Digital camera repair

Digital camera repair

Written by Gail Bjork

Common digital camera problems and what you should know and check before sending in your camera for repair.

camera-repairIt’s no fun when a digital camera stops working! But the fact is, though rare, it does happen.

Digital camera repairs can be  expensive if not covered under warranty or a service advisory. Do a few self-tests first and then call tech support prior to sending your camera to the manufacturer or authorized repair center.

Common digital camera problems

One of the most common digital camera problems is that the zoom lens stops working. The camera won’t focus or fire and you get a dreaded error message. This usually the result of the lens being knocked out of alignment.

Other common problems include broken hinges on memory card doors, broken battery covers and scratched or cracked LCDs. Memory card contacts can become damaged if a card is forced into the slot the wrong way.

Faulty digital camera sensor

Occasionally, a digital camera sensor will begin exhibiting problems. When a sensor goes bad, images may exhibit some or all of the following:

  • Strong tints or color casts
  • A series of strange lines running across images
  • Image distortion.

What to check before sending a digital camera for repair

  • Low batteries – a camera may not function properly when batteries a low. Insert a fully charged set to see if things improve.
  • Camera controls – it’s easy to inadvertently hit the wrong button or change a menu. Check your settings.
  • Full memory card – when a memory card is full, a digital camera may not turn on.
  • Reset the camera – reset either via a menu or by removing the batteries for about 24 hours.
  • Do a hard reset – if resetting the camera doesn’t solve the problem, do a hard reset. How to do a hard reset varies between cameras, so contact the manufacturers tech support.

If your digital camera needs repair

If none of the above fixes the problem, call an authorized repair service center. You will be asked for the model and serial number of your camera. Fully and accurately describe the problem.

Don’t forget to inquire about an estimate for the repair and shipping costs. Ask how long it will take before the camera is returned.

Also ask if the repair work is still covered under warranty. If not, and you purchased the camera with a credit card, you may have an extended warranty by the credit card company.

For minor repairs, such as a broken hinge, using a local repair shop may be less expensive.

Check manufacturer service advisories

Sometimes camera malfunctions are the fault of the manufacturer. When this happens, service advisories are published listing the affected cameras. If yours qualifies, it will be repaired at no charge even if the original warranty expired. Contact the manufacturer or visit its website website to find out if there is a service advisory for your model, and what steps to take.

To repair or not to repair a digital camera?

A digital camera repair can cost 30 to 50% of it’s original price. If your camera needs repair, weigh the cost over buying one that is new or factory refurbished. Also consider the age of your digital cameras. Many new models have considerably improved during the past few years.

Hard reset for Canon compact cameras: this has worked for some Canon camera users who had problems starting their camera. If you know how to do a hard restart for you brand digital camera, post it in the commenting section below and it will be added to the article.

  • Put fresh batteries in the camera and remove the memory card.
  • Double click the on/off button and the camera will turn on and then off.
  • Hit the on/off button once more. Hopefully, the camera will start normally.

Please note: Digicamhelp offers basic information about camera problems to help you determine if your camera needs repair. If it has a serious problem such as not being able to turn it on and off, a blank LCD screen, a stuck lens or sensor or other problem that can’t be resolved by resetting your camera,  contact the camera manufacturer tech support.

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.


  • Zandri, it definitely sounds like a senor problem. You can read a bit about it here. You’ll only know for sure by contacting Sony tech support. Fortunately, your camera is on warranty. Good luck!

  • Got a brand new Sony Cyber-shot (DSC-W690) camera last week. I’ve noticed that I get pink/white or red/blue/green lines running across my photos. It occurs on photos taken with and without flash in different lighting conditions. Is this a image sensor fault?

  • Recently, in cold weather, I have had trouble taking pictures with my EOS Canon Camera. I get the following message when I take a picture: “ERR 99 – Shooting is not possible. Turn the power switch to and again or reinstall battery.” I re-install the battery and am able to take ONE picture,.Then the process starts all over. Other Canon EOS photographers are taking pictures all around me. Has anyone had this problem? What is “ERR 99”?

