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There is something blocking the sensors for the lens position. This can something as small as a piece of sand. The motors and gears that move the lens are very small and delicate. You can send it in for repairs to www.unitedcamera.com
Sounds like a problem with the lens. If you need help with it, go to this site: www.camerasandparts.com They just specialize in service for the Canon Powershots and they are not much at all if you need to have one of these cameras serviced. The best part, they do perfect work on these cameras. They're the place if you need help with one of these. Best of luck it.
Follow this procedure to troubleshoot if the zoom function does not operate.
The zoom function will not operate with some AE modes.
The zoom function is not available while shooting a movie on all cameras.
Refer to the owner's manual for information regarding the functions available on
the camera. Manuals are available online in the Manuals/Specs/Warranty section of
the Sony® eSupport Web site.
Change the Auto Exposure (AE) mode on the camera.
Ensure the camera is not set for movie mode.
If the camera has a conversion lens setting in the menu, set it of OFF.
Reset the camera
back to factory settings. To reset the Camera, please select Initialize under Settings and Main Settings 1.
While zooming in-out camera gives error message means lens mechanism is either defective or lens drive motor is bad. In both cases, lens assembly will be replaced. Contact nearest camera repair shop for fix. Thanks.
I'm not sure if this will work as I have yet to try this for my self. But according to others who have had this problem pulling lens out while camera is off and then restarting camera works. If this does work please notify. Or just tell me what happens when this is done
the reason why the lens zooms out is because the zoom switch is faulty and might need replacing.The way to tell this is when you switch it on in camera mode you will see the zoom bar displays on the lcd and stays there.
We had this problem for about 2 weeks, we discovered that having the camera auto retracted after the "ZOOM ERROR" message, giving the camera couples of light slaps (slap the camera's LCD side and aim the camera down), this fixed the camera right away