This section will go over some quick fixes that you can do which will sometimes clear a lens error.
After trying some of the Quick Fixes on this page, please feel free to post a comment below. Your comments not only document your issue / model, they can help others who are in the same predicament.
Now let’s get started…
Before we go over the Do’s, let’s first cover the Dont’s to avoid causing further damage to your camera.
1. DO NOT use a compressed air canister to blow air into the lens area of the camera. Many people try this and then discover a heartache when they realize they have caused further damage to the camera. Air Canisters are typically vapor based and this is a big no no for the camera. At the back of your lens assembly is the Imaging Sensor (aka: CCD) which is extremely sensitive. It’s biggest enemy is moisture. Spraying an air canister into the lens often sends the vapor directly onto the imaging sensor. This can cause bigger problem in that when the lens error is corrected, the imaging sensor may only display a distorted image or sometimes no image at all due to the damage from moisture. THE BOTTOM LINE, AVOID SPRAYING AIR FROM AN AIR CANISTER INTO THE LENS ASSEMBLY.
2. DO NOT force air into the lens by use of an air compressor. While this is a safer bet than using a vapor based air canister, the air pressure if too high can damage the imaging sensor in the camera. If nothing else, what you are doing is sending any dirt or debris from within the lens assembly to the back of the lens and onto the Imaging Sensor, in turn this can cause spots or other marks to show up in your images once the camera is up and running again. THE BOTTOM LINE, AVOID SPRAYING AIR FROM AND AIR COMPRESSOR INTO THE LENS ASSEMBLY
3. DO NOT use cardboard or a similar product by inserting into the edges of the lens assembly in an attempt to clear any blockage. While this seems like a good idea, the cardboard or similar product can come off and become lodged inside. As an added note, when these cameras experience a lens error, the problem is most always within the gear assembly or with the lens motor itself. This paper / cardboard method rarely helps anything and present risk of causing further damage to the camera. THE BOTTOM LINE, DO NOT INSERT CARDBOARD OR A SIMILAR PRODUCT INTO THE EDGES OF THE LENS ASSEMBLY.
4. DO NOT attempt to apply oil or any other type of lubricating product to the lens. While many people do try as it might seem like a good idea in theory, this is a major do not do! There is no oil in the lens assembly for a reason, the lens does not require lubration to function and more importantly, oil attracts dirt! Plus this can leave oil residue on the imaging sensor if it makes it’s way to the back of the lens. It can also end up in the lens glass itself, all of this will affect the picture quality later. If you’re going to avoid any of the do not do’s here, this oil theory is the one to avoid more than anything! THE BOTTOM LINE, DO NOT ADD OIL OR ANY OTHER LUBRICATING PRODUCT TO THE LENS ASSEMBLY.
5. DO NOT attempt to bang the camera or use excessive force when trying to free up a lens error. This method of madness can often cause further damage to the internal components of the camera to include the lens assembly, the lcd display, the flash assembly, along with the card reader in the camera. THE BOTTOM LINE, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BANG THE CAMERA OR USE EXCESSIVE FORCE WHEN TRYING TO FREE UP A LENS ERROR.
Now that we have the Don’t Do’s out of the way, let’s get to some of the Quick Fixes which will sometimes help to free up a lens error.
Some “Quick Fix Do’s” to try
1. Make sure that your battery has good power. Plug in the Audio / Video Cable that came with your camera into the A / V Port. While this cable is connected, try powering on the camera as you normally would. On many Canon Powershot models, having the cable connected will turn off the lcd display in the camera. This provides the maximum power available to power the lens motor. This has been known to clear many of the lens errors that come up on these cameras.
2. Another method is to try to gently wiggle the lens assembly while powering the camera on. This will sometimes free up the lens errors on these cameras. It is important that you do not push nor pull on the lens. Just a few wiggles of the lens is generally all it takes if this method will fix the issue.
3. Another method that has been know to work is to hold both the Menu Button down along with the Function Set or Set Button (depending on the model). While holding these two buttons down, press the power button on the camera. This is a method that will also clear these lens error codes on many of the Powershots.
4. Another popular trick is to apply light pressure to the lens while powering on the camera. Do not apply excessive pressure, just some medium pressure from your hand is sufficient. It is best to apply the pressure and then quickly release, then do this again all while the camera is attempting to power on. If the lens error clears itself, move your hand away immediately to avoid damaging the lens assembly at that point.
5. If none of those fixes solved your lens error, trying taping the camera in the palm of your hand and at the same time as you power the camera on. Do not use excessive pressure when tapping the camera, medium pressure is generally sufficient. Excessive banging or tapping it to hard can cause further damage to the camera. Please use reasonable judgement when doing this, if you are unsure as to how much pressure to use when tapping the camera, resort to less pressure. If and when this method works, it is more often the constant light taps in the palm of your hand that will free up the lens.
6. Give up and pull out your hair (just kidding)!
If none of the methods described above solved your lens error issue, there is likely a failed component inside the camera. If the lens motor is worn out, a sensor has failed, there is sand or dirt in the lens assembly, the camera would need to be professionally serviced by a technician.
If you do need to have it serviced, it’s generally not as expensive as many might think. Please visit our Recommended Service Facilities page for some of the Best Service Centers available to you who have the experience to professionally service your Canon.
Recommended Service Facilities for the Canon Powershot Digital Cameras can be found by “clicking here“