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April 25, 2005

Canon EOS 20D

Lately, I've been getting an annoying error message from my Canon EOS 20D. The display blinks a cryptic 'Err 99' message on the display, and refuses to function.

I get the error message frequently enough that I looked it up in the manual. As it turns out, there are a total of six error messages for the camera. Err 01,02,03,04,05, and 99. For 'Err 99', the manual says this: 'Err 99: An error other than the above has occurred.' Nice. That pretty much clears it up. Thanks Canon. Good job.

Turning it off and back on resolves the problem, but if you're shooting people, they're standing there grimacing like 'hurry up and take the picture you moron' and you're thinking 'Christ I can't believe I've got three thousand dollars in this farking camera and it won't take a picture when I press the button'.

Then, this evening, I was shooting the Canon EOS 20D camera out in the field, and it suffered yet another catastrophic failure. This time, it refused to release the shutter, just like it did in Humboldt County back in February. I had to bring it home, take out the battery, remove the lens, and then reassemble this piece of junk to get it to take a photo. I have to say that, from a reliability standpoint, I'm disappointed in the EOS 20D.

Update: Related post on Error 99

Posted by Peenie Wallie on April 25, 2005 at 8:14 PM


Boy, am I sick of this.
I bought a 300D last week. It was a second hand one in very good nick. But after about 30 shots, that's it! Err99! I have to switch it off and back on after every shot. I can't believe it.

And no matter what I've tried - including all the recommended remedies, it won't go away.

Can anyone help?

Posted by: PeterB on July 30, 2005 at 4:19 AM

Are you using a Canon lens or an after-market? The after-markets (especially Sigma) give this error most commonly. If it's a Sigma, contact their service department to see whether you can have your older lens "rechipped" to work with the new digitals.

Posted by: John Nabholz on August 19, 2005 at 4:12 PM

I'm using a Canon 17-85 mm zoom lens that came with the camera. The Error 99 problem is frustrating. It cropped up again last night. Basically, I can't take pictures with a flash. I've alread sent this piece of garbage camera frame back to Canon once. I guess I'll have to send it back again. This is not what I expected from a $2,100.00 camera/lens setup.

Posted by: Peenie Wallie on August 20, 2005 at 9:16 AM

If it happens after each shot it's the shutter, I paid around $300 CAD for repair - they replaced the shutter which fixed the problem.

Posted by: Peter on September 21, 2005 at 11:23 AM

I agree with you Peenie, a camera that costs this much should take a farken picture! Heck, we may as well get a disposable, that does the job without fail!

I just got a brand new 20D less than 2 weeks ago, and after only SIX DAYS I got the damn Err 99.I am using the Canon EF-S17-85mm lens and experiencing the same Flash problem as Peenie - I can't take pictures with the Flash.

Posted by: Alex on December 27, 2005 at 8:31 AM

I used to shoot with the first digital rebel in highschool and both of our cameras ended up with error 99. I just got a 20D and to my horror, I got the error 99. Usually, its a general electrical contact error. Take off the lense, take out the battery and use the eraser from a pencil to clean all of the contacts on the camera, lense and battery. This fixed my problem, and I hope it can help with yours.

Posted by: Nick on April 25, 2006 at 10:45 PM

We've been using our 20D for over a year. Not a single problem until today. Err 99. Taking everyting out doesn't fix it. When you turn it on it just keeps flipping the shutter and won't stop. If you turn the switch off it stops until you do anything that makes the camera react. I.E. open the battery door, open the memory door, switch the lens from manual to auto or back and the shutter flips.

Posted by: Morgan Doyle on October 8, 2006 at 2:31 PM

Bad news is, of course, that if you've been using it for "over a year", then it's out of warranty. So, send it in, get it fixed, and pray they don't ream you too bad.

Posted by: Peenie Wallie on October 8, 2006 at 5:17 PM

I've been using the 20D now for almost one and a half year without any problems, till today. While going ou for a photoshoot: err99. It kept on blinking even while in Off-mode. I Use only Canon L-glasswork so that can't be the problem (can it?). I solved the problem (so far) by replacing the batteries in the batterrygrip by others, and oh wonder: it works again!

Posted by: hans on October 12, 2006 at 9:05 AM

When I sent mine back to Canon the second time, they fixed it, so I don't get this error any more. No clue what they did. This frame is nice, but it is fickle, and I don't trust it in the field. Basically, if you're shooting with a Canon EOS-20D, then you'd better have a good backup camera. That's the lesson learned, I think.

Posted by: Peenie Wallie on October 12, 2006 at 1:32 PM

Flash door on my EOS 20D refuses to open when the button is pushed. This happened just after using an accessory flash. Everything else on the camera works fine. Batteries fully charged. Held menu mutton for 8 seconds to reset. Still no work..... any suggestions ? Oh, after-market flash work fine when pushed onto the shoe.

Posted by: M Bel on November 30, 2007 at 8:47 AM

Yeah. Actually, I had exactly the same problem with my EOS 20D. It would click about 3 times like it was trying to open, but wouldn’t open.

Try switching it to manual mode, and then push the little flash(lightning) button and see if it opens then. Mine would open sporadically. Occasionally, what I did, was pull it up, by force. (I’m not necessarily advocating this, as in don’t sue me if it breaks your camera, but it worked for me.)

And, believe it or not, this problem actually got better over time.

Hope this helps.

Oh. And if you get it working, my suggestion is to eBay it and upgrade to the EOS 40D. You’ll like it much better.

Posted by: Rob Kiser on December 1, 2007 at 9:51 AM

Has anyone had battery problems with the 20D. I have usually been able to take hundreds of shots without changing batteries but now they seem to fail after only a few. Ok both might have reached the end of their life, but were bought at different times so it seems unlikely they would fail together!

Posted by: David on March 10, 2008 at 5:27 AM

My guess is that your batteries are just failing. Buy some new ones on ebay and see if that doesn't fix it. Alternately, you could buy the ACK-E2 AC adapter and see if that works.

Posted by: Rob Kiser on March 10, 2008 at 8:37 AM

I bought a 20D from B&H about a year and half ago for my girlfriend.

She's shot maybe 250 pictures through it and when she went to use it the other day - error99.

I went online to find a remedy and tried every voodoo variation (cleaning/battery in & out/new card/etc...... Nothing.

We sent the POS into Canon and they want $300 to 'fix' this thing. Absolutely insane.

This is a widespread - ongoing manufacturing issue and I've got a mind to hire an attorney to write Canon a nasty letter (that would certainly cost more than $300).


Posted by: Chris on March 12, 2008 at 3:20 PM

Chris - I'm with you on this one. It really sucks. I would suggest suing Canon and try to get it certified as a class action suit.

Posted by: Rob Kiser on March 12, 2008 at 4:15 PM

Just got the same error 99 message with the shutter auto shooting when it is even off. I think I know why it happened to me. I used it for over 3 years and shot near 1 million shots since it was used for time lapsed high def video of nature. Sorry you got the lemons guys, don't know why mine lasted so long when the shutter was only rated for 100,000 shots. But yeah, auto shooting is most likely a broken shutter.

Posted by: Paul on May 8, 2008 at 11:52 AM

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