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Thread: Can a faulty lens damage my camera?

  1. #1
    mikejduk's Avatar
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    Can a faulty lens damage my camera?

    Hi all,

    I have a friend who is having probs with his Canon EOS 500D and has sent it away for repair. Before he did so he was also having probs with one of his lenses; a Canon 18-135mm Ultrasonic, in that whenever he tried to use it, after clicking he would get a camera error message suggesting there was a loss of connection between the camera and lens and that the connectors might need cleaning. Words to that effect. I took the lens and tried it on my 60D and whilst it was hit and miss on automatic it worked fine on Manual mode; that is Manual selected on both lens and camera. I did try cleaning the lens connectors but it didn't make any difference.

    Shortly afterwards when I returned my own 55-250mm lens to my camera I got the same error message for the 1st time ever! Scary or what It hasn't happened again since but I am still curious, if there is a major problem with the electrics on my friend's lens, could it cause problems with whatever camera it is used in?

    Grateful for any advice.

  2. #2
    Melkus's Avatar
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    Re: Can a faulty lens damage my camera?

    Never heard tell of that before, have heard the contects making a poor connection and the lens was unable to AF. I also heard of a lens having mechanical problems and it won't AF, and if you put it on a body and don't put the body in manual focus mode it will put a very heavy load on the AF motor which could damage it. All I can think of is your friend lens is damage and when you put it on your camera it did dectect the falt. But like said I never knew of one doing this

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    my first name is "I'm"

    Re: Can a faulty lens damage my camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikejduk View Post
    ...could it cause problems with whatever camera it is used in?
    I'm making this up as I type so it might be rubbish but assuming power is being passed in and out of the lens via one or more of the pins then if there is some sort of fault in the wiring of the lens such that the lens is shorting to a pin that's not designed to carry that sort of voltage/current then having the wrong voltage/current on that pin could perhaps damage something in the camera body.

    it's an idea at least...

    Ken

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    Re: Can a faulty lens damage my camera?

    Mike I am no electronics expert. I would not put a lens, or any other elecrtonic device that is faulty, on another device. Electronics do have a habit of developing faults and then cause shorts.
    I would not put another lens on the camera( your's as well) unless you have had it checked out and vice versa.

    As I said, no expert opinion - just very careful.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Can a faulty lens damage my camera?

    The answer is difficult to answer because we don't know what, if any, protective elements have been built into a specific camera or lens model's circuitry. In theory, static discharge, a short circuit, etc. could damage the electronics in either a lens or in the camera body, but that kind of damage usually means you have a product that is DEAD and will not function at all. This has certainly been my experience.

    I would expect that consumer products would have rather limited protection built in, while we could expect a more robust build in the pro lines. On the whole, amateurs rarely change lenses, while pros do so all the time.

    I have had intermittent issues with a switch; which I suspect was caused by some form of contamination. That problem went away by itself after a bit of fiddling with it. I've also had a problem with a SD memory card that seems to be incompatible with one of my camera bodies, but works fine on the other.

    The problems that your friend had with his camera and lens could have been completely coincidental and been unrelated. The fact that you had an issue with your camera after mounting your friend's lens makes me suspect that there may have been some contamination (i.e. some insulating material) transferred from his lens to the contacts on your camera. When you mounted your lens, this contaminant could have lead to the error message and once proper electrical contact was made, the problem went away by itself. If your friend's camera and lens had some kind of contamination on the electrical contacts, both the lens and camera contacts should be cleaned as the contaminant would be on both.

  6. #6
    mikejduk's Avatar
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    Re: Can a faulty lens damage my camera?

    Many thanks for all your input. I sure hope my camera hasn't suffered any long term damage by trying out my friends faulty lens. Watch this space

  7. #7

    Re: Can a faulty lens damage my camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikejduk View Post
    Many thanks for all your input. I sure hope my camera hasn't suffered any long term damage by trying out my friends faulty lens. Watch this space
    I'm having the exact same problem as your friend is having with his camera. My camera keeps
    Coming up with error clean lens contacts, which we have with no result. I've tested my camera with another lens and it works beautifully. So must be something with the lens? Does anyone have any ideas or tips on how I can fix this? Any help would be wonderful.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Can a faulty lens damage my camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashleyashram View Post
    I'm having the exact same problem as your friend is having with his camera. My camera keeps
    Coming up with error clean lens contacts, which we have with no result. I've tested my camera with another lens and it works beautifully. So must be something with the lens? Does anyone have any ideas or tips on how I can fix this? Any help would be wonderful.
    Other than cleaning the contacts (both on the camera body and on the lens), there really are no user serviceable parts on a modern lens. Send it off to a repair shop would be my suggestion.

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    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Can a faulty lens damage my camera?

    About the only thing I can think of, other than what has already been suggested, is to use a strong magnifying glass to carefully examine both the contacts and the entire mounting surface of the camera and lens. Be on the lookout for physical damage such as misshaped/bent metal and anything that may be coating the contact surfaces that cleaning hasn't removed. That alone doesn't resolve the issue but may help you determine if the problem is related to just the lens and not the camera.

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    Re: Can a faulty lens damage my camera?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashleyashram View Post
    I'm having the exact same problem as [the OP's] friend is having with his camera. My camera keeps coming up with "error clean lens contacts", which we have with no result. I've tested my camera with another lens and it works beautifully. So must be something with the lens? Does anyone have any ideas or tips on how I can fix this?
    Unfortunately, there are many more contacts inside the lens which you can't get to. By talking about only the contacts we can see, we are probably missing many possibilities. For instance, there's no difference electrically between a poor connection inside and a dirty connection on the outside. However, it is worth taking a closer look at the outside connections - easy for me, with my 12X watchmaker's loupe .

    We've talked about 'shorts' but, with a bit of wear, conductive material can get smeared between the contacts of the lens. This causes a path for one contact to interfere, as it were, with another. Not a short, but enough to fool the camera's primitive diagnostics.

    If tempted to clean the contacts, cotton Q-tips do very well, used dry. Quite a bit better than 60-grit sandpaper, which I can not recommend. Can't recommend WD40 either, in spite of its promises to rocket technicians in times past. (When WD40 first came out, it was called "Rocket WD40" 'cos the USAF used it on some missiles).

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