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I am getting a system error (focus) on my new Panasonic Lumix DMC ZX3

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How new is it?...can you return it? Can you take advantage of the warranty?
You can also try these (carefully)...sometimes they work.

Posted on Mar 31, 2011

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  • nepal2011 May 14, 2011

    try what???? I'm in the back blocks of Laos... I'll try anything to fix "system error - focus" please do tell which buttons to press

  • pobster Jun 09, 2011

    System error focus is usually caused by some foreign object (sand or dust) becoming stuck in the lens mechanism.
    I tried everything suggested online to solve the problem with my TZ7 and 'nothing' worked, so I contacted an online repair company for a quote - £60 hmm.. getting on for what a, working second hand TZ7 might cost, so I figured I had nothing to loose by having a go at fixing it myself.
    Here's what I did:

    Take apart the camera, which is surprisingly easy.

    1. Make sure the lens is fully retracted into the body (you'll need to take it out later)

    2. Remove the battery and memory card

    3. You'll need to unscrews all the tiny screws that hold the front cover and rear cover to the main body which involves using a very small Philips/crosshead screwdriver.

    4. Take off the FRONT cover first.

    5. Then GENTLY take off the rear. The rear also houses the LCD screen and is where you need to be careful as the screen is attached to the main body with two ribbon cables which need to be unclipped.

    6. You will see a black, plastic clip (same width as the ribbon cable) on the opposite side of where the cable attaches, gently flick up the clip with your finger nail or small flat head screwdriver and gently slide out the cable. Then repeat for the other one.

    7. You will now need to repeat the above process to remove two further cables that connect the lens mechanism to the main body.

    8. Once done, look at the lens mechanism and you will see 3 silver screws that hold the lens mechanism to the body. Unscrew these and put somewhere safe.

    9. The lens mechanism should now be loose however, it will NOT simply lift out. It only comes out at a certain angle. Start by lifting out the side the is closest to the end of the camera body. Be careful your fingers do not press on the lens cover or damage the ribbon cables.

    10. Eventually after a bit of wiggling the lens mechanism should pop out. Now the tricky part, put the battery back in the camera and reconnect the 2 ribbon cables of the lens mechanism by sliding them back into there respective connection. It may help to snap back the two plastic clips the hold the cables in place, but I didn't find it necessary. Now switch on the camera.
    What you are aiming to do do is get the lens to extend out and keep it there. So once the camera has powered up and the lens has come out, quickly remove the battery.

    11. Now remove the two ribbon cables again. You should now have an extended lens mechanism in your hand. Gently tap the mechanism with your finger. Shake and blow, gently around the lens mechanism. If you're feeling brave you can remove the CCD sensor from the back of the lens (held by 3 screws). I did, whether it made any difference I don't know, but you must be VERY careful if you do.

    12. Now all you need to do is reassemble the camera from no.9 backwards. Take care putting the ribbon cables back, make sure they're straight and fully inserted before snapping the plastic clip back in place.

    13. Once reassembled, put the battery back in, cross your fingers and hope it works!

    This did the trick, don't know why, it just did. Took about 30 minutes and cost me NOTHING. You'll also be surprised by how uncomplicated the camera is inside as well!

    Disclaimer: Don't do this if your camera is under warranty or you're stupid.

  • Denis Jul 20, 2011

    Thanks a lot. Following your steps saved my camera !!!

  • thorb72 Aug 26, 2011

    Same thing happened to me. I followed pobster's suggestion to take my Lumix apart. It worked! Great step by step instructions. I definitely had to take the CCD sensor off though, and when I did, i did notice a small spec of something (probably sand particle) on it. I carefully blew it off. I'm sure that was the culprit. the most difficult part was getting the lens back into the body, and getting the last little ribbon cable back in place.


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