Fixing Lens Problems on a Digital Camera (lens error, lens stuck, lens jammed, dropped)

Lens problems are actually quite common throughout all camera brands. Usually it’s cause by sand or grit interfering with the lens extension mechanism. Or the camera’s been dropped with the lens extended. Or the camera has been powered on, but the lens had been blocked preventing its extension. Or the battery ran down with the lens extended. Fortunately, about half the cameras that suffer this failure can easily be fixed by one of the following methods. None of these methods involve opening the camera, although some have potential to cause other damage to the camera if excessively done. If the camera is still under warranty, before trying any of these, please please first contact your camera’s maker to see if they’ll cover the repair, or to determine how much they’ll charge for the repair. These repair methods are listed in the order of risk of damaging your camera. Thus make sure you try them in the listed order. And remember, these fixes (especially #6 and 7) should only be considered for a camera that’s out of warranty, who’s cost of repair would be excessive, and would otherwise be considered for disposal if unrepaired: #1: Remove the batteries from the camera, wait a few minutes. Put a fresh set of batteries back in (preferably rechargeable NiMH 2500mah or better) and turn the camera on. If using rechargeables, and they’re more than a year old, consider purchasing new rechargeable batteries as they may not be providing sufficient power to startup the camera. #1a: If new batteries didn’t work, try pressing and holding the Menu, Function, Function Set, or OK button while turning the camera on. This along with Fix #1c and #2 sometimes work for lens errors that occur from batteries wearing down while the lens was extended. For those of you who can still access your camera’s menus with this error, try finding and selecting the “factory reset” option to set your camera back to its original factory condition. On some Canon cameras, this requires holding the menu button down with the camera powered on for up to 10 seconds. However note that a lens error might sometimes override the reset option, and thus the option might not appear. #2: If the camera’s batteries ran down completely while its lens was still open, the camera may show a lens error or not start properly when new batteries are installed. Remove the memory card and keep it removed, then install the new batteries. When you turn the camera on with the card removed it may come back to life, as this triggers a reset in some cameras. Error E30 (for older Canon’s) means that you don’t have a memory card installed, so turn it off, slip in the SD card and turn it on one last time #3: Insert the cameras Audio/Video (AV) cable, and turn the camera on. Inserting this cable ensures that the camera’s LCD screen remains off during the start process. Thus extra battery power is available to the camera’s lens motor during startup. This extra power can be useful in overcoming grit or sand particals that may be jamming the lens. If the AV cable doesn’t fix the lens error by itself, consider keeping this cable installed while trying fixes 4, 5, and 7 as a means to provide extra power to help to these fixes. But note that I DON’T recommend keeping the cable installed during Fix 6 as you may damage the AV port while tapping the camera. Reinsert the cable only AFTER tapping the camera. #4: Place the camera flat on its back on a table, pointed at the ceiling. Press and hold the shutter button down, and at the same time press the power-on button. The idea is that the camera will try to autofocus while the lens is extending, hopefully seating the lens barrel guide pins back into their slots. #5: Blow compressed air in the gaps around the lens barrels with the idea of blowing out any sand or grit that may be in there jamming the lens. Other variations include blowing with a hair dryer in “no heat” setting, or sucking the gaps with a vacuum (careful with this one). Some people also have actually used a “Shop Vac” with this fix to help extend a retracted lens. #5a: If you actually do notice sand particles stuck in the gaps around the lens barrel, and blowing air does not help to dislodge them, consider using a thin piece of paper or a sewing needle to help dislodge them. Pay particular care not to scratch your lens barrel with the needle. Also, I do not recommend probing too deeply around the lens barrel with the paper (don’t go more than a 1 cm or 1/2 in) . Particularly I do not recommend probing deeply around the most outer (largest) lens barrel gap, as you may dislodge the lens barrel dust gasket that’s located just inside of that gap. Now we’re entering into the realm of potentially damaging your camera in conducting the fix. There is definitely some risk in the following repair techniques, so carefully consider your options before considering conducting the following fixes. The following fixes are NOT recommended for a valuable camera. These following fixes should only be considered for a camera that’s out of warranty, who’s cost of professional repair would be excessive or more than the value of the camera, and only for a camera that would otherwise be considered for disposal if not repaired #6: Repeatedly tap the padded/rubber usb cover on a hard surface with the intent of dislodging any particles that may be jamming the lens gears located inside the camera. Other variations include hitting a side of the camera against the palm of your hand. A lot of people have reported success with this method. HOWEVER, there is also some obvious potential for damaging or dislodging internal components with this method, such as unseating ribbon cables, or cracking LCD screens. #6a: This is a variation of Fix #6, and should be tried if the lens barrels appears straight (not crooked). In other words, try this if there’s no obvious mechanical damage to the lens barrels that’s causing the problem. With the lens pointed down, try “gently” tapping around the lens barrels with a small item such as a pen or pencil. The idea is to try to dislodge any sand particles that may be jamming the lens barrel stuck. Simultaneously try turning the camera on and off as you’re doing this. The next repair steps discussed are very extreme and have high potential for damaging your camera. However, they also have been shown to be the most effective in correcting a lens error. Again, consider the following only for a camera that you will dispose of if you can not repair it yourself. #7a: Note that this particular fix is intended only for cameras with lens barrels that try to extend, but then stop partway, and then return to their stored position. Try grabbing and holding the smallest inner lens barrel at its furthest extended position, preventing it from returning to the camera. Examine and clean around the lens barrel any noticed dust or dirt. Turn off and restart the camera again. If the lens extends even further, grab it again at its furthest extension, preventing it from returning. Clean again. Keep repeating until the lens is fully extended. Turn off the camera and restart it to see if the lens error has gone away. #7b: You especially might consider this if the lens barrel appears obviously damaged, bent, or crooked such as from a fall. In that case, try thinking of the lens as a dislocated shoulder. Try forcing the lens to straighten it and put it back in its place. In such cases, the lens barrel guide pins have become unseated from their guide slots (see the below illustration). Your objective would be to try to reseat them by straightening the lens. Listen for a “click” to hint that they’ve been reseated, and immediately stop forcing the lens at this point. More people have reported success with this method than with any of the other methods (see the polls in the right column). Variations to #7b include gently pulling, rotating, and/or twisting the lens barrel while hitting the power button. Examine the lens barrels closely for any hint of tilt or unevenness. Again, the goal is to attempt to straighten or align the barrel if it’s crooked or twisted. Another variation includes looking for uneven gaps around the lens barrel, and then pushing on the side of the lens barrel that has the largest gap (note pushing the lens barrel all the way in is NOT recommended as it may become stuck there). Again, while doing any of the above, listen for a click that indicates that the lens barrel guide pins may have reseated in their guide slots. If you hear this click, immediately stop and try the camera. The following photo illustrates unseated guide pins that would cause a lens error. Repeated tries of the above may be necessary. Consider repeating these steps, especially if you notice some progress in the operation of the camera. The camera was finally repaired after three tries of fix #7b. If you try these fixes, please post a comment on how the fixes worked for you. Your experience may help others. Note that most of the fixes listed here actually came from reader’s comments on my blog site. If the above fixes didn’t work for you, then please consider visiting my blog and read through the reader’s comments, especially the newer ones. There are other techniques listed from readers there that just might work for your situation. When posting a comment, please specify your camera model, and the particular fix that worked. Please also comment if none of the fixes were successful, or if you tried something different that worked.

