CameraFilter: Ever fix a broken retractable Powershot lens?
October 5, 2006 1:10 AM   Subscribe

I have a Canon Powershot A520 camera, and I managed to break the retractable lens.

Basically, I set the camera down on its back while it was still on... and then someone sat on top of it, pushing the lens back in about two thirds of the way. Now, the lens is stuck about a third of the way open and it won't completely close. When I turn the camera on and hold it close to my ear, I can hear a soft clicking sound for 30 seconds or so before the camera turns itself off. If I have the camera in preview mode to look at the pictures on my memory card, it does the same thing, except it beeps at me before turning off.

Obviously I think I probably need to take it to a camera repair shop... but I'm in Hawaii (Maui) on vacation and I thought I'd at least describe the problem on the off chance that someone out there had something like this happen and was able to fix it themselves. Anyone have any ideas?
posted by mattwatson to Technology (6 answers total)
Short version: You are doomed. Buy a new camera.

Slightly longer version: the cost of repair will vastly exceed the value of the camera. A refurb A520 goes for about 60 pounds on ebay in the UK.

It might be worth taking the camera apart to see if you can repair it, but be aware that this is not a simple job: to get at the lens mechanism you're going to have to completely disassemble the camera (speaking from experience with an A70). Even then, the interal moving parts are plastic: you may well have stripped threads or broken gear teeth in which case you're out of luck. See for some tips.
posted by pharm at 1:54 AM on October 5, 2006

Have you tried pulling the lense out, or pushing it in (just a little). Sounds like the threads have jammed or stripped. you MIGHT be able to wiggle it free - but i wouldnt count on it.

Claim on insurance if possible, and get yourself something nice!
posted by lemonfridge at 3:57 AM on October 5, 2006

Pharm is almost certainly right.

To give you an idea, I was recently quoted £90 to repair a less violent knock to the lens of a Powershot G3. I assume it would be an easier job than yours, since the lens is bigger, better-made and it was a slight jam, rather than any serious physical damage.

In the end I halved the cost by getting it repaired while I was visiting Poland. However, even if you are planning on visiting somewhere cheap soon, it'll still probably be a better idea to replace.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:38 AM on October 5, 2006

Best answer: Canon will sell you a refurbished Powershot A520 for $99 if you call their Customer Care line.

I had a Powershot A520 as well that I sent in for repair. They told me that it wasn't covered by warranty since it had suffered an "impact to the bottom right corner." (I don't know how they could tell). They offered to repair my camera for $89 or to sell me a refurbished one for $99. I opted for the refurbished one since my original camera had indeed had a hard life.
posted by Ostara at 9:20 AM on October 5, 2006

Best answer: Assuming you liked your A520: if you're looking to take this opportunity to replace/upgrade it (which is very likely your only resort here), Amazon is selling the higher MP count PowerShot A530 for $136 right now.. Buying a retail replacement in Hawaii can be an expensive proposition.
posted by DaShiv at 3:39 PM on October 5, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips. If time weren't an issue I probably would've gone through Amazon (though I definitely appreciate hearing about the refurb option through Canon). But, time being what it is, I bit the bullet and paid retail. Man, I don't even want to say what I paid...
posted by mattwatson at 11:07 PM on October 5, 2006

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