Digital Camera Repair: Troubleshoot Camera Lens that Won't Focus

Every once and awhile photographers need to stop shooting because they need to address a technical issue that has come up. One of those issues can sometimes be a camera lens that won't focus. Before cursing it as broken, try to troubleshoot the problem. A lot of the time it's something simple.

Auto Focus Is Not Working

Is your camera having trouble picking out what it's supposed to focus on? Does it keep going back and forth between two objects? Instead of outright blaming the autofocus for being shoddy, look at the conditions you're shooting in first. Is it dark? Auto focus works by determining what is most prominent in the frame by analyzing how it contrasts with everything else. If the lighting conditions are too dark, then the camera will have trouble determining contrast.

You can either add some light to the shoot if possible, or you can trouble shoot the problem by pre-focusing. As the camera bounces back and forth between focuses, when it hits the one you want, you press half way down on the shutter to lock it there. It's that easy.

The Focus Isn't Sharp

You switched from auto focus to manual, measured your distances, and know that the lighting is right. But, somehow the focus is just a little off. It's nothing drastic, but it's not perfect either. The problem could be that your lenses need to be calibrated.

Camera lenses are very precise instruments, and when they've been used for a little while, they can lose a little of that precision, resulting in images that are slightly out of focus. The only way to fix this is to calibrate the lenses.

How to Perform a Calibration

If you wanted your lenses calibrated a few years ago, you would either have to ship them to the manufacturer and pay a hefty fee or visit a professional camera shop and pay a hefty fee. But, recently there are digital SLR cameras that have been introduced to the market that allow the owner to perform their own calibrations. This saves a lot of money and time.

If you have the option to perform a calibration, then you will need a tripod and calibration chart, which is easy to find online. Tape the chart to an evenly lit wall, and place the camera on a tripod. You want to raise the camera so it will tilt down at the chart at a forty five degree angle. Zoom in on the center and open your calibration menu. Adjust the values until the image is sharp.

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