Canon S100

My Canon S100 Lens Error problem

Written by Gail Bjork

After reading about the many Lens Error problems encountered by other S100 owners, my camera was hit with the problem after seven months of use.

I’ve been reading for some time about the many Lens Error problems encountered by Canon S100 camera owners. After seven months of use, my S100 got hit by the problem. Believe me, I treat my cameras with tender loving care.

I was simply taking a few photos, shut the camera off then on again about five minutes later. Oh boy: lens error message on the LCD, lens stuck open and the camera wouldn’t restart. My S100 was totally unusable.

So I sent off the camera to a Canon repair facility. I had to pay the shipping costs, which set me back about $18.00.

Fortunately, I have several other cameras to use in the interim. But I feel for owners who have the S100 as their only camera. Imagine the camera going kaput during a once-in-a-lifetime trip?! How maddening! How disconcerting!

Canon S100 product advisory

At least Canon announced a product advisory for the S100 and will fix affected cameras for free. The first and second digits of affected cameras have serial numbers ranging from”29″ through”41.” For example: “29xxxxxxxxxx”, “30xxxxxxxxxx”, ”41xxxxxxxxxx.”

Canon says the lens may become disconnected in certain environmental conditions such as high temperature and/or humidity.

I live in Florida and have used dozens of cameras in a hot and humid environment including my Canon SD700, SD890, S90 and XSi, all of which I still use. I never had a problem with any of them! Under normal use, we have every expectation that the S100 should work in this type of environment. But, as many of us learned the hard way, it doesn’t because of a manufacturing debacle.

The repair process

Having to send in a camera for repair is a pain, however the pain is somewhat lessened because the actual process is relatively easy.

I went to the Canon site and filled out the information online. An acknowledgment was sent to me including were I could access and print out the information including mailing instructions, mailing  label and packing slip. Canon recommends insuring the camera and mailing it with a tracking number. You can check the site for the repair status.

In three business days after shipping, I received an email confirmation from Canon that they received the camera. It included information to track the repair and the return shipping status.

From the day Canon received my S100 to the day I received it at my front door took only four business days. Not bad!

Update: a week and a half after receiving the camera back from Canon repair the LCD broke, once again rendering it unusable. Read about it here.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.

6 Comments

  • Sha, thank you for sharing your experience with the Canon lens problem. No doubt the information will be helpful to others. In my experience, the S100 is worth repairing since Canon will fix the qualifying lens problem for free.

  • hi all
    this might be off topic a little bit but i just thought i’d share my experience with the canon s100 lense error problem and fixing it at a country that was not where it was originally bought. so i bought the camera around feb of 2012 in Hong Kong and went on a 1 year trip around the world. By June of 2012 the camera broke down with the lense error message and at the time Canon has not made the recall so i was quoted a price of 200 pound to fix it(was in the UK and canon does not do worldwide warranty)so i just left it. This week however i read about Canon’s free repair announcement and therefore contacted Canon Europe to see if i can get it fixed in Bulgaria, which is where i am at the moment. I got conflicting information from Canon Europe and was told to contact the repair/service centre in Bulgaria directly. I took my camera to the repair centre yesterday and they checked my serial number(which is within the batch)and was told that even though i bought the camera in another country they would fix it for free, as long as the problem is due to the part thats covered by the recall. i was also told that it could take up to 2 weeks because the part might need to imported from Italy. Today however i received a phone call from them and was told it has being fixed and i can pick it up. I just got the camera back and it’s working again. So if anyone else out there thats travelling and need to fix the lense problem overseas, it’s definetly possible and its for free.

  • Otto, sorry to hear about the problems with your S100. To find the firmware version, you’ll need to use the Canon CameraWindow utility, software on the the DVD that came with the camera. It should be installed on your computer along with other software such as ZoomBrowser. Plug in the USB cord to both the camera and computer, and then turn on the camera. The CameraWindow utility will launch and you will see the firmware version near the top of the window that opens.

  • Gail, before I bought the S100 in March 2012 I read all your excellent first hand accounts. I love the S100 especially for the low light abilities where my Panasonic Travel Zoom fails. Unfortunately my serial number startet with 41! I live in Austria and we don’t have extreme clima conditions (heat or humidity) as mentioned. About 4 weeks ago I sat in a restaurant in Innsbruck. When I started the S100 there appeared the “lens error …..” message on the display and some moments later I had a shut down. I was not to worried as when I started the camera again, everything was OK and I took a few pictures. About one hour later, when walking through the historic centre of Innsbruck, the lens got stuck again. Assuming it might be caused through a malfunction of the soft-/firmware I took the battery out, put it back again and made complete reset of the setting – all without success. However you still could view all pictures taken. Annoyingly the lens did not retract and I feard, that the lens in working position could possibly get damaged on the way home. Home again I contacted the Canon Service center and posted the camera. It took nearly 2 weeks till I had my S100 again as the Austrian service centre had to pass it on to Canon Germany.
    The delivery note showed that the firmware was updated too.
    Gail, is there a possibility to see the number of the firmware somewhere, I can not find any reference in the menu at all.

  • Adam, have you contacted Canon and verified that they won’t fix it. If it were me, I’d make a fuss and have my complaint escalated to the next level and ask to speak with someone with more authority than the first level tech support reps.