Canon lenses - err 99

The other day I was trying to use my old Canon 30D with a 24-70mm 2.8 L USM EF lens which I’ve had for over 10 years, perhaps 15. Relatively light use.

Anyhow I noticed within a few minutes of putting it on the 30D that when zooming it was very stiff for the first 20-30% of the zoom as the barrel moved out. Naturally I wiggled it back and forth and it just felt like something was sticking, once beyond that sticking point it zooms smoothly.

Before too long the 30D started throwing up the dreaded err 99.

It managed images intermittently, the 30D seems ok with a few other lenses.

Strongly suspect it’s the lens itself - anyone experienced anything like it - could it just be some grit or something has got in between the barrels? Could it be the USM that’s failed?

Not tried it on my 5D mk II yet as I can’t find the battery charger, just got a new one from Amazon.

Canon servicing is closed currently - suspect it’s repairable - just wondering if anyone has experience with this kind of failure?

Contacts on camera and lens clean? Suspect you may be right about USM, although i have 4 or 5 Canon lenses, some 10 yrs+ and never had this problem?

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Arrrgh trying to remember the answer to this! Had it myself years ago, turned out to be something trivial…


Taking battery out of camera and replacing
Clean the contacts on body and lens
A puff blower throughout

Until I remember my ‘fix’!

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I’ll give the contacts a clean as you suggest, though given the sticking zoom I think it’s probably a lens fault - just hoping it’s fixable as it’s a cracking lens, wonder if I may be able to use it with MF not AF.

A few years ago we were having fun in the garden, I’d taken photos, and then were playing swingball or something - anyhow it poured down and we rushed in.

I completely forgot I’d left the 5D II on a table, possibly with this lens. I discovered the camera many days later and my heart sank.

The 24-70mm should be well-sealed, the 5D II not so much I suspect. This was some years ago.

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Thanks Jamie

I wonder if it’s something as simple as some grit having got stuck between the barrels, but this might have been a lens I left out for many days in the wet accidentally.

Like you say proper weather sealed L lens but it could be the reason. Wish i had one! ‘Make do’ with the 15-85 on an 80D will go FF one day :grinning:

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Isn’t the 5D weather sealed?

I got into digital photography quite early on, the 10D was my first DSLR.

We used to have a ‘mega’ 2 floor Currys in the city centre.

They closed it maybe 15 years or more ago.

I snapped up a couple of bargain L lenses at half price or less.

Sadly my much loved EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS got stolen along with my 10D, a Canon G2, 100m EF macro, 2.0x extender, numerous accessories and hard drives/audio player. The insurance company was an utter nightmare to deal with despite me having all original receipts/boxes etc.

I’ve used the DSLR’s less in recent years for reason of practicality on holiday but largely because iPhones have provided reasonable ‘snaps’ and more than adequate amateur video in a small form factor when trekking to beaches etc with the kids.

Don;t know why but we’re taking far fewer family photos than we used to, especially of the kids - when I look back at 5DII/30D photos the quality really shines through.

I’m trying to resurrect the 30D to allow the kids to use it with a bog standard EF 50mm 1.8 - it still takes great photos, and should allow them to understand a bit more about non-auto (why didn’t I just say manual!) settings.

Have you got another body to try the lens on? That’ll narrow down the the fault to the lens. I had the same err code on my 24-70 2.8 mk2. Can’t remember what the fault was but it cost me £190 to have it repaired. It does see a lot of use though.

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Partially I think (would have to check) but not to the same extent as the high end models. The LCD display on the top of the 5DII was misted up when I found it, and there had definitely been water ingress beyond some of the rubber seals for accesories.

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Yes, just charging up a battery for the 5D II.

I can’t find the Canon charger and just got a 3rd party one from Amazon (ravpower with 2 LP-E6 equivalents for around £25).

I got a different 3rd [party charger last year and it killed off one my original Canon LP-E6 batteries, unless it was in a deep discharge state and unrecoverable.

New battery has just finished charging, will give it a whirl now.


Just put the 24-70 on the 5D II

First and third exposure fine, second exposure gave ‘Err 01 - communication error between the camera and the lens, clean the contacts’ or similar.

Never needed to clean them before, what’s best, isopropyl alcohol???

Cleaning the contacts sometimes helps but you can also try making sure the screws on the rear mount are nice and tight.

I now remember the fault with mine was something to do with the data ribbon that moves with the focus or zoom barrel failed.

Yours might have the same fault so worth getting it checked over by a pro repairer if cleaning the contacts and tightening the screws has no effect. Worth checking the screws on the camera body lens mount too.

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No its not

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I had this with a 24-105L canon. Its usually the flat cable that runs from the aperture mech at the front to the contacts at the rear of the lens. I got mine replaced, about 180 i recall including strip, clean and calibration from

They were great to deal with and i have no affiliation at alll with them or staff.

BTW you can see the type of flat cable in the website image

Good luck


Thanks Martinzero - these guide prices are handy.

I’ve used them before - there was some calibration issue with my 10D and I drove it up to them. Later I needed something sorting on my father’s S1.

Good to hear prices are not unreasonable (I’d assume the optics are most expensive), and fixes available.

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I think that’s why I was so amazed that it withstood a drenching!

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My tip: take off the strap, take off the rubber eye cup, take off the body cap, open battery compartment and take out the battery, carefully lay the camera on its back in a plastic bag containing plenty of uncooked rice. Seal the bag. Leave it, overnight minimum. Replace rice as necessary.

Risotto for the next few nights.

I’ve not had err-99 for a while but I thought it was the to do with the connections in the battery compartment. Others are saying otherwise.

Hope it works out for you because that L lens must be a cracker.

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Thanks Christopher_M

The ‘drenching’ was a long time ago, maybe 4-5 years, I think we went away on holiday for a week or more, and travelled without the 5D II for once.

When we got home and I wandered into the garden a day or two later when it was dry yuo can probably imagine my reaction seeing the camera on a table :flushed: :frowning_face: :frowning_face:

I think I put the body on a tea towel atop a radiator on low heat for several days, the misting cleared quickly though there was some white salty residue on certain accessory contacts. The rice is a good tip, I’ve heard it a few times since for various electronic devices.

I rang Canon who suggested I send it in for a fairly expensive service, but as it worked I held off.

Oh, and yes it’s a cracking lens - there are some real belters in Canon’s line up and that was one at the time. Probably surpassed by now but at greater cost.

You know why those lenses are called L lenses?

Because they’re an 'ell of a price.

(I’ll get me coat).