Thursday, 2 July 2009

Canon G9 – “Lens error, restart camera” error

I went to use my Canon G9 compact digital camera recently after a long lay off for it while I explored the Panasonic G1. I charged up the battery and turned it on just before putting it in my suitcase for a three day trip – all I got was some whirrs and bleeps and a message on screen saying “Lens error, restart camera”…


The lens shutter opened, the lens projected a bit then stopped, with the whirrs and bleeps and then a message on the LCD screen saying “Lens error, restart camera”. It then turned itself off. The photo below shows the screen error message (please excuse the finger marks - I was in a hurry) and the one below that the position the lens stopped in.




Not panicking I decided to turn it off, leave it a few minutes and try again - no change. I tried it a couple more times; still no change. I then took out the battery and left it for 10 minutes; still no change.

Since it was now time to catch the train I took out the battery and left it on the shelf with its lens partially extended to sulk and consider its future until I came back and picked up the Panasonic G1 instead.

When I returned three days later from my trip I popped the battery back in and tried again – no change. I tried a few times with the odd prod of the lens to try to encourage it to move. Nothing happened so I left it and had a search on Google for solutions.

The general message I got from various sites was that Canon was unlikely to be interested in fixing it as they nearly always claim that this sort of problem is due to sand/grit etc in the mechanism or being dropped and hence not covered by any sort of warranty.

My camera is about 18 months old, but very lightly used – it has only taken about 500 photos as it has only really been used as a back up to my DSLRs and rarely needed. I have taken a good deal of care of it and when not in use it has been kept in its Lowepro D-Pods 30 case that I reviewed earlier and that review can be found – here. I have certainly never dropped it or abused it.

I’m not wildly patient and after reading about the problem and its solution on several web sites I followed the most comprehensive advice that I found – here.

The 7 Fixes...

I followed the suggested fixes - which as you would imagine are progressively more risky – through to the final level – Fix 7.

Fix 1 - Essentially what I did initially – turn it off and on again.

Fix 2 - Again essentially what I did next – taking the battery and memory card out; putting in a new battery and then trying again.

I rummaged around in the loft to find the USB AV cable as recommended when I reached Fix 3.

Fix 3 - Insert the AV cable in the camera and turn it on – the idea is that this turns off the screen and diverts a little extra power to the lens motor and that might do the trick. It didn’t for me.

Fix 4
- Lay the camera on its back and press the shutter release while turning on the power – this might trick the camera into moving the lens as it tries to focus while powering up – didn’t work for me though.

Fix 5 - Blow compressed air around the lens to try to shift any particles clogging up the works. I didn’t have any compressed air, but I do have a large Giottos “Hurricane” blower which I tried – to no avail.

Fix 6 - Tap the USB cover on the camera against a hard surface a few times – This is getting into serious “you do this at your own risk” territory as it may make things works or solve the problem but damage something else inside the camera in the process. Not feeling as if Ihad much to lose I gave it a go – again to no effect.

Fix 7
- “Try forcing the lens” is the advice. It could really do terminal damage, but if you don’t fancy a big repair bill and the camera is out of warranty then … I didn’t feel that I had much to lose so I did some extensive wriggling of the lens, pushing it and pulling it – all the while listening for the telltale click that says it has reseated itself. I thought I heard it a couple of times and occasionally the lens moved and the lens changed the position it ended up in, but for probably about twenty tries I kept getting the same error message.

Naturally I got a little less gentle as time progressed and eventually the lens closed as I pushed it back in against a flat surface.

When I turned it back on the lens came out and protruded much further than before, but it was still not right. After going through the cycle around five more times the screen lit up and instead of the error message I got a camera settings screen – progress at last.

I pressed the shutter release and the flash fired and an image appeared on the screen – but the image was very out of focus. I tried zooming which worked and then gently (now I was beginning to think that it might be OK I became more cautions) wriggled the lens about.

I turned the camera off and the lens retracted and the shutter closed – when I turned it on it seemed better, although the familiar "Powershot G9" turn on screen did not come up; just the camera settings screen.

After a few more tries the camera started working normally again and the focus seemed OK.

I took the camera out for a quick test and viewed the images in Lightroom at 100% - they seem OK.