100 Replies to “Fixing Lens Problems on a Digital Camera (lens error, lens stuck, lens jammed, dropped)”

  1. Thank you so much for all your help this video helped me a lot that's why I I fix my camera 😉👊👍

  2. Amigo podrías subir el modelo de canon elph 115 is. Me gustaría arreglarla. Tiene el ERROR E32. Intente desarmarla pero esta bien complicado. Me harías un gran favor si lo subes!!! 🙂

  3. The first thing to do is to look at the barrel…which is what I should have done before foolin' with all of his great ideas. What I found was that the fall bent my lens barrel and precluded the mechanism from moving to it's normal position! Wasted tons of time foolin' with efforts that would never have worked. Duh! arggghh. s

  4. Dropped my cyber shot, followed the suggestions #6 and it started working again. was going to send it in but not now thanks!!

  5. Well, went through all the same steps, nothing worked, until the last desperate attempt: pulling on the lens barrel. I had tried this before with no results, but I also think I dislodged a big sand particle while running around the barrel with the paper. And now it's back! Barrel is still a little wobbly, but this'll do fine. Now have an iPad with sharper resolution, but I don't want to chance bringing it to public place. (Nikon Coolpix S3300 that hit a tile floor at a museum).

  6. I have a Kodak Easy Share 160. I replaced the memory card and batteries. When I turn it on it says'Internal memory is full'. What can I do to be able to take pics again?

  7. My Nikon Coolpix is stuck and won’t open,like it’s LITTERALLY STUCK.The camera makes the little light but doesn’t open,HELP ME PLEASE I HAVE SO MUCH MEMORIES IN THIS CAMERA AND I NEED IT NOW

  8. Mine fell down from the couch which was annoying as it served me well in really harsh environments throughout a year of travel. Thanks to your video it's working again – number 4 did the trick. Thank you so much for your video. This is fantastic.

  9. What's happening to mine, it does indeed come out, but it keeps jumping around and it tends to get such while zooming. It then shuts down. My camera is a kodak easyshare c340

  10. Thank you for the information,the paper,compressed air and the tapping with the pen then on the desk top freed up the old Nikon barrels beautifully.

  11. I fixed mine. Took card out, took battery out, Inserted a post it note on the outside of the lens and went all around the lens. Felt for a spot where it slightly jams from crud. Kept going around till I felt it was clean. Sprayed an electronic element spray very lightly on it. Replace battery. In my mini screw set, I took the smallest one and inserted on the outside of the lens to pull lens out lightly and pushed power on and pulled screw driver out while pulling on lens….. Fixed….

