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canon optura 20 stuck in low light setting

by trashjr / January 14, 2006 8:59 AM PST

My Canon Optura 20 has been experiencing a problem. Every time I power the camera up, it is stuck in the low light setting. Regardless if I try and change the setting manually, it remains in that same setting. Every once in a while( about every 20-30 times) it will power up in the normal automatic setting and allow you to adjust it. Does anyone have any insight as to what is going on?

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Optura 20 Stuck in Low Light Setting
by ginzburga / January 27, 2006 12:02 AM PST

My camera does this too. For a while, I found that if I have the lens covered when I start it up, then uncover it, it goes back to working normally. After a while, however, even this trick stopped working. I plan to call Canon and find out what's going on.

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I have the same problem
by kky1230 / February 5, 2006 5:40 PM PST

Maybe this is the camera problem Canon should recall.

Let's work together.

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Optura 20 Stuck in Low Light Setting
by ginzburga / February 6, 2006 1:15 AM PST

I don't know how common this problem is but it might be worth a call to Canon. I suspect they will plead ignorance, saying the problem is rare and that they will not cover it outside of warranty.

I tried sending my camera to Video One Repair for an estimate. They want $250 to fix it, about $100 more than Canon wants, so that's out. Now I'm trying to decide if I want to fix it or junk it and am leaning towards junking it. It looks like I can get a good replacement camera for $300 to $400.

Overall, Canon has a pretty good reliability record (although this is the second one of mine that failed after about 2 years). Consumer reports ranks Canon 3rd in camcorder reliability after Sony and Panasonic. I have been looking at Sony and Panasonic as a possible replacement, but may try Canon again... some people never learn.

I would suggest we all e-mail Canon customer service, pointing out that we know of at least 3 other cases with this same problem and see what happens.

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Here is what I'm communicating now with Canon.
by kky1230 / February 7, 2006 1:04 AM PST


When I had this problem, I thought I might have broken something.
But, after I searched web, I was surprised that I could find many other people having same problem.
Here are some links you may need to take a look.

This problem happens with no mis-handling. (I cared the camcorder very carefully.) And if this happens only on Optura 20, there must be something. (I didn't see any report of this problem in other models.) As some people mentioned, $170 ~ $250 for this fix is too much.
We paid $1000~$800 for this camcorder couple of years ago, and you can buy miniDV Camcorder less than $300 these days.

I look forward reasonable solution than just contact service center and pay $170.
I think it is reasonable for Canon to fix this problem with no charge regardless of warrenty.
We didn't break this camcorder, it's a defect of your product.
And many of us missed important moments because of this defect.

Good news is, there was a case reported by Nick Brilleaux, his camcorder was fixed by your service center.
Please work with your people and give us better solution.


KY Kim

-----Original Message-----
From: Canon Support []
Sent: Monday, February 06, 2006 5:57 AM
To: KY Kim
Subject: Re: Response from Canon - WSSS Web Escalation (KMM5492708V34195L0KM)

Dear Kyung Kim:

Thank you for your inquiry. We value you as a Canon customer and appreciate the opportunity to assist you. We are sorry to learn of any issues you are experiencing with the image on the Optura 20.

Unfortunately, if the issue continues the unit will require testing internally.

There are two Canon Factories that service this unit.

Factory information is:

Canon Factory Service Center
100 Jamesburg Road
Jamesburg, NJ. 08831
Telephone Number: (732) 521-7007


Canon Factory Service Center
15955 Alton Parkway
Irvine, CA. 92618
Telephone Number: (949) 753-4200

If the product is still within the warranty period, a copy of a valid Proof-of-Purchase (Sales Receipt) will be required for warranty repairs.
Check your product warranty card for specific information.
We suggest that the camcorder be forwarded, properly packaged and insured with a letter describing the difficulties (including your name, address and telephone number). Your equipment will be examined and you will be advised of the findings.

We hope this information is helpful to you. Please feel free to contact us again if you have any other questions or concerns.

Thank you for choosing Canon.


