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I recently dropped my wife's Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5.

There appears to be no damage to it whatsoever...except there seems to be an issue with its SD memory card reader that prevents it from writing to or reading from the card.

How can I determine what the underlying problem is in order to see if I can fix it?

Diagnostics:

  • It doesn't "take" pictures -- as if the shutter release button isn't working.
  • When I switch to play mode (green arrow) to view pictures/movies, it thinks for 5-10 seconds and then displays: "MEMORY CARD ERROR \ PLEASE CHECK THE CARD". The same thing happens when I use other memory cards that should be working.
  • I am able to access a half-dozen photos she took and stored in the camera's built-in memory if the memory card slot is empty.
  • Did you try it in a computer? Test read & write, reformat & test read/write again. if it will do all tests, then the card is not the issue. If it can't then bin it. [re: 'answers in comments' - Will move this to answer space, depending on response] – Tetsujin May 6 '17 at 17:18
  • @Tetsujin: I have not. At least one of the two cards I swapped with the camera after the incident had been tested in the camera prior to the incident to make sure it was blank (it was fine before the incident). Do you think it's still worth trying? – jvriesem May 6 '17 at 17:27
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    Always worth a shot. If a bad write is detected by the card, many of them will put the firmware in write-protect mode, so data is still readable, but no further writes are accepted. If that has happened & you copied the data from the card, then it's trash, bin it. The status is irreversible. [& smash it if there may be any sensitive data on it] – Tetsujin May 6 '17 at 17:37
  • Have you tried to shoot both with and without SD card in? – Crowley May 6 '17 at 18:00
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    Have you tried to connect the camera to PC and read the images? – Crowley May 6 '17 at 18:16
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Let's see what could go wrong, including the card itself.

As Tetsujin commented, try the card or cards in your PC. Try to read, write, format, read, write. If everything is allright, the card is not an issue at all.

If you can read from the built-in flash memory it is most likely that the memory circuits were untouched.

Try to connect the camera to PC via USB cable and download the pictures. If it fails, the camera is ready for a dump because some critical part of the board is gone and repairing might be more costly than new camera. When you free the built-in memory try to take some pictures. If the camera takes the picture and the result is simillar to the pre-accident pictures, I have a good news for you, the camera is not totally dead.

If you are unable to connect to SD card, the fault might me in the SD slot and/or in the built-in SD card reader. If you can live without it, nothing serous has happened.

On the other hand, I would not use this camera as my prime for holidays.

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I reckon it's taken enough of a knock that the either the connection from the camera to the card socket has been damaged, or the pins that connect the socket to the card. Neither is easy to repair, even once you get inside the camera. And you can't really tell the difference from outside the camera because the symptoms are the same.

I'd attempt a repair on a camera that wasn't worth much, but on a new camera I'd investigate professional repair. If the socket itself is broken you'll probably have to find a replacement part, but the connections to it might be fixable if you're handy with a fine soldering iron.

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