Result

After several on/off cycles it is still working fine – so it looks as I have brought it back to life; but more by luck than skill I feel. In reality most of the movements I tried with the lens were firm but not sharp shocks or knocks.
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23 comments:

Isa said...

Im nervous. I tried turning my G9 camera on yesterday. The lens extended and then the lens error occured. The lens will not retract. I try to turn the camera on. It makes a few high pitched sounds, displays the error notification on the LCD, then shuts off.
I really hope I can find an easy solution to this situation (I've had the camera for almost two years) because I am in college right now & I don't know if I can afford to buy another camera like that at the moment.

jolly padrida said...

Thank you for sharing your experience! I was careless with my G9 camera this past weekend and it dropped to the floor; when I picked it up and turned it on, was dismayed to get the "lens error" message and only a partially protruding lens. At first the lens would retract when I turned it off, but tugging on it while turning it on, in effort to get it to fully extend and operate, only succeeded in preventing it from fully closing when turning it off. I tried steps 1 and 2 to no avail, and also a few whacks and semi-drops and lens tugging and pushing, but what really got it to finally work again was your advice to push the lens back in against a flat surface. That finally got the lens to move the way it was supposed to again. I, too, had blurriness at first, but after a few off and ons, the camera seems to be working like it should. YAY!!!! Thanks for saving me >$100!!

Keith said...

Thanks for this forcing the lens closed then power cycling worked for me

ZayDee said...

Thnx for the advice, It worked here, just to hit the Power button and force the lens towards the camera body will make the gears fit into it's place again.

amhein said...

The first time that I had a lens error, due to a child dropping my G9, I sent it in to Cannon and paid $167.50. It happened again when it hit the floor when I bent over while I was wearing it. Needless to say I did not want to send it to them again. I tried many of the hints with no success, so I tried forcing it back in like suggested and it worked after many tries and I finally got a bit more forceful. I am so happy that I was able to fix it and save time and money!

Stripesnotdots! said...

Thanks for the advice, I had the problem and was just about to splash out on a new camera. But followed your advice and pushing the lens in manually worked after two attempts was back to normal.

Anders said...

Thank you! I tried fix #7 on my girlfriend's g9 (after that she replaced it with a s100) and it worked! I'm surprised how much force I needed to use. The focus seems all right.

Anders said...
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Anders said...
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mahasiswa teladan said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)

mahasiswa teladan said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)

Ted Overton said...

I just fixed mine. Brute force. Worked like a charm and saved me $100. Thank you, ted

Cooper Freer said...

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Mark Petticrew, David Jones, Zaid Chalabi said...
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Mobber79 said...

OMG #7 worked. After allll this time I hadn't thought to try and just smash on it.
I still want this one though.
Canon G1x

Ctown Veto said...

5 dollar buy at a garage sale. Lens stuck, #7 worked like a charm. Awesome!

Joseph said...

I went to use my Canon G9 compact digital camera recently after a long lay off for it while I explored the Panasonic G1. I charged up the battery ... ccanoncameras.blogspot.com

Jhon Staphen said...

Great blog I really hope I can find an easy solution to this situation (I've had the camera for almost two years) because I am in college right now & I don't know if I can afford to buy another camera like that at the moment.

Brand Consultant Singapore | Brand Marketing Consultant in Singapore

Jhon Staphen said...

Great blog The general message I got from various sites was that Canon was unlikely to be interested in fixing it as they nearly always claim that this sort of problem is due to sand/grit etc.Thanks for sharing.......

Brand Consultant Singapore | Brand Marketing Consultant in Singapore

Daliana Pacuraru said...

Thank you for the tip.Pushing the lens , forcing them to close, I solved the problem!

Jhon Saka said...

"Canon G9 – “Lens error, restart camera” error" is great post,I already used this camera long time I always appreciate your post.I’m really amazed with your posting skills as well as with the layout on your blog site.Very informative and well written post.
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Mary Treiber said...

In a panic after the Dreaded Error message popped up, I went to the internet and found your approach, a variant of The Larger Hammer Technique. As you and others have commented, this is a bit scary. I've loved this camera. It worked, and then it went back to error message, and so I repeated efforts. And now it seems to be ok. Thanks for the detailed approach. I'm so grateful!

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