Technical Support Representative

Special Note: Certain issues are very difficult to resolve via email.
If your question remains unanswered after you have received this email, you may call our special toll-free number for email customers with unresolved issues and speak to a technician by dialing 1-866-261-9362, Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 midnight ET, and Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. ET (excluding holidays).

If you prefer to continue to communicate via email, reply to this message and we will respond as quickly as possible.

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Possible Solution
by ginzburga / February 9, 2006 6:23 AM PST

I may have found a solution to this problem and would appreciate it if others with the problem could try it.

If I hold down the manual exposure button (EXP) while powering up the camcorder it seems to come up correctly every time. I'm wondering if the problem isn't somehow software related (possibly with some hardware problem, like dirt on a sensor, that triggers it) because the EXP button becomes inoperative when the camcorder powers up in this state. Holding down the button on powerup could possible affect the power up sequence and get around the problem.

Let me know if this works for you.


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False Alarm
by ginzburga / February 10, 2006 2:06 AM PST
In reply to: Possible Solution

Well, yesterday powering up with the EXP button depressed worked every time. Today it doesn't work.

Oh well, that's the difficulty with an intermittent problem. It's hard to tell when it's fixed.

Sorry if I raised any false hopes.

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Same problem
by kanthumama / May 24, 2007 7:26 PM PDT
In reply to: False Alarm

I do have Optura 20 with the same problem. However, I get it on track when I run the tape (in play back mode) for around 6 minutes. I know this is pain, but it works for me. I am waiting for Canon to recall Optura 20. Any one has a better & quick solution?

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Optura 20
by miriamschuman / March 23, 2009 4:34 AM PDT

Dear Cannon,

It seems that it's time for you to step up to the plate and do something about this camera. It seems highly likely at this point that there was a design flaw in some aspect of the camera causing this repeated problem for numerous customers who bought your camera--with the good reputation that comes along with a Cannon.

Please let us all know how we can get our cameras repaired and/or replaced without cost. Alternatively, we can all visit the numerous rating sites for Cannon equipment to share our experiences with your products.


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optura 10 and 20 problem stuck in low light setting
by gasbri / June 21, 2007 2:41 PM PDT

i repair canon camcorders and the problem is with the mainboard,, i tested it,i changed a known good mainboard and put it on a otura 10 with this problem and after that it never had the problem again , the conclusion is the mainbord sometimes work, somtimes not,,i don't know if it his hardware problem or software problem,,when canon repair it maybe they just update the software on it or they change the mainboard ,, i think for this problem , canon has to do a service recall

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Optura 20 problem
by rushrx / June 24, 2007 4:43 AM PDT

I also have the same problem with my Optura 20. I have only used it a half dozen times over the last few years and now I am getting this white, washed out screen and the Exposure button does not work. Canon needs to do something about it. I have called them and they told me I have to pay for the repair. Not good. Please let me know if anyone else gets Canon to do anything about this.

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I'm not alone...
by foosballer13 / August 5, 2007 1:42 AM PDT

I am so happy to find this thread but really upset that the problem is not a setting issue. I tried everyones remedies but nothing works. Based on what I'm reading....we are all screwed. I guess I need to shop for a new camcorder. I like Canon but this leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I will be sure to check back to see if anyone has figured out a miracle cure.

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Check this
by kanthumama / September 29, 2007 5:33 PM PDT
In reply to: I'm not alone...

I do have same problem. Turn to play back mode and run the tape for 6 to 8 minutes and then turn to Camera mode. let me know if it works. It does for me.

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Same problem on my Optura20
by Qingsu Hu / October 8, 2007 2:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Check this

It's definitely design issue. Canon should recall this!

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Kanthumama - thanks for the suggestion. Tried and
by foosballer13 / October 19, 2007 5:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Check this

it didn't work.

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Stuck in Low light!
by vasant_v_r / October 16, 2007 10:22 AM PDT
In reply to: I'm not alone...

My optura 20 pulled the same trick on me.
None of the workarounds worked for me.
Did anybody successfully repair this? For how much?

