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Error 01 on a Canon Lens

Last week-end, while using my year-old Canon 40D, I encountered several Error 01 and the screen displays “Communications between the camera and the screen is faulty. Clean the lens contacts.”

I thought my camera got broken and I remembered last week the camera bag dropped after going thru the airport X-Ray scanner in Singapore. I switched lenses from the default Canon EF 17-88mm to the wide angle EF-S 10-22mm and it worked flawlessly so it must be in the lens.

canon lens 17-85mm
I Googled about it and found tons of similar problems:

  • Battery problems — needs to add battery grip as IS uses more power to operate. This doesn’t make sense since the 17-85mm has IS but have been using it for more than a year. I was also using a battery grip with two fully-charged original batteries in it.
  • Lens contacts need cleaning. Took a pencil eraser and cleaned the contacts in the lens (the gold-plated part inside) to no avail. I did the same with camera body. Both contacts look like they’re in pristine condition with no hints of oxidation or whatever.
  • IS motor problem. Tried turning off IS and set the lens to manual and still the same. Then, I discovered that when the lens is half to fully extended, it works fine but when set at about 17mm to 35mm, the problem occurs.
  • Loose screws. Check the entire lens and all the tiny screws in it but everything is intact.

I’ve exhausted all possible solutions and quick fixes so all I can do now is send it to Canon’s Service Center. This is on top of that Speedlite EX430 flash I had sent for repairs 3 weeks ago (chipped shoe mount).

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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52 Responses

  1. Ton says:


    Are you having doubts with Canon build quality?
    I am.

    I am a proud owner of an ancient, but altogether wonderful 300d. Somehow (without using it heavily, I’m a leisure photog), the thing stopped working. I mean, at the price point I bought it at, I wouldn’t expect it to just break down on a whim.

    I haven’t heard of a Nikon just deciding not to work just because…

  2. yuga says:

    @Ton – not really, this is my second Canon dSLR and the old 350D which I sold to a friend still works fine until now (3 years old). I was wondering if the problem was also due to my carelessness sometimes. The camera and lens have had its shares of bumps, drops and tumbles.

  3. penny lane says:

    try also to upgrade its firmware. it might help.

    latest firmware version for 40d is v1.1.1 (20 January 2009)


  4. Jhay says:

    Not really keen on Canon gear but I hope this won’t happen to me any time soon. I’m worried about the costs of sending a Nikkor lens for repairs. ;)

  5. A former office mate just joined the dark side (Nikon). The force was too strong for him to resist.

    I used to have friendly debates with him on which one is better Canon or Nikon.

  6. Ton says:

    oh well then, maybe its just my unit :) if its any consolation, those canon guys are pretty good with service, ill give them that :) come to think of it, I am a proud recipient of a zero-charge CMOS-recall those guys did a year back. Good times.

    Those canon-nikon debates, sir, had cost me not a few dinner drinks on end. Its one of those “mines better” kind of things. Dark (aka Nikkor) side IS becoming more attractive nowadays though…better packages too…. ahh, if only jedis had discounts at hidalgo…

  7. ditch says:

    you are right – it probably has more to do with the lens than the body (in fact, you can bet your house it is a lens error).

    *try shooting portrait vs landscape – if the error is present on one orientation and not on both, it most likely has to do with connection errors with the IS mechanism/electronics.
    *try setting it to manual focus and try to take a shot – if you can still take a shot on MF, then it was the focusing mechanism that got “jolted”.
    *if you can still manage to see the settings with that lens on, does the f-stop say 0 as oppposed to 5.6 or whatever? if so, that is the lens’ way of saying “please, bring me to canon philippines na. i need my spa treatment.”

    in any case, there is an apparent communication error between the body and lens, and the lens will not cooperate – let the canon technicians give him a beating. if you ask me, i’d get rid of that lens and stick with the 50/1.8 and be done with it (or better, like a 50/1.4, 85/1.8 perhaps). zooms always give me the creeps (pun unintended).

  8. Be careful at buying at Hidalgo’s. Used cameras are sold as brand new. Even the popular “H” store is doing it.

  9. gregster says:

    same thing happened to my EOS 40D a month ago, immediately after the 1-year warranty expired. brought it to the service center, worked for three months, and now the body cannot read the CF card naman.

    so yeah, now i’m having doubts with Canon’s build quality. my first slr was a Nikon, it’s three years old now and it’s still working perfectly. *sigh*

  10. Jilda Gildenhuys says:

    My 17-85 has done the same thing on my 40d body, I sent the lens in and it is R1650.00 to repair! |Which is think is rediculous since it is also just gone past its guarantee and is in pristine condition, but what other choice is there but to repair???