    Can anyone help me?

  • Sylvia, the distorted images indicate a lens and/or sensor problem. The only way to know for sure is to call Sony tech support, who can give you the indication of the cost of repair. My guess is that the camera will not be worth repairing. Many digital camera prices have come down since you bought yours in 2008. With a new camera, you’ll also have a new, one year warranty.

  • Hi Gail,

    I have a Sony Cybershot DSC-T77 that I bought in 2008. I accidently dropped it quite a distance and when I turned on the camera, the pictures I take are purple and distorted. The previous saved images look perfect on the screen and all, so there is nothing wrong with the screen. I suspect its something to do with the lens or the connection between the lens and the screen which is giving me a distorted view. Is it worth repairing? I do love this camera, and am in no hurry to get a new camera or anything. What do you predict the price range of the camera repair to be around?

    Thank you so much for your advice,

  • bk, personally, I’d buy a new camera. From what I know about the high cost of digital camera repair, there are some great cameras available for around the same price as repair. Plus, with a new camera, you’d have a new warranty, usually one year (as opposed to about 90 days for a factory repair). It wouldn’t hurt to call Sony to get a repair estimate.

  • i am using sony cybershot dsc-w320. there is fog inside the lens and now the lcd screen is showing blurry images. i am thinking if it is worth the effort to send for repair or would it be better to simply buy a new digicam? what is your option?

  • Violet, you should call Panasonic to see if your camera indeed needs repair. My S100 recently had a similar problem and I had to send it in for repair. Depending on when you bought your camera, it may not be covered under warranty. If the cost of repair is too high, you’re probably better off getting a new digital camera.

  • Hi, I have a Panasonic Lumix camera, 10 mega pixels point and shoot. Model number DMC-FS7.

    I am currently unable to use the camera at all, because when I turn it on, the zoom doesn’t work and then it says “SYSTEM ERROR (ZOOM)” What would be the best thing to do at this point and can I save this camera?

  • Pam, if resetting the camera doesn’t work, you should call Olympus tech support. Before you do, check if your camera has a menu selection to reset the camera. It may not be totally reset by simply taking out the batteries.

  • I have an Olympus SP-600UZ and all at once the image when downloaded was distorted and a closer look at the monitor indicates that the video function, including, ‘timer’ is on. Of course, this is eating up the batteries.
    I have tried to reset the camera by taking the batteries out for an extended time and now they are back in but I have taken the memory card out.
    Any ideas?
    Thanks, Pam

  • If the camera is still on warranty, even in another country, Canon tech support MAY give you some help, so call them. If it needs repair, considering buying a new camera if the repair cost is high. The camera is inexpensive and you will have a full warranty.

  • I have a panasonic DMC-S1 camera, and it is given as a gift by my foreign friend, so i do not have its warranty card etc. And whenever i switch the power on then it only shows (system error) zoom. So please help me out. What should i do now.

  • Ahmed, your camera LCD is probably “gaining up,” which happens primarily in low light when the exposure changes for variations in light. If so, there is nothing wrong with your camera. Here’s information about gaining up. However, if your camera flickers when using outside, I’d call Sony Tech support to make sure everything is alright.

  • I have a relatively new Sony DCS-WX7 and I noticed something about its LCD which am not sure is normal or a problem. If the back light changes, it quickly flickers before stabilizing again.For example, if I am in my room and moving around with the camera, once I face the Window during day light, it flickers and then refocus again. Is this normal ?

  • Thanks for the reply. Thing is the bars are there when I take pictures in horizontal format too. They are both in the viewer as I take the picture and in the playback. Like I said, it is like it is stuck in portrait format. I reviewed the manual and could find nothing addressing this.

