Autofocus woes bringing you down? Here are some common autofocus problems, and how to fix them


posted Friday, April 8, 2016 at 6:59 AM EDT


Steve Perry from Backcountry Gallery has released a video on his YouTube channel discussing eight common autofocus problems that a user may experience and their solutions.

The autofocus issues that Steve considers to be most common are: lens calibration, dirty autofocus sensors, use of the wrong autofocus mode, the autofocus viewfinder guide being inaccurate, heat refraction, dirty contacts, poor technique, and a difficult subject or the wrong sensor.

First up, lens calibration. Many DSLRs allow you to fine-tune your lenses for improved autofocus accuracy. You'll have to refer to your camera's manual to see if your camera allows you to do this and if so, how you go about making adjustments for your various lenses. For more information on lens calibration, see this article at Photography Life. It is worth keeping in mind that lens calibration is only to address consistent focusing issues, not the occasional front- or back-focusing problem.

Think you should only be worried about your image sensor getting dirty? Think again! Sometimes your camera's autofocus sensor can get dirty and need to be cleaned too. Dust on your AF sensor can negatively impact your camera's focus performance.

It's not always an issue with your gear that causes autofocusing problems, sometimes it's user error. The nice thing about AF issues caused by user error is that they're easy to fix. For example, if you've selected AF-S when shooting action instead of AF-C, then setting the camera to AF-C will likely solve your focusing woes. This is true of autofocus areas as well, so make sure you've selected the best autofocus area for your subject. Refer to your camera's manual for an explanation on different autofocus area modes.

You know those helpful autofocus point guides that appear in your camera's viewfinder? They're not always accurate. The autofocus point can be smaller or larger than the guide. Check out the video above to see a way that you can check the accuracy of your viewfinder's autofocus guides against your camera's actual autofocus sensors.

Be sure to watch the video above to see Steve discuss heat refraction, dirty contacts, poor technique, and dealing with difficult subjects.

For five tips on how to autofocus better and improve your technique, watch the video below from You can read more about this video tutorial here.

(Seen via Fstoppers and ISO 1200