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Cannon A620 and "E18 Error"


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13 replies to this topic

#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Buzz Foster

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Posted July 12 2006 - 10:46 PM

So, I was looking at a super-cheapie SD card camcorder/camera to toss in the saddlebag for weekend rides, when I remembered that I have a $100 Costco gift card from Christmas in my wallet. I checked out Costco.com and found the Cannon A620 for $214.99. Minus my gift card, it is about $35 more than the super-cheapie unit with full webcam quality I had been considering.

I checked the cnet.com reviews, and the editors like the A620 a lot. Not the newest camera on the block, but well made, takes good pictures, and is a good, solid value (according to the editors). Ok, I am pretty much sold at this point. User reviews were mostly even more positive, but the reviews were interspersed with a few references to "the dreaded E18 error".

Hmm.

So, I look this up on Google and find a number of people have apparently had the same problem. E18 is a code for faulty lens extension mechanism, I discover. It renders the camera useless, as it can no longer extend or retract the lens for zoom or focus. One website invites owners to list their cameras with E18 errors. The A620 came up 9 times, which is about in the middle of the pack.

I have to admit that I knew nothing of this E18 thing before I read a reference in the cnet user reviews. And the most documented episde of it that I could find involved someone who dropped their camera (not an A620). According to the author of the journal, the drop wasn't far, but the camera became unuseable afterward. "Far" is relative, I know...but I am looking for something to take in my saddlebag, and it needs to have minimal durability.

Consumer Reports loves the A620 as well. They named it the best compact digital last time they reviewed. And no mention of E18 there.

I am guessing that if there was a big problem with Cannon cameras, someone other than bloggers would be saying so.

Is there anything to this? Or should I go ahead and buy the A620?
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#2 of 14 OFFLINE   Chas_T

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Posted July 13 2006 - 03:48 AM

Buzz,

I've own/ed 4 Cannons. An SD400, SD550, G6 and an AE-1. The SD400, which took great photos for my usage, had the infamous E-18 Error.

I attempted to fix the lens problem using some of the techniques suggested via research and never solved the issue. The camera was out of warranty when the error occurred. Rather then send it back to Cannon, I just trashed it. From what I understand, it's a minimum $100 charge to repair it so I moved on with a G6 (bought extended warranty) and bought the wife an SD550 (no extended warranty).

I had the SD400 for over 2 years. The other two Cannon's are less then a year old and I haven't had any problems. I was very disappointed with the failure of the SD400, but the Cannon's take excellent photos for a point and shoot family.

Anyway, perhaps I was a fool to continue with Cannon, but I like their output and was willing to take the chance with them again.

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Buzz Foster

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Posted July 13 2006 - 05:17 AM

How much did the extended warranty cost? How long is it good for? Did anything traumatic happen to the camera before the E18?
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#4 of 14 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted July 13 2006 - 07:42 AM

Buzz,

Since you plan to buy the camera from Costco, I imagine you should be covered by their unlimited return policy for non-computer products. If it dies, just return it for a full refund/credit.

As for the likelihood of having to deal w/ the E18 error, well, what other options do you have though? It seems to me that all the camera makers have their fair share of such issues even when you spend thousands on a D-SLR system from them. For example, my old Nikon D70 had the dreaded GBLOD problem (ie. Green Blinking Light/LED of Death) after ~1.5 years of shooting, which seemed very prevalent amongst D70 owners on various forums including dpreview.com. In that case, Nikon eventually admitted the problem and offered free out-of-warranty repairs, so I got mine fixed. Similar things happened w/ the older Nikon pro flagship D2H also and I'm sure likewise w/ certain DSLR bodies from Canon and others. And those are just the cases where the camera malfunctions badly or plain dies. There are numerous other cases where very expensive cameras perform unexpectedly poorly under certain circumstances due to some design and/or implementation flaws -- pretty much *all* of the D-SLR bodies produced thus far have some such issues in some ways. So even if you don't buy Canon in order to avoid the possbility of encountering the E18 issue, you're probably just as likely (if not more so) to encounter some other issues w/ cameras from some other maker.

_Man_
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#5 of 14 OFFLINE   Chas_T

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Posted July 13 2006 - 08:44 AM

Buzz,

I purchased the G-6 from Beach Camera and I think the extended warranty was around $50-$75 for 5 years. It's been a while since I made the purchase, so the dollar amount is an approximation, but the time period is correct. The warranty was through Mack. I think the standard Canon warranty is 1 year, but that may not be correct.

I would agree with "Man" on every manufacturer having issues with their product, but it seems you want a camera that is durable and can take a kerplunk on occasion. Perhaps there are other companies that make more durable products in this area. I always had good luck with Canon and Nikon in my lifetime.

Although I am very careful with my electronics, the SD400 did log some miles domestically and internationally. At the same time, I used it frequently on our new child and took numerous photos of our newly constructed home. I never dropped it nor did I abuse it. However, it did image 1000's and 1000's of digital images and the lens itself retracts and extends every time you use it. Perhaps it was just a lot of use that created its downfall.

For me, the money was well spent, even if the camera died as it captured our personal lives and travels. I'd recommend Canon again to anyone even with the error. Hope this helps.

