Question about Canon PowerShot S3 IS Digital Camera

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Lens error My zoom will not work. I can take pictures if I don't zoom, but as soon as I try to zoom in, the screen goes black, the camera beeps a few times and a message that says "lens error, restart camera". However, upon restarting the camera, nothing changes - it still won't zoom!. Also, when turning on the camera, when the lens first comes sounds funny, like it is puttering. Help?

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Re: Lens error

Powershot S3 IS: lens error message, lens juddering on startup but not coming out. Tried all tricks on internet without success, so decided to dismantle camera. Localised fault to optical position encoder on first transfer gear of the ultrasonic motor which controls lens position. Sensor was misaligned and/or dirty, so the camera could not detect motor rotation. Removed sensor, cleaned it, glued back in position with cyanoacrylate glue. Reassembled camera (only one internal bolt left over - not bad!) Working 100% again.

Posted on Jul 29, 2010

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Re: Lens error

It definitely does sound like one of a few things:

  • The transmission system that moves the lens in and out has a problem with it's gears. There is most likely a gear or an actuator that has fallen out of alignment and is getting stuck at a certain point as the lens comes out.
  • The motor or servo that drives the transmission system is failing.
  • There is a physical deformity of the lens architecture itself that is preventing the lens from coming out.
Any of these symptoms is most likely going to be accompanied by a grinding sound. Especially if the gears are somehow stripped. The "puttering" sound be a description that would fit the sound a motor or servo makes when it's trying to cycle itself over but is failing. (Much like a car that is trying to start up, but just won't turn over?) That would definitely be an indication of a motor going bad in the camera.

Either way, this is something you're definitely going to have to refer to Canon's technical support on. If your camera is still under warranty, you're going to have to get them to replace it or at the very least SERVICE it.

I myself will ALWAYS insist on REPLACEMENT. One might argue that the terms of the limited warranty state that they reserve the right to either replace or service the device...

...but TRUE customer service tells a different story. I have NEVER had anything serviced. I have always had replacements. Either I've INSISTED on it or they've just been smart and not even made it an issue by making it their procedure. I get a brand spankin' new device and THEY get a happy customer.

Always keep in mind how much you spent on their product and ENGRAIN that into their heads.

Here's the deal...

If you ARE out of warranty, get around that by telling them that you DID buy it within the last 9 months and that you do NOT have proof of purcahse. If they insist on asking for it, then humor them and "try" to look for it and once again inform them that you do NOT have it.

They can't really dispute the warranty at that point if they can't prove that you DIDN'T buy it within the last 9 months.

I hate to work the system like that... But I paid $400 for mine. I'll be damned if I'm going to be out the money for it! Am I right?

Anyway... That is the best advice I can give you, unfortunately.

Call them as soon as you can! Get it replaced!

If you think that you can keep yourself together and composed well enough to play the system... Contact Canon's tech support and see what you can accomplish.

Remember... It's not as if you're going to get in any trouble. The worst they can do is refuse you. You have NOTHING to lose but the money you spent on the camera!

Here is their support info.
For toll-free technical support, please call 1 (800) 828-4040 during regular business hours (currently Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 midnight. EST, Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., excluding holidays).

Good luck with this. Let us know what comes of it. :)


Posted on Nov 17, 2007

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Re: Lens error

Its possible there is a gear that is stripping out, or out of alignment, and when you go to zoom, the camera is encountering an error and that is where you get the error from.

Posted on Nov 16, 2007

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Dear wwgirl:

Your problem initially sounded like a simple lens error (and was). However you now seem to have alsao developed a possible image sensor issue as well. Contact Canon Tech Support at 1-800-828-4040 to set up a repair of the camera.

Hope this helps.


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