  • Dorothy, the two black bars on either side of an image are normal when viewing photos taken in the vertical format. It’s an Auto Rotate Function that allows the images to automatically rotate and display vertically during Playback mode. I find this feature handy because the image is larger on the screen when rotated. You can turn the orientation sensor on and off. Check your camera manual for the menu option.

  • I have a Canon G12. While taking pictures one day I noticed two black bars appeared on either side of the image in the LCD viewer. It looks like it is stuck in portrait format. When I rotate the veiwer the image fills the screen.

  • Pam, unfortunately it sounds like your S1 has a sensor problem. The only way to know for sure, is to call Canon Tech Support. If it needs repair, you’re probably better getting a new camera because the cost of repair can be high. If so, ask about Canon’s Customer Loyalty Program to get a new or refurbished replacement with a similar model. If you buy new, take a look at the Canon SX40, their newest superzoom which gets rave reviews.

  • Hi, I have not used my camera for several years. It is a Canon Powershot S1 IS. I got it out as I want to use it again because of the zoom, and the pictures are coming out horrible. They have a pinkish color with what looks like static lines across the picture. I thought it may be the Flashcard, so got a new one, but that made no difference. I did a hard reset, and that also made no difference. Can you give me an idea of what the problem may be?

  • Graham, if you can’t find a camera with a viewfinder, consider the accessory called ClearViewer. I have one and you do feel like you’re looking through a viewfinder.

  • Graham, it sounds like your camera is beginning to have a sensor problem. The only way to know for sure is to call Canon. Determine if the cost of repair is worth it. In many cases, it is not.

    If this is the case, asks tech support about the Canon Customer Loyalty program. They may be able to replace your camera with another with a viewfinder for a fairly reasonable price and with a warranty. The IXUS 100 (aka SD780) is still available for purchase at places like Amazon but, despite being older, they ask top price.

    There are a few cameras with viewfinders, such as the Canon G12, but they are usually larger. Good luck!

  • Help!
    I have a problem with a compact camera and wonder if you can help me.
    It is a Canon Ixus 100 (about two years old) and I took a number of photographs with it on a recent walk.
    At first sight they look fine, But closer examination reveals, in landscape format, a very fine verical light line running right through each image about one-quarter way in from the left edge.
    Earlier images are free from this flaw, but test shots reveal that it remains, even when I use a different SD memory card.
    I would be disappointed if this can’t be fixed at modest cost as this is one of the very few compact cameras now with an optical viewfinder.

  • lg, your camera needs immediate attention. There is not much hope when it falls in salt water. The information in this article may help.

  • I dropped my Sony Cybershot into a puddle of salt water. It was only for a few seconds, but now nothing works. I hit the power button and nothing happens. Is it fixable, or did it short out? Is there a way to test the battery w/o buying a new one?

  • ryan, try removing the battery for several minutes, reinsert a fully charged battery and power up the camera. It wouldn’t hurt to also test the camera with another memory card. If nothing works, call Panasonic tech support. btw, the camera manual is available online and it may contain some other troubleshooting suggestions.

  • hi there i put the wrong memory card in my panasonic lumix dmc-fs4 and the camera dosent go anymore what can i do to fix this problem please

  • anurag, apparently the flash does not work when continuous (burst) mode is enabled. Check your manual for instructions on how to turn the mode off, and on again when needed. You can also reset the camera to return to its default factory settings.

  • I have bought a sony DSC-S3000 2 days before and the flash is not working please help… when i click on the flash button it displays that THIS OPERATION OR SETTINGS NOT AVAILABLE AS FOLLOWS

  • Tuhin, try what is known as a hard reset,

    Put fresh batteries in the camera and remove the memory card.
    Double click the on/off button and the camera turns on and then off.
    Hit the on/off button once more.

    Hopefully, the camera will start normally. If not, contact Sony tech support. Good luck.

  • I have a sony dsc-w350…suddenly one day i found that, when i try to take an image or video,it is dark on LCD,no image is shown,totally dark…when i captured it,it remain dark…no image is shown…i reset the settings,but no change,
    Please help me.