  12. When i watch this video , my camera started switching on and i thought my battery died and i have to replace it!
    seriously! thought my day would end ! XD

  13. I have a Nikon Coolpix S9500. I listened to your video and went through the steps. The date and time menu kept coming up. I decided to add the date and time and the lens opened right up. I turned it off and on several times and it seems to work just fine now. Just thought I would let you know….George

  14. Tried everything for both of my S2 IS models, dont expect to fix this model so easily. They're throwaways once they get the lens error, switching to another model thank god. Never dropped one or exposed it to dirt, they just break after a while.

  15. You owe me 16 minutes of my life back. The LAST fix should have been the 1st fix, perhaps the SECOND after changing the batteries.

  16. People are still reviewing in 2018? Just use your smart phone. I'm also in here for a similar CoolPix error. In the past a little pressure on the lens would reset, but this time nothing. These things are so fragile, smart phone may be a better way.

  17. thanks! It worked by tapping the side on the table. I had sorta tried this on my own but not as described. Soooo, happy, camara not very old!

  18. Thank you! I have a Nikon Coolpix and the lens would not fully extend when it turned on. I was able to use the very last step. I didn't know which direction the lens open, just did counter-clockwise as your Canon. And it worked!

  19. My Fujifilm Finepix S1000fd, which I love, has developed a black spot.

    I don't know whether this is on the sensor or behind the lens. I am loathe to get rid of my camera because I love it.

    How on earth do I get rid of that black spot? I am not sure if it's dust or not.

  20. My "OLYMPUS SZ-14" Camera has a a "exposed outer PROTECTIVE IRIS" with 'leafs' that fully CLOSE over the lens when the SZ-14 is off. That IRIS was stuck closed… no matter what!

    I used your 'paper strip' (mentioned in the video for cleaning the "extending lens barrels"), but I applied this same approach AT that "outer IRIS/guard" leafs. I used the 'paper strip' with compressed air with the LENS POINTING DOWN. Very quickly my outer IRIS (mentioned above) started to operate again ~ WhooooHoooo!

    Now that outer IRIS/guard is working 100% of my tries and I am delighted! I'm sure a camera repair shop would have charged 'BIG bucks' for a 'repair and cleaning' but YOUR method is simply AWESOME.

    I sincerely thank you for your outstanding YOUTUBE production!

  21. Thank You. I tapped the camera and turned the power on…..presto the lens popped out. I have a Canon SX150 IS which I have used to take thousands of pictures at work. Now I am back on track. Thank You for your tips.

  22. What worked for me with a Canon Powershot G12: first I tried most of the tricks shown here, they didn't help. Then I packed the camera without battery in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer for a night, it still didn't work after putting the battery in and powering it up. I quickly put it in the bag again to prevent condensation. Then I let it heat up in the sun for a couple of hours. It worked after I powered it up again. If nothing helps, you can always try to apply a couple of temperature shocks, which may loosen any dirt present.

  23. #6 is the most effective..thank you so much its almost a year when my camera the lens doen't close…thank you so much.

  24. It fixed it!!!!! It's been broken for months and I tried so many times to fix it, and had given up, was about to purchase another one before I had one last try and it worked! thank you so much!

  25. This video was SO helpful, thank you so much. I don't which step did it, but I was able to finally fixed my old camera!

  26. I'll tell you, after breaking the ring gear on a digital camera, then taking the lens off. I found the images I would come up with were actually quite interesting.. know what I'm saying?

  27. Unfortunately, my lens jammed because it bumped against my camera phone, when I was trying to take photos of an eagle. None of these fixes worked. I tried all of them. 🙁

  28. thank you, i applied this information to my olympus and so far so good. I actually took it to a repair shop and they told me with the olympus you have to send it back to them as they don't train anyone to fix their cameras

  29. Thanks for this which inspired me to give it a try with my Nikon A900. Each step in turn, or a particular step brought the camera back to life.

  30. Always clean the outside of the lens barrel on zoom and bridge cameras before it retracts,
    Then this won't happen

  31. Had an issue, could not fix it with all these solutions and ended up getting a replacement of the same camera until I found a wiki page looking for something else. Turns out that it needed a slight spank with the palm of the hand.

    Def going to like it for future reference!! Fantastic tutorial video!!

  32. OMG – I followed each step and this worked on my AA2200 Canon Powershot! My little camera is fabulous and sentimental and didn't want to send it off to get it repaired. I went on vacation and got sand in it. I looked around here in Dallas and not too many options so I followed these steps and it worked!!!

    Yay!!! Thank you so much!

  33. Try 1 to 7 nothing can slove CASIO EX-Z800 LENS ERROR,even use press air can randomly operate,but focus sometimes not work

  34. OMG – #6 WORKED! A few smacks against my hand and voila! The lens extended! I thought my young grandson had ruined my trusty little camera. This video was extremely helpful. THANK YOU!

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