Troubleshoot a Digital Camera that Says Lens Error on Screen

Lens errors are one of the most common failure modes for digital cameras. You may get a message on your LCD screen that states "E18 Error" or "Lens Error, Restart Camera." Depending on the make and model of your digital camera, the camera may beep as the lens goes in and out, or the lens may not even move at all. The most common culprit for a lens error is some kind of obstruction that is interfering with the lens extension mechanism. If you dropped your digital camera with the lens extended, a lens error message may also appear on your screen. Here are some troubleshooting tips for when this occurs:


If there is any dirt, sand, grit, etc. stuck around the lens barrel, it will be very difficult for the camera lens to extend. Using a microfiber cloth, you can clean the camera lens and try to clean around the lens and in the barrel. You can also try using compressed air to forcibly blow out any obstructions that are located around the lens barrel. If you choose this method, you must ensure that none of the compressed air touches the lens itself, as the pressure of the compressed air may damage your lens.


Remove the batteries from your digital camera and wait a few minutes. Place brand new batteries in the digital camera and turn it on. If you still get an error message, turn the digital camera off and turn it back on while holding the function or OK button.

If that doesn't work, remove the memory card and keep it removed for a few minutes. Make sure that you have brand new batteries in the camera. When you turn the camera back on, you will most likely receive an error message due to the memory card being removed. That is okay, as sometimes the error message from not having a memory card loaded will trigger a reset. To see if this has worked, place the memory card back into the digital camera and power it on again.

Audio/Video Cables

When you purchased your digital camera, an audio/video (AV) cable should have came with the camera. Take that cable and plug it into the the AV input slot on your digital camera. By inserting the AV cable, you are ensuring that the LCD display does not turn on. The LCD display sucks up a lot of power, so by not having the LCD display turn on, more battery power will be available to help power up the lens. If there is any dirt that is preventing the lens from extending, the extra power should help to overcome that obstacle.


Take your digital camera and place it on its back on a flat surface, preferably a table. The lens should be pointed towards the ceiling. While you are pressing and holding the shutter button down, press the power button. The idea behind this troubleshooting tip is that the camera will try to autofocus while the camera lens is extending, which will hopefully seat the lens barrel guide pins back into their slots.

Popular P&S Cameras for High Quality Photos: