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  1. #1
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Unhappy Canon S95 died: "Lens Error", bummer

    My Canon S95 died this weekend. It refuses to start up and displays "Lens Error", looks like the lens is jammed. It was less than 2 years old and well taken care of. After some searching around it looks like a lot people had this problem. The "Play" button on the back is very sensitive and holding it turns the camera on. This results in accidental startups when the camera is in a confined space, a bag, a pocket, etc. Apparently it has no protection against this and the lens mechanism will eventually break. I'm a little upset... well, a lot actually, about this because this is clearly a design flaw which Canon will happily fix for $160, but I'm most likely going to end up with a refurbished unit and it may happen again. I'm a little worried about buying a new S100 as well. These are not cheap and, of course, none of my accessories will work with the S100 (I wonder why...) For a pocket camera this is a pretty major design flaw. The camera worked perfectly fine otherwise.

    Any other suggestions for reliable, quality compact camera with manual controls and RAW?

  2. #2
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    Panasonic LX5 does RAW, good video, offers full manual (including manual focusing), custom settings selectable by dial atop camera AND Panasonic figured out that there should be a safety override when the lens cap is left on, preventing the lens from extending. As with many of the digital cameras, there are lots of menu options to set to get the camera starting up and operating as you want. See Amazon and B&H (370 reviews on B&H alone) for more details. It is somewhat larger than your Canon.

    It is not the latest and greatest, largest sensor, biggest zoom range (but goes wider angle than most; 24mm equivalent) but it is also not the most expensive either. If desired, you can get an accessory lens "tube" (the non-OEM ones are fine) and put a circular polarizing filter on it.

  3. #3
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Thanks! I've been looking at Panasonic and ended up ordering the DMC-TS4. I figured for mountain biking and hiking it'd be better. It probably doesn't have the image quality of the LX5 and has no RAW (had to sacrifice something) but it's supposed to be tough, dustproof and waterproof and has no retractable lens at all while still offering decent image quality. There were times when I was afraid to pull out the S95 because it was raining or it was very dusty.

    BTW, it appears that the S100 also has the issues with the lens jamming.

  4. #4
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    I LOVE my S95... sorry to hear about your problems.

    I'm a bit confused about your failure mode though.... perhaps I'm not understanding the problem.

    When I push the "play" button on the back, it doesn't extend the lens; it just shows the images stored on the card. So it must be taking something in addition to pushing that button to cause the failure.

    Have you considered a replacement S95 with some sort of DIY guard over the "play" button? It would let you use your accessories...

    -Tom in SoCal
    Last edited by Hendo252; 05-07-12 at 08:30 PM.

  5. #5
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Yes, it's a great camera otherwise.

    I got the Panasonic TS4 and it seems very sturdy indeed, although the image quality is slightly worse than S95 but not by much. Video quality is noticeably worse though.

    I may get the S95 repaired next month, but I won't be taking it along on bike rides.

  6. #6
    Senior Member joewein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hendo252 View Post
    I LOVE my S95... sorry to hear about your problems.

    I'm a bit confused about your failure mode though.... perhaps I'm not understanding the problem.

    When I push the "play" button on the back, it doesn't extend the lens; it just shows the images stored on the card. So it must be taking something in addition to pushing that button to cause the failure.

    Have you considered a replacement S95 with some sort of DIY guard over the "play" button? It would let you use your accessories...

    -Tom in SoCal
    Same here. When you turn the camera on using the Play button at the back, the S95 does NOT extend the lens. It only does so if either
    1) you turn it on using the power button at the top or
    2) you switch it to shooting mode by pressing the shutter release button while already turned on in play mode.

    I absolutely love my S95, would not trade it for any other compact because of its outstanding picture quality.

  7. #7
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Press and hold the Play button.

  8. #8
    Senior Member joewein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    Press and hold the Play button.
    Exactly what I just tried on my PowerShot S95 while it was off: The screen at the back comes on showing the last shot viewed, the green LED flashes for a couple of seconds, but the lens does not move. It remains closed. Are you saying yours behaves differently?

