2013-02-16

How to fix the popup flash on your camera (Canon DSLR)



Here is the problem:

You are trying to take a photo with your Canon DSLR camera. The lighting is a bit dark, so the flash should pop up, but instead of the flash popping up, you just hear a clicking sound until your camera gives your an error (Err 05 The built-in flash could not be raised. Turn the camera off and on again).

Solution:

Your flash is stuck and needs to be cleaned. Use WD-40 (Warning: don't do something stupid. This blog is not to be held accountable for other people's negligence, haste, stupidity, or lack of research).
(Note: There have been some comments about using a can of compressed air. This is a great idea and is basically the same concept of cleaning out the dust in the flash mechanisms. If you have compressed air, I would probably use that before WD-40. Both work fine though.)

OK. Let me provide some more details and specifics. Please read this if you feel your camera has the same problem.

I have the Canon EOS D500. The pictures and problem shown in this blog post are specific to that camera but the solution is quite general and could probably be used for just about any camera that has a problem with the built in flash popping up (obviously though, this is only one solution  there many be many problems or solutions for your specific camera).

For quite some time I have had a problem with my camera. Every time the flash should have popped up, it would make a clicking sound and give me the error: "Err 05 The built-in flash could not be raised. Turn the camera off and on again." To fix this, I would just manually pull the flash up as it was trying to come up. After a recent trip to Thailand, this problem caused me to lose a few timely pictures and I came home being fully prepared to take my camera apart to fix this problem. Luckily, this is an easy fix and requires nothing to be taken apart.

If you are having this problem, the first thing you will need to do is open your flash.


To open your flash, you will need to turn your camera on. Leave the lens cap on (or get in a dark room) so that when you take a picture, the flash will trigger to go up. Put the camera into Automatic mode and pry your fingernail under the flash (see the photo above). Right now the flash is locked, so you will not be able to raise the flash; with your fingernail under the flash however, we can now press the shutter and since it is dark, the flash should unlock.


If your camera is like mine, the flash will not move freely; the spring is not pushing it up all the way.



With the flash open, you will need to take a look at a few things (see photo above). The trigger button is what lets the camera know if your flash is open or not. You should be able to manually push this in.

The flash spring is what opens the flash and keeps it open. You should only be able to see a part of the spring. If you don't see anything here, chances are your spring is broken and you will need to send your camera to Canon to be fixed.


The flash hook is what releases the flash.

To make sure the trigger button and flash hook are working correctly, manually press the trigger button down and with the lens cap on, press the shutter. As long as you are pressing the trigger button down, the flash hook should move up and back (three to four times before your camera gives you an error).

If these two things are working then you can verify it is a problem with the spring.

The solution for me was very simple. I added some WD-40. Turns out there was something in the flash mechanism slowing things down and WD-40 cleaned it out. (Note: WD-40 is used to displace water and does not conduct electricity. WD-40 in theory should not destroy any electronics (and in many instances is used to fix electronics) but you should still exercise great caution when using it. I recommend using the least amount possible. Please don't hold me responsible for this ruining your camera... just use some common sense.)

Spray the WD-40 as shown.

Do the same thing on the other side.

Once you have sprayed the WD-40, manually move the flash back and forth (without actually closing it). After you do this a few times, you should notice that your flash now springs back into place. Hooray! This means it worked. Go ahead and clean up any excess WD-40 that is on your camera.

You should now have a working built in flash!

If this did not fix your flash, then there likely is another problem (hotshoe trigger constantly pressed in so that the flash does not go up, or perhaps a broken spring). If you cannot figure out what the problem is, I suggest you send it to Canon to be fixed (or at least contact Canon directly).

91 comments:

  1. I would NOT recommend spraying WD40 anywhere on your camera.

    If you feel the need for WD40, spray some in a container, and then use a toothpick to transfer one drop to where you want it.

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  2. Not sure Anon specific reasoning for NOT recommending WD-40. Perhaps the reasoning is to not spray anywhere besides the joints shown above. To this I would agree. I recommend using the little red straw that the WD-40 comes with so you can put it in the precise location.