  11. Mike Magnatta says:

    I have owned my EOS 40D Cannon for over a year, within the first few months, I started having the Error 01 problem, I have to turn the Camera on and off to try to get it to work right, I am very disappointed, especially since I paid 1700.00 for what I thought would be a quality Camera. It takes great pictures when I can get it to work right. This is unacceptable and I am reading that there are many people that have had the same issues. This is a design flaw and there should be a class action lawsuit against the Cannan manufacturer. We should not have to take it apart a turn it on and off, when much cheaper cameras function flawlessly without any trouble. I would like to hear from others who feel the same way. [email protected]

  12. Ed Hallar says:

    well, ihave a 1 year old 40d, not that i have shot a tons of photo with it…but a thousand i had. so far so good as the old saying goes. but i am wondering guys, if these would happen, what is the best things to do? anyone please?

    ed hallar

  13. Paul5v says:

    Im getting an error 99 (instead of error 01)
    17-85 IS USM on my EOS 350D.

    Got it 2nd hand.
    Tested for a few days. No problem.
    Except yesterday. I left it in the car.
    Around 20 hours.
    Mounted in the 350d body and in a bag.

    When I took it out, the error appeared in
    the 17-30mm range. But ok up to 85mm.

    Tried almost everything. Now my question would
    be the cost of having this repaired.

    Any idea guys? Thanks!

  14. lin lin says:

    I encountered the same problem with my 1 1/2 year old 40D camera. The strange thing was, it happened to my friend’s 40D and her 17-85 mm lens first. We have a same unit bought at the same time early last year. She then hooked my 17-85 mm lens to her 40D body for test and the same problem occurred after working properly for less than 2 hours. I do not believe the same problem will occur to two identical lens after hooked up into a same 40D body on the same day! This is very suspicious.

    I went to canon yesterday and demand for answer. They told me the diaphragm was damaged. Same to my friend’s lens. I queried the canon so called trained technician how this occurred and how to prevent this from happening again. To my surprise, there was none who is qualified to even explain how the diaphragm works mechanically and electronically.

    I will make a complain even if I have to go to Canon in Japan. This is obviously manufacturer’s fault. Two lens damaged at the same time is totally unacceptable. The 40D body is also causing the failure. I have another Canon 70-200 mm f/2.8 IS USM lens. And if this 40D causes the same failure, it will cost me a bomb. How can I trust Canon anymore? Canon should not exploit the consumer by producing sub average product and let the consumer pay for its lousy product without proper justification.

  15. Maye says:

    I already experienced this twice. Scared the hell out of me coz I’m shooting an event the time this error happened.

    I automatically turned off and on my camera. Error still there. Played back my photos, thank God they’re still there.

    I tried re-installing the lens and the camera worked perfectly fine again. :) My version during that time was 1.0.3 I think. I haven’t updated it since 2008. o_0

    Thank you for the link Penny Lane, its 1.1.1 now :)

  16. Charles says:

    I’m using a 450d with the 17-85, I also encountered the lens contact error thing.

    This is my workaround for that, I noticed my ISO was set to 1600 whenever that happens, so i changed my ISO settings anything except 1600.. changed AF and other settings to reset the in-camera configuration parameter. Then after that the camera works fine again, just have to avoid the 1600 ISO./

  17. Gilles Pedrico says:

    I had EXACTLYU the same issue with the same lens… Yes it is the diaphragm: When the error occurs I can observe the diaphragm kind of “flickering” and the view gets darker. I can see too the “hole” getting abnormally small from the front. Then If I turn the camera off and on again, try to aim at something, and the hole is back to normal.

    It looks like the diaphragm is stuck when closing or something like that. The buzzing noise indicates too that the diaphragm is struggling to get back to its normal position.

    Yes the interesting question is: how much to get that repaired….

  18. It is very obvious that with everyone having the same type of error (01) from the same lenses, that it is not anything that the user has done. This is a faulty Camera and I would not reccomend it to anyone. The price (1700.00) should have insured that this is a dependable Camera, now I wish I would have gone with a cheaper, or different brand. I am still waiting for Cannon to admit this issue and recall these lenses/Cameras EOS 30D with the 17-85 lens.

