The Casio Z750, a temperamental but enduring foot soldier
Do it yourself repair for broken LCD on Casio Z750
In the last few weeks, my Casio Z750 has degraded into the dreaded 'lens error' deathbed throes once again, only this time it looks more like the final chapter: the symptoms are more serious! The lens now refuses to retract fully when I turn off the power to the camera, and when I turn it on again, the power refuses to even come on sometimes. As the lens housing does not fully retract into the camera, the shutter protecting the lens does not fully close either, leaving the lens exposed.
I have had a good run of one and a half year with this camera since the last do-it-yourself repair to replace the cracked LCD display, so it has served its purpose. However, it does have a couple of features that even my new replacement camera does not have, one is the ability to take passport size photos (so there is no need to use those dreadful washed-out photos from the PhotoMe booths in the stations), and secondly, it is still the camera with the lowest lag time I have ever seen. The lag time is the time it takes between you pressing the button until the time the camera decides to honour that request. You'd think this is not an important factor, but believe me, I have played with around five different brands of compact cameras, and it does matter, specially if you are photographing kids jumping around in low light, in no flash mode.
So after having sat on my shelf for the last month or so gathering dust, I decided to give it another crack to see what the problem is. Now as I mentioned above, the camera can for all intents and purposes be described as 'not fit for purpose', as it does not even switch on, and the lens housing is permanently half way protruded from the camera. Turning it on and off no longer moves the lens back and forth, so recovery prospects look very bleak indeed.
Ah well, nothing to lose, I decided to go for the same trick again and opened it up like before (after having removed the battery), freed the LCD from the camera and left it dangling from the body of the camera, hanging by the wires soldered to the body as shown here. Then I carefully inserted the battery back into the camera and switched it on, making sure the parts do not touch (shorting the electronics is certainly not desirable at this stage), and hey bingo! Even in this twisted autopsy position, the lens fully moved forward into its engaged position and the LCD sprang back to life, showing the viewfinder image. Turning it off again brought the lens housing back into the camera as expected. I tried it a few more times to make sure it was not a fluke, but managed to reproduce the desired result every single time. I even managed to take a picture in this setup. So in short, I had a fully functional camera, albeit with all its guts hanging out. This proves that the lens failed to retract back into the camera because of something to do with the LCD being in the way, not because there was anything wrong with the individual parts or the electronics.
I was inspired! So in order to get a functional camera again, all I had to do was to figure out a way to relieve the pressure on the lens housing when the lens was being retracted into the camera. Unfortunately I did not have a lot of leeway in terms of the casing itself because the back of the camera is fully held in place by the screws as shown here. So my only option left are the screws holding the LCD as shown here. These screws cause the LCD to be held rigidly against the body of the camera, and certainly prevents it from flexing when the lens is retracted against it. Well, here goes nothing, I decided to leave those two screws out completely in the process of re-assembling the camera. I put everything back together, minus two screws, and held my breath while switching on the camera-minus-two-screws up for the first time. Success! it sprang into life, smooth as a jar of Vaseline. The lens is fully protruded, the LCD is switched on with all the settings, and the viewfinder springs into life. Let's take a picture with this baby! Woa, no problem, there is no problem snapping the clutter on my desk, or the grains of my imitation laminate floor. My Casio Z750 is fully brought back to life! (minus two screws).
For those of you who have watched the Topgear program where Jeremy Clarkson famously tried to destroy the Toyota Hilux by doing everything imaginable to it, even leaving it out to the high tide of the Bristol Channel, only to find it springs back up to life after each attempt on its life, you will know how I feel about my Casio Z750. It has come back to life again after my second attempt of open heart surgery. OK, it might be a bit lighter now with two missing screws (ha, I love the irony here), it is at least back in the land of living and will hopefully serve me and my passport photos for another few years. At this rate it is going to outlive and has more lives than Moggy the pussycat.
One disclaimer here, I did this to my own camera and am very happy I have my camera functional again. But I do not for one minute suggest that anyone reading this should try it on their camera, specially if it is still under warranty (Casio warranty is another matter, however, but that is another story). If you try this at home, please do not blame me if it goes wrong. I had some mileage with a soldering iron in my heyday, so this kind of thing is not as scary to me as it is for others.
Do it yourself repair for broken LCD on Casio Z750