Beware the fatal "Lens Error" that renders this camera unusable if you are unlucky

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Posted on Dec 15, 2010 7:40:12 AM PST
eric says:
I've purchased two Canon Power Shot Elphs and BOTH broke within a year and a half due to the LENS ERROR! It worked one day, and didn't the next. I really liked the camera, but I also will not purchase a Canon again.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2011 5:39:53 PM PST
robrexsmith says:
I just got mine first thing it said was lens error.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2011 6:32:54 PM PST
Well, of course you'll send it right back. The question is probably whether to replace it with the same kind of camera. I've had mine for about a year and so far, no lens error. I am very careful to not try to move quickly from one function to the next, as I believe that's how my old Canon jammed. But I do find the viewfinder very useful, and I don't know of any other camera that has it. You might want to give it one more try, exchange for another of the same model, maybe your new one is just a "lemon." Good luck.

Posted on Feb 11, 2011 8:05:33 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jun 5, 2011 10:22:42 PM PDT
Were most of your shoots indoors or outdoors before you got a lens error?

And I agree, be patient when changing from one mode to the next. Give it time to figure out what it is doing before switching to something else.

UPDATE - - After 3 months of sporadic usage, I managed to break one of my Canon SD100 IS camcorders by dropping it on the floor. Chipped the gizmo in front (when you raise it up, you are enabling the flash mechanism). You guessed it, sure enough there was the fatal LENS error.

If that's not bad enough, a month and a half later, I managed to break my other Canon SD100 IS camcorder (not very broken, basically jammed the little plastic lid that goes over the battery compartment, so it isn't as bad as a LENS error). For at least one of my cameras, an 8 GB sd card is now trapped inside it. I guess I am going to have to figure out a way of disassembling the camera to get my sd card back. Any more than that, well, I would HOPE I could salvage some parts from one camera, and use them on the other, but I don't have high hopes here. Does anybody have any experience disassembling and swapping out parts on these things? My two cameras are out of warranty. They're kind of old, so what do you expect? But now I am VERY reluctant to move on to a Canon ELPH, much though I am tempted to. The way I see it, the guy whose Canon ELPH camera failed on him, probably had a stray charge (static electricity) rip through an I/O line attached to his flash-lever. Was he using the flash very much? And I can't help but wonder, is the flash-thing on a Canon ELPH at all similar to the flash-thing on a Canon SX100 IS camcorder? And I don't know what the technicians call it, but when you are shooting in dim areas, a message pops up on the viewfinder telling you to raise the flash-gizmo. (That is because there are delicate I/O lines in that area.) I would not at all be surprised that a static charge had burned out the contacts leading to the flash-gizmo. If you didn't think the flash is/was that important, rest assured it is REALLY important. I wish there were some way of grounding my camera by running a wire from an approved nut, and off to an external ground. Room light is sampled through the flash-gizmo, and this is compared regularly to all the previous samples (in the olden days we used to call it "de-bouncing" an I/O line). If the Canon Powershot camera is at all similar to the Canon ELPH, the de-bouncing has to be successful or you will get the accursed LENS ERROR problem.

You would THINK that the Research & Development team at Canon would just let us type in our OWN number for solving this sort of thing. (They could even sell us a teeny Canon-compatible keyboard to plug into the USB port on their camera, that's what USB ports are for, for Heaven's sake, but no, they think that debouncing the I/O line (by attaching it to the flash) is so important they would rather KILL the whole camera, than let us bypass a screwed up system initialization routine....)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2011 8:48:06 PM PST
robrexsmith says:
mine started right out of the box. Never got to use it.

Posted on May 6, 2011 2:51:18 PM PDT
Irv Miller says:
I own a PowerShot SD780 IS and is now showing this error. It has had minimal use over the last couple years. I always keep it in my laptop bag when I travel so it has had a good life. I can't say I ever dropped it. Out of the blue, this week at a trade show I went to use the camera and the lens would not come out and I saw the error. The camera is totally inoperable now. I loved this camera, this is a huge disappointment to read these things. I am going to try to get it repaired by Canon. I will try to post here once I get a quote.

Posted on May 30, 2011 1:25:06 PM PDT
c port says:
Well I dont know about anything else, but I just got the lens error today on my Canon sd780is and I just bought it last April of 2010. Have not even used it that much and I sure wish I would have know about ahead of time. Whoever the guy is yall keep complaining about posting repeated notices about this is doing a good job. I sure appreciate it and I just wish I would have known about it ahead of time because I certainly would not have bought it.

Posted on May 30, 2011 8:12:47 PM PDT
The real question is why Canon won't fix the code so a diagnostics window pops up, and we can navigate our way past the system error. The Canon has a USB port. So what do you think a USB port if for? There is no logical reason in the world why they don't sell us a USB keyboard (or at least a keypad) that lets us get past their stupid lens error bug.

