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Why is my DSLR camera not focusing

Recently, my DSLR camera had a problem: it wouldn’t focus. In this article, I’ll explain why and what to do. If you’re encountering the same issue, keep reading!

Troubleshooting Steps

Problems with your DSLR camera’s focusing? Let’s try to fix it!

Check the autofocus settings. Ensure the lens is clean and not damaged. Still having trouble? Try a few more steps.

Get your DSLR camera back to focusing properly!

Check the Autofocus Settings

Troubleshooting starts with checking the AF settings of your camera. Most cameras have different AF settings.

Each mode (single shot, continuous, automatic selection) works differently, so it’s important to know how to use each one.

Like, if you want everyone in focus in a picture of a group, use the multipoint or automatic selection AF mode.

Check that your lens is on auto-focus and not manual. For this, select the AF/MF switch near the lens mount on DSLR cameras.

Many lenses have an autofocus motor switch and an auto/manual focusing ring. Ensure these are set correctly before troubleshooting.

Finally, make sure to enable focus points in your menu settings. This will help you get a focused image in continuous or automatic selection modes.

Clean the Camera Sensor

If your DSLR camera lens isn’t focusing, it could be because the camera sensor is dirty. Dust and dirt may be preventing light from reflecting off objects.

To troubleshoot, clean the sensor. Use a lower-pressure air blower. If dirt still remains, use a swab and cleaning fluid.

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Cleaning a camera is more sensitive and costly than a phone’s display or lens. If the problem persists, there could be misalignment or damage in either the lens or body, needing repair by an expert.

Check the Lens Aperture

Check the lens aperture of your DSLR camera if it’s not focusing. It’s a thin diaphragm inside the lens that lets light through. Make sure it’s wide open to work properly. An optical fault can make shots blurry if the aperture is too small.

Too much dust or haze on the lens can cause poor focus too. Clean both sides of any dirt or haze-covered lenses with a soft brush or compressed air.

Also, adjust the auto-focus settings on your camera if you’re using them. This can also lead to auto-focus issues.

Check the Autofocus Motor

When my DSLR camera is not focusing, I check the autofocus motor. This is a microprocessor that controls the movement of the lens. To troubleshoot this, I do the following:

  1. Check if the AF motor cables are connected. If not, reconnect them.
  2. Inspect and clean the cables involved in auto-focus operations.
  3. Make sure the batteries in my DSLR are charged and working.
  4. Set the camera to single servo autofocus mode (AF-S). Then press the shutter button halfway to activate autofocus.
  5. Check the lens housing for any cracks, dents or damage. Replace any parts which are damaged beyond repair. Refer to an authorized technician for repairs if needed. Be sure to observe manufacturer instructions when maintaining any cameras.

Check the Camera Firmware

To troubleshoot your DSLR camera, first check if you have the latest version of firmware installed. If not, update it.

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To check, go to ‘Settings’ then ‘Firmware’. See if there’s a newer version. If yes, get it from the manufacturer’s website and move it to your memory card.

Then, update the camera with those files.

After updating, try your camera again. Hopefully, this will solve the focus issue.


I had a problem with my DSLR camera not focusing. After investigating, I worked out the Autofocus was off. I double-checked the settings and switched it on. Then, my camera focused correctly.

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