My working-fine 2-year-old Lumix DCM-LC33 suddenly refuses to work on any setting except Playback. When I turn it on, with any camera setting, , the lens whirrs and comes out as normal, but then retracts, and the screen displays "SYSTEM ERROR."

The unhelpful manual says only that this message occurs "because of pressure to the lens." Their solution is to turn off and re-start. Have tried this many times w/o success, incl. w/ new batteries, taking memory card out, etc. Seems to me like a sensor is malfunctioning. Possibly a tiny piece of dust, who knows.

Obviously it is a lens-related problem because in Playback, the camera boots up and functions.

Can this be fixed? Can a camera store do it? Has anyone attempted cleaning/repairs on their own Lumix? Hate to have to send in, pay $100+ or more.

Please e-mail jeffjunk@mindspring.com with any suggestions or experience.