Digital Cameras : Help me with my memory card error
November 30, 2004 11:08 AM   Subscribe

A follow up my last question about my Canon Elph S400 that, I thought, had a dying CF card. Now it appears that it just doesn't like large storage cards. With a 256 or 512 card I run a 50% chance (it seems) of encountering a memory card error. With a 128 card, I didn't have any trouble at all. [MI]

The lens makes a buzzing noise when it extends or retracts now and I'm really just wondering if there's any use in looking into repairing the camera? Obviously, I'd like to have the camera working again properly but I've also been thinking about upgrading to a Sony DSC-T1, still.

I have used the camera quite a bit but I don't think its wearing out, is this something that Canon might repair for me or am I screwed?

Also, my wife's S230 seems to have forgotten how to focus some of the time. What should be a standard pic comes in out of focus and some great shots have been lost to the Blur Gods this way. Anyone got any ideas? I can elaborate if necessary.
posted by fenriq to Technology (6 answers total)
The problem with large format cards could be because one of the pins is intermittent. Though I don't know the specifics of the CompactFlash interface, typically you have a set of pins that determine the address to be written to or read from. As the capacity goes up, the address number can be larger, which means pins that would always be set to off for lower addresses would go to on for the higher ones. If the pin is intermittent, reading from or writing to a high address would go to a lower address than expected, causing data corruption.

If they were having a bad day at the factory, you could get things like weak solder joints causing intermittent pins or unaligned mechanisms that would cause the buzzing that wouldn't surface until the camera's been used for a while.

In short, it just sounds like you have a bum camera that needs to be repaired or replaced. Canon would definitely repair it for you for a price if you're out of warranty. Repair costs are high on things as intricate as small digital cameras, though.
posted by zsazsa at 11:44 AM on November 30, 2004

For what it's worth, we have the same camera with a 256MB card and have never had any errors or problems. I second zsazsa, sounds like a bum camera.
posted by routergirl at 12:18 PM on November 30, 2004

I just shot 700 megs of photos on a single 1GB card on my S400. So it's not a flaw in the camera in general. (Viking brand, if it matters).
posted by Nelson at 1:18 PM on November 30, 2004

I've used a 1Gb card in my s200 so your s400 should be fine with it. I'd try and clean the contacts on both the card and socket. There's a goodly chance that there's some dust or debris lodged in a spot that causes an intermitent error. Those aerosol air cans they use for blowing dust off photos would be a good start.
posted by substrate at 1:41 PM on November 30, 2004

Response by poster: substrate, that is an excellent suggestion! And a very inexpensive possible solution. I will report back with results.

FWIW, I used the 512 card in my wife's 230 without any problems at all.
posted by fenriq at 4:26 PM on November 30, 2004

Yep, sounds like the camera needs a trip back to Canon.

I use a Lexar 256 and 1GB CF card in my S400 with no problems for over a year.
posted by gen at 1:56 AM on December 1, 2004

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