Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The grinding noise on the Canon IXUS 60 AKA SD600

Note: Much obsessive camera stuff follows. Desist here if you really don't care! However, if you've just purchased a Canon Ixus and you're wondering what that loud noise is, read on...

Update (30/11/2006): I went to Myer in Perth and had a look at their Canon Ixus 60 and 65, and yep, they made the same noises, although the 65 was ever so slightly quieter on the zoom. So I called up the lovely Leigh, and said thank you for being so nice, and that I would keep the camera. That's that!

Early this morning I called up Digital Camera Warehouse and spoke to Leigh, who was lovely, very sympathetic (the "Oh dear" in her voice when I told her the problem was a genuine one), willing to exchange the camera for another (if there was indeed something wrong with it), and full of good advice. She said that before we go through the rigmarole of exchanging the camera, I should go to another camera shop, with my battery (because a lot of the floor models don't have batteries in them) and try out an Ixus 60 there to see if they make the same noise.

When I had a spare minute I looked on Google using the search terms "IXUS 60", "SD600", and "grinding noise", and hey! Guess what I found! At least 5 other people, one of them with the snazzy new IXUS 900 which is like, AUD$800, who all have the same thing happening to them.

The guy who bought the IXUS 900, wrote on "On the first few powerups, it sounded like the lens gears were grinding and jumping teeth or something: The usual "whir" sound was very loud, with strange clicking sounds. I almost returned the camera; but it appears to work fine."

Someone who just bought an IXUS 430, said on the forum: "...the autofocus seems to take a good bit longer, and is accompanied by a loud-ish grinding noise, when the shot being taken is zoomed in, ie. at telephoto."

On, this guy wrote: "One of the problem is it has some noise when I open, close the machine, also during focus. My friend told me it is normal, but this noise do not happen on my other cameras. Generally, good camera. I will give it to my sister as a present." (Haha! Faulty camera for you, sis! Me go get new shiny one!)

And finally, it appeared in a thread on the forum, where three different users piped up that all their IXUS 60's made the grinding noise on startup, zooming and cycling through the shooting modes.

webazoid: "does your camera make a high-pitched harsh/grating sound whenever u turn it on, zoom in/out, half press down the shutter button, or change the shooting mode from macro-->regular-->infinity? mine's making loud noises. wondering if i should return?"

mountainfrog: "Go to Circuit City and test a floor model to see if it makes the same noise. I have a SD600 and it does make a weird grinding noise when the lens opens/shuts. I went to 2 Circuit Citys and both floor models made the same noise. It may be a hassle to do this but I would check it as Canon is known for lens/barrell issues. Search for Canon E18 error. I dont think this error is as prevelant in the SD600 since it is a newer model but I would be cautious if the camera made an unusual grinding noise brand new.

****BTW, I tested mine again and it does make that grinding noise whenever the lens tries to focus. It is quick but it does make a grinding noise."

vladtepes (I question how much value-for-money a vampire is going to get out of this digicam - an9ie): "Mine makes the same noise, certainly not pleasant but at least it is not unique but if anyone has official confirmation that it is or is not an issue let us know."

userno1 says: "Yea, you guys might be overthinking this because of the situation of your receipt of the camera - it's a very tiny camera with a larger zoom system than most its size, it will make a little extra noise. You shouldn't worry about it."

SO - I will not worry about it much for now. If I'm going past a camera shop in Perth in the next few days, I might pop into one and ask to road-test their Canon IXUS 60. "Oh, you don't have any batteries so you can't show me how it works? Hey! Look what I just found in my pocket!"

However, if it's a standard Canon thing, there's probably nothing more I can do about it. I think I should test what's more important for now, and see how the pictures look in their full size.