How to Fix Error 99 on a Canon Camera: Most Effective Fixes

Owning a Canon camera does not necessarily mean that you will encounter the infamous Error 99 code at some point.

This general error code can be frustrating since it doesn’t specify the exact problem.

Through trial and error, you’ll discover several effective troubleshooting techniques to fix Error 99 on a Canon camera for good.

In this article, we will discuss the most common fixes.

What Causes Error 99 on Canon Cameras?

Error 99 on a Canon Camera

From my experience, Error 99 usually stems from one of these common issues:

  • Shutter problems – Debris, damage, or misalignment can prevent the shutter from closing properly. This communication breakdown triggers Error 99.
  • Lens issues – If the aperture is stuck or lens contacts are dirty, your Canon can’t “talk” to the lens, resulting in Error 99.
  • Power problems – Sometimes a simple reboot or battery replacement is needed to get your camera cooperating again.
  • Corrupt memory card – A damaged SD card confuses the camera and inhibits functions. Reformatting or replacing the card typically solves this.

While annoying, Error 99 isn’t a death sentence for your Canon. With some strategic troubleshooting and TLC, you can often resolve the problem at home. Here are the step-by-step methods that have worked for me.

Test With Different Lenses

Since Error 99 indicates a communication issue, switching lenses helps isolate the problem.

  • Try your camera’s lens on another Canon body. If Error 99 appears, the lens needs repair.
  • Try another lens on your camera. If the error persists, you know it’s a camera body problem.

I’ve fixed several Error 99 codes just by cleaning lens contacts or sending damaged lenses in for repair. Always test your gear before assuming your camera body is beyond hope.

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Clean Electrical Contacts

Dirty electrical contacts on your camera body or lens can inhibit communication and cause Error 99.

To clean them safely:

  • Use a pencil eraser to gently rub the gold contacts on the camera and lens. Don’t use excessive force.
  • Avoid getting eraser residue in the camera. Use short, gentle strokes.
  • Never wipe the contacts with a wet cloth, and don’t touch them with your fingers. This can cause corrosion.

This simple fix has resolved Error 99 for me multiple times over the years. It’s worth trying before more complicated troubleshooting.

Reset Your Camera

Restarting your Canon can clear any software glitches triggering Error 99. Here’s how to reset it properly:

  • Turn the camera off and remove the battery for 20-30 seconds.
  • Insert the battery and turn the camera on. Check if Error 99 still appears.

Don’t skip this step – a basic reboot solves many issues! I was recently shooting a wedding when Error 99 reared its ugly head. A quick reset got my camera working again.

Replace Backup Battery

Did you know Canon cameras have a secondary battery that retains settings and the clock? If this CR2032 battery dies, it can cause Error 99.

To replace it:

  • Remove the main battery and memory card.
  • Locate the battery tray door, unscrew it, and slide it out.
  • Remove the old backup battery and insert a new 3V CR2032 battery with the positive side facing out.
  • Replace the battery tray, memory card, and main battery.
  • Turn on the camera and test it.

Replacing this battery when it dies has helped me eliminate some stubborn Error 99 codes. Take it from me – don’t skip this step!

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Test With a Fresh Memory Card

While not as common, a corrupted memory card can sometimes cause Error 99. To test if your card is the culprit:

  • Try your camera with a different memory card. See if the error persists.
  • Reformat your current card in the camera menu (don’t just delete images).
  • If the camera can’t format the card, it’s likely defective and needs replacing.

I once damaged a card during a shoot and kept getting Error 99 codes until I tried a new card. Replacing it solved the problem instantly.

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When All Else Fails, Seek Professional Repair

If you try all of these troubleshooting tips and Error 99 still plagues your Canon, it may need professional service.

Contact a Canon-authorized repair center to discuss your options. Be prepared to describe all the steps you’ve tried. The technician can then better pinpoint the problem area and suggest next steps, whether it’s:

  • Sending just the lens or camera body for repair
  • Potential shutter replacement if debris is trapped
  • Camera overhaul if internal damage is causing the error

While sending my camera away for weeks is a last resort, the Canon technicians have the specialized tools and expertise to fix complex issues. The repair costs are usually very reasonable too.

Don’t Despair – You’ve Got This!

Any Canon shooter knows how disheartening Error 99 can be, especially when you’re trying to capture important moments.

But there are always solutions, whether DIY troubleshooting or professional repair.

Now you’ve got a complete toolkit to banish Error 99 for good. So take a deep breath, grab your gear, and start methodically testing each fix. With a bit of determination, you can get your Canon functioning flawlessly once again.

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