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Canon 20D Firmware update solution to fix error99

Isaac Madera , Nov 16, 2006; 12:32 a.m.

Question, my Canon 20D is giving me an Error 99 message. I've researched a number of problems and solutions on Richards Notes. I've done all of the things that were suggested which were, clean the gold connection points on the body and lens that connect, as well as battery, lift the mirror and make sure the shutters are in the right postition, stop using the lexar cf cards (because of a recal) took the grip off (because of past problems)took the batter out for a while to reset the camera.. there might be a few more that i am forgetting about... and nothing! I've done everthing but update the firmware which is still at 1.1.0 the latest version is 2.0.3 is it safe to update straight to the newest version? a close friend who shoots with nikon said to research it well before attempting to do this because with nikon you need to update one version at a time.. not jump to the latest.

This is of course my last resort before having to send it in which I am willing to do anything to avoid. I do not have a warranty on the camera and cannot afford a major overhaul.

Something els that I would like to add is my specific problem which seems to be rare, regardless of which cf card I use, or which lense I use (the one it came with or my L-series 16-35) weather or not I shoot with or without the grip, I still have this specific problem which is, My camera will work just fine if it is held virtical. Both shutter buttons will work fine, but when my camrea is held horizontal, nither shutter button will work. I get the error 99 when I attempt a horizontal shot from either shutter button.

If anyone can offer any advice it would be greatfully appreciated! Even if you could at least tell me how much is costs to have it sent in.

I look forward to any replies to this letter and also any links that will point me in the right direction.

Thank you. Isaac


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Beau Hooker , Nov 16, 2006; 03:06 a.m.

Hi Isaac, When I first bought my 20D I had to upgrade the firmware. It would not work at all with my Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS lens until I did. I can't recall what firmware it was but it was a 1.x version.

That *may* fix the orientation problem too. However there is a sensor in many Canon cameras - including the 20D - that "knows" when the camera is in landscape or portrait mode. It's possible that there is a problem with the camera related to this I suppose but I'd still upgrade the firmware first.

I recently had to have one of my Canon camera's serviced - a first for me - anyway, the Canon factory repair in NJ was very thorough and the turn-around time was a little over a week. My camera was a 1Ds II and the flash mount on the top had come loose and it would not fire the flash. It was out of warranty. I think the repair bill was $180. So even if the worse happens, I doubt you'd be out a huge amount of money and it sounds like the camera's all but useless to you the way it is. So again, I'd try the firmware update - it's not hard and doesn't take long - and if that doesn't do it, contact Canon. They'll email you a repair estimate before doing any work. Good luck!

Jeff Owen , Nov 16, 2006; 04:42 a.m.

Sorry to hear about all your Error 99 problems, sounds like an internal hardware fault. I am sure that you can upgrade you firmware to the latest version with no problem. Give it a go you can do no harm and it may fix the problems, although I would be surprised.

Keep us posted with any developments.

Lester Wareham , Nov 16, 2006; 06:21 a.m.

First off do the upgrade, you can't expect the camera to be bug free without installing the bug fixes.

Lots of people had problems with the battery grip - if you are using one remove it. There was a recall on the early ones - check Canon's web site.

Small problems can happen also if you run the battery low, even if its on quater charge and looks like it has some life in it switch to a fresh one.

Do yout have another lens to try or can you borrow one - does the problem still exist?

If all this fails probably best to send it in for survice.

Mark U , Nov 16, 2006; 04:28 p.m.

Be sure to follow the instructions for upgrading the firmware very precisely. There have been cases of camera lockup through failing to do so, requiring Canon to fix them.

Justin A , Nov 16, 2006; 07:54 p.m.

What lenses are you using? I got an err99 every time I tried to use my brother's Tokina lens on my 20D. He now gets the same error on his 10D. I updraded my camera's firmware the day I got it and have never had the problem with my other 2 canon lenses.

Isaac Madera , Nov 16, 2006; 09:13 p.m.

I am using a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM

I've had the grip for as long as i've had the camera and that lens for at least 5 months now and have never had a single problem. The website that I mentioned earlier seems to be pretty helpfull when it comes to quick fix'its


there is the link to the discussion. Please check it out and see if you find it interesting.

I just updated the firmware from 1.1.0 to 2.0.3 but before I even give it a shot, I am going to do what someone had metioned which is to carfully clean the lens and battery contact points with rubbing alcohol vs. a pencil eraser.

I'll give a report on what happens.

Mike Ferris - Omaha, NE , Nov 16, 2006; 09:33 p.m.

Follow the advice...upgrade your firmware, regardless.


Lester Wareham , Nov 17, 2006; 05:28 a.m.

"I've had the grip for as long as i've had the camera..."

That is probably the problem - there have been known contact problems with the grip given Err 99, although Canon had a recall on them.

Do check for stability without the grip and in parrallel check Canon's web to see if your grip is on recall.

Terence Chong , Nov 19, 2006; 07:49 a.m.

Seems to me the 'error 99' message in my recently purchased 20D went away after I exchanged the Canon 50/1.8 II lens with another lens. Apparently, the problem seems to be with the faulty blades in the lens.

Try to distinguish 'lens' or 'body' problem by clicking the shutter with lens attached and with no lens attached. If the message appears with no presence of a lens, it is likely the problem is not with the body.

That was how I diagnosed it and all went well after that.

As for the firmware, perhaps Canon should do something to detail out the problem as 'error 99' is quite generic.

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