  • And MY SD memory card, i insert into another camera, it stated’ Card Error”

    I still have photo inside which i want, Do you think I can retrieve the photo back?

  • Hi Gail Bjork,
    Do you think Sony will repair this? Cos it’s brand new which just bought last month and still under warranty.

    But usually this type of cases, can it be repair? Or totally can be thrown away? I saw some other forums saying that if repair may need to pay A sum which cost alot … and some says totally cannot repair . Sigh~

  • ling, you may want to try a “hard reset.” They way to do a hard reset for Canon cameras is outlined at the bottom of this article. Call Sony tech support and they can probably walk you through the specific steps for doing a hard reset for your brand camera. The may have other suggestions too, or can determine if the camera needs repair.

  • I have this SONY DSC Wx7 digital camera… was charging and I On the camera, it was in the Screen Menu, but after awhile, it shut off suddenly with the lens Open and Out, now it can’t Close Up the lens, No power at all… how can i solve this?
    Tried reinsert battery and to no avail. any solution?

  • Andrea, try a hard reset as outlined in this article. If that doesn’t work call your digital camera tech support. (also, if your batteries are old, they may not be recharging correctly).

  • Hi there,

    I’ve got the same problem with two different cameras. I have a Canon PowerShot SD 780 IS(Husband’s) and a Fujifilm JX315(Daughter’s) and neither of the cameras will switch on. Both have done this within a week of each other so its just a fluke!!

    On the Canon one, we were simply looking through photos. When I switched it back on about 2 hours later to download photos, it just wouldn’t switch on. Got a fresh new battery and it simply won’t work.

    The same thing kinda happened with the Fujifilm except this time, were about to download photos on my laptop and it and just won’t switch on. Bought a new battery but again, nothing happens.

    Pleeeeeease help. We’re away to Orlando next week.


  • barolo, if Panasonic is going to replace your camera with a newer, equivalent camera for $200 plus shipping, I’d personally jump at it. Your camera is now six years old (if you bought it when it first came out). You can’t buy a decent superzoom in that price range. A newer camera, even if refurbished, will most likely have improved features and you’ll have some sort of warranty, which could be doubled if you charge it with a credit card that offers an extended warranty.

    btw, if the speck shows in digital images and you have an editing program with a clone tool, you may be able to edit out.

  • Hi I have a Panasonic Lumix DMCFZ30. Somehow there is a speck of matter behind the sealed lens. I dont see anywhere that I can disassemble to gain access to that area. It is out of warranty and Panasonic wants to swap out a replacement at the rate of $200 bucks plus shipping each way. It appears that the era of a local camera tech is gone, leaving us to the merch of the Manufacturer. Do you have any different thoughts on this problem…….

  • diva, try a hard reset that’s mentioned near the end of this article. If it doesn’t solve the problems, call Canon tech support to find out the cost of repair, and if it’s worth the cost. If not, you may be able to get a reasonably priced, refurbished camera under their customer loyalty program.

  • hello,i wondered my canon digital camera is broken,there is a line around the pictures ,blurred and the side of the picture burned,,my digital use is canon IXY 510 IS  this is a japan version of IXUS so disappointed,pls reply and thank you for your consideration,,

  • Tayla, bring your camera to a store and try a new memory card (or try a friends). If the camera works, then your card needs replacement. Otherwise, your camera slot may be damaged and will need repair. If the cost of repair is too expensive consider buying a new or refurbished digital camera.

  • Hi, I have a Sony Cyber-shot DSC – S950 my camera will not work unless the memory card isn’t slotted in properly it will just stay on Sony welcome bit.. and nothing else.. if it isn’t in properly it allows me to take about 3 pictures.. is there anyway I can solve this? Please please help 🙂 Thank you

  • The Canon E16 Error code means that there is something wrong with the lens mechanism. You can try removing and reinserting the batteries. If that doesn’t fix the problem, contact Canon tech support. The problem with the memory card is probably related to any damage that occurred when you dropped the camera. If your camera is too costly to repair, ask Canon about their Customer Loyalty program.

