Anyone Else Sick of Error 99?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by steve_koopman, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. I'm here to rant (sorry folks). I've read through pretty much all of
    the "Error 99" posts on various sites, and am surprised no one here is really
    addressing the big issue - THIS PROBLEM APPEARS TO BE PROLIFIC!

    I own a 30D, a 20D and the original Digital Rebel, purchasing them in the
    reverse order. They were all purchased new and from very reputable dealers.
    I first received Error 99 readings on my 20D, and was able to solve the issue
    as many do - by turning it off or removing the battery.

    Then in July my 30D gave me an Error 99 reading, but nothing I did would
    resolve the issue (yes, I turned it off, removed the battery, cleaned the
    contacts, switched lenses, switched memory cards, even removed the clock
    battery for a peiod of time to possibly clear any volatile memory). At the
    time I was trying to spot meter with my 580EX flash on using the Exposure Lock
    (*) button. This occurred while shooting in a middle of a wedding (thank
    goodness for back-ups!). It was sent away and a month later received it back
    from Canon under warranty. I have had it give me two Error 99 readings since,
    but they have been solvable.

    Now my wife was shooting with the 20D tonight at another wedding and she
    received an Error 99 reading which could not be resolved using any of the
    methods that everyone talks about. The shutter is randomly and quickly firing
    without reason. Even when turned off it will fire, forcing me to remove the
    battery to stop further continuation. One thread mentioned a problem with the
    shutter curtain but I don't see any misalignment. She was using a 1GB Sandisk
    Extreme I card with a 18-200mm Tamron lens. This is the only lens that isn't
    Canon in our collection, but this is her favourite walkaround lens and she has
    been using it on the camera for well over a year. She switched lenses and
    tried all the other methods with no success. Our other lenses, just for
    everyone's knowledge, are 17-85 IS, 10-22, 24-105 L IS, 70-200 f/2.8L IS and
    50 f/1.8.

    Then, not that the night wasn't frustrating enough, our Rebel she began using
    as a back-up also began to give her Error 99 readings, I believe four times
    over a 2-3 hour period! These were solvable by just turning the camera off
    and then back on again.

    So, to conclude, out of three Canon digital SLR cameras purchased over the
    last two years, all three have produced Error 99 readings, with two now
    appearing to be unsolvable at a consumer level and needing to be returned to
    Canon for repair. My 20D is past warranty so I now shudder to think what the
    cost will be to fix it.

    To have to pay $1,000-$1,600 Canadian per camera and receive this lack of
    reliability is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE! How can I trust these lines of
    cameras as a profession? I don't read Nikon threads because I have never
    owned any, and I'm sure they receive complaints as well, but to this extent?

    Unless I am the most unlucky person on the planet, I would highly urge
    potential buyers of Canon to weigh the strong possibility that your future
    camera could end up freezing on you at the most inopportune times.

    Canon reps, if you are reading, you seriously need to address this issue. I
    have poured thousands and thousands of dollars into your systems (perhaps a
    sucker is born every minute), and was planning on spending more of my hard-
    earned money on your products. I am contemplating selling it all off and
    swictching to another brand, if my research indicates there is better

    I look forward to any responses.

    ~Canon Lover...?~
  2. That suck, I've had a 20D for 2 years now and had only a few ERR99's. All with my 70-200IS and always when I'm moving and not holding the lens. SI\ince I got my battery grip, I haven't had any (1yr or so), thought maybe the IS was drawing too much battery because I could see the numbers in the viewfinder dim when it kicked on. I guess I've been lucky...or you've been unlucky.

  3. I have received error 99 messages on several occasions since the purchase of my 20D in June. Seemed to be fixable when I removed the battery grip and just ran power from a single battery pack. Then I could throw on the battery grip shortly thereafter. Seemed to be a totally random occurence happening 2-3 times in about 5000 shutter actuations. Definitely an annoyance but hasn't made me bitter.....yet. I can see how this would be a problem for professionals on the job.
  4. Sheesh, that's a big hunkin' paragraph. I tried to read it but kept getting lost around the
    3rd or 4th line. If you actually want someone to read your prose, it's best to compose a
    topic sentence, expound upon the thought concisely and move on to a new paragraph.

