Canon 24-105mm f4L lens problem – err 01

This is the first instalment of my broken Canon 24-105mm F4L lens and associated err 01.

<nerd> This has mainly been a travel blog over the past couple of years, but I’m now feeling like complaining about stuff… Especially stuff that warrants a good old whinge, just like this one.

In 2009 I bought a brand new Canon lens, the 24-105mm F4 L professional lens for about $1400. $1400 for a lens… I can’t even believe it myself. Anyway, the reason to buy these professional L lenses is that they are quality items. Great picture quality and great build quality. Except mine just broke through no fault of my own.

I’ve done some diagnosis myself on the issue and the following are the symptoms:

– Err 01 code
– Code appears above 24mm
– Code appears above f4
– Makes a weird hunting sound as the diaphragm moves around
– Occasionally lens gets stuck when stopped down and won’t open again

There’s a number of ways to test the problem, but the best one is to do this. Set the camera to M mode, 24mm, f4. Half press the shutter and hold. While holding the shutter, hold down the depth of field button. It should stop down normally and you can look down the barrel of the lens and see it doing its thing. Next, move the aperture to f22 or whatever you feel like and try stopping down again. What should happen is that the lens chucks a fit and the problem is diagnosed. Your lens is broken. A sickening feeling. (drop a comment to tell me how sick you feel)

The most likely cause is a broken ribbon cable inside the lens. The problem is that this ribbon cable is soldered to the aperture controller or diaphragm and that means that when the lens is repaired, the repairer has to replace the ribbon cable and control unit! Madness! But that’s nothing compared to what comes next. That unit and cable is housed in a plastic molded assembly… which contains a lens element. And when you start playing with lens elements, they need to be realigned so the lens becomes sharp again. But that’s too hard to do so they have to replace the lens element as well. So a good portion of the lens is actually replaced because of a stupid crappy cable that is faulty.

This problem is common with the 24-105mm. Canon do not acknowledge that there is a problem, but if you search enough on the internet, there are hundreds of cases and mine is just another one.

I’m living in Indonesia at the moment and need the camera for work, my honeymoon in June and July and a wedding in July. It’s important. I’ll see if I can get the lens repaired locally and report back on price and success of repair!

</nerd>

14 thoughts on “Canon 24-105mm f4L lens problem – err 01

  1. yeh.
    I am well familiar with this Err.
    Haven’t sent it in.

    wondering if I’m better off buying a new lens.
    wondering what it ended up costing you and did the repair hold?

    thanks!

    Kathleen

    1. @Kathleen – cool. I hope it works out for you. I just felt like I was being robbed when it all happened like that. Sort of makes you think twice about buying expensive lenses.

  2. Sorry to read it, but worse to experince it…mine just started to send the err 01; making the weird sounds when tried to focus…so please impress me with average cost of a repair!

    1. Maybe more than $200. Maybe $300. Whatever it is it will be expensive. And you will hate Canon because of it 🙂

  3. During a shoot today my camera, a 5D with the 24-105l, started acting weird, thought it was the shutter sticking on my old faithful camera. Fortunately I was not shooting an event but rather a product and was able to get a rental body and return to the site only to find out that it was the lens causing the error. Tried cleaning the contacts, which I do clean regularly, to no avail. I’ve never encountered this with l series lenses before. Shame on Canon for not addressing or acknowledging this issue on this otherwise outstanding lens.

  4. Having a similar issue with a prime. Just bought a $2k 24 tse lens. Works great at 3.5 (the max) but set to any other value and take a photo and instant err 01. DOF preview does nothing, like the whole aperture system doesn’t exist. Its the weekend but BH has issued an RMA number already.

  5. My long awaited holiday to the north of Australia was ruined by Canon 5D mirror falling off. Now my bloody lens, the 24 – 105 has an err 01. The price i was quoted for repair is too high to consider. I don’t expect canon to repair this lens free of charge, but given that this is most likely a design fault, Canon should do the decent thing and charge a modest amount for the repair.

  6. I had an error like this when I was shooting a wedding last Friday. Thank God I had my 24-70 with me as a backup.

    I think I will send it in for a repair. The lens costs $1,149 and I think a $300 repair is justified.

    I bought this lens in July, 2006.

  7. i experienced this twice already… it is really costly… the dreaded ERR01.. first prob the IS assembly got some chip problem/damaged and the cause of humming sound whenever the lens tries to focus to a subject… and now the new problem is with the flex cable… i cannot go to another aperture aside from F/4 although i can use the lens all aperture setting to F4 only. i already bought the flex cable but i am still thinking of doing it myself or sending it back to the technician…

  8. I have the same issue with mine, have had it for a while now. There is a work around though, if you use the camera in live view mode this issue goes away.
    Mine only exhibits this issue at focal lengths more than 24mm, works fine at 24mm. All other focal lengths work when using live view mode.

    Thanks
    sandy

  9. I just took my 24-105 in a couple of days ago and got an estimate of $280. Hopefully Canon has improved the design of the cable.

  10. I’ve had my 24-105 for around 5 years – it wasn’t an easy purchase to make with it being such an expensive lens, although shots with it are bloody awesome.
    Currently abroad travelling in Greece and started getting Error 01 & 99 – message says turn off camera and remove battery… some success with this but very inconsistent.
    Just left it with a Canon service shop who quoted my €180 to repair it – he knew the fault symptoms immediately.
    Very unhappy to be faced with a bill for 20% of the cost of the lens.
    Unlike @Ramy I think that’s a ripoff considering its a design fault, not a wear and tear issue.

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