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It depends on what setting your main top dial is set on? The flash will not pop up if you have your main dial set on P, Tv, Av, M, A-DEP . If you are using one of these setting you have to manually turn on the flash by pressing the small button on the side of the lens with a Flash icon next to it.
The only time the flash will automatically pop out is if you are using AUTO, Portrait, Close Up...etc. these icons would be underneath the Auto setting which are called Scene Mode, hope this helps ?
Does the little flash lightening bolt light up in the viewfinder to let you know the flash is fully charged? If it does, but when you push release it goes out and then comes on again in a few seconds that is the sign of a bad flash board.
Does the flash go all the way up?
Is the switch that is under the flash come all the way up (not stuck down)?
Error 5 is a flash error. What sounds like it happening is the mechanical part of the flash is working allowing for the pop-up, but the camera thinks there is an external flash present. A repair shop should be able to address the issue. Usually it's a problem with the micro switches "inside" the flash shoe.
Please let me know if you have any more questions.
In addition to resetting all the camera settings you should also choose the "clear all custom functions" option that is also available from the same menu. Once that's done. Put the camera in Full Auto mode and see if the issue is resolved.
Frustrating I am sure. I had the same problem on my first XTi. I cannot remember what the settings were, but I think I was set for portrait and had flash set as the white balance default source. Therefore the camera always popped up the flash assuming that I wanted or needed fill flash.
Change you white balance to sun/shade/tungston etc as is appropriate, choose a faster ISO speed in lower light levels and try using the P or Tv mode and use a shutter speed that generates a middle range aperature for your particular lens.
Does the 'pop up' pop up?
If it does and still says obstructed- closes it and pop it again
If it still persists Canon customer support will advise the next move.
If a repair price seems high you could perhaps get a separate flash if the camera accepts them.