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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Simple Fixes for Cameras that Won't Take a Picture When the Shutter Button is Pressed

Everything seems fine with your camera, except that when you press the shutter button nothing happens! On Canon cameras you may also notice flashing yellow/orange lights by your viewfinder. Try switching to any mode other than automatic, turn off the flash, and press the shutter button. Did the camera take a picture? If so, continue reading.

Many cameras have a safety feature that prevents the flash capacitor from charging if the case is opened. This is to lessen the chance of electric shock. They usually use one or two of the screws along the perimeter of the camera to complete a circuit that lets the processor know that the case is closed. Verify that all the screws are in place along the perimeter of your camera, and that there are no gaps along the perimeter seams. If you're missing a screw, try using one of the others to replace it.

If they're all there, next thing to check is the batteries. The brand that you're using may have reached its shelf life, or just may not have sufficient power to charge the flash capacitor. Try a better brand, or better yet rechargeable NiMH batteries.

If the above didn't help, then the flash tube or its circuit is probably at fault. In this case, would then recommend professional repair. This repair is somewhat difficult, requires some soldering, has some danger of electrical shock, and goes beyond what I'd like to describe here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Simple Fix for Digital Cameras Experiencing Short Battery Life

First off, for those owners of Canon Powershot A530/A540 cameras, please see this post first, then return here if your camera is not on the advisory list.

For all other cameras that use AA batteries, are you still using alkaline batteries? If so, alkaline batteries (or worse yet "super heavy duty" batteries) just don't have the power for more than a few pics in today's digital camera. Some may even have problems just powering startup of the camera. This may be true in some cameras, even if they're brand new and straight out of the package!
Digital cameras for the most part should only be used with rechargeable NiMH batteries. These days many retailers sell these for around $7 for a package of four (about $15-19 for the batteries with charger). Keep in mind they'll save you big bucks in the long run over alkalines, AND they'll last for at least 100 pictures per charge (and probably many, many more). You'll be very pleased with their performance, and may slap yourself for not buying them sooner. When at the store, look on the package for a power rating of at least 2500 mah.

Finally, if you're still having problems even with rechargeable batteries, you may have not set the camera's menu setting to recognize NiMH rechargeable batteries. Some camera brands (Samsung in particular) have a setting in the camera's menus to differentiate between Alkaline and NiMH batteries. If the menu is set to alkaline, the camera may in error report a low battery status with NiMH batteries. To correct the problem, merely find the page in the camera's menu to set the battery type, and reset it to rechargeable batteries.