    I've owned all of the EOS mid-priced bodies and many pro bodies since 1990 and haven't
    suffered any lockups except when I tried to use an old Sigma lens. It sent my Elan 7E into
    spasms and nothing worked even after removing the lens. It recovered overnight after
    removing all batteries.

    Perhaps DSLRs are a different animal. Okay, since 2003 I've had a 10D, 20D and 5D and
    have never--not once--gotten an ERR99. And I've taken tens of thousands of images in
    jungles, beaches, bars and theaters. I got a blinking battery in Vegas, but that was because
    my battery was about to die from lack of charge. So I inserted a fresh 511. I can say my 3
    DSLRs have been utterly reliable. Of course I keep my greasy mitts off the lens contacts
    and generally handle my gear with care. If it gets wet, I wipe it off right away and keep it
    protected from extended exposure to salt spray.

    On the other hand, I had nothing but trouble with the two Nikon AF bodies I owned
    (manual bodies were great). So I guess *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* happens...
  5. Hmm, long sad story, I only take around 30-40 thou pics/year, in last 5 yrs digital only once err99, from a returned serviced lens, the crud in the contacts passed on to 2 othr lenss, cleaned contacts and ok since.

    I wonder if body static could cause a serious problem with cameras, I remember when wirking with high tech communication equipment, one fellow worker would walk passed a rack, sparks flew between hin and equipment, and cause all sorts of problems. If that is possible wouldn`t matter which brand system you`d have

    good luck
  6. I've had my 20D for almost two years and have had no problems, even though I have one of the earlier battery grips which is subject to recall. What's interesting to me is that most of the posted complaints about Error 99 problems seem to have come from outside the U.S., and I don't understand that. Anyway, some suggestions:

    1. Clean the battery contacts, both in the camera and on the grip, if you have one.

    2. Clean the electrical contacts on the your lenses and the camera body.

    3. Turn the power off when changing lenses.

    4. Make a sacrifice to the gods of camera malfunctions.

    Except for #4, these are things I have done/do routinely and as I said, have had no problems - even with the Tamron 70-200mm lens.....

    Good luck!
  7. The only error 99 condition I have experienced on my 10D was do to a problem with the lens.
  8. I forgot to mention that I only got Err99 messages when I threw a rented lens onto the camera. I typically did not clean the contacts of these lenses as I figured the rental store would do so. Guess again.
  9. Steve,

    Sorry to be so blunt, but if your earning a living with photography, best would be not to fight it but move to another camera mfg.

    You've had two warnings already at weddings. Don't wait till you get into trouble and blow your reputation.
  10. Seems odd both your cameras are doing it. Could it be something you are doing, using or your enviornment or something? I can see maybe getting a lemon, but two on two different models?

  11. Like Puppy, I'd recommend using smaller paragraphs. More to the point, it's clear you
    have suffered from an unusually high (VERY unusually high) incidence of ERR99. Lots and
    lots of people use Canon gear without problems. So I don't know if your use of the phrase
    'strong possibility' is warranted.

