Question about Cameras

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Camera lens movement mechanism seems to be damaged, as when switched on, the camera lens does not extend out completely and the object appears blurred on the screen. Similarly when switched off, the lens does not retract back completely and it needs a manual push to put it in a little more. But even then it does not go in fully. Rest of the functions are working well. The damage is the result of an accidental body weight going on the camera, when it was in on condition.

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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 Dec 10, 2009

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My Cannon power shot s5is was saying lens error, restart camera. Does not restart. Lens remains out and switches off.


It seems that either the plastic drive mechanism is worn/damaged, or the motor (possibly it's drive electronics) have failed. If an extended lens is bumped (or dropped) the plastic worm gear assembly suffers damage (easily too), and the mechanism cannot retract.

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Only easy fix is checking if the problem disappears by removing batteries and putting them back.

Oct 12, 2008 | Cameras

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Lens error


I've got the answers...

Problem: Lens error.
Symptom: Lens will not extend upon power up.
Cause: Lens is impeded while trying to extend.
This is usually caused by one of two circumstances. (1) The user dropped the camera while the lens was extended causing a mechanical failure. (2) The lens attempts to extend while in a pouch or pocket without the user's knowledge. This usually happens when the user is carrying the camera with the battery in. When/if the REC button or power button is pressed accidentally, the lens will attempt to extend but can't. This causes the main drive gears to be damaged.

Solution: Replace the main drive gear assembly. This should only be done by a qualified tech.
If you've experienced this you know exactly what I mean. This should clear up any notion that the "Lens Gods" have cursed you. Although this may have appeared to be a mystery, it's always caused by something!

Problem: Lens error.
Symptom: Lens extends, makes a few buzzing noises and retracts, resulting in "lens error" message.
Cause: This is caused by damage to the focus lens often by impact, or sand in the mechanism.
Solution:The focus lens gears either need to be replaced or the assembly completely rebuilt. Again, this should be done by a qualified tech. It's a very delicate process.

Problem: Aperture unit failure
Symptom: images appear to be washed out, over exposed and often have horizontal lines through them.
Cause:The aperture unit is either stuck, damaged or not receiving the proper electrical signal to activate. The result is that the aperture remains open after the picture is taken and CCD is over exposed.
Solution:Completely rebuild the aperture unit, which requires complete lens dis-assembly and rebuild. Again, this should be done by a qualified tech. It's a VERY delicate process.


Additional details in THIS LINK.

Hope this helps.

Apr 27, 2011 | Casio Exilim EXZ75 Digital Camera

1 Answer

When I turn my camera on, it tries to adjust the lens and then it retracts. the screen says lens error.


This is a common problem for these pocket cameras with zoom lenses. It is usually a result of the camera being switched on while in a pocket or case or other place that restricts the lens from being able to be extended fully.

The camera does a sort of "self check" when turned on to make sure the pictures you take will be right. If it can't perform the test successfully, it shuts off and displays an error message.

Something is preventing the lens from running the self test completely. This could be a damaged mechanism (as a result of trying to open all the way earlier), or a simple "grain of sand" that has become caught between the lens barrel and camera body.

The camera will need to have the offending object removed / mechanism repaired to let the lens complete the self test before it can be used again. You might have some luck fully charging the batteries or or leave connected to a power source - and attempt to power up again. This is a "brute force" method - the fully charged batteries / power source my provide enough "oomph" for the lens to dislodge the object. Make sure the camera is pointed lens down - so it can fall out - rather than INTO the camera even further. You could try pulling the lens while powering up - but this could make things worse. If the camera is expendable, you could try that. If the camera is more than a couple / few years old, you might just want to simply buy a newer, more feature packed one instead of going the repair route - as this *can* be an fairly expensive repair give the cost of most mainstream cameras purchased a few years ago and the cost of them today.

If it is a dirt issue, it will likely NOT be covered under warranty. Of course, contacting the manufacturer and discussing the problem certainly can't hurt.

I hope this helps... good luck!

Oct 11, 2010 | Cameras

1 Answer

When i switch on camera, the lens does not fully extend, and the word "Lens" appears on the top display window. my address, in case I need to go to a local repair shop, Northwest Calgary Alberta Canada


Lens errors are fairly common. 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 ... Unfortunately, many cameras that fall prey to this can only be corrected by professional repair. But, here are some things that you can do that may correct it. They only seem to work for less than 40% of the lens errors, but if the camera is out of warranty, they're worth a try.

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My camera lens won't move. I recently was out on a photoshoot with friends, and I ended up falling down with the camera in my hand while the lens was extended. At first it didn't move at all, but I got the...


I am sorry to say that this is a problem related to the lens mechanism. The lens gears may have kinked/slipped when you fell down and this seems to be the reason why the lens cannot extend retrace. Unfortunately this is one repair that you don't wanna do yourself. The lens assembly has to be completely disassembled just to know the exact cause of the problem and any further damage means a new camera. Panasonic will charge you the cost of a new cam to fix it. So to get an estimate from your local camera tech would be the way to go.

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1 Answer

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Here are some things that you can do to try to correct it. They only seem to work for less than 50% of the lens errors, but if the camera is out of warranty, they're worth a try.

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Here are some things that you can do to try to correct it. They only seem to work for less than 50% of the lens errors, but if the camera is out of warranty, they're worth a try.

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It seems the life of digital cameras are 2-3 years. The camera has lens gear problem. The lens assy fails most on digital cameras with moving lens. The plastic gears in the lens assy. are quite fragile in design and when used regularly, gears tends to wear down and eventually damages the lens movement. Many time a small impact or stress on lens when extended do the same damage. The parts are sold as a lens assy and repair cost may run around $100.

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1 Answer

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