How to fix Error 18 on a Canon Photoshot 95A
November 25, 2006 1:50 AM   Subscribe

Canon Powershot A95: started freaking out and giving me "E18" error message two days ago. Help!

The error is basically that when I power up the camera, everything works fine, I can take pictures, video, but when I turn it off, the power light goes off but the lens remains unretracted and exposed.

In order to fix that, I have to turn the camera back on, which it doesn't like, since it makes grinding noises (scary, scary grinding noises) that sound kind of like a camera stutter. If I look on the display, I see "E18" and that's it. Eventually the lens does go back in but I don't like to keep doing that for fear of damaging the camera.

I looked on Canon's website and 'E18' is the error for when there is a lens problem, which I could have guessed, but the only solution they offer is to take it to a professional shop. Currently, I'm in Europe, and not only am I unsure where to find such a shop, the language barrier would be an impediment.

Is there any hope of trying to fix this myself? I don't want to monkey around and make things worse. Is there a chance that it will clear up over time? I appreciate any help, thanks!
posted by amicamentis to Technology (6 answers total)
Unless you're a watchmaker, you probably can't do anything but make it worse. There are Canon service centers all over the place, and my experience is that they are fairly quick and reasonably cheap. There should be a list of them on the Website. (And my English email to Canon in Japan was answered in English - there may not be a language problem.) If the repair estimate is too long, buy some cheap disposables and get the Canon repaired when you get home.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:01 AM on November 25, 2006

Anecdotally, my brother just broke (completely smashed) the entire lens mechanism of his S70. The repair arrangements were made by email and the cost was around 100$. Call Canon, they will take care of you.
posted by fake at 5:16 AM on November 25, 2006

I had this problem with my PowerShot S500 while I was on a trip (I'd dropped it while the lens was extended). I didn't really have an option to get it fixed by Canon, but I was able to get it working again and haven't had a problem since.

Since I had nothing to lose, I pulled on the lens to straighten it out. It took some tweaking while turning the camera on and off. Although the lens seemed to be working, I still got the E18 error. To finally clear the error I tried plugging in the A/V cable - weird solution, but it worked for me. A couple of sites that you might find helpful - Juggle Zone and lots of information on this site.
posted by GoshND at 6:29 AM on November 25, 2006

My wife dropped her SD500 the week after she got it, and it landed on the extended lens. On the end of the lens is a shiny decorative ring, and this was dented a little, and also the trailing edge was deformed a little, forming a small sharp ridge that caught on the body and didn't allow the lens to retract completely. Gave an E18 error. But it was obvious to me what the problem was, so I used a few different sizes of pliers (padded with cloth and rubber) and mashed the ring back into good enough shape for the lens to be able to retract completely. Problem solved.

On the other hand, on my S400 the same error occurs intermittently. There was never a drop or other physical damage, so no obvious fix and the cameral has been effectively retired, but I still occasionally surf around looking for a fix. I got over 15,000 shots out of it before it broke, so I'm not that upset over it. Plus I love its replacement (A95) even more, and I'm sure Canon could fix the S400 but I don't think it's worth $100 or whatever they'd charge to fix it.

Despite these problems, I'm a huge Canon fan. I love the picture quality. We also have an old S200 (still working fine) and a 20D, and I'll buy a 5D body in a year or two when I find one for $700 or so.
posted by Bradley at 7:51 AM on November 25, 2006

This is such a common error with Canon cameras that there's an entire site devoted to it - there are some self-repair tips on that site which might help you.
posted by hgws at 2:15 AM on November 26, 2006

Response by poster: Me again - talked to Canon, they wouldn't help unless I paid up for repair, the usual. I checked out hgws's link which was very helpful and included the advice "bang it against a desk on the camera card side". It seemed like the worst idea ever, but I tried it and something magically realigned. Good tip for a crappy error.
posted by amicamentis at 1:55 PM on November 27, 2006

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