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DIY Camera Repair: Saving a Dead Digital Camera

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Shawn S. Lealos•updated: 6/2/2011

If your digital camera isn't working properly, you don't have to head to a repair person or even throw it away. Try to fix the problem yourself. While you can't repair every problem, you can often fix common digital camera issues.

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    Attempt the Repair

    It seems as if everyone has some sort of digital camera, even if they only use it as “backup" for their phone. Digital cameras are extremely fun and useful for capturing those special moments. When something goes wrong with our digital camera, however, our first inclination is to get a new one and just throw away the old digital camera.

    Oftentimes, you can fix your old digital camera. You just need to know how to fix a digital camera. Generally, the fixes you need to make are minor but you should be prepared for the worst. Sometimes, trying to fix your camera only makes the situation worse. If the camera already is broken, breaking it even more really won’t hurt anything.

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    Zoom Lens Issue

    One of the most common issues that digital camera users experience is that they have issues with their zoom lens. Depending on your camera, you may get error messages like a zoom/lens error, access error or a number plus lens error. Regardless of the type of error Digital Camera message, the situation is pretty much the same: the lens is not working properly.

    You may get this error if dirt gets trapped within the lens or if you drop your camera with the lens extended. On some cameras, this happens when you have the lens fully extended and the battery dies. You usually don’t have to open up your camera to fix this problem. But, you will have to do some experimentation.

    Start by taking out the battery and replacing the battery with fresh ones. If you use rechargeable batteries, place them on the charger and wait for the batteries to completely recharge. If your rechargeable batteries are extremely old, get new ones. The older ones may not be able to hold the charge anymore. Reinsert the batteries back into the camera and turn it on. See if the error is cleared.

    If the lens is still not working properly, remove the memory card. Take out and reinstall the batteries with the memory card still removed. Turn the camera back on. You can also try holding the OK or Function button for a few seconds. Or, hold down both the shutter and power button.

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    Dirt/Broken Lens

    If you suspect that dirt is trapped inside the lens compartment, use a hair dryer and set it to the no heat setting. Place it near the lens barrel, and try to blow the dirt out. You can also try sucking it out with a vacuum cleaner. You can also try pushing out the dirt with a small needle.

    Another reason why your camera won’t work properly is that the lens is crooked or damaged. This usually happens due to a fall. You may damage your camera trying this method but it’s better than nothing.

    The least damaging method for this is to try rotating the lens to see if you can push it back into place. Hold down the power button while you are doing this. If it’s really bent, try to straighten it. You should also see if you can hear a click. This means that you have successfully reattached the guide slots. Try the camera again.

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    Memory Card Problems

    Another common issue for a digital camera that is not working might be the memory card. Surprisingly, if a memory card is not formatted correctly, your camera may not work at all. First, verify that you have the proper memory card for your camera. If not, purchase the right type of memory card. Always format your memory card before inserting it into your camera.

    Certain cameras like Nikons have strange quirks. If your memory card is getting full, your Nikon camera may freeze. Download the images and erase the memory card. You may also want to reformat the card at this time. Nikons are notorious for not working correctly if you don’t format the card after every use.

    If you are still having issues with your memory card, you should consider getting a new one.

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    Stuck Shutter

    Digital camera users also often experience issues with stuck shutters. This results in one of two problems. Either all your images are black because the shutter didn’t open or the images are extremely over-exposed because the shutter won’t close.

    Examine the shutter and see if anything is stuck in it. Sometimes a small particle can get trapped in it. Clean the shutter and see if you can get it to close. If not, the camera’s CCD image sensor has probably failed. It’s extremely expensive to fix this problem so, if this is the case, you may want to invest in a new camera.

    While these suggestions won’t teach you how to fix a digital camera in all situations, it should help you with some of the major problems.






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