How to repair a Canon E18 error (lens error)
Lens error is one of the most common errors on digital cameras. On older models of Canon cameras, the lens error is usually reported as E18 error. We tried the repair methods listed here on
Canon cameras, however, you can use our repair instructions to repair lens error on any camera, regardless of the manufacturer. The principles are the same.
If you would like to read how a lens error is created, visit our home page. If you would like to repair a lens error, continue reading.
Older Canon models listed the error as "E18 error", newer models usually list it as "lens error". Other manufacturers might use the following terms "zoom error", "lens obstructed", "access error", "focus error",
some might display a numerical error.
If you are the owner of Canon S100, we have some excellent news for you - Canon might repair your camera for free, even if it's out of warranty. Some Canon PowerShot S100 units may encounter
a lens error due to a problem in manufacturing. If you have Canon S100, you can visit the following page
and see if your camera qualifies for a free repair. If you do not have a Canon S100, please continue reading.
If your camera is still under warranty, you can ask your manufacturer, in our case Canon, to repair it free of charge. However, many manufacturers will refuse claiming that you dropped the camera,
or that lens particles inside the lens mechanism are not included in warranty. Costs of repair can often be very high and even exceed the current value of your camera.
Around 50% of digital cameras can be repaired through the methods listed here. Some methods are completely harmless for the camera, other carry certain risks. You can try out
the first 5 repair methods freely, they are completely harmeless. If they don't help you, we recommend that you check with your manufacturer if they will repair the camera
free of charge, as part of the warranty. If they refuse, or your warranty expired, check the price of repair.
If the price exceeds the value of the camera, you might want to consider trying out our repair techniques 6-12. Some of these techniques can cause additional damage to
your camera, so use them carefully. They can cause
more damage to your camera, however according to the feedback from our visitors, they are also the most likely to fix the lens error.
We listed the repair methods in the order least likely to cause damage to your camera. Remember, the first 5 methods can not cause any harm to your camera, so go ahead and try them.
REPAIR TECHNIQUE 1) Turn of the camera, remove the batteries, wait for a few minutes. Place a pair of new batteries inside the camera and turn it on. It is possible that the old batteries don't have
enough power. A pair of fresh batteries might give the camera enough power to deal with the sand or dust inside the lens, causing the lens error.
REPAIR TECHNIQUE 2) If you can still access your camera's menu, try finding the "factory reset" option to return your camera to the factory state. It is possible that the lens error will
override the menu, and you might not be able to access it. With some models, the factory reset resolves the lens error.
REPAIR TECHNIQUE 3) Turn off the camera and remove the memory card. Then place a new set of batterries and the turn the camera back on. Removal of memory card triggers a reset in
some digital cameras, so this might help fix your camera. If you see an E30 error, don't mind it, this only means that the memory card is missing. If your camera is working,
turn it off, return the memory card and turn it back on.
REPAIR TECHNIQUE 4) This repair sounds very simple, but just insert an AV cable. When your insert an AV cable and turn on the camera, the LCD screen will stay off. This means that the
camera will have more power for the lens motor, and will have more power to deal with dust and sand particles that might be jamming the lens.
REPAIR TECHNIQUE 5) Place the camera on its back, pointing up. While holding the shutter button, turn on the camera. The idea is that the camera should try to autofocus
while extending the lens. If this doesn't work, try the same method with an AV cable inserted. The AV cable will keep the LCD screen off, which should give the camera more power for the lens mechanism.
If these didn't work for you, we will now explain the more risky methods. Take caution when applying them.
REPAIR TECHNIQUE 6) Try compressed air. Blow compressed air all the way around the outer and the inner lense. It should remove all dust and sand. Turn the camera on and see if it works. There is a
slight variation of this technique. Hold the camera with one hand and compressed air with the other. While going around the lenses and blowing in compressed air with one hand,
turn the camera on and off with the other hand. If this doesn't work, your should try this fix with the AV cable inserted, which should keep the LCD screen off, again giving more power
to the lens mechanism to deal with the dirt that might be stuck inside the lens mechanism. Some people have done the same thing using a hair dryer, with the heat setting on "cold".
