Having problems with your Canon PowerShot S2 IS Digital Camera ?

Black screen on viewfinder and screen but menu works


Answers :

Ok, got my Canon S2 IS camera as a Christmas gift in 2006. Been using it just fine til about November/December of 2009 when it seemed to not be capturing light ... then went to total black screen on viewfinder & on captured picture. Everything else worked just fine. Came to this site & found that the image sensor may be a known problem. I called Canon on 12/28/2009 reported problem. Sent camera to their IL repair center via UPS on 12/29, which cost me $15.00. They received it & sent me an email on 1/5/2010 confirming they got it & would fix free of charge if found no other damage like water or sand or the like. Received another email on 1/6/2010 repair was complete, found problem with faulty optical unit assembly which they replaced at no charge. Received camera back on 1/8. I have yet to test it out... hope the freezing temps did not hurt it on the way here!! I am very pleased with their courteous, quick service, and I never had to "haggle" with them about any of it. I was happy to pay the initial $15.00 to send it to them because they had not yet determined the problem. I would definitely buy another camera from them. :)
If the menu works then the LCD/viewfinder are both OK and the fault lies in the image capture side of things.

Does the camera still take photos? (To check this properly you'll need to remove the SD card and try uploading to a computer. You'll probably need to set the camera to manual focus as well). If it does then the imaging sensor is also fine.

If the camera will not capture images then the fault is most likely to be the imaging sensor. Image buffers and other circuitry can also be the cause but the sensor is the most common electronic component to fail.

Many Powershot S2's were fitted with a 5MP sensor manufactured by Sony: there was a manufacturing defect with these which led to huge numbers of them failing across the board in the many makes and models of cameras which used that sensor. If your camera is one of those with a Sony CCD then you need to contact Canon directly. A "soft recall" was in place for a few years whereby customers who complained were offered free repairs: many didn't know and just junked their cameras for new ones. Officially, the soft recall ended last autumn. Sony absolutely will not budge on this for their own products nor for any other manufacturer's products which they agreed to fix but some manufacturers did the repairs themselves and I'm aware of a few customers who have still had five year old cameras repaired free of charge (except for shipping).

Either way, it's not a DIY repair. If you have to pay Canon for a CCD replacement then in the USA it's around $150 and in the UK it's a lot more. In cold, hard, cash terms it's not cost effective. But the camera is very good and 5MP is big enough for almost anyone unless you extensively use the camera on a tripod and do a lot of selective enlargements. Compared to later, higher MP models, the images suffer less image noise. In those terms, $150 won't buy you a modern new equivalent with anything like the real-world performance and handling of the S2 so if the rest of the camera is otherwise excellent it may well make sense to invest in the repair.

Alternatively, look for a Fuji Finepix 9600: it's officially discontinued, but is still available from clearance outlets for about 50% more than that repair bill with a full manufacturer's warranty. It does pretty much everything your S2 can although there is no image stabilisation and the zoom is less at a 35mm equivalent of 28-300mm compared to your present 36-432mm. You will notice the usefully wider angle, and the shorter telephoto is less noticeable especially as there's an extra 4MP to play with when making selectively cropped enlargements. Due to the unique way that Fuji construct their image sensors there is less apparent image noise than your current camera and the 9MP sensor is more detailed than conventional 9MP sensors.

I hope that you have found my reply to be of use and in return ask only that you spare a moment to rate my answer.
Repair Help & Product Troubleshooting for Canon PowerShot S2 IS Digital Camera

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