Camera Shutter Error

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Today’s Question: I am having a problem with my Canon 50D. Occasionally I have been receiving a “Err 30” which takes a power off/power on to clear. Today I was practicing panning techniques, and it occurred very frequently after 3 or 4 shots. I figure it is at least one of 3 possibilities: a camera/shutter problem, a battery (Watson B-1504) that cannot handle the power requirements, or a slow 8GB CF (SanDisk) rated at 60MB/s. Do you have any suggestions on how to diagnose and fix this problem? I will say that the burst mode indicator of 10 seems rather slow to me, and perhaps it is time to upgrade my camera.

Tim’s Quick Answer: Error 30 on a Canon DSLR indicates a malfunction with the shutter. If this error does not occur very often, removing the battery and replacing it will generally get you back to photography. If the error occurs somewhat frequently I would suggest getting the shutter mechanism replaced, or consider replacing your camera.

More Detail: The “Error 30” message indicates a problem with the shutter mechanism in the camera, but that doesn’t always mean the shutter is failing completely. There are other issues, such as dust or other debris in the camera that can lead to temporary problems with the shutter.

If the problem only occurs once, or very rarely, I would try gently blowing out the camera with a blower such as the Giottos Rocket Blaster (https://timgrey.me/rocket). You could also send the camera in for a professional cleaning and evaluation. However, if the error shows up somewhat frequently, it is an indication that the shutter mechanism is likely failing. In that case I would recommend sending the camera to the manufacturer for repair, or replacing the camera.

The last time I needed to have a shutter mechanism replaced in a DSLR the cost was around $250. That is obviously not terribly expensive compared to replacing the camera altogether, but naturally you might consider using this situation as an opportunity to upgrade to a new or more advanced camera.