A sense of dread begins to fill you as frightening words and symbols flash before your eyes. Afraid all is lost, you begin to panic… An error message has appeared on your camera screen!

An error message is a sure way to send blood pressure skyrocketing and heart beat racing. Often the messages are cryptic at best, requiring you to look it up while envisioning an expensive repair bill for your camera. But, some of the most common errors I have seen on DSLRs in my photographic endeavors are due to communications issues between the lens and camera body. Fortunately, this is usually something you can diagnose and fix yourself

One of the most common causes of this type of error is a loose screw(s) in the mounts between the camera and lens. Sometimes they come straight from the manufacturer this way, but more often this occurs over time, with the weight of the lens pulling against the camera body, slowly working these screws out. As the screws loosen, the contacts between the camera and lens don’t line up and touch correctly. This results in intermittent errors, typically as you are moving the camera around while shooting. I have seen this occur on nearly every DSLR and lens brand on the market, an issue common to all of them.

Quick Steps to Diagnose and Fix this Error

DISCLAIMER: I am not a camera or lens repair technician, nor do I play one on TV. Anything you do to, with, or around your camera and lens is done at your risk. If rash continues, please discontinue use of this article.

  1. First, power off your camera.
  2. Before removing the lens from the camera, gently check to see if there is any flex or wobble between the lens and the camera body. This is usually a good indicator of loose mount screws.
  3. Take the lens off your camera, and inspect the screws on the lens mount. Check for any that appear raised or loose. Using a small screwdriver, gently check each one to make sure it is tight. Be careful not to overtighten any screws.
  4. It’s possible a screw will work its way loose again due to worn or damaged threads. To prevent this I like to put a little bit of Loc-Tite threadlocker, (either blue or purple, NEVER the red!) on the screw threads before I tighten them. In a pinch, you can use a little bit of nail polish if you don’t have Loc-Tite. Not quite as long-lasting a fix, but still works well. The color is up to you, treat yourself to something nice.
  5. Occasionally, I have seen a screw missing altogether. You can usually find replacements in the speciality hardware section of most home improvement stores. Alternately, ask fellow photographers for spares, most of us are hoarders with loads of old gear we keep “just in case”. We will feel validated in our hoarding when we can provide this screw; then boast of it to our significant other, resulting in much eye-rolling.
  6. After checking the screws on the lens, check the metal lens mount ring, which is held in by the screws. Does the metal mount move or shift at all? Are there signs of wear or damage? If so, this could indicate a bigger issue, usually a broken bracket internally. Sorry, but this will likely require your lens to go to the manufacturer for service.
  7. Next, check the contacts. On Nikons, the contacts are on the camera body, on Canons, they are on the lens. Are they clean and shiny? If not, clean them with a blower first. If they have built up “crud”, I usually use a cotton swab with a very small amount of  alcohol (isopropyl aka rubbing alcohol… not tequila) on it to gently remove the dirt. Be sure to squeeze the cotton swab out so you don’t drip any excess alcohol into other parts of the lens or camera and damage the insides.
  8. Check that contact pins spring back out when you push them in. On Nikons, the pins are on the lens, on Canons, they are on the camera body. Often times if they are tight rather than “springy”, they can be loosened up by just pushing them in and out a few times to remove any grit which may have clogged the hole. If they don’t loosen by pushing them, you can try cleaning them with the alcohol and cotton swab; but again, be sure not to have any excess alcohol on the swab which may drip into the lens or camera and damage the insides.
  9. Finally, check the screws and mount ring on the camera body, just like you did on the lens.
  10. Once you have checked everything, put the lens back on. Fire up your camera and see if you are still getting the errors. If so, it’s probably time to send it in for service. If not, you just saved yourself a bunch of money and weeks without a camera!


Lens/Camera Communication Errors By Brand

It is almost impossible to list every possible error from every possible brand. These are the most common errors I have seen occur due to lens/camera mount issues. But anytime you get an error it’s a good idea to check the mounts, as error messages can be rather broad and nonspecific.


Possible Error Messages


  • Err 01.
  • I have seen other ones pop up, usually Err 20 or Err 30. It will show up on the rear LCD along with a description.


  • F.
  • FEE.
  • Blinking ERR.

(Appears typically in the top LCD)


  • Check the Lens attachment.
  • No Lens Attached.


  • Lens Error.
  • Lens Control Error.
  • Focus Error.
  • Turn Off The Camera and Turn On Again.


  • Lens attachment failed. Please make sure the lens is attached correctly.