Canon S100

S100 breaks a second time

Written by Digicamhelp Editor

After receiving my S100 back from Canon, it broke a second time. I had to decide whether to take a sledge hammer to it or send it back for repair.

Broken LCD made using the camera impossible

About a week and a half after receiving my “repaired” S100 back from Canon, the camera unexpectedly broke again.Without warning!

This time it was not another lens error but the LCD became full of colored vertical lines, making taking photos and accessing menus totally impossible.

When my S100 had the lens error, I was simply taking snapshots. This time I was in Atlanta at a meeting. I had planned on taking some photos during the meeting and around the city. I nearly fell out of my seat when I turned on the camera and looked at the screen, shown at the left.

Canon won’t replace the camera

I called Canon Tech Support and asked to speak with a manager. I told her I didn’t want the S100 repaired again! I wanted a replacement with a camera outside the affected serial range. She said that Canon will only repair the camera, not replace it.


I then told her I was going to take a sledge hammer to the camera rather than send back for repair. The manager asked to give Canon another chance to repair the camera correctly and that they would expedite the repair process.

Reluctantly, I mailed the S100 to the Canon repair facility.

Loss of confidence in the S100

The fact is that I will never again feel confident using my S100. I will always have the thought in back of my mind that it will once again conk out unexpectedly. Now I will be forced to carry a second camera as a back up, and that defeats the purpose of having a small carry-at-all times camera.

For important events and when I don’t have quick access to another camera, I will take my s90, a great camera though I prefer using the s100…at least I did until having all these problems.

If the S100 ever breaks again, I will indeed take a sledge hammer to it while taking a video of my deed and then posting it at this site, on YouTube and elsewhere. Hope I don’t have to. Stay tuned.

Note: if you’re planning to buy the Canon PowerShot S100, check the serial number. Make sure you don’t get one with where the first and second digits of the camera’s serial number are any number from”29″ through”41.”
For example: “29xxxxxxxxxx”,  “30xxxxxxxxxx”………”41xxxxxxxxxx.” More info >


  • Thanks Gail, also am sorry to hear of your misfortune personally.

    For the camera, I call in again and the rep mentioned it at the end of the conversation. He stated that if the camera won’t pick up a GPS signal then I should send it in and from there they can decide if they will A. Replace it with a new one. He insinuated about the 110 as I started pressing him about it. In general I loved the idea of GPS but for the last year rarely used it due to privacy. But I do not even know how to explain how after being a raving fan of Canon I feel let down after this scenario.

    Personally the camera has been out of my hands almost 2 months now due to repair work in SE Asia for a few weeks, then in their repair facility in the US. The last repair I had to fight with them in order for them to waive the repair fee itself.

    Will keep you posted here and DP Review.

  • Jon, personally, I wouldn’t tolerate my camera breaking the fourth time. Personally, I’d replace it! If you don’t need GPS, seriously consider getting the S110. Hopefully, they will not charge you with all the problems you’ve had. Or sell it to you at a very reasonable price. Make sure you get a full warranty with the new camera.

  • I have been a loyal canon customer and have now sent back my camera 3 times and may have to send it in for a 4th time. Canon does not seem to be so open in regards to fixing the camera. However, the last rep said I may have the opportunity in getting the S110 instead. That camera does not have GPS, but I am debating if its worth being without the camera for another 2 weeks.

  • Thanks, Frank, for sharing about your experiences about digital camera repair. Regarding the S100, I do live in Florida but am not convinced the moisture and humidity caused the problem in this particular case. I have three other Canon compact cameras and a Canon DSLR, several years older than the S100, and they are still going strong. The s100 lens problem was definitely a manufacturing problem that, thankfully, Canon finally fixed.

  • After 40+ years in the camera repair business and having serviced more than my share of this model and many other digital PHD cameras my comments are as follows:
    1st these are cheap cameras to start with. They have so much going on in the mechanics that it is amazing. With that said they are fragil because the amount of movement in the zoom barrel.
    2nd 85% of all the repairs I’ve done were due to customer abuse either impact, sand, turning the camera on when it is in a case or pocketbook, water, soda or pick a catagory.
    3rd Both moisture and heat are very difficult on circuit boards. Areas like Florida are the worst. The space between the runs is smaller than a human hair so contamination from moisture causes all kinds of problems.
    Finally these are inexpensive cameras so don’t plan for them to last too long.

  • Pat, what a bummer, but I’m glad the eventually agreed to fix the screen. That they charged you is strange. Canon reps didn’t even mention charging me because, my guess, is that they attributed it to their failure to fix my S100 correctly the first time. After the 2nd break, when I called Canon I immediately asked to speak with a manager.

  • Well,

    I got the camera back on Saturday …

    Once they received it at the repair center last Monday, they sent me an email with a bill for $168 for the repair.

    I was not told of any charges when I spoke to the customer service rep about the screen a few weeks ago.

    So I called them back and the CSR told me that there was nothing she could do, so I asked for her supervisor. The supervisor kept repeating that the lens assembly is in the front of the camera, there is a system board in betwen and th screen is in the back. There is no way that the two problems are related. He also stated that there are no service bulletens related to screens breaking due to the lens repair.

    I questioend the fee, that if I did pay it .. What if it later became a known problem, am I out my $ no matter what?
    … he said no, I would get a refund.

    I was not giving in, I had to be firm and say, repeatedly, that I was using the camera, it was fine, I put it in its case that night, next morning, opened up the case, turned it on and it was cracked. No drops or any other way I could imagine it being damaged. If I had abused it or dropped it, I could understand … but not for just sitting there on the table overnight.

    I stll think that the person who disassembled the camera to repair it the first time, exerted some level of force on the screen, just enough to weaken it.

    Eventually he caved and as a ‘one time courtesy’ they would replace the screen, but if it comes back again for a screen problem I would be billed. I said ‘fine’

    I have a SquareTrade extended warranty with accidental damage rider on it anyway …

    But I have a feeling that you and I may be the first to have this problem or to have reported it …

  • They were very helpful on the phone when I called them on Friday

    The problem for me is this- Even though the last time I sent it in (lens error) I got it back in exactly one week. But between Labor Day causing a short business week, and the fact that they couldn’t expedite a repair (or cross ship a replacement) … I am forced to downgrade to my SD990 for this coming weekend, to an event that I really wanted the better low light image quality.

    That actually happened to me the last time it broke (lens error) – I needed it the next night for a low light environment.

    Once I send it back in, we will see how long it takes to turn around again.

  • Pat, sorry to hear you also had two (!) problems with the S100. I do believe Canon is doing a sloppy repair job; we’re not the only ones who have had to send the S100 back shortly after the first repair. I’m getting mine back today. If I have any more problems, I’m taking a sledge hammer to it while shooting a video and than posting it on YouTube. lol (I think). Hope your camera is okay this time around.

  • Hmm, I just turned my camera on this morning to find my LCD is screen is also messed up, I can actually see the crack in the lower right corner of the screen.

    I carried this camera around almost daily since I got it in January.
    Never had an issue until one day last month, 98F with high humidity (I live near Philadelphia) and half way through my picture taking, I got the lens error.
    The turnaround on repair was barely a week (impressive)
    and it worked just fine .. until this morning

    This makes me wonder if the dis-assembly / reassembly of this camera to fix the lens, put some stress on the screen.

    Never had these kinds of durability problems with my SD990 !