    While I don't think WD-40 is likely to do any damage to the body of the camera, like any liquid, if it were to get into the lens, it could cause problems. As stated many times in the tutorial, just be careful and smart. My camera is still working great and there have been absolutely NO problems from using WD-40.

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  3. Thank you so much!! I was having the same problem with my Rebel XS. My flash would only pop up if I "helped" it, and even after, it would pop up and make more clicking sounds. After leaving it off for a day or two, I would have to do the same thing again. I followed your advice and voila, it worked perfectly. Now the flash pops up every time and it doesn't make the extra clicking sounds. Thank you!!!

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  4. You are very welcome! Glad it worked for you.

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    1. Worked for me also, brilliant little tutorial and the pictures were SOOOO helpful, thank you for taking the time to put it all together.

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    2. Happy to hear that. Thanks for the comment.

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  5. Thanks a lot for the help! It worked for me as well. I have EOS 600, followed your instruction and had it fixed in just a few minutes. Great! :)

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    Replies
    1. really great coz i have the problem same as your camera eos600

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  6. tnx for d tutorial (Y) it's really works... i cn use my canon kiss x4
    properly

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  7. Thank you so much - it worked! This saved me the $290 I was quoted from the camera shop to fix it - thank you, again!

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    Replies
    1. Yay! That is good to hear. Glad it worked for you and it helped you save money. If I knew who you were, I would make you bake me cookies! ;)

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  8. For All Photography Lovers!
    Enter in the Draw and get a 5D mark III !
    http://bit.ly/17cfRxE
    Do it fast before the Deadline Hits

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  9. Very disappointed with Canon. Thank you for your suggestion, but when i forced the flash open it broke the latching feature ... this is a tiny plastic piece resulting in that I can no longer close the flash. I have owned Canons for the last 40 years and this will be my last. I can't imagine the cost of replacing this little piece, but have been through enough frustration with this that I am no longer a Canon fan.

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  10. A simple and easy solution -- thanks so much for documenting! The Internet never ceases to amaze me...

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  11. Thanks dude. I didnt spray wd40 just worked the flash hood up and down a few times once it opened and blew the dust out. Working properly again now.

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  12. Thanks a lot.
    saved me some repair money and more headaches
    works good. A little counter-intuitive to spray some WD40 on a camera but it worked great (used the red straw)
    thx

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  13. Thank You ,

    Just mended my Canon Eos 500 following your instructions. I put some WD 40 on an small art paintbrush and dabbed the two areas.

    Delighted that my camera is working properly again.

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    Replies
    1. Nice method! I think that is smarter than what I did.

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  14. Thankyou for posting this solution. It worked perfectly on my Rebel XSi (450 D). Saved the cost of going to get it repaired.

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  15. Thank you soo much for this tutorial, I have 2 back to back international trips and canon told me they'll take 15 days to fix it. Turns out I had sand stuck between the flash flap of my rebel T4i from my last vacation. I cleaned it and now it's working smoothly.

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  16. I found that the solution is actually a lot easier:
    I have had the same problem on a Cannon 7D.
    Oil didn't cure it nor did repeatedly opening and closing the flash assembly.
    If you add a little oil to the base of the hinges. Then With thumb and forefinger gently rock the base of the flash forwards and backwards. it dislodges from the hinge assemble inside with a little click.
    Repeat this a few times for both sides. It clears all the dirt from the pivots And after three goes like this about ten clicks each side. Closing and trying the flash opening operation and repeating the forwards backwards push on the hing bases the flash begins to open as normal .

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    Replies
    1. Great tip! Thanks for the comment Richard.

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  17. Awesome post i had a great experience of this Dslr Camera its very easy to operate it and very helpful for my daily life

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  18. This worked beautifully for me, McKay - many thanks! You've saved me on a big bill. The built-in flash on my Canon 550 is now working as normal. I'm so pleased!

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  19. Instead of prying it open, try tapping on the side of the flash that has the hooks while it is trying to open, This is what I did and it opened for me. It may take a few tries as it errors out after a few clicks, but you may save breaking other delicate components. I am using a 50D. Glad to know I should be able to fix it though.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your great tip it worked for me

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  20. Great job and illustrations! You solved my problem!! Thanks so much!!

