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From the way you describe the problem it appears that the retraction mechanism has become out of line. I think that as you can hear a clicking sound the mechanism is working but not engaging with the lens. Try gently applying slight pressure on the front of the lens this may help to re-engage. You may need to consider a trip to the repair shop.
The lens has probably got something in the retraction mechanism that is stopping it retracting. This can be something as simple as sand or grit or as a result of a drop or knock. In most cases the camera will need to be stripped apart to remove the lens assy before it can be repaired. This is best left to a professional camera repair shop.
Everytime I try to turn it on, the lens comes out for about a second,
the camera beeps 3 times, the lens retracts and the camera shuts off.
The battery is completely charged and the camera is only 4 months old.
With Battery out try to pull the lens towards outside
Do that gently do Don't rip it off !!!
Probably you will hear a click sound and If you do,
than put the battery back turn on and you should be fine
Every case is different so of the lens is jammed this will help
If the lens assembly is damaged than the only way is to sell the rest of the camera for parts.
mine does the same thing. i just bought it like 2 months ago too. what could it be? i don't want to have to ship it back, but it looks that way so far. i bought new batts. too and that did nothing. also i called sony, and spoke w/ tech support, and they had me take out the batteries, hold down the power button for 30 secs and then put the batts. back in. ??? i was like what will that do and she said reset it, but it still won't power on and the lens is out. it beeps like duhduh and then goes back off. it is making me mad. b/c also i have bought 2 sony PS2's and they both quit reading games. what is with sony? can someone help us w/ the camera problem? thanks!
I had exactly the same problem and I went to this site and got my solution. I banged the bottom of the camera with my palm and turned it off and on at the same time. On about the fourth bang the lens retracted and cleared the error codes. I know, "Caveman Maintenence" but it worked. Can't hurt to try...