  19. Sorry I meant the EOS 40D with the 17=85 lens – is a piece of junk

  20. Noogy says:

    I’ve used Canon film cameras since I was in high school (20 years ago) and switched to Canon DSLR since almost 10 years ago. None of my camera bodies and none of my lenses have ever been broken. I never drop them. I use them with care. I store them in a dry place when not in use. I clean them regularly after heavy outdoor use. Like anything else, these electronic devices are meant to be handled with care and to be maintained properly for long, trouble-free use.

  21. Brent says:

    I am thinking the problem is the EFS 17-85 and I am not having a problem with EF 75-300. I had a Canon EOS 20D and ERR 99 and no documentation about this. Then purchased the EOS 7D now getting the err 01 on the same EFS 17-85 lens.

  22. I’m having the same problem with my 17-85mm lens. If I shoot above f/4.0, I encounter that problem.

  23. Mike says:

    I do not think that anyone here dropped or abused their Camera, I have had many cameras that were much better and only cost a fraction of what this piec of crap costs. I will never own another Cannon and will not reccomend one to anyone. You must be employed by Cannon or they paid you for the testomanial.

  24. Speedchaser says:

    Same problem here. Canon service confirm it’s the power diaphragm for my EF-S 17-85mm lens.

  25. HA says:

    I have the same problem with my 17-85mm IS on my 40D too :( . And, the camera and the lens have been handled with the utmost care, it’s not even an year old. The aperture/diaphragm is stuck into a small hole. Going to the service center tomorrow.

  26. AC says:

    I have the same problem with my 17-85mm IS on my 40D, my camera and the lens have been handled with care, the lens is just over 14 months old. The aperture/diaphragm is stuck also with only a small hole and the AF just drops down the scale with each press of the shutter button, no problems with 18-55 IS lens Cannon should admit this issue and recall this lens and stop ripping off loyal and new canon users for repairs on obvious substandard lens design or build quality, if I am to get ripped off for a repair I will put the money towards other lens I will stop buying canon lens in future, maybe if canon customer service\care was aware of customers migration to other manufactures they might recall this iffy product.

  27. Thomas Donohoe says:

    I also own a canon 40D body and 17-85 mm lens. i started getting the same message last week . it only happens when the zoom is set between 17mm and 25mm. when i change to a 50mm f1.8 it works perfect. so it must be a lens defect. does anyone know can it be fixed in ireland.

  28. Lisa says:

    HELP – I too am having these problems that are mentioned above, does anyone know of a solution without it being sent back to Canon?

  29. Pete says:

    I have the same problem with my lens. i’m using a eos 50D with the 17 – 85mm IS and i got the error message last week. It’s fine at 17mm if i only use at f4.0 and anything over 35mm seems ok….
    I’m also sure there is many more people out there with the same problem :-(

  30. This is most probable caused be a design faultand a cracked flexible cable in the lens.

    Look at my pictures and description at http://www.pbase.com/barry_2718/efs1785mm

  31. The description of the fault in previuos post match the fault in my EFS 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS lens perfectly. I have seen the broken flexible cable with a distinct crack in it. If the Iris (diaphram) moves at all it is working and the cable is intermittent. This also affects the auto focus. See more comments on my pbase link. http://www.pbase.com/barry_2718/efs1785mm which describes all the symptoms and shows the broken flex cable. I have ordered a replacment cable off ebay.

  32. Pete says:

    Excellent info Barry, thank you. Yes my lens has problems with auto focus now aswell. At least i know whats causing it now, don’t think i’m brave enough to dismantle a lens just yet :-/ lol

  33. Tiberia says:

    I have the same problem now. The camera is 40d canon and the lens is 17-85…at 17 gives me error 01…at more then 17 its working…but not ok with focus. I am very disappointed.

  34. Same problem here – 40d and 17-85mm lens. I am getting Err 01 for all settings now but originally was just between 17 and 35mm.

    This is really annoying as I only own 2 lenses, this one and a prime lens.

  35. david robertson says:

    i too have a eos 40D 17 -85 lense with this error 1 problem. I am very carefull with my gear. my 70 – 300 still works fine but the 17 – 85 only seems to work on portrait. as it has only just occurred i have not yet contacted canon.

  36. Larry says:

    I too am experiencing the same problem.

    I’ll suggest that ‘Barry Moore’ [dated Jun 24th, 2010] may have actually found the design error and/or assembly issue.

    He notes the ribbon cable is difficult to thread through the zoom barrel past the IS unit.