Cleaning the lens barrels with compressed air
REPAIR TECHNIQUE 7) If blowing compressed air didn't help remove sand particles from between the lenses, you can try using a piece of paper to get the
sand particles out. Use the paper between the inner and the outer lens and on the outside of the outer lens. Don't insert the paper too deep, you could accidentally dislodge
some of the components. We recommend you don't go in more than 1cm.
Cleaning the lens barrels with paper
REPAIR TECHNIQUE 8) Another method is to tap repeatedly the padded USB cover part on a hard surface, with the lens facing downwards. It sounds simple, but very often it works. Tapping helps the sand
particles dislodge and fall out. First try with very light tapping. You can increase the intensity, but if you do it too strongly, you could possibly disconnect or damage some of
the componenets inside the camera. You can also try tapping the camera against the palm of your hand.
REPAIR TECHNIQUE 9) There is a slight variation of the previous fix. With the camera pointing downwards, lightly tap around the lens barrel with a pencil, repeatedly. The idea is to get the sand
out from between the lens barrels. You can try tapping while at the same time turning the camera on and off with your other hand.
Tapping the lens barrel with a pencil
REPAIR TECHNIQUE 10) This method is intended for situations where the lens barrel extends partly and then goes back. When you turn on the camera, take the inner lens with your fingers,
preventing it from retracting. Then clean the lens barrel from any dirt. You can also use the compressed air method to clean it (repair method no. 6), or a piece of
paper (method no. 7). Turn off the camera and turn it back on. If the lens extends a little further than the previous time,
again prevent the lens from retracting and repeat the cleaning process. Repeat the procedure until the lens extends all the way. When this happens, turn the camera off, turn it on again and see if
the problem has been solved.
REPAIR TECHNIQUE 11) Forcing the lens - this repair method has more potential to damage your camera than the previous ones, however, according to visitor feedback it is also the method that is the most likely to fix your problem.
Turn off the camera. Place it on the back with the lens facing up and take a look at the spacing between the lens and the lens housing. If you notice that the gap is not even all the way around the lens,
the problem should be easy to fix. This type of a problem usually occurs if the camera was dropped while the lens was extended. In such cases, the lens barrel was moved from its regular place and
your goal would be to try and put it back into place.
Simply - VERY GENTLY - press down the lens on the side where the gap is the biggest. You should hear a "click" as it pops back into place. Try powering the camera back on.
Another version of this fix would be to turn the camera off, take the camera in one hand and with the other take one part of the lens and gently
move it round in a circular movement. Lightly pull, twist and/or rotate the lens barrel and listen for a "click". You can also try turning the camera on and off while doing the light
twists and pulls. As soon as you hear a "click" - stop. This means that the lens barrel guide pins have been reseated in their slots. Turn off the camera, turn it on and see if the problem was solved.
If at first the focus seems to be off, turn the camera on and off and take lots of pictures, close ups and distance. Focus should slowly start improving.
REPAIR TECHNIQUE 12) If neither of the above listed methods worked, you can try to dismantle the camera and clean the lens mechanism from the inside. Dismantling the camera requires
some electrical knowledge and should be done with extreme care! If you decide to go ahead with it, please read how to avoid danger of severe electrical shock.
Here are two online guides for dismantling Canon cameras and fixing the E18 error (lens error). (NOTE: Try this only if your camera is no longer under warranty!) These are great guides with detailed photo instructions:
1)Instructions 1 - repair instructions for Canon Ixus cameras
2)Instructions 2 - repair instructions for PowerShot A70. The guide is in Bulgarian, but contains a lot of photos, so you should still be able to understand the process.
We also have links to resources with dismantling instructions for other camera models and manufacturers.
If you managed to remove the lens error (E18 error) from your camera using the above listed methods, please post your experience in the posting area and list your
camera model. Your experience can help others. If the instructions didn't help you, we also recommend that you visit our posting area and
read people's comments, which can provide tips on situations not covered here. If you discovered another way to repair your camera,
please let us know, we would love to hear about it.