  9. #9
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Yeah. Mine buzzes as in trying to extend the lens and then beeps and gives me lens error. According to various articles I found, that's the source of the problem. I wonder if newer ones don't do that (updated firmware). But people are saying that the S100 has the same problem.

  10. #10
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    I had an S90, and although I never got the dreaded lens error, mine frequently produced blurry shots of distant objects even in good light and the auto focus indicated that it was working. I sent mine in, paid the $150 service fee, but found it started doing the same thing again. It was an intermittent problem, so hard to know if the expensive fix worked at all. I sent it in again a second time and, to their credit, they "fixed" it again for free, but in just a matter of weeks I encountered the same problem again.

    I fear this may sound like user error on my part, but I'm quite confident I was using it correctly.

    Anyway, and I recognize that my experience is just a single anecdote, but I came to the conclusion that the small size of such wonder cameras comes with tradeoffs in terms durability.

    I'd still be using my S90 to this day were it not stolen from a checked bag in March (long story -- no lectures about checking electronics, please!).

    I thought long and hard about replacing it with the updated S100, but I couldn't shake my sense that these cameras are too delicate and decided to accept something a little bigger.

    I ultimately chose a Fujifilm X10. It's considerably bigger, but still small enough for my handlebar bag or, even better, slung over my shoulder while riding. (I tried using a Sony NEX with kit zoom, and although it isn't dramatically bigger than the X10, I found it just a bit too big for my style of riding... too bad, too, because the APS-C sized sensor is quite appealing!) Notably, the zoom on the X10 is entirely manual -- no motor moving the lens in and out when it starts up. I'm very happy with it so far.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    ... ended up ordering the DMC-TS4. .... supposed to be tough, dustproof and waterproof and has no retractable lens at all while still offering decent image quality...
    Sorry for my previous post plugging the Fujifilm X10 -- I missed this post saying that you had already made a choice. (And, I also recognize that although it has RAW, the X10 would not offer the size and dust / water resistance you're after.) I hope the TS4 works out well for you!

    Please post back about how you like the TS4. Last time I tried a small dust and water resistant camera I found the reduced image quality and manual control was more than I could accept... but that was two years ago, and things have been evolving quickly.

  12. #12
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derailed View Post
    Sorry for my previous post plugging the Fujifilm X10 -- I missed this post saying that you had already made a choice. (And, I also recognize that although it has RAW, the X10 would not offer the size and dust / water resistance you're after.) I hope the TS4 works out well for you!

    Please post back about how you like the TS4. Last time I tried a small dust and water resistant camera I found the reduced image quality and manual control was more than I could accept... but that was two years ago, and things have been evolving quickly.
    Oh, no, that's OK. Thanks for the suggestion.

    TS4 really feels tough compared to the S95. It has a very hefty, solid body which is mostly metal and rubber seals everywhere. It really looks like it can stand up to the elements.

    The image quality of the TS4 is definitely worse than the 2yo S95, but I can live with that. It's not as sharp and outdoor white balance is strangely off and lack of RAW makes that worse. But so far I was able to adjust white balance in Adobe Bridge. I use exposure bracketing and pick the best image or merge them to HDR in Photoshop if the subject is static, usually is. Autofocus is very quick though, it has a focus assist light too and I think 24 focus points, I don't recall exactly, but in this respect is seems to be faster than the S95. Although, it could be my subjective perception,

    After the issues with the S95 I wanted something that doesn't have retractable lens and all the rugged cameras don't. Being waterproof and dustproof is a big plus too. My major issue with the TS4 is really lousy video compression artifacts. S95 video was nearly crystal clear, TS4 video has very visible and distracting compression artifacts, whether at 1080 or 720. The cool thing is the GPS receiver that tags the photos and also gives you the basic location information on the screen: city name, etc. But GPS sensor is active even when the camera is off and drains battery quicker. I still need to figure out how big the difference is in battery life with GPS on and off and decide whether it's worth having it on all the time.

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