  • I dropped my Canon IXUS 1000 HS by accident today. It showed a message – ‘camera error detected – will automatically shut down & reset. E16’ When I tried checking the camera in review mode, it said ‘memory card error’. What can I do to rectify this?

  • You need to call Kodak for an estimate of repair. It may be less expensive to buy a new camera, plus you’ll have a longer warranty (usually one ).

  • Hi

    I accidentally dropped my kodak easyshare M340, now it won’t switch on, the lense is stuck on the out position and when I press the on button it flashes green once then red three times. tried charging the battery and even removed it from the camera nothing works. Please advice do I need to take in for repairs and I’ve tried kodak support but their website says they no longer offer support for that model

  • marianna, yes I’ve heard of people placing their camera in a bag of uncooked rice as a last resort. Lots of comments about this on the web so, if you need to give it a try, do a search to learn about the experience of others.

  • Have you heard of putting your camera in a bag of uncooked rice grains for 24 hours if you suspect moisture has gotten into it?  I tried it with mine, but it didn’t work.  Not to say it won’t. I think My camera was past help by the time someone told me.  Maybe it will work for some one else.

  • The only solvent that I know of is Eclipse Cleaning System Solution though it’s generally used for cleaning sensors and lenses. I suppose you have nothing to lose by giving it a try.

    If you’re still in need of a camera, call Canon about their Customer Loyalty program. You may be able to get a refurbished camera for a very good price.

  • I bought a Canon PowerShot S2 IS on e-bay, but the batteries had
    corroded and it won’t power up.  I got a refund but still have the camera
    and would like to fix it if possible.  Sent it to Canon, but the price to fix
    was too high.  I had read something about possibly using a solvent to
    clean, but forgot the name of the solvent or cleaning agent.  Anyone
    know how to remedy this?  Thanks.

  • amit, the usb connector can probably be repaired but you need to get an estimate of the cost from Panasonic. My guess is that it will be less expensive if you buy a Secure Digital memory card reader. If you use a Secure Digital High Capacity memory card, make sure you get a reader that accepts SDHC cards. Glad your camera is still working.

  • Hi,
    I got  a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS42  and I accidently insert  the wrong USB cable into my camera’s usb slot and it kind a push the chip inside backward and now when I use the correct usb it was unable to connect ti the camera. The camera is working fine but I cannot use the only usb cable to transfer he photos from the camera to the computer. Can it be repaired and how much would it cost.

  • Jessica, three feet onto a concrete floor is some drop. Sounds like the sensor was damaged, and perhaps even the in-camera image stabilization. The only way to know for sure is to contact Olympus tech support.

  • Hello,
    I dropped my Olympus E-510 three feet onto a concrete floor and now it wont focus on anything manually or automatically.  The shots are all VERY blurry no matter what I try.  I tried resetting, taking batteries out, turning off and letting it sit, and it still performs the same.
    There are also  light vertical lines across each shot.
    Does this sounds like a repairable problem?

  • walterb, I’m not sure what the hard reset is for Nikon digital cameras; why not ask here? It may be similar to the Canon hard reset, which is as follows:

    – put fresh batteries in the camera but no memory card;

    – double click the on/off button so the camera turns on, then off;

    – hit the button again and, hopefully, it will start normally.

  • I have a NIkon s630 it turns on, lens extends, rotary button works but OK button & zoom does not works, no picking in any menus I swapped the rear of the camera with another s630 and have the same problem, so it looks like the rotary control is ok but the signal from the OK is not accepted. What is the hard reset key sequence for this camera?
    I was able to reset the clock in the camera with it hooked up to a computer, so it appears all is not lost.