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  21. Awesome! thank you worked...

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  22. Thank you very much for the detailed solution. It has really worked for me. Thank you very much once again .Sabu

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  23. Fantastic tip, my pop up has been stuck for ages on my 600d applied the wd40 with a cotton bud. Cheers

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  24. McKay Christensen you are just great. I sprayed dust cleaner spray and now it is working smoothly and perfect.....thanks a lot for detailed information.

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  25. Try just using canned air to blow out the dust first. I did that, and it works great now, without having to use WD40. Thanks McKay Christensen for this post. You saved me time and money. I owe you one.

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  26. Thanks so much! My flash hasn't opened in months and I couldn't figure it out. Just followed your instructions and it opened on the first try! So happy I can start taking good pics again (they weren't turning out so good without the flash!)

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  27. Awesome! Per the comments, I used canned air instead of WD-40 in all the little crevices and then worked the flash up and down a few times, and my T4i is now back in working order. Thank you SO much!

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  28. I've definitely had some moments of frustration with my camera flash. This really helps a lot, thank you.

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  29. Thanks for the post. I have been trying to find a place that could camera flash in Beaverton, OR but wasn't having luck. I will definitely be trying your tips. Thanks so much.

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  30. I fixed the same problem on my 20D and 7D. Thanks a lot!

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  31. My camera fell from my hands and now I have a similar problem. I tried doing what you told. I first opened it manually by turning it to auto flash mode.I clicked pictures and the flash worked. But then to check whether the trigger button and the flash hook are working I pressed the trigger button manually and then released the shutter(like you mentioned) but neither did the flash hook move up and back nor did the camera give an error! And the flash didn't work this time(At first it did). I don't understand the problem. What would you suggest?

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    Replies
    1. Yikes. I wonder if in the process of dropping it, you broke some of the inside mechanisms. Hard to say for sure. Unfortunately, this might be something you would have to send back to a professional.

      Delete
  32. My Canon Rebel T4i had the same problem. I used the compressed air on it and it worked but only for a few times before switching back to not opening. So I tried the WD-40 (carefully and sparingly) and that seems to have done the job. Thanks for posting this solution.

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    Replies
    1. Great comment! Thanks for posting this! It is good to see the difference of the two methods.

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  33. Recently experienced this with my 550D. I didn't have a can of compressed air to hand so used an air blower at the hinges which seems to have worked.

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    Replies
    1. An air blower?! That is a new one! Glad it worked! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  34. Yay! Your solution worked for me too (Canon T2i). I used WD40 and applied with a cotton bud to minimize the possibility of spray going somewhere I didn't want it. Worked first time.

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    Replies
    1. Yay indeed! Thanks for posting what camera you have. Seems like this is a somewhat problem with Canon DSLRs.

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  35. Thanks! I had the same problem with my 7D and it worked like a charm...

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  36. I used canned air and it worked great! Thanks.

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  37. Great way to fix popup flash problem. Thanks for sharing this valuable information. I am also using DSLR Camera and this seems to be the perfect solution for photography.

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  38. Awesoooome! You just made me feel like a genious! I used canned air first and then put some DW40, with a qtip, in the spots you showed and the flash pops right up now! Thank you Thank you!

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  39. Just "mended" my Canon EOS 550D with the problem but didn't need the WD40 - just brushing it out carefully did the trick. Many thanks for the tutorial.

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  40. thank you it works

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  41. You are awesome, I followed your clear instruction, fix my camera's ERR#5 problem, save me over $200! :)

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  42. I followed your instructions and I was able to get it working within a few minutes! You are awesome, thanks for putting this together.

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  43. Worked perfectly after the WD40 treatment. If you still have problems after trying this solution also take a look at the microswitch for the flash and make sure it isn't stuck. Good walkthrough.

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  44. I had thought there was something broke in my camera, after reading through i decide just to blow in the joints of my flash guess just a little bit of dust got in there. works fine now, ill remember this for next time. thank god nothing was broken

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  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  46. what is WD-40
    where i can get this spray ?

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    Replies
    1. in any good autoparts shop or wallmart has it too.

