Question about Canon PowerShot S3 IS Digital Camera
When camera turns on lens error message
Canon A550 and A560 have the same body and most of the internal parts, including lens assembly are the same. Canon won't sell individual parts within the lens assembly. There could be two possiblities. One is (unlikely) that the lens assembly components have been knocked off from their position. The other is that because of a knock, or dropping the camera, the gears in the gearbox of the lens assembly are broken. These gears are the same as the ones in A530/A540, and are available from ebay for $12.50 including shipping. Checkout my site for how to open up the camera and the lens assembly to replace these:
For A550 and A560, if you take it to the professional repair shop, it might not be cost effective, since it might cost around $90. Canon does not sell gears, so they might have to replace the entire lens assembly. The new camera is available these days for around $140.
Posted on Feb 17, 2008
If your camera is still under warranty, the best thing you can do is to take it to the nearest official Canon repair shop and Canon should fix it for free.
If your camera is out of warranty , or if Canon refuses to repair it for free (happens sometimes if for example they suspect the camera has not been treated properly) you can try some of the methods listed here to repair it yourself. These simple methods have helped a lot of people fix their cameras.
Before trying any of the suggestions, make sure your Canon has fresh batteries and it is in recording mode.
1) Remove the batteries from the camera, wait for a couple of minutes, then put them back in and turn the camera on.
2) Try compressed air. With a fine tip blow off gun and dry compressed air (20 lbs) set the tip between the lens turret and the camera body and turn on the air while moving the tip around the lens. It should remove all dust and sand. Turn the camera on and it should function fine.
3) Another method is to tap the padded USB cover part on a hard surface, for example, a desk. It sounds so simple, but very often in works.
4) Try forcing the camera lens:
Turn off the camera. Place it on the back with the lens facing up and take a look at the spacing between the lens and the lens housing. If you notice that the gap is not even all the way around the lens, the problem should be easy to fix. This type of a problem usually occurs if the camera was dropped while the lens was extended.
Simply - VERY GENTLY - press down the lens on the side where the gap is the biggest. You should hear a "click" as it pops back into place. Try powering the camera back on.
If the lens doesn't extend at all or it extends, and then retracts again, do the following. Turn the camera off. Take the camera in one hand and with the other gently take one part of the lens and gently move it round in a circular movement. Do so with both sections of the lens. You will hear a "click" as it pops back in place. Power the camera on.
Another version of this fix would be to pull and twist on the largest ring of the lens while turning the camera on. Listen for a "click". If at first the focus seems to be off, turn the camera on and off and take lots of pictures, close ups and distance. Focus should slowly start improving.
5) If that doesn't work, there is an online guide for dismantling Canon cameras and fixing the E18 error. (NOTE: Try this only if your camera is no longer under warranty!) It is a great guide with pictures and it can be found here.
There are 2 other guides, one Bulgarian and one Estonian with the take apart procedure for Canon cameras. They are not in english but have a lot of pictures which help with the process.
- Bulgarian guide
- Estonian guide
If you found these Canon repair instructions useful and have managed to solve the E18 problem, write us about how you did it. We're looking forward to your emails. Also, please use the links bellow to bookmark us on Del.icio.us and Furl.
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Posted on Feb 29, 2008
I did the same thing and it works only be restarting it now but it works lol. I threw it agianst my bed . SO BEAT THE **** OUT OF YOUR CAMERA..then restart and it should work..*** made **** what can you say
Posted on Mar 07, 2010
The best thing to do is to first try restarting the camera. Do not push or pull on the lens as this will often cause other issues. Do not blow air in the lens as this generally moves any dirt or dust to the back and it sits on your imaging sensor, you'll end up with poor photos after that. The best thing to do is to have it serviced so it is fixed correctly and working the way it should be. The site that is great for the Powershot Models is: www.CamerasAndParts.com They only specialize in these Powershots and they have your exact lens error problem right on the site. Try them for help. They tend to be the best deal plus they're service is wonderful. You'll pay $89 for the repair, all of the service for that model and the return shipping back to you included with them. They'd be the place for help with this one, best of luck.
Posted on Jun 27, 2010
Fixing a Lens Error on a Digital Camera
This has to be THE most common failure mode for a digital camera. Some common error messages that might show up on the LCD's of cameras with this problem include “E18 lens error”, or “lens error, restart camera”. Some cameras might show nothing at all, but merely make a beeping noise as the lens goes out, then in, then the camera shuts off. Sometimes the lens won't even move.