#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Scott Kimball

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Posted July 13 2006 - 08:51 AM

All of the compacts that have an extendable lens, whether Canon or other, are delicate. Care needs to be taken not to bump the lens on anything while it is extended, or block the lens while it is trying to extend. I'm sure there are those who had problems after a time without causing the damage themselves - as I am sure that if you knew what error code to look up for other manufacturers, you would find similar reports. Remember, when you do a search on a specific trouble, you'll get a lot of hits. There are no hits for when people DON'T have trouble.

I just bought my third Canon digital camera. The first was an A60, followed by the 10D DSLR, and most recently (just last week) an SD630. I had a Canon "L" series lens for my DSLR lose backfocus when it was two months out of warranty - Canon repaired it in 1 week at a cost of $110. My SLR and lenses take serious abuse, though - they get tossed in backpacks and taken up mountains, and thrown in drybags and taken in kayaks and sailboats - so it is likely that I caused the damage myself.

That's the only problem I've had with any Canon gear.

Generally, you're most likely to encounter a problem if you purchase a new model within a few months of its release. After that, bugs get fixed in firmware.

I have no problem recommending Canon... but there are plenty of other legitimate choices, too. Do your research. Check out dpreview.com.

-Scott

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Buzz Foster

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Posted July 13 2006 - 09:14 AM

Thanks, guys. I do have an Olympus D-490 Zoom that is six years old. It has never given me a problem, so perhaps lens system problems are just a tad overblown on the web. Gee, a minor problem becoming an overblown issue on the web...what a concept...
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#8 of 14 OFFLINE   Alf S

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Posted July 19 2006 - 11:04 AM

Never had an issues with my A620...have had it now for about 4 months.
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#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Buzz Foster

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Posted July 19 2006 - 01:09 PM

I got the S3 IS today. Looks cool, but unfortunately, when i got home I discovered that the main water line to the back yard sprinkler system had broken. So, i am bailing water and dirt from the hole, trying to get down to fix it. Looks like I will have this weekend to see how it works.

Oh, and I did not get an E18 error when I tried it out.
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#10 of 14 OFFLINE   Mike Fassler

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Posted August 11 2006 - 01:10 PM

I just recently purchased my 3rd Canon an A620 I love it!!

#11 of 14 OFFLINE   BrianTwig

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Posted September 03 2006 - 09:09 AM

My wife and I are looking for a new camera. We know absolutely zero about cameras.

Initially liked the Canon A540 but poking around a little online the A620 came up (though nothing really caught my eye, as I know nothing about Cameras).

Thoughts from those who know about this stuff on the two cameras.

Were are just a point and shoot family (as said above). Take pictures of the 2 year old and new born and nonsense like that. Nothing even approaching serious.
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#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Ray Chuang

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Posted September 03 2006 - 05:48 PM

By the way, you folks might want to save up for the Canon PowerShot A710 IS, which just started hitting retailer shelves. I saw one today and was impressed by its ease of use and shake-reduction system. Unlike most other digital cameras, the PowerShot A710 IS uses AA batteries, so just in case you don't have access to rechargeable AA batteries you can use alkaline AA's in a pinch.
Raymond in Sacramento, CA USA

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted September 04 2006 - 10:16 AM

Brian,

I would suggest taking a good look at the new Fuji F20 (or maybe F30, if you want it w/ a bit more control). I have good $$$ invested in camera gear, but I too am pretty much sold on the Fuji F20 for a carry-everywhere family snapshot cam and plan to order one shortly. Seems like a no-brainer for this kind of use, IMHO.

_Man_

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTwig
My wife and I are looking for a new camera. We know absolutely zero about cameras.

Initially liked the Canon A540 but poking around a little online the A620 came up (though nothing really caught my eye, as I know nothing about Cameras).

Thoughts from those who know about this stuff on the two cameras.

Were are just a point and shoot family (as said above). Take pictures of the 2 year old and new born and nonsense like that. Nothing even approaching serious.

Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#14 of 14 OFFLINE   Ed B

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Posted September 06 2006 - 07:34 AM

The 610/620 are about a year old and their replacements the 630/640 have been announced so price drops are expected for the current units.

Regarding the E18 error:
Its a piece of complicated hardware with moving parts, the occasional failures are expected. Nothing is mechanical is going to be perfect and last forever. Seeing you will have a good replacement plan with Costco I wouldnt let this deter your purchase of this unit. Canons are possibly the best selling cameras, I'd imaged the amount of 620s sold is rather high vs the failure rate.

I have a Canon A95 which is what the A620 replaced.
To date I've taken 7600+ photos with it (never reset the counter). The camera has been used in standard indoor conditions, outdoors its been in some of the coldest weather in Chicago on multiple occasions, its been out in the hot Summer days here and used it when hiking up waterfalls in Hawaii which was very hot and humid. The picture quality of this 2 year old camera is still great, and its just a great overall camera. Considering the 620 has a slightly better lens (4x vs 3x), larger outputs (7mp vs 5mp), and the improved DIGICII chipset, I would say that its a winner.

Are these Point and Shoot cameras perfect, no. You will see noise on higher ISO photos and the auto focus speeds are not super fast. These are symptoms that plauge 90% of the cameras at the consumer level of the market. Upgrading to a Digital SLR is the best route to go if those are issues for you.

Here are some of my photos taken with my older Canon.
www.pbase.com/eddyb/a95