I thought I’d repost this article from a few years ago as it has been one of the most popular articles on my blog. Since I changed the name of my WordPress account from techastro.wordpress.com to digitalwaterfalls.wordpress.com (bringing it more in line with my other web activities) I realise that a number of links will break. So I’m going repost the more useful and popular articles over the next few weeks with updates where appropriate. I hope my visitors will continue to find them useful!
Update March 2015
My Canon S2IS is continuing to work well with continued, regular use. Well, when I say regular use, I mean a couple of times a year to exercise the motor and lens, which occasionally exhibits the ‘black screen of death’ problem. However, it does seem to get better with age and I regularly use it for long intervalometer runs to produce some time-lapse photography. I did use it with a CHDK script to capture a lighning storm last July, I have quite a dramatic photo from the run which I’ll have to find for this blog later!
Original Article (2nd June 2010)
The Canon Powershot S2IS digital camera is getting a bit long in the tooth now, having first come out in 2005. Unfortunately it suffers from a design fault that seems to affect the camera, increasing with age.
Known as the ‘black screen of death’, it is a disconserting fault that effectively renders the camera usless. The problem manifests itself when the camera is switched on and nothing no view appears on the LCD screen. Only a black screen with the OSD is displayed. When the shutter is pressed, the camera takes a black image.
This is a design fault with the camera where the ‘iris’ of the camera fails to open, sticking in the closed position, due to lubricant that starts to thicken over time. If the camera is not used for some time, this oil causes the iris to stick and the CCD sees the back of iris, being black.
However, there is a way around the problem which costs nothing, though it does not cure the problem permanently.
I hope this tip may prove useful to other S2IS owners, though I should say I take no responsibility for any damage incurred for any advice given in this article – use at your own risk.
1. Turn the settings dial to ‘Tv’ mode.
2. Use the left cursor control button to set the Tv value to 15″.
3. Press the shutter and wait about 7 seconds.
4. Open the battery cover and let the batteries out of the camera, the camera will ‘bleep’.
5. After about 30 seconds, re-insert the batteries back into the camera and close the battery cover. The lens will retract and the camera will power off.
6. Power the camera back on in ‘record’ (ie. take a picture mode) and press the shutter several times, taking some pictures.
7. If the black screen reappears, repeat steps 1-6 until the camera takes pictures repeatedly and reliably.
Note you may have more luck in running the camera in ‘Tv’, ‘M’ or ‘C’ modes (taking multiple images), it seems to take longer to get out of the black screen problem rather than switching immediately back to ‘Auto’ mode.
By taking some pictures, probably every day then less so, this will keep the iris ‘exercised’ and stop the lubricant from gumming up.
One method I use to keep my camera in working order is to use the CHDK script ‘ultra intervalometer’ and let it run for 100+ shots, which will give the camera a good work-out.
Canon and photographic companies can ‘repair’ the camera, though I don’t know what form this takes.
Posted by Wordmobi