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  47. i own a eos 350 d had the same problem used a toothpick to put the oil on and used my compressor to blow out the dust and eureka it was fixed many thanxxxx from heerlen netherlands IT WORKS AGAIN!!!!!

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    1. Thanks for the message! Glad it worked for you.

      Delete
  48. I have a 450D and I had this same problem. I was freaking out, I thought I wouldn't e able to use my camera Gain, so this blog really helped, thank you! I managed to fix my camera and am a bit hesitant to spray anything on it to be honest

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    Replies
    1. You are very welcome. Glad it is working for you now.

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  49. This worked for me. I found a blob of sambooka inside the flash housing and a load of pilbra red dust.... thanks for the clear tut.

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  50. Amazing. I saved over 250$ not using Canon lab.
    Clear instruction
    Tnx

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  51. It really pisses me off when people recommend using WD-40 as a lubricant. Although it does have lubricating properties, it is NOT a lubricant. It is a penetrating oil and water displacement substance, which is used to protect against rust, degrease and clean, as well as to help free up seized mechanical objects.
    The substance dissolves fairly quickly, leaving a protective coating, but NOT a lubricant, and in the long term can actually cause more damage than it can solve.

    If you want to lubricate something, use lubricating oil, such as sewing machine oil, which is great because it's used to lubricate high speed moving parts, at high temperatures, but is intended for small moving parts, such as hinges and motors(in this case, the hinge and spring for the flash release)

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    1. Hi Kronflux; this post seems to have upset you. Sorry about that. I am not sure if you are referring to the actual post, or people's comments, but the only mention of WD-40 being used as a lubricant is from you. I did mention that WD-40 can be used for water displacement (which you also mentioned in your comment).

      Your idea to use machine oil is another way this might work (though I have not tried this, and would not really want oil hanging around in my camera). At any rate, I did this over two years ago, and my flash (and camera) are still working great without a single problem or me having to use WD-40 again.

      As many other people commented on this post (and I have updated this post to include), using compressed air can also successfully be used. Air is ALSO not a lubricant. I hope I have not made it seem like it is.

      Delete
  52. I used WD40 to clean/lubricate as directed in the tutorial but this didn't work time so I also put some on the flash hook catch at the front and this worked straight away. Maybe something to have a go at before giving up and sending in for a costly repair.

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  53. My camera isn't really broken, but I don't know how to turn the flash off. I have thought about just holding the flash down while I take pictures, but I don't think that is any good for my camera. I've looked in settings, but no matter what I do the flash is always still on. Any one have a similar problem?
    Tom Stubbs | http://www.cameratechs.com

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    1. Look at your mode dial, the last selection is to turn off the flash while still in full auto mode.If you don't wan't auto then you must use manual mode and set exposure there .

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  54. Thank sooo much I used the paint brush method also.

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  55. Thanks bro for this tutorial! :D

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  56. Using the W 40 for my 450D there came some dirt from the spring flash and now the flash is popping up again.
    Thanks!

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  57. Thank, really easy! Works great!

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  58. Hi everyone, I did this tutorial just then and it worked for me! So happy! Thanks a lot~

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  59. OMG You saved my night .. IT worked !!! Thank You so much !!!!!

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  60. Thanks -- you saved me a ton of hardship!

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  61. Thanks for this, it worked perfectly!

    One note for people concerned about spraying WD40 -- try what I did (since I had it to-hand), the No Mess Pen version. Was easy to apply very close to the joints with minimal overflow!

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  62. Wow, thanks for sharing this- it is exactly what I need! I was worried that I would have to send my camera in to be repaired for this error, but if I can fix this, then I won't need to. I am going to go to the hardware store right away and get some compressed air! http://www.cameratechs.com

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  63. I used some GOOD electronic spray cleaner from a bolt/etc supply store (radio shack stuff sucks) and that did the trick. I took the bat and media out first and sprayed it good all over the hinges, let it dry for about 10 minutes and hey presto, works perfect.

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    Replies
    1. Actually cleaned my whole camera and lens barrel with it... yours looks pretty grimy ;-)

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  64. Thanks to you I fixed the camera by applying puffs of air from my mouth at the spring area. I would have never known without your article.

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