That, and a repair manual.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2011 8:43:09 AM PDT
preKteacher says:
What a great idea! But then, of course, we wouldn't be buying new cameras as often. If that is their rationale, they are misguided. After it happened to me, I swore off Canon cameras!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 5, 2011 10:11:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 5, 2011 10:28:27 PM PDT
Well, if there were a diagnostics window and a $20 keypad that I could plug into the USB port, why, I think I would buy two or three of the keypads, and two or three Canon Powershot cameras.

Too many manufacturers act like users should not be allowed to know what's happening in the camera, let alone opening the camera up, fiddling with it, and hopefully fix what is going wrong. It would be fantastic if I could simply control the shutter rate, exposure time, and optical focus (not the same thing as a digital focus, you'd have access to the stepper motors that adjust the iris, and step the aperture assembly in and out), just by typing numbers in.

Posted on Jun 19, 2011 1:07:56 PM PDT
c port says:
My Canon sd708is quit working a few weeks ago.

I had the camera for 13 months.

Now when I turn it on all it does is it says lens error restart camera.

The camera is totally useless now.

Posted on Jul 10, 2011 6:32:15 PM PDT
Kevin says:
Our SD780IS just started getting the error. It WAS a great camera.

I think our next point and shoot will be another brand.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 24, 2011 11:05:46 AM PDT
JeffL0719 says:
This is not a fatal error in my experience. Just restart the camera and you're fine. I've dropped mine about 10 times and it still takes great shots. I can't switch to video mode any longer, however. But it's my own darn fault!

Posted on Sep 8, 2011 6:35:25 PM PDT
A..dam says:
Just got lens error on mine.
Camera was very lightly used for 1.5 years
Will nit buy Canon in the future

Posted on Sep 8, 2011 7:13:25 PM PDT
A..dam says:
Just fixed the error. You need set up camera for MOVIE MODE, insert batteries and press power. presto. Lens retracts

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 9, 2011 4:43:42 AM PDT
This is a very valuable discovery! I am going to print it out and store it with my camera! Thank you!

Posted on Jun 27, 2012 10:40:00 AM PDT
I have had this camera (SD780is) for a few years and love it! But a week ago I got the dreaded "Lens Error" message. So I did what was recommended: a hard tap against something, to free up the mechanism. No luck. So I figured it was time for a new camera. The problem was that I didn't find anything that I liked as much as my SD780! No camera was as small. And all had very mixed reviews. Even the current Canon Elphs are slightly larger. And the Nikon's are even larger.

So I came home disappointed. Then I figured that since i was going to dump the SD780 anyway, since it wasn't working, there was no need to be gentle with it. No more Mister Nice Guy! So I gave it a hard WHACK against my wooden desk. And another! And another! And suddenly it started working again!!!

So if you have the lens error issue, don't despair. Hit it hard. And harder. And harder. And maybe it will work!

Posted on Jun 27, 2012 11:36:05 AM PDT
c port says:

This is update to my previous message about my lens error.

I had the sd780is for about 15 months when I got the lens error. After that I just put it in my drawer and it has been there for several months. Then I saw some new instructions on this thread and followed those and instructions and WOW it worked.

This is what I did.

I turned the camera off and put it in movie mode and removed the battery. Then I put the battery back in and turned it on and whacked the corner of the camera on a wooden table 4 times pretty hard. Then I gently pushed the lens into the body wa - la it worked. Then I checked it and it has been working great ever since then.

I hope this helps someone else because it has been a very good camera other than that.

Chris Porter

Posted on Jun 29, 2012 10:47:06 AM PDT
Irv Miller says:
A funny story, I first posted here in May 2011 with my lens error. I pretty much gave up on my Cannon so my wife bought me a 14 mp Cyber shot for fathers day a couple weeks later. So the SD780IS laid off to the side collecting dust. I was going to throw it away back in January and my wife said keep it for one of the small children to play with so I kept it. Then last Saturday I was cleaning my office and saw it sitting there dusty with the charger and I threw them both in a trash bag in my office. The house cleaner came in and did her normal thing and somehow missed the trash bag, so once again the Cannon was still at my house.

On the 27th Chris Porter made a post and I received the email from Amazon and clicked on just to check in. Then I saw what Chris did to get his Powershot working again:

"I turned the camera off and put it in movie mode and removed the battery. Then I put the battery back in and turned it on"

I stopped with that. I turned it on and it has been working great ever since then. Thanks Chris!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2012 2:38:19 PM PDT
What a valuable chat this has turned out to be! I threw away my first Canon PowerShot, but took a chance and bought a second one because I like the viewfinder feature. Now I'm glad I did, and I'm saving these posts for the day (if it comes) when the DLE appears again.
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Participants:  38
Total posts:  70
Initial post:  May 15, 2009
Latest post:  Jun 29, 2012

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Canon PowerShot SD780IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.5-inch LCD (Silver)
Canon PowerShot SD780IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.5-inch LCD (Silver) by Canon
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