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Auto Focus Issues 28-135mm IS USM on a 7D


I understand that this topic has been rehashed to death but my issue is a bit different. Camera is a Cannon 7D. I picked up a lens from a good friend fellow photographer that other than the camera body all my current lenses were his first lenses. Right now I just picked up a EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM from him, to give me a decent mid range lens for my bag. At first I thought it was just an issue past 70 mm where it would just continue to hunt for focus. Even in One Shot, Center spot focus it will just sit there and twitch between infinity and 50 feet on the dial. At full zoom it will sit and bounce in the infinity range never actually locking on to focus. If I touch the focus ring and move it, or nudge it it will sometime lock but it will be far from focused.

I set up my big tripod, white sheet backdrop and a solid object (Clay Frog) non reflective about 10 feet away. I lit it with a lamp. I set the lens on it's minimum zoom, camera is in P mode. I turn on live view and using the zoom on live view get as close to the object as I can get zoom wise via the live view. Lens is still at 28mm. I hit the shutter half way and zip zip beep. About a 1/8 of a turn out of focus. I swap to my 18-55 and zip zip in focus. So it's definitely a lens issue, even my Tamron 70-300 focused sharp at all points. Swap back to the 28-135 and it won't focus. I can put it in manual and get a super sharp image and a beautiful picture.

I have reset the camera a few times as originally something I changed left the stabilizer on all the time. So the camera other than my custom settings for the C Modes have been reset.
I have carefully blown out the inside the best I can of the lens with a bulb, and have verified the front lens is not crooked.

Friend has offered me a full refund for the lens but it's a 2 hour plus round trip again to get it back to him. Am I missing something or unbeknownst to him since the lens sat a few years sadly without a rear cover on did something happen internal and it's not worth the hassle to have it fixed? I paid $80 for the lens which I thought was fair as most are going $100-120 on eBay right now. I have a gig Saturday I guess I'll be shooting in manual focus now. Be taking 1000+ photos and auto would be really nice.


For inquiring minds. No water damage.

"Your product has been examined and a torn fpc was found causing an error to be displayed. The power diaphragm assembly was replaced. Further, it was found that the af assembly was jammed causing the auto focus to operate improperly . The af assembly was replaced. The unit was cleaned. Product functions were confirmed. "

View solution in original post



If your other lenses don't have that issue, yes it is a lens issue.


After you return it, look at the EF-S 18-135 IS STM, it has superior image quality, and is a more suited to the APS-C 7D. 

For the second time this week, that sounds like a lens that has been waterlogged. That would explain why it was left opened up for a long time. The 28-135 was a very good lens in its day, but this one may not be worth the time and cost of a reclamation attempt.


But before you give up, have you at least tried autofocus microadjustment? Unlike many cameras on which that lens might be used, yours does have it. So you might as well give it a try.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA


The Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens was/is one of my favorite lenses.  Especially at its price point.  It is really at its best on a FF camera so it may not be the best choice for a 7D.  But it will certainly provide nice photos.  As good or better than any other similar moderately priced zoom.


It isn't worth fixing and I believe yours is done.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


Hi Iggythetiggy!


If you've determined that it is, indeed in need of repair (and it's water damage) , you might want to get in touch with our US-based Sales Team to talk about the Canon Upgrade Program (formerly the Canon Loyalty Program). They'll go over options to trade your malfunctioning lens for a discount on a new or refurbished model with a one-year warranty! They're at 1-866-443-8002 from 8am to Midnight (ET) daily!


On the other hand, if you want to talk to tech support to go over your options for repair (if it's not water damage), you're welcome to do that, too. Our team is right here in the USA and they're friendly and experts at photography and troubleshooting. They're at 1-800-OK-CANON (800-652-2666) from 8am to Midnight (ET) weekdays or 10am to 8pm (ET) on Saturdays. 


If you're out of the USA, you'll want to discuss your