When taking photos, a message comes up on the rear screen: “Error. Press shutter release button again.” This error started appearing a few months ago, but it was not often enough to warrant alarm. It seemed to go away simply by ejecting the battery, removing, and reattaching the lens. However, there was a local sporting event in September where I volunteered to be one of the principal photographers and that was the day I decided to buy a new camera. The error appeared several times during critical moments of the day, temporarily halting my shooting and causing me to miss potentially dozens of great shots. Perhaps this is why all serious photographers carry a separate body for cases like this.
No amount of swapping fresh batteries, different lenses, or sensor cleaning would solve the issue. While half-pressing the shutter and releasing it seemed to trigger the issue more frequently, it was not always the case, so even to this day I am not sure it even causes the issue. Researching the issue on the internet came across dozens of posts with people complaining about the same issue, so it wasn’t just me.
Also among the sea of posts were some potential fixes, all involving opening up the camera. If I break the camera or introduce dust or debris on the sensor, I’ll just scrap the camera. In its current condition, I don’t want to use it. Since I essentially feel I have nothing to lose, I figure I should give it a shot.
There are 9 small screws holding the bottom cover on the camera.
Pulling them all off reveals this red internal shutter gear. As according to other sites, cleaning the gear is the first step. It turns out there was some dirt in between the teeth, but worst of all, a few teeth were a bit mangled. I did the best I could with a hobby knife to cut away at the misshapen material and bring them back to usable condition. I suppose after a decade of use, some wear was bound to occur.
Once that was finished, some sites recommended a tiny shim inserted to the side of the gear to reduce side-to-side play. This rather large 1mm movement might’ve caused additional wear. So I used a piece of clear plastic from some packaging to work as the shim.
A dabble of all-purpose gear grease, revolving the gear to coat all the surfaces should be enough to help glide it along.
Buttoning (or should I say, screwing) it back up, I was glad that everything still works just fine. I took the camera out for a short test run to verify operating condition and I could not get the camera to reproduce the shutter error again.
All in all, my camera seems ready to continue on shooting. Even after 10 years of service, a vastly outdated pixel count, and lacking many modern features, the photos that come out of this camera to this day still impress. With a basic set of three lenses, I can still take plenty of great pictures. If it died today, I would never regret the purchase of this camera, having picked it up used with tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of shots taken by this body. From now, though, it will be relegated for use as my C camera, behind my Sony A6300 and A6000.