The problem is actually quite common throughout all camera brands. Usually it's sand or grit interfering with the lens extension mechanism. Or the camera's been dropped with the lens extended. Or the camera has been powered on, but the lens had been blocked preventing its extension. Or the battery ran down with the lens extended. Believe it or not, one BIG contributor to lens errors is using a camera case. Sand, gunk, case fibers, etc... accumulate at the bottom of the case. These materials love to cling to the camera by electrostatic build-up from the camera rubbing against the side of the case (especially those cases with soft fibrous intreriors). Once these materials work their way into the lens mechanism, that's all she wrote. I have many Canon's, and NEVER use a case for this very reason.
A camera owner that suffers this problem may have no recourse for having the camera repaired. Many camera makers will not honor repairing this problem under warranty as they claim it is due to impact damage to the camera, or sand or debris getting into the lens gearing mechanism (neither of which is covered under warranty). The quoted repair cost is usually close to or more than what the camera is actually worth.
Fortunately, about half the cameras that suffer this failure can easily be fixed by one of the following methods. None of these methods involve opening the camera, although some have potential to cause other damage to the camera if excessively done. If the camera is still under warranty, before trying any of these, please please first contact your camera's maker to see if they'll cover the repair, or to determine how much they'll charge for the repair. Who knows, you might get lucky. But if they quote you a number that's higher than the value of your camera, you may want to consider the following methods.
The methods are listed in the order of risk of damaging your camera. Thus make sure you try them in the listed order. And remember, these fixes (especially #6 and 7) should only be considered for a camera that's out of warranty, who's cost of repair would be excessive, and would otherwise be considered for disposal if unrepaired:
Fix #1: Remove the batteries from the camera, wait a few minutes. Put a fresh set of batteries back in (preferably rechargeable NiMH 2500mah or better) and turn the camera on. If that didn't work, try pressing and holding the Function or OK button while turning the camera on.
Fix #2: Remove the batteries, then remove the memory card. Then install new batteries, and turn on the camera. If you get an Error E30, it means you don't have a memory card installed, so turn it off, slip in the memory card and turn it on one last time.
Fix #3: Insert the cameras Audio/Video (AV) cable, and turn the camera on. Inserting this cable ensures that the camera's LCD screen remains off during the start process. Thus extra battery power is available to the camera's lens motor during startup. This extra power can be useful in overcoming grit or sand particals that may be jamming the lens. If the AV cable doesn't fix the lens error by itself, consider keeping this cable installed while trying fixes 4, 5, and 7 as a means to provide extra help to these fixes. But note that I DON'T recommend keeping the cable installed during Fix 6 as you may damage the AV port while tapping the camera. Reinsert the cable only AFTER tapping the camera.
Fix #4: Place the camera flat on its back on a table, pointed at the ceiling. Press and hold the shutter button down, and at the same time press the power-on button. The idea is that the camera will try to autofocus while the lens is extending, hopefully seating the lens barrel guide pins in their slots.
Fix #5: Blow compressed air in the gaps around the lens barrels with the idea of blowing out any sand or grit that may be in there jamming the lens. Other variations include blowing with a hair dryer in “no heat” setting, or sucking the gaps with a vacuum (careful with this one).
Now we're entering into the realm of potentially damaging your camera in conducting the fix. There is definitely some risk here, so take care when conducting the following two fixes.
Fix #6: Repeatedly tap the padded/rubber usb cover on a hard surface with the intent of dislodging any particles that may be jamming the lens. Other variations include hitting a side of the camera against the palm of your hand. A lot of people have reported success with this method. HOWEVER, there is also some potential for damaging or dislodging internal components with this method, such as unseating ribbon cables, or cracking LCD screens.
Fix #7: Try forcing the lens. More people have reported success with this method than with any of the other methods. HOWEVER, there's obviously some potential for damaging your camera by using this method. Variations include gently pulling, rotating, and/or twisting the lens barrel while hitting the power button. Attempt to gently straighten or align the barrel if it's crooked or twisted. Another variation includes looking for uneven gaps around the lens barrel, and then pushing on the side of the lens barrel that has the largest gap (note pushing the lens barrel all the way in is NOT recommended as it may become stuck there). While doing any of the above, listen for a click that indicates that the lens barrel guide pins may have reseated in their guide slots. If you hear this click, immediately stop and try the camera.
Posted on Jul 04, 2010
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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