/2006/09/14/canon-powershot-s400-fix/
I decided to try it, since I figured I had nothing to loose, becaues otherwise I'd be looking for buying a new camera. To my surprise it
fixed my problem, but I do not know if this is a permanent fix. If you do try this - take note of where each of the screws come from. There were 4 different size screws around the case.
seem to be a lot of complaints about this problem though.
1 set date to 31-12-2030 23h59 and switch camera off.
2 wait two minutes, day will be 01-01-2003 and camera asks you to set the date
3 take away memory card
4 set the date to today
5 insert memory card again
Now your error should be solved.
Hi flashlal - I have a Cannon PowerShot S400 and I had a similar problem which uses a compact flash card. I could only view a few photos and it seemed like the rest were gone. I verified that my photos were on the compact flash card when I installed it in my pc and navigated to the compact flash card (You can do that by double clicking on the "My compute" icon). Then double click to the directory to where your memory card is located and navigate through the files. I noticed that my photos were there because the file size was in the hundreds of kilobytes (700KB and up), but the names of all the files were corrupt - they had symbols in the name. I figured at this point I had nothing to lose so I did a "check and repair disk" on the compact flash. To do this: take note of the directory that your memory card is located in (it should be something other than C:). Once you know where your memory card is located, you go to your start button on the PC, then to run. A pop-up window appears.The command to repair your disk is "chkdsk /f", however you have to tell it the directory of where your memory card is located. For me my memory card was in the E: drive so I had to type: chkdsk e: /f
Once it finished running I went back to the my computer window and navigated to my compact flash folders. I looked at my photo names. I had to rename all my photos by putting the extenstion of "JPG" back as the file type. Once I did this, I could then view my pictures. The only thing I lost was the added information that my camera puts on it like the date, time, and camera setting used to take the picture. I was fine with not having that because it was more important for me to retrieve my pictures.