I got a Canon Powershot A430 at a thrift store and it worked fine for a few months. But after messing around with the colour highlight/switch settings, my pictures started coming out black embossed looking. I've been messing around with it for a few months now and it seems to be evolving. Every setting besides automatic has this effect, and the quality in automatic is really poor. I have tried doing a factory reset multiple times and it does not appear to change anything.

None of these photos are manipulated:

broken camera1

broken camera2

broken camera3

broken camera4

in automatic

  • \$\begingroup\$ Details from last picture: Canon PowerShot A430 F-stop: f/2.8 Exposure Time: 1/2 sec. Exposure Bias: -0.3 step Focal Length: 5mm Max Aperture: 2.96875 Metering Mode: Pattern \$\endgroup\$
    – jordan
    Feb 17, 2014 at 8:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ It looks like your camera has become self-aware and is exercising freedom of expression with your images. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Feb 17, 2014 at 11:34
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ what's wrong? it is pretty cool! \$\endgroup\$ Feb 17, 2014 at 11:34
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ This probably beyond repair, but given the rather unique images, I have to admit that I'd probably keep this camera anyways and experiment with it just for the output. These are oddly compelling images. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joanne C
    Feb 17, 2014 at 14:45
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Well, aside from the problem, this would make one hell of a great camera for Halloween! :P These are some creepy photos! \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Feb 17, 2014 at 21:06

2 Answers 2


It most definitely is a image sensor/CCD/CMOS issue. These tend to fail over time due to heat, which could explain why it worked the first couple of months.

It also isn't exposing properly (due to faulty CCD) hence the swirls and exposure of half a second.

There was a time where they recalled their image sensors/CCDs but it was a while ago. It might be costly to repair now.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I read about the recall a few months ago when I was trying to figure out what was happening, this camera wasn't covered by it. Canon also wont do repairs on it anyways due to it's age. I was hoping that it was just a glitch in the software. But if it's mechanical, for sure not worth repairing considering I got it for $5.00 at a thrift store. Really the only reason why I'd be interested in fixing it is it's shape, it's incredibly comfortable and easy to pack around, great for placement for macro shots. Not something I'm experiencing with my new camera. Thank you! \$\endgroup\$
    – jordan
    Feb 17, 2014 at 22:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could I have damaged the camera like this myself? I wasn't living in a particularly hot environment, but I did use it a lot and for extended periods of time. \$\endgroup\$
    – jordan
    Feb 17, 2014 at 22:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Electronic components expel heat by themselves. Although, hotter conditions can increase fault rates. Without looking at the camera, I can't say if you did it yourself but I would say it's simply component failure. It's not mechanical. There are plenty of new compacts out there. \$\endgroup\$
    – BBking
    Feb 18, 2014 at 2:26

Your first photos look pretty dramatic, but I think that's actually mostly a side effect of something other than the problem — you are doing it on purpose. I don't mean maliciously, but those are clearly examples where the weird artifacts are combined with a long shutter speed in order to make an interesting abstract effect. The "skeleton" image may be a combination of some in-camera filter too (you say you were messing with a color highlight mode).

But mostly, they're just kind of underexposed, with a long shutter speed so everything is blurred or lights are wiggly lines. The exposure problem could be due to sensor damage or it could just be the settings you chose.

The much more boring final photo (utensils in a dish drainer) show that something is really wrong — either a problem with the sensor itself, or maybe the connection to the sensor over which data is read. So, it's broken, but it also looks like you're having fun with it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi. I am most definitely having fun with it now after trying to use it in different ways. I couldn't afford a new camera when it first broke, so I played around with it desperately trying to make use of it some how. The pictures I chose to post are the few neat ones out of many that look more like the second photo. I haven't used any filters (that I'm aware of. I don't think the camera has the option besides switch/highlight). Photos turn out like the last one when there is bright lighting, and like the others in low lighting. Not taken maliciously at all, thank you for responding! \$\endgroup\$
    – jordan
    Feb 17, 2014 at 22:07

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