    This may be the main issue that Canon needs to address to support those of us that stand by Canon, even endure the cost of repairs to their defective and/or low quality control standards.

    I’d bet that Canon lurks around these forums. To that end the following is meant to those in power at Canon…

    I have elected to have my livelihood supported with the tools Canon manufactures.

    Based upon the frequency and quantities of similar error issues found by a simple Internet search, it appears the error has been created by poor design or assembly quality control/standards. There are too many similar lens errors to be created by improper use, storage, etc.

    Your gear should be built to withstand it being used!

    Canon can learn from Toyota; ignore quality and it causes brand loyalty to become abandoned.

    It always surprises me that there’s always enough time to do the job over but never enough time to do it right the first time.

    Two of my close friends who also use(d) Canon have jumped to Nikon for the very quality issues I am now being confronted with.

    My friends are close to convincing me to jump as well. Issues such as this (01 error) are helping Nikon win. I’m not quite ready to abandon Canon yet as I’ve enjoyed your gear for many of years. Features are second nature and I’m familiar with the controls…

    With my recent issue (01 error), Why do I need to pay Canon to fix what should not have been introduced by poor manufacturer standards?!

    Issue a recall or at very least drop the current fee by 50%!

    Canon is asking too much money to repair a defective manufactured piece of equipment.

    Larry (California, USA)

  37. amanda says:

    same thing happened to me with the 17-84 mm on my 40D my camera is 3 or 4 yrs old and just this year it started to do it i would just take the lens of and put it back on and it would be fine then I went to China for a photography trip and it did it to the point where i could no longer take pictures, and my only other lens was only good for zooming far so thank god someone i was on the trip with had a lot of extra lenses.

  38. C NEALE says:


  39. Stergios says:

    same problem, happy I am not alone, dissapointed that there is no obvious solution than buying a new lens, NOT the 17-85

  40. Sheila says:

    I have the same problem but it is not the first time this has happened to me with this lens. The last time from memory it was a faulty chip in the lens? The lens is about 4 years old and this first happened when it was around a year old, the day I was going to shoot a wedding. Surely if it is the same problem I shouldn’t have to pay to get it fixed but I don’t like my chances.

  41. Sheila says:

    Upon looking at the problem closer the problem atm is only occuring between 17-35 and is working fine between 35-85. From memory this is what happened last time and then it just stopped working altogether. Will ring Canon today and see what they say.

  42. Sheila says:

    Rang Canon yesterday and they have a record of when it was last fixed, which was 2007. The motor in the lens died. They have told me to send it back into them to have a look at. I need it in the next couple of weeks so that is going to be a problem. My problem is now do I send it into them and not have it when I need it. Or do I keep it for now, as at the moment it still works between 35-85 mm and then send it into them after I have finished doing what I need to do?
    They are say atm there is a 14 working day turnaround but that is usually longer than what they say.

  43. okey ngarud says:

    got the same problem on my barely year old canon 50D. asked the service center and they want to charge me a fortune.

    well, better jump into a nikon……….

  44. Mike says:

    got the same lens and the same problem…

  45. Ron says:

    Getting the same problem on my EOS 1000D. I have not found any answer that resolve this problem.

  46. CLIVE says:


  47. Becci says:

    Same issues as most on here, error 01 no matter what settings, even though it’s auto focusing, but works fine without a memory card, so not really an issue with communication between lens & camera or dirty contacts

  48. carlotech says:

    hi i can repair your lenses..error 01 is faulty flex on the aperture. here mr contact number: 09276460788

  49. hafiz says:

    2 years later.. the same exact problem starting to happen to me..

    I was covering a car race just now..
    I thought probably the lens was very hot as I stand under the sun for quite long..
    So i went under a shade, charge my batter pack for a while.. then the lens working fine..

    then again the problem occur.. this time.. It didn’t go until now :(

    so sad rite now

  50. Roberto says:

    Canon should say sorry for this crap 17-85mm lens.
    Based on the huge number of people with the same problem “err 1”, I see that it is not a problem of bad handling or care but a crap built lens.
    Shame on you Canon!!! God bless Nikon cause I am really thinking changing to Nikon and selling my gears on ebay to a poor non-informed guy.
    Shame on you Canon and learn: Keep up with the low quality material and you will see your marketshare gone!

  51. Sisila says:

    I know! I just can’t get it fixed!
    so sad right now :(

  52. whooah this blg is excellent i really like studying your posts.
    Stay up the great work! You recognize, lots of individuals are hunting around for this
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