The only safe thing to try before sending the camera for service is to use canned compressed air to blow out the area between the lens barrel and camera body since even a small amount of sand or grit can cause this problem.
Please be aware that resolving this issue can take multiple attempts. With some units that have had this problem it has taken me up to 6 or 7 hours of manipulation, over a few days, to make the lens move freely.
Make sure that the battery or batteries are new or fullu charged.
Put the camera switch in the Off position.
Place it on the back with the lens facing up and take a look at the spacing between the lens and the lens housing.
If you notice that the gap is not even all the way around the lens, the problem should be easy to fix.
This type of a problem usually occurs if the camera was accidentally turned on while the lens is restricted.
Next, if uneven, apply gentle pressure down the lens on the side where the gap is the biggest.
You should hear a "click" as it pops back into place.
Try powering the camera on.
If the lens doesn't extend at all or it extends, and then retracts again, do the following.
Turn the camera off.
Take the camera in one hand and with the other gently take one part of the lens and gently move it round in a circular movement.
Do so with both sections of the lens. You will hear a "click" as it pops back in place.
Power the camera on. Next, try to pull and twist on the largest ring of the lens while turning the camera on.
Listen for a "click". If at first the focus seems to be off, turn the camera on and off and take lots of pictures, close ups and distance. Focus should slowly start improving.
Lens errors are a common problem. It may be misaligned or an internal component has failed. If there is a clicking sound, that is not a good sign. It is too soon for the battery to fail and cause this to happen due to lack of power. Try canned compressed air around the lens barrel first. In addition, here are a couple of links to some other things to try. With newer cameras I am usually hesitant to suggest these options since they include some more extreme procedures that may cause further damage if not done correctly, but since yours is probably no longer under warranty, they may save you an expensive repair bill.
An older Canon camera is used to demonstrate these procedures but, the lens structure of these compact cameras is the same so the examples do apply to this unit. These procedures are effective about 60% of the time. Click on or copy and paste the links into your browser.
If the "do it yourself" approach doesn't work out for you and you need conventional repair suggestions please let me know.
Please keep in mind that my diagnosis & solutions provided are directly dependent on the accuracy of your description of the problem. As with any "do it yourself" fixes, success is a "team effort", since I can't see or touch the camera, and relies on the customer's manual dexterity and ability to follow the instructions well.If the "do it yourself" approach doesn't work out for you and you need conventional repair suggestions please see below:
Note: Considering the age and present value of the DSC P-200, paying the cost of having it repaired , approximately $90 really depends on how attached to the camera you are and may still be worth it to you. The standard "rule of thumb" is if the repair cost is greater than 50% of the value of the camera, it is not worth it. A good used or refurbished Sony DSC P-200 can be purchased for about $30 - $55.
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