  • Kaitlin, it’s best to call Canon tech support to determine the problem. If your camera needs repair and it’s very expensive, ask about their Customer Loyalty Program.

  • I have a canon SD1100. For a few days now whenever I turn on my camera the screen is black and when I take a picture it’s just a picture of black. But I can still look through all of my old pictures on the memory card.. I’m thinking it has something to do with the lens but I’m not sure..

  • Carol, oh boy, it sounds like there may be something wrong with the LCD. Try the reset button, and then taking the battery out of the camera for several minutes. If nothing changes, you should contact Panasonic tech support.

  • Panasonic DMC LZ2   LCD is blue.  Can check menu, playback, but cannot record pictures or see an image.  Just blue screen.  Happened suddenly.  Have changed batteries.

  • Richard, “strong winds and sporadic rains” and a non-waterproof digital camera don’t mix. Condensation probably formed when you left it in the car for two hours. Contact Olympus tech support to see if there is anything you can do to save the camera.

    If you need to replace it and you take a lot of photos in varying weather conditions, consider some of the more rugged compact cameras such as the Canon D10, Fujifilm Z33WP, Olympus Stylus Tough 8010, Panasonic TS1 or Pentax Optio W80.

  • nix, try resetting your camera using the reset menu. If that doesn’t work, try a hard reset. Put fresh batteries in the camera, remove the memory card, and then double click the on/off button. The camera will turn on and off again. Then turn the camera on again and hopefully, it will start normally.

    This has worked for others and it may work for you. If not, contact Canon tech support.

  • Hi, I have a canon upgraded point and shoot – all of a sudden when i press the button to take a picture the frame goes dark and the picture comes out dark. It doesnt happen when I am taking action shots tho…HELP i love ma cam

  • mosi, sorry to hear about your camera but that’s something only a repair center can tell you. Call Nikon tech support to see what they have to say. If it can’t be repaired ask if they have a Customer Loyalty Program like Canon to get a camera replacement.

  • My Nikon Coolpixmop S3000 fell off the table and dropped on the hard floor. The lens was extended out before it fell. The lens is no more retracting and the camera  does not come o again… can this be repaired…. nothing looks broken on the outside. thanks

  • Gail, thanks for the answer… But what if the camera is not supported anymore?
    (because this one i bought 6 years ago from Hong Kong and I live in Egypt)
    What can I do in this situation?

    Thank you

  • Harry, take the batteries out of the camera for several minutes; then reinsert it and see if the camera works. Next, call tech support to see if they can help or tell you if the camera is in need of repair. Before repairing a digital camera, weigh the cost of repair vs. replacing it with a new one.

  • Hello

    I have a problem with my Mercury Cyberpix S380D.
    After coming back from a trip i connected the camera to the only USB
    port in my laptop which was unstable. I started the transfer of the pictures
    i had stored when i tripped on the cable, and it pulled off while it was
    transferring pictures. From then on, when i switch on the camera, the LED
    indicates that it’s powering on then it switches off.  I tried taking off the
    batteries, changed the memory with no avail.
    What should i do?

    Thank you

  • Marianna, my best guess is that your camera is beyond repair, but the only way of knowing for sure is to contact Fujifilm tech support. If repair is available, it may cost more than buying a new one. Ask if they have a customer loyalty or upgrade program where they may give you a discount on the camera. Or perhaps you can get a refurbished camera of the same model.

  • Hello
    I had a freak accident with my Fuji Fin Pix S2000HD.  It ending up in a puddle of water  lens side up, but everything else in the water.  I thought I had rescued it, until I notuced later it had turned itself on and was very hot. I immediately tried to turn the camera back off, but ended up taking the bateries out.  We tried to dry the camera out using a blow drier, to no avail.  Replaced the batteries, still nothing. Lense seesm to be stuck in the in position. It there anything else I can try.  Left batteries out for more than 24 hours, also to no avail.  Please advise.  I love my camera and do not want to replace if at all possible.