CPR for a Canon Powershot S2 IS

I take pictures—a lot. I’d say I use my camera at least once a week. That generic image number on my disc is well over 5000 exposures and I’ve had my camera for 2-3 years. I heart my camera soooo much.

So you can image my heartbreak when my beautiful Canon Powershot S2 IS started to act strangely. During my “research stint” at the local newspaper this week, the poor thing showed signs of failure. When I powered up my camera, the viewfinder would flare up, the camera would not focus, there were dark areas in the corners, and then the viewfinder would turn completely black after attempting a couple of shots, which is not helpful when you really, really need to take some photos. I would shut it off, yank the batteries out, and set them back in. All would be well after that… or so I thought.

Today, thankfully, I didn’t really, really need to snap some photos at the football game since the camera freaked out again. I tried the trick of pulling the batteries out but it didn’t work. Was it too cold? Did I need to switch the batteries? I tried to warm the camera and I replaced the batteries to no avail. grrr.

Enter our lovely friend the Web. Turns out that I am not alone. According to multiple forums on this topic, Canon is being stubborn about offering free repairs for the “black screen of death” and is charging about $127 for the fix, which supposedly has something to do with the CCD. Luckily, I stumbled upon a solution offered by a poster named welsberr that seems to have fixed my camera… for now. Here it is:

Turn the camera on in shooting mode.
Turn the mode selector to shutter priority (“Tv”).
Use the four-way button on the back to set the shutter speed to 15 seconds.
Press the shutter release. Count to seven, then pop open the battery compartment. (I discovered that the camera will beep when you do this.)
Wait several seconds, then close the battery compartment.
You may need to repeat the above sequence several times to unstick the iris. If that does not accomplish it, you will likely have to send the camera in for repair.

How do people know this stuff?? This person must be some renegade Canon rep or something.

Edited to add: This technique stopped working for me about a year later. See my post called Squeaky Wheels.


15 Responses to “CPR for a Canon Powershot S2 IS”

  1. midwifemuse Says:

    I had problems with my beloved Fuji, which was 3 years old, went on line and discovered that this was a common problem. I then wrote a pleading letter to Fuji who sent me a pre-paid box and fixed it for no charge, in 3 days. Wonderful service. Who knows, Canon may be as amazing.

  2. Cathi Says:

    Thank you!! I have the same camera, which I LOVE to death. My sister has the same camera. Hers died several months ago, and she’s already replaced it due to the high cost for repair.

    Mine bit the dust the day after Christmas, and I’ve been trying to figure out a fix as well.

    I just tried what you suggested above, and for the moment, my camera is working again!


  3. that girl Says:

    Sadly, after I tried this trick, my camera only worked for one additional day. I decided to ask for a new, non-Canon camera for Christmas. I refuse to give more money to Canon! If Canon ever decides to repair the camera for free, I’ll get it taken care of.

  4. Believer Says:

    I tried these steps and it worked on the second attempt. Just what I needed.

  5. Rebecca Says:

    Holy Guacamole it worked and I am not a big Camera person—don’t know much about them but this was easy and worked!!! Thanks a million

  6. Ramzy Nassar Says:

    THANK YOU!! It worked after trying 3 times!! Fantastic!
    My camera is alive again!
    Thank you very much “that girl”

  7. that girl Says:

    Be sure to read this follow-up post about the camera. This method did not last long for me.


  8. Mandy Says:

    Wow, how amazing, it worked!! thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

  9. Joe Says:

    Took about 7 or 8 tries but now have images in viewfinder and seems to be working again. Thanks much

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you “that girl” your post fixed my blank screen

  11. Anonymous Says:

    HALLELUIA!!!!! My beloved camera is working now. Just sorry I didnt find this out before I went on my trip to Philadelphia last week. Oh well It works in time for my nature trip next week.

  12. Kelly Says:

    Having the same problem with the same model camera. Unfortunately, the fix did not work for me. I called Canon and they offered to repair it for a fee of $139. After reading your blog post “Squeaky Wheels” and the review on the Canon site dated September 3, 2009 “I Love This Camera” I told them I expected the same treatment as other customers and that they would fix it for free as they have done for others. They agreed to send me a free mailing label to get it to their factory, but wouldn’t promise anything else. If they call me and tell me I need to pay to get it fixed, this will be the last Canon product I ever buy.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Hey my camera is now working very well now. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Larry Says:

    Thanks, my camera is working well, and seeming to be working better every use..

  15. fernando Says:

    Thank you, thank you and thank you whoever you are. My camera seems to be working fine. The internet is a wonderful thing. Today I fixed my Canon and my Motorcycle thanks to all the info on the net.

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