I switch on, camera beeps, the lens extends I hear a whirring sound, the lens recedes and I get 4 beeps. The LCD reads PENTAX but nothing else. Battery is charged (I've tried battery in another camera, and the other battery in this camera) , Card is installed.
Any suggestions please?
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It sounds like the focus element inside the lens is stuck. This is usually either due to an impact knocking the elements out of alignment, or to sand/debris entering the focus motor's gear drive and preventing it from rotating. The buzzing sound you hear is the focus motor attempting to rotate, but buzzing up against some obstruction.
When the lens extends, you hear a buzzing sound, and then the lens retracts - this is usually the cause of the issue.
Unfortunately there is not much you can do externally to fix this problem. The camera will need to be taken apart and repaired by a professional or by the manufacturer.
Switch on and PRESS the "wide angle" selector switch. (in camera mode) Now the lens should move partially back in. If it does not move inwards at all and you do not hear a whirring noise, then the activator motor is defect.(or the lens assy is out of alignment). (or a foreign object has entered the gearing, and stalling the motor) If you do hear the motor running, then a gear might be stripped. All these faults do require to take the camera apart.
Lens errors (E18 errors on Canons) 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 ...
Here's 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:
Canon E18 error happens when the lens gets stuck while trying to extend. The camera will beep a few times and the LCD will display a little E18 in the lower-left corner. The lens gets stuck in the extended position, and refuses to move either to focus the lens or to retract when powered off.
Use the audio-visual cable that came with your camera and connect your camera to your TV. Now turn-on your camera and switch to "view mode", e.g., to see a already taken picture on your LCD. You will not see anything on your LCD but may see an image on your TV, even if the image is "F18".
I used the above trick to clear an F18 error on an A75. Right now I am trying to get the camera to focus properly, but somehow the above cleared the F18 error.
If the above does not work, try connecting your camera to your computer's USB port using the other cable that came with the camera. Your camera will want to be on, and in the "view mode". I have read that this trick can reset an F18 error.
Good luck. At least it costs zero to try these two tips.
Does the lens extend in either of these cases? If there has been some malfunction in the lens and it fails to extend the situation can cause the camera to power-off in order to protect itself. Some cameras show error messages before powering off, others do not.
Hold the camera up to your ear and turn the power on. Is there a series of mechanical sounds before the beeps? Hearing sounds but not seeing the lens extend indicates some sort of failure in the lens assembly. If you hear nothing then the problem most likely lies elsewhere, possibly a failed electronic component or something as simple as a loose connection.
Check with your manufacturer for any recalls or technical bulletins, and see if they will service your camera under warranty. If not there are a number of repair facilitys available on the internet who generally have better rates than out-of-warranty service at the factory.
Advance Camera Repair