    I have gotten the ERR99 warning only a couple of times, and both were directly
    attributable to problems in the lens-->camera electronic interface: a big stack of
    extension tubes with a heavy lens at one end and a heavy camera at the other. A little
    flexing, and contacts are interrupted, and ERR99 happens. Unfortunately, your problems
    don't seem as simple, but have you checked and cleaned all of the contact pins on lenses
    and cameras?
  12. 300D, 350D & 20D and only a few "Error 99" so far, none of which required a "battery out reboot" and all traced back to a lens not locked completely, or a flash not fully-mounted and one Sigma lens that needed rechipping. I should be fairly close to 100k shots on the 3 bodies at this point.
  13. It's possible your 70-200 f/2.8 L IS causes intermittent lockups. There are known problems with lenses produced before spring 2005. Unfortunately, Canon will probably treat any necessary repair as out of warranty and charge for it.
  14. Had this problem once when my 30D was 3 days old; problem was solved by removing the battery. The suggestion about changing to another brand; all I can say is I use the Canon 30D because I have a 500mm f/4 IS lens which I love, all my other equipment is Nikon and Mamiya and I have had more than my share of bad luck with Nikon.
  15. I have never had such incidents with either my Elan7E, 350D or 30D.
  16. Hello folks,

    I am said wife of the ranting Koopy and I watched him post his rant with paragraphs and all, for easier reading, and when he posted the thread, it did not appear as he wrote it. As I type this, I am writing with shortened paragraphs for an easier read... we will see what happens.

    I don't think many of you understand where we are coming from. So please let me clarify.

    All the Canon Ambassadors which have replied do ease our troubled minds as to the reliability of Canon's equipment.

    However, all the goodwill advice, while appreciated, has not helped, as we have tried everything, and the cameras continue to read ERR 99. Note cameras. All three. One I could handle. Not all three.

    After 3 months the 30D was returned for a possible repair/replacement. It was repaired by Canon, and continues to read ERR 99 on occassion.

    While hubby admits to trying something a little different the first time, if you call spot metering doing something different, I know in my case yesterday, nothing was different. I was simply photographing the bride getting ready in a low lighting situation with flash and without. And then the shutter went berzerk.

    We are not telling people not to buy Canon, but rather to be informed. It is as simple as going the nearest retailer and getting their professional and personal opinion on the products they stand behind. Also, if you see in wedding photography posts, especially on, many newbies ask, as well as those who are already immersed in the industry, "what's in your bag?" People are curious and want to know the pros and cons of what they are going to invest in. There is no harm in that.

    A good company will still, even with an unhappy vocal minority, provide a solid answer with good customer service (and don't right me back about that statement b/c I KNOW Canon has good customer service) and a solution to an otherwise highly frustrating and annoying problem - I am not asking for their cameras to be perfect, but there does seem to be many with the same problem as ours: relatively new cameras, with a relatively high (for our budget) price tag, with a re-occurring problem.

    Albeit frustrated and needing to rant, all we were looking for at 12:30 am was a little therapy , know-how, and (fingers crossed) answers among Canon users and/ or suppliers.

    In the fourth paragraph hubby stated I was using my fave Tamron 18 - 200mm, and had on my 580 flash. This had not happened before. I may sometimes interchange the Tamron with a Canon L series lens. I do not use a battery grip nor battery pack.

    Also, upon purchasing our Tamron at a reputable retailer we were told that it was made to be interchangable with Canon bodies.

    When this first occurred with Steve's, I think he was using his Canon 17 - 85mm and battery grip, with 580 flash, and battery pack.

    The more I read, I am learning that there is no pattern for ERR 99 to occurr, and that it is indeed a catch-all reading.

    With the exception of Steve's 30D, which froze after 3 months of use, I am resting upon the idea that my 20D and Rebel have simply reached their 'limit'.

    I am beginning to swallow that life expectancy is not a ripe old age measured in total years of faithful service, but perhaps is a reflection of how often these babies are used.

    Regardless of this being correct or not, and depending upon what answers we receive from Canon, I hope not to budget $3000+ every year to a year and a half to replace camera bodies.

    The word investment to me was always long-term sounding, not some temporary 'we'll see'.

    Any more thoughts or trouble-shooting welcomed.
  17. Perhaps you are asking too much of these cameras. After all they are designed for typical
    consumer use and do not claim to nor are advertised to stand up to heavy pro use. With
    such heavy demands you should be looking at the 1D series. They're designed for heavy
    frequent use and are relatively resistant to palm sweat, splashes, shock and dust.
    pricey, the added durability will probably save you money, time and frustration in the long

    The "runaway shutter" your 20D demonstrated may be due to a number of different
    causes. However the most common is a worn out shutter assembly. The thing usually
    expires somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 cycles, although they have been known
    to die sooner. Nevertheless, when I read a complain about the "20D runaway shutter" it
    has invariably been from a wedding or sports pro using it for tens of thousands of shutter
    cycles per month.

    Finally, I have seen a number of photos of the innards of the failed 10D and 20D bodies.
    Of course these bodies had seen heavy use but had badly corroded electronics. The cause
    was palm sweat, although the damage was similar to salt water emersion. Apparently the
    owners used the cameras for hours on end and the salt and mositure from their sweaty
    mitts had little by little seeped into the innards and, at first caused intermittent failures,
    and later catastrophic failure.
  18. Hi, couple of things by reading your post, most common denominater seams to be a 580ex flash, my wife had errors once with a crook flash, she can`t remember which err,

    also just a thought these bodies give err99 when not recognizing a lens (correct me if wrong) during weddings things can happen quickly, if the body is in sleep mode and you shoot before its fully awake you may cause an error, have you tried switching off the sleep mode (battery save)?
  19. I have a 10D and have never had a single error of any kind.
  20. Not a response to anything posted here but ancilliary background:

    If a given type of unit has a non-zero probability of failing (for example, anything made by man), then a finite number of owners associated with multiple units will likely experience failures in more than one of their units for whatever reasons cause the finite failure rate for individual units.

    If this is not obvious, consider that some big lottery winners make good on a second big win. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

    The only way to determine whether multiple unit failures experienced by a given user are due to stochastic probabilities and/or use behaviors would be to examine both the bodies and the use patterns of the user.

    The same logic applies to camera bodies, whether film or digital, Nikon or Canon, etc., or to automobiles, microwave ovens, etc.

    Under the circumstances, however, it might be wise to seek out higher quality units and/or insure against operational failure.
  21. Steve and wife, Mark Nagel's initial post exactly describes my experience with Err99 using a 20D and 70-200 IS. Why not give the battery grip a try.

    Regarding the paragraphs, maybe Steve specified that "the above text is HTML". In that case, if you don't separate your paragraphs with the <p> tag, whatever you type will simply be run together.
  22. I cannot read your post, too much a chunck of text... bottom line ERR 99? I have never seen it with a 20D, 10D, etc.
  23. I know that Sigma at one point had recognized that their could be a problem with some of their lenses made before a certian date, used with DSLR bodies. They, at least, DID offer a free service to upgrade the lens (they just plug in a new chip inside the lens) and the errors where resloved. Maybe it has something to do with the date of manufacture of your lenses.

    I have not had any trouble with my Sigma lens, used on my RebelXT, But I diligently keep things clean, and the lens is only a few years old. It could have something to do with using a very heavy lens on these non pro bodies (bennding the aluminum lens mount a tiny bit). If you are changing lenses frequently, you can wear the mounting surfaces down (metal to metal contact with no lube, always wears things down a bit), and that could be why you are getting bad communication with the lens.

    As to the random firing of the shutter, you could have corrosion in the bodies, causing things to malfunction. Send them in for repair, making sure to note what envirnment they are used in (sweaty hands, salt spray kind of deal). They should be able to clean things up for you and get you back on the road again, but at a cost. Canon has some of the best customer service out there, give them a call (or e-mail)and see what they can do for you.
  24. 20D here and have had a few error99s, all bar one were solved with turning off, removing battery and then booting up again. The only time this did not work was when the shutter went berserk on it's own, even with camera turned off, battery had to be removed to stop it. I estimated about 89,000 on the shutter count and yes, shutter mechanism had died. Unfortunately not in warranty anymore but was pleasantly surprised to only receive a bill of AU$280 from Canon for complete new shutter mechanism.
  25. I have had exactly the problem you describe. Error 99 and then the shutter randomly and repeatedly opening. Removing the batteries, changing lenses, etc did not fix the problem.
  26. My 30D just started giving me multiple ERR99 messages last month. Of my three lenses it only happens with the Tamron SP28-75 f/2.8. I've cleaned all of the contacts and it stopped for a very short while but started up again. Very frustrating.
  27. Got a case of the dreaded err 99 on my 5D in the middle of a wedding last weekend, mirror seems to be locking in the up position. Turning of and on and pressing shutter button restores operation.

    Usually happens when shooting continous for a few seconds. 5D is about 14 months old, shot approx 28000 images. Not lens related, as will display problem with no lens attached.

    Pretty disappointed in this, thought shutters were supposed to last 100,000 cycles, however could be some other problem I guess. Not that keen on taking it in to canon and not having it for weeks.

    Does anyone have any suggestions regarding the err 99 with mirror locked up problem as above? It's not dirty contacts, battery problems or grip issues, have checked these.

    Might be a cracked board?

    Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    Even the most basic statistics class would disprove this.
  29. I think I am a little late to the party, but heres my 2cents:
    I have had many Canon dSLRs, and I got error 99s only once in a while, very rare. In face so rare that every time I had to go look it up to refresh what it was. It was always a one time thing, turned the camera off, back on and went back to doing what i was doing.
    That is until last week when I got a used lens. It had been cleaned by canon, so I didnt think to check it. So as I used it, I started getting error 99 much more frequently. 4 times out of 30 or so photos. Also just shutting the camera off would clear it for a while. I then cleaned the contacts of the lens and have not seen it the last few days.

    But to help you, Canon says when youve tried all the things you have tried, and the error still shows, it means something is messed up in the camera and you should send it in for service. Simple as that. Parts go bad. As to up and switching to another brand, that is an option. But know that every Nikon I have owned has had issues resulting in being sent in for repair. I guess that call is up to you. Either way, I wish you better luck!
  30. Done my research. Turns out most of the time, it's caused by a third party lens. Simply take a pencil eraser and clean off the contacts on both the camera and the lens.
  31. I have to say I feel your pain. My 30d gets err 99 messages ALL THE TIME, and it is seriously effecting my work. I was just shooting an event for the opening of the Seattle Art Museum with a few big names and the camera crapped out on me. It was extremely embarrassing and I didn't get the shot. And for me, it has started to happen every other photo which renders the camera useless.
    The problem is that no one knows how to fix err 99 it seems. So this camera which I paid good money for is done... and I can't sell it back to a store in good conscience (sp?) so I'm out the money. Doesn't seem like it should be the end of the camera, but I can't have it malfunctioning at a shoot. Oh...... *tear.
  32. Also, this happens to my body with any lens I put on it. All three CANON lenses which work on other bodies.
    So it's not a third party lens.
    Also I have cleaned the contacts on the lens and camera and it makes no difference, I'm in malfunction town.
  33. I didn't want to create a new post but thought I'd contribute my experience to this three year old thread...I have a 5D and it recently, after a project where I took 2-3k photos, began giving err 01 and 99 messages with all my Canon brand lenses and using different CF cards and even without a card in it.
    It has had numerous symptoms that have sort of devolved into the latest symptoms: when I turn camera on the top display reads properly, but I cannot access the menu or playback. When I press the shutter nothing happens. I have tried to reset the camera (regular battery and clock battery) with no success. The camera was purchased used so I have no idea of the shutter count but it is in physically mint condition. I think it may be a failed shutter or mirror because when it started having issues the mirror would lock up during the error and I'd have to push the shutter release again to get it down.
    Will be sending it to Canon regardless but thought I'd put this out there if anyone had any suggestions. Thanks.

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