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Is Your Canon Camera Saying Its Busy? Here’s Why

Is Your Canon Camera Saying Its Busy? Here’s Why

As a photographer, one of the last things you want to see is an error code preventing you from going about your job. Canon cameras have different error codes, which signify various issues. One such code you may have come across is that the camera is busy. But what does this code mean?

The busy code on your Canon camera can show up because the camera is taking care of too many conflicting processes at one time. However, the actual reasons you get this error can range from memory issues to flash recycling, continuous shooting, or if the camera is still connected to the PC or Mac device.

Typically, a Canon Camera will display a busy code for a few reasons. Some of these are:

  1. Too many conflicting processes occurring at the same time.
  2. The Canon Camera has an issue accessing or saving to the memory.
  3. The Camera is still connected to the PC or Mac device

To figure out how to solve this issue, you will need to go through this article. Because this error usually points to different errors, you will need to troubleshoot to find the real culprit. So, keep reading to learn more about this error, why it comes up, and how to fix it.

Types of Busy Errors on Your Canon Camera

What is a busy error message? If you have a Canon EOS camera, you may come across one or more of the following busy error messages:

  • bu59 error
  • bu54 error
  • buSY error
  • busy error

This error can indicate that the camera is going through conflicting processes. In order to address this issue, you can view the following options of the causes. When you understand what is going wrong, you can then take steps to enjoy an error-free camera experience. 

Causes of Busy Error On Canon Camera

So, now that we understand what a busy error is, it’s time to get into what can cause this error. For that, you will need to look at the subheadings below and rule out each issue under the subheadings.

How Does Flash Recycling Work?

One of the first culprits to look at is flash recycling. When you use flash with multiple pictures in a row, the flash can stop working, causing the busy error on your Canon camera. But what is flash recycling?

Flash recycle time is a period needed for the flash to charge up in between taking photos. Flashes have to recycle time because an immense amount of power is required in order to create bursts of light – and it takes time for the batteries to be recharged after that happens. Flashes will store their energy in a capacitor, but when it is triggered, the capacitor is completely emptied. It takes time for the capacitor to charge up again so that the flash can get ready for the next shot. 

In some cases, you will have noticed that a quick succession of photos with flash can result in a few black images in between. These are the photos taken before the recycling period is over. Until the capacitor has all the charge it needs, the flash cannot fire up the light again, no matter how many times you trigger it or try to take more photos. 

So, if you want to not see a busy error on your camera when using flash, make sure the recycle time is complete. You can also try switching off the flash and attempting the shot again. If the flash is the problem from the very beginning, then taking care of this will eliminate your issue

Related: How to Find the Shutter Count on Canon 6D

How Does Continuous Shooting Work?

Alternatively, the issue you are looking at may be a result of excessively using the continuous shooting mode. This mode is a feature through which you can take multiple pictures. All of the images are taken in a burst, all within a short period and as quickly as possible. 

Each camera’s speed is determined by how many frames it can capture within a second, and that range can extend for as long as you press down the button or the camera’s memory fills up. Continuous shooting is usually used in sports or high-speed photography, such as the kind for wildlife, because you are likely to catch images with good results within the burst. 

If you fill up our camera memory during a continuous shooting burst, it is possible that you may get a busy error from the camera. This error is an indication that there is not enough memory space for the rest of your photography. The fix for this is simple. You need to remove your memory card, back it up, and empty it out so the camera can function again. 

Disconnect Camera From PC, Mac, And Printer

It is possible that you are seeing a busy error on your camera because the camera is still connected to some other device. These devices can include your laptop, PC, Mac, or even a printer. Here’s how to disconnect your camera from a Windows PC:

  1. On your computer, click on the Start button on the taskbar.
  2. Navigate to ‘Computer’ so you can see all linked devices.
  3. Right-click on your Canon computer and then select ‘Eject.’

This process will safely remove the camera without harming the memory or data within the camera. To remove the camera from the printer, you need to remove one of the devices from the wireless network connecting them. 

Photo: Kenny Eliason

Next, the process is far more straightforward to remove the device from a Mac device. You can look at the light on the side of your camera. It usually blinks red when the memory card is being used on the Mac. If the device is not flashing, you can simply remove it from the computer and proceed as usual.

Switch Off Viewfinder

One quick way to fix this issue is to switch off the viewfinder’s LCD screen. This gives the screen time to recalibrate or manage processes efficiently so it can start working again. 


At this point, you know how to manage your Canon camera when you come across an error message. However, you can also keep one piece of advice in mind. If you get a busy error on your camera, never switch the camera off. This places you at risk of damaging the camera or losing data.