I paid over $500 of my hard earned $$ and now is out of warranty.

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I have the exact problem!!!
by sd-sd / November 14, 2007 7:44 AM PST

I bought my canon optura 20 4 years ago at more than $900 and got the exact problem more than one year ago. I found that if turn it to play back mode and run the tape for a few minutes and then run the tape back, or just view the photos for a few minutes, and then turn to camera mode and it turns back to normal. But it is a pain to do this each time, especially when you want to shot something quickly but you have to repeat this stupid thing. And it always turns off automatically, even thought you want to keep it on to avoid this trouble.

I just found this forum today and sadly found that not only mine has this problem. This is definitely a product defect and Canon should recall this product. By the way, did anyone get any new feed back from Canon, or has repaired it? Thanks.

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canon optura 20
by shnoorani / December 31, 2007 8:41 AM PST

i too have the same problem. it essentially means that either shutter is stuck at a slower speed, or there is something wrong with auto exposure meter. like many other, i too have bought this camera to make video of our child and to record how he grows. we shoot for no more than 5-10 minutes once in 2-3 months, so it has not seen much use at all and yet it has this funny or rather sad problem. i doubt it is certainly a manufacturing defect and i am sure canon must know about it from hundreds of cameras they already repaired, but i seriously doubt it is they will have an official recall.

i did tried playing the camera on play mode and watch something on the monitor for 5-6 minutes. when i went back on shooting mode, it is now working fine. i am sure it is a temporary fix and it will act up again, but at least it is working right now.

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Anybody got positive response from Canon?
by kr08 / December 27, 2010 9:40 AM PST

I know this is an old thread, but I am interested to know if anybody got a positive response from Canon. My optura 20 started showing the same symptoms and I am wondering if I should ditch it or try Canon.

Thank you

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Canon Optura Low Loght Mode
by bikeyron / April 5, 2011 7:52 AM PDT

Did anyone ever find out how to fix this or what causes the camera to get stuck in low light mode. I have 2 Canon Optura 20 identical cameras that have the same problem.

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Canon Optura over exposure
by Canonouser / May 17, 2011 1:44 AM PDT

I have the same camcorder with the same problem. I tried the vcr mode for several min then back to cam did work. I know this thread is old, any word on the problem being corrected. I hate to resort to "exposing" this to the general public, but I will. I host a television program and I will be requesting video tape testimonials from all of those that want to participate and tell your story about the lack of help you got from Canon. Please post here if you are interested. I will air this on my show.

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I'm part of the Optura 20 club
by tubaloth / June 5, 2011 12:23 PM PDT

We don't use our Camera that much, bought it way back in 2003. Some Family Friends wanted to borrow our camera for a while. I said sure.

They kept saying the screen was to white. I didn't get what they ment. I got the camera back and saw that exposer problem, played around with it, and it went away.

I just recently went on a trip, Truned the camera on to record and it was all white. I thought maybe I had done something wrong. I played around with it. Same thing kept happening. The only thing I would do is take the battery off and then back on. This seems to only work 50% of the time. Meaning if I do it 10 times I might get it to work on the 5th try.

I am now trying to hook up my camera to my Windows 7 machine through USB. Windows 7 doesn't even recognize there is anything connected to the computer.

I installed some old drivers, then I tried to install the drivers in Compatiblity mode (windows xp). Still doesn't seem to work?

Anybody getting this camera to work with Windows 7?

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Optura 20 White Screen
by Miley99n / April 17, 2013 12:53 AM PDT

I too have a canon optura 20 that I purchased in 2002 via mail from America. I use it a few times a year, but in summer 2012, it got stuck in low light mode. When you put in in demo mode, the light doesn't come on for the Super Night settings. Changing the shutter speed doesn't work.. Pressing the EXP button at power on doesn't work. I find that if I put it in play mode for a couple of minutes, and quickly change to record, it works maybe half the time, but if you let it auto shut down, its all white again when you start it up. Canon have been absolutely useless when it comes to support, its out of warranty etc.

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