Troubleshooting Canon DSLR Error Messages

Canon EOS Rebel T3

If you experience a problem with your Canon DSLR camera where you see an error message on the LCD, you’ll want to make use of this visual clue that the camera is providing to ensure the fastest and most successful resolution of this problem. Use these tips to troubleshoot a Canon DSLR camera error message.

  • Card cannot be accessed. This error message refers to a problem with the memory card. Make sure the memory card is inserted properly, and make sure it isn’t “locked,” where a toggle switch on the card prevents the camera from writing data to the card. The memory card also might need to be formatted; just be sure you’ve downloaded all of the photos from the card before formatting it, as the formatting process will erase all of the data on the card.
  • Communications between the camera and lens is faulty. This error message usually occurs because the metal/electrical contacts on the Canon DSLR camera’s lens housing and the interchangeable lens are dirty. Use a dry cloth to gently clean the contacts. Additionally, the lens might not be attached quite properly, leaving a gap between the contacts. Try reattaching the lens.
  • Error code 01. This error code usually refers to a lens problem. Most likely, the lens is not attached properly, or you’re using a lens that is not compatible with the Canon DSLR camera.
  • Error code 04. You’ll usually have a full memory card when this error code appears. Erase some photos from the card or insert a new card with free space.
  • Error codes 05, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80. With these error codes, try performing a hard reset on the camera by removing the battery and memory card from the camera for 15 minutes. Then reinsert both items and try turning on the camera again.
  • Lens error. You may see an error message related to the lens for quite a few different reasons. Check the metal connections on the lens as well as on the camera’s lens housing. If these connections have any grime on them or any deep scratches, the lens may not be able to connect properly with the camera, causing the error message. If you’ve dropped the camera, the lens may be jammed, causing an error message. You also can try resetting the camera, as described above, to remove this error message.
  • Lens error (part two). Another camera problem that can cause a lens error message to appear may be related to the need for updating the camera’s firmware. Check with your manufacturer’s web site to see if a firmware update is available for your camera when you see this type of error message, especially if it’s accompanied by a “restart camera” error message, and the restart doesn’t solve the problem.
  • Shooting is not possible due to an error. Try turning the camera on and off when you see this generic error message. If that doesn’t work, try a hard reset as described above. Otherwise, the camera may need repair.
  • The built-in flash could not be raised. Usually you can fix this error message by simply turning the camera off and on again. If this doesn’t work, perform a hard reset on the camera, as described above. It's also possible that the popup flash is jammed by a foreign object.
  • General error. If you see an error message that doesn’t seem to be specific to any particular problem, first try resetting the camera. If that doesn’t solve it, you may need to upgrade the camera’s firmware.