As you have noted the lens is the root cause of this noise problem. I really believe there is grit in the lens gear thats preventing it from zooming or re-tracing. As for the blurring this can happen due to shutter lag.. a notorious problem in some of the powershot models. Either ways your camera needs service by an authorized professional. I would not advise you to try and clean the lens gear yourself as it can very easily get messed up and it would significantly rise the cost of the repair.
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When a camera makes a noise that isn't normal, usually it's a mechanical failure of the lens. Remove the battery for a few minutes and turn the camera on and attempt to take a picture again. If it doesn't work, I can venture to guess that the camera's lens mechanism is defective.
i am having the same problem with mine , its been like it for the past year now. i am only 14 so my parents think i have dropped it bu i havn't i need a soloution quick because i love taking photos of me and my friends. the olympus f3-330 it a really good cam' but now it doesnt even switch on or turn off . ! you cannot take pictures and the screen comes up in lines and make a beeep beeep noise then the lense goes in and out : / .
I am having a similair problem I contacted Canon and they said it could be a sensor problem and they will look at it for free and if it is the sensor they will fix it for free they are even sending me shipping label. My camera is out of warranty by a few years.
I called 1-800-828-4040 and spoke with repairs. Good Luck
As simple as this may sound, have you cleaned the lens lately? A lot of image quality deterioration comes from a finger print or other smudge on the lens. Digital cameras are succeptable to even the smallest gunk on the lens. Because the lens element is very tiny, use a cotton swab with a drop of lens cleaner (or isopropyl alcohol) to thouroughly clean and dry the lens. If it isn't a dirty lens, check your file-size and flash settings.
I had a problem that may be related to yours. From time to time, whenever I opened the cover, the lens wouldn't work properly. It would make a grinding noise and then when I took pictures they would all come out out of focus. After much fiddling about, I eventually discovered that if I set ALL RESET to FALSE on the SETUP menu, it returned to normal. Possibly this could fix your problem. Otherwise maybe its a battery problem. My camera sometimes refuses to take pictures when the battery is low.