Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Canon EOS 300D (KISS / Digital Rebel) Error "ERR 99"
I purchased my Canon EOS 300D (KISS / Digital Rebel) kit in a Vienna camera shop 358 days ago and haven't had any problems with it since. Until Monday, that is, when I started getting the dreaded "ERR 99" message every 3rd or 4th time I fired the shutter.
I was already marginally familiar with ERR 99. I had researched the error last Summer after experiencing it while testing a borrowed Sigma lens on my 300D. I learned that some older lenses manufactured by companies other than Canon (Sigma, Tamron, others) can cause this problem, because the lenses are not specifically engineered to work with the 300D's newer EF-S lens system. If you run into this problem with a third-party lens, contact your lens-manufacturer. They will usually "re-chip" the lens and make it compatible with the 300D, sometimes for a small fee.
The strange thing about my recent ERR 99 is that this time I was using the Canon 18-55mm EF-S lens when it occurred. This is the lens that was included with the camera, my primary (aka only*) lens. A lens that is specifically engineered to work with my 300D. I have taken almost 10,000 pictures in the past year, using this lens, without any problems.
Puzzled, I went to google, where I quickly found several discussions, a variety of advice, and lots of confusion revolving around ERR 99 and the 300D. What I did not find was a single, digested resource that explained the error, its possible causes, and possible solutions, so I decided to create one here. ERR 99 seems to be a catch-all error that can indicate any of several problems. Read ahead to learn more detail.
Cause: Older, Third-Party Lenses
Solution: Contact Lens-Manufacturer for Upgrade Instructions
As mentioned above, if you're using a lens manufactured by someone other
than Canon, you should contact your lens-manufacturer first. Older,
third-party lenses were not engineered to work with the 300D's EF-S
system, but can usually be upgraded and made compatible.
Cause: Anything Else
Solution: Read On
If you're using a newer Canon lens with your 300D and still getting ERR 99, there are a few things you can do to try to rectify it. I did not receive these instructions directly from Canon, but they represent the tips I have seen elsewhere on the 'net, and most, with the exception of #3, are purported by their authors to have come from Canon. Since I am dealing with this problem personally, I will update this page as my experience warrants.
Note: I am not advising you to follow these steps. If you do follow them it is at your own risk, and any damage that may result to your camera or voiding of your warranty is entirely your responsibility.
After each of these steps, put the camera back together and take a few photos. Work with a variety of ISO and aperture values, shoot in continuous mode, and aim at bright and dark subjects. If you don't get ERR 99 after all of that, you've probably fixed the problem. If not, go on to the next step and try again.
1. Clean the Lens Contacts
Turn off your camera and remove the lens. You will see 8 gold-colored contacts on the camera. Clean these with a pencil eraser, holding the camera so that eraser dust does not fall into it. Clean the corresponding contacts on the lens, in the same manner.
(I have done this - no luck)
2. Reset the Camera
Remove the main battery, the Date/Time battery (a small wafer battery located in the larger battery compartment - this slides out), the lens and the CF card. Turn the camera on for 5 seconds. Turn it back off.
(I have done this - no luck)
3. Check the Lens Aperture Mechanism
ERR99 seems to crop up sometimes when the lens has a problem with its aperture mechanism. If you're confident about opening your lens and working on it, check to make sure that no dust, metal shavings, or any other material are hindering aperture movement.
(I have not done this because I do not want to void my warranty)
4. Take a Few Pictures With no Lens Attached
Snap a few photos with your lens removed. Switch the camera to Av Mode, and take pictures using several combinations of ISO and Aperture settings, from brightest to darkest. As I understand it, if the camera still throws an ERR 99 with no lens attached, the body needs to be repaired / replaced. Get it replaced ASAP!
(I have done this - ERR 99 occurs without a lens at 1600 ISO / f-stop 5)
I'm currently at step #4. Tomorrow I will visit Foto Soyka, the shop where I purchased the camera, and see what they recommend. I have also contacted Canon via e-mail and am awaiting a response. I will keep this page updated as new information comes to light. Please feel free to leave your comments or questions here.
* The Sigma lens that I mentioned at the beginning of the article now belongs to me (thanks, Paul). It has been rechipped, at no charge, by Sigma, but I have not had a chance to test it on my camera since.
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Update: I took my camera in to Foto Soyka yesterday so they could have a look at it. Foto Soyka is were I bought the camera a year ago.
I was initially unable to reproduce the error, but after 20 or so exposures it started popping up regularly. The gentleman I was working with said he could send the camera in to Canon, but it would probably be gone for 4 weeks, and would most likely come back unrepaired, with Canon deciding that there was nothing wrong with it.
Yeah, that's not really a solution for me. I'm not giving up my camera for 4 weeks, only to get it back unrepaired and unusable. So, I called the Canon service center in Vienna this morning. They informed me that if I bring the camera in myself, they will have it back to me in a week to 10 days. I can live with that, but it had better be fixed.
* I would like to thank Frau Soyka, the owner of Foto Soyka. I can't find my purchase receipt, and I paid cash for the camera. Fortunately, Frau Soyka remembered me from a year ago, and instructed one of her employees to find and print a copy of my receipt for me. Vielen Dank, Frau Soyka!
Foto Soyka: http://www.soyka.at/
Canon Service Center Vienna: http://www.canon.at/support/customer_service_bringin.asp
Posted by: kurt | Mar 4, 2005 12:18:29 PM
I just joined the Error 99 Club. Like you I have shot thousands of pics in the last six months with no problems. Then all of a sudden it appeared. At first I thought it was because I hadn't formatted a new CF card. I use Canon lenses so I am not in that court. Its weird it doesn't seem to be consistent....and sooo frustrating.
Do you know if Canon will replace with a new body under the one year warranty?
Taking the battery out seems to work, but I don't want to be doing this forever hey.
Thank for your comprehensive post!
Posted by: david | Mar 5, 2005 5:17:07 AM
David, I'm glad you found this article useful.
The camera is going in to Canon on Monday. Not sure how they'll respond. I'll report back here as soon as I know. It will be an unpleasant surprise if Canon doesn't clear up this problem for me, especially since I am still under warranty.
Posted by: kurt | Mar 5, 2005 9:17:32 AM
Hello in ERR 99 club. I have the same problem, just read your opinioins, and I will try the reset and cleaning, BUT:
In my case it seems that I have error ONLY when battery is low. I had never got this message with my EOS 300D with kit objective. Recently I bought new EF-S 17-85 and first in shop I got the problem of very long writing to card, then camera switches off or shows ERR 99. When I switched it on, accessing last picture shows CORRUPT DATA. Later on PC I found that this file has zero length. Fortunately, I found out that when using fresh battery I have NO PROBLEM. I guess that in low battery mode there is problem with voltage since my new objective with image stabilizer consumes more energy and some shit happens internally when system consumes max current so voltage drops too low.
Posted by: Gundars | Mar 9, 2005 11:02:30 AM
Hi Gundar - thanks for sharing the details of your ERR 99 problem. Have you taken the camera in for servicing? I hope you can get your problem worked out.
I reformatted my CF card to make sure the problem didn't lie there. It didn't. As a matter of fact, ERR 99 started coming up more and more often over the last few days, until it finally occurred almost every time I tried to take a photo.
I took my camera in to the Canon service center in Vienna yesterday, one day before my warranty expired. The people at Canon were really nice. They assured me that I would have my camera back and repaired in 10-14 days. I hate to be without a camera for that long, but I'm optimistic about the chances that it will work again when I receive it.
Of course, I'll update here as soon as I know more...
Posted by: kurt | Mar 9, 2005 1:43:10 PM
I decided to check the Canon site for info on ERR 99 in conjunction with the EOS 300D. The Canon site is pretty atrocious. Difficult to navigate, uses frames, popups. Horrible. Anyway, I found information in the Error Codes section of the FAQ search area, and I'd like to share it with you here, so you don't have to figure out the official site. Without further adieu:
An error other than the above has occurred.
Remove and re-install the battery.
Posted by: kurt | Mar 13, 2005 1:21:21 AM
Hello i think i've joined the 99 club, but i think it may be my fault. I have had my camera for about 6 months and recently installed a russian firmware that emulates some features that are on the EOS 10D. The ERR 99 appears only when in ISO 800 and only above 4.0 apperature, and it happens on both my sigma lenses, a 75-300 mm and a sigma 18-50mm that came with the camera and is supposed to be specially designed for the EOS 300D. I dont want to try any of the fix-it steps you have listed until i try installing the original firmware, i'll get back to you with me results.
Posted by: Paul McCauley | Mar 18, 2005 4:50:38 PM
Paul I would be interested in hearing how you work out this problem. I have downloaded the Russian hack, but have not installed it - I wanted to wait until my warranty ran out...
My 300D is still in the shop, and I am really missing it. We have perfect weather outside, and I'm stuck without a camera.
Posted by: kurt | Mar 18, 2005 9:33:10 PM
I'm really frustrated about this camera problem. I just called the Canon service center, and they're "still working on it." They can't tell me how much longer I will have to wait.
Another beautiful spring weekend without a camera - and Easter weekend, at that! It's driving me batty. I'm missing the whole seasonal transition and the Easter festivities -- and there's not a thing I can do about it.
Mann, bin ich wirklich sauer...
Posted by: kurt | Mar 25, 2005 10:27:44 AM
Hi guys !!
I just had the same problem with the original CANON 18-55 lense. I first flashed my 300D with the russian firmware and after about 30 photos, it started to crash with err 99. Then I flashed with the UnDutchable 0.2.3 firmware (the latest), then with the original Canon 1.1.1 firmware, and nothing. It still went wrong.
I just tried to open my lense with little screwdrivers, and I took off the circuit board. Just under it, I cleaned connectors (with ears stick, I don't know how to say, I'm french), I rebuild all the lense, reconnecting all cables, and it seems to work...
I'm actually under the UnDutchable 0.2.3 firmware. I just did it, and I took about 20 photos without any problem...
Wait and see...
If you want advices to open the lense, just email me to email@example.com or send me a message on MSN: firstname.lastname@example.org
(note from kurt: Phil, I hope you don't mind that I changed your name in this comment.)
Posted by: Phil | Mar 30, 2005 1:10:02 AM
First: My camera is back, and in working order! Canon replaced my shutter mechanism and I'm back in business. I'll get out today and take some photos. No charge for the repair. The repair took about 3 weeks, but I'm happy to have it back now, working.
Phil: Thanks for the details on your situation. I have downloaded, but not installed the Russian Firmware Upgrade (http://satinfo.narod.ru/en/index.html - install at your own risk / can void your Canon warranty). I might install it now, since I'm out of warranty. Or maybe I'll just leave the camera alone for awhile.
Posted by: kurt | Mar 30, 2005 9:20:23 AM
Greetings all: I am using a brand new Digital Rebel and immediately found the err 99 using a sigma 80-200 that is about 4 years old. The Canon lens packaged with the camera has not yet failed. Discouraged to hear some of you have run a camera for a year without a problem, then suddenly it pops up. A couple questions: 1:can everyone agree the error code is intermittant? And 2:has anyone "re-chipped" a lens and had the problem go away for good? The lens chip is a logical answer except when I consider the problem comes and goes.
Posted by: Dave | Apr 30, 2005 3:30:34 PM
In my earlier experience with ERR 99 (while using an older, unchipped Sigma lens), I found that the error was tied to the aperture value - at some f-stop values, the camera worked with the lens, at others, ERR 99 popped up. This made it seem a little like the error was intermittent, but it really wasn't. I would suggest that you get the sigma re-chipped and try again. I imagine that will take care of your problem, since you haven't had the error with the "kit" lens from Canon.
Posted by: kurt | May 1, 2005 11:31:42 AM
Thanks for your suggestions, Kurt. I will experiment with apertures today and tomorrow, but I suspect I will have the lens in to Sigma within the week! I'll report the results whenever the lens makes it home. Thanks again, and good luck.
Posted by: Dave | May 1, 2005 2:25:36 PM
Great, Dave. I have a feeling that the re-chip will take care of your problem - good luck, and let us know how it works out.
Posted by: kurt | May 1, 2005 11:37:38 PM
I have a brand new (three weeks old) 350D and was out with it this morning. I had an old Sigma 400 fixed lens on it (that I used with my EOS650) and was trying to shoot in full automatic. I got the err 99 and couldn't take anything. I went non-stop to the shop where I bought the camera, and they took it out of full automatic mode and into program or athlete mode, and it worked fine. How do you contact Sigma to get rechipped?
Posted by: Joe | May 3, 2005 7:18:38 PM
Hi Joe, you should be able to find contact information for Sigma at their website: http://www.sigmaphoto.com/ . I'm sure they'll be able to clear up the problem for you.
Posted by: kurt | May 4, 2005 10:41:35 AM
Another E99er with a Sigma. EOS300D works fine with EF35-80, Tokina ATX400, but only on some settings with Sigma 75-300APO lens (P,Auto, Portrait and Fast, and only above about 110mm with Portrait)
Posted by: andrew kennaugh | May 4, 2005 4:15:53 PM
I to have been having problems with Err 99 - started just two weeks after the warranty expired. :(
Lens used (or not) doesn't make a difference. Has been getting worse over the past few weeks until it's nearly every time the shutter button is pressed...
...but having watched closely, when the error occurs the shutter fails to open - it may be related to the shutter sticking/failing.
Posted by: Tony | May 16, 2005 12:44:01 AM
I have taken 9154 pictures and have only seen the err 99 a couple times until this last week. I am getting it with either of 2 different Canon lenses. One which came with the kit and another older model I used with my Rebel G. I have not been able to make the error code pop up without the lens on. I tried the battery trick. Now I will say I put the camera into 1600 iso just because it seems most people are having trouble in that mode. I bought mine over a year ago but I have an extended warranty. What are the odds it will be fixed in short time under the extended warranty? Or fixed at all? And I was about to buy a Canon D20. Perhaps I should consider trading it in before it's too far gone into err 99 world? I hate to do that, but Canon stuck us all with a defective product, I should stick it into someone's hands who can get it fixed early on into buying a used model. I'd rather get it fixed if that's possible and then trade it in for the D20. I just don't want to invest another dollar into a camera with an ongoing and maybe worsening problem.
Posted by: Leo | Jun 1, 2005 8:00:14 PM
This is to respond to the problem of err 99 codes with the canon 10d. I have experienced the problen while shooting some photos at a wedding. I was using a canon 430ex flash, and the standard canon ef 1.8 lens. the flash and lens were brand new. I noticed that I had the camera on AI servo mode and experienced an error 99 about 10% of the time. I think that this occurs only for me when I try to shoot in the AI mode . Its as though the camera is constantly trying to focus even on objects that are not moving.
Posted by: Robert | Jun 20, 2005 6:21:27 AM
I had same problem couple months back. Everytime it was error 99.
I called Canon they told me to do same steps except opening lense.
Then I send lense back and they fixed it. After that I have shoot around 5000 pictures. I changes lense very often.
Posted by: Sachin | Jun 24, 2005 11:13:07 PM
Oh Boy...I've just joined the Err 99 Club! I bought a second hand 300D last week. It was in very good shape. It hadn't been used a lot and the the person who sold it to me had all the gear and the receipts, so I thought it would be a good buy. But after shooting about 35 shots - Err99!! I switched the camera off then on and I could shoot again. but after every shot .... Err 99!!!
Is there a solution to this problem or do I just throw the camera away?
Posted by: Peter | Jul 30, 2005 8:02:47 AM
Hi Err99 Team... I am joining the club after an eventful weekend and spending $1500/Can for this error. Recently I took my camera to do Carnival event and I had to fly in for this event, aka the $1500 cost.Anyway,I shot around 120 pictures and I remember feeling the camera getting warmer and the battery level dropping. So, I popped the batteris(I have the external Battery pack for Two batteries attached to this model) and it would shot few more and bang... err 99. I tried to remove my Canon 75-300 Zoom of the body to put my 18-55 back and was not able to do it at all. It felt like something was stuck. I was just frustrated standing in middle of this Caribeen Carnival and was not able to take any pictures. I also noticed when I was looking at some of the shots I took, where only 1/3 of the picture was good, the rest was just dark... I put the camera away and was much I was frustrated, I did have some fun and head home to my friends place where I was staying. I decided to take the CF card to download what ever was in good shape... and charge the batter. Just out being curious, I tried to take my zoom off, well... it worked. I was able to take the zoom off. okay...okay, now I am sure everyone are bored and yawning.... the problem I have is it still take pictures with 2/3 being blank.... anyone has any suggesstion on this. Being a software developer (not firmware's), I see Canon was stuck err 99 as something no one can figure error. Any help would be greatly appreciated since my friends wedding is approaching soon and guess who is the photographer?
Thanks and regards.
Posted by: Arasu | Aug 1, 2005 9:17:10 PM
Tony: that sound like my problem - my shutter mechanism had failed. Luckily, I was still under warranty, but I think the repair took around 4 hours. Not sure what that would have cost, but I would check with my nearest Canon repair center and see what they say.
Leo: I bet they'll fix it under the warranty. My camera was in the shop for a week or so. Let us know how your problem turns out.
Robert: I have heard of the Err99 problem in AI Servo mode. Is your camera still under warranty? I Hope you're able to get the problem resolved.
Sachin: Glad the problem was resolved for you. I hope it stays that way.
Peter: Check with your nearest Canon service center. You may be able to have the problem fixed for a reasonable price.
Arasu: Aside from the "fixes" mentioned in my article, I'd suggest sending the camera in to Canon for repair. I hope you are able to get it fixed in time for the wedding.
Posted by: kurt | Aug 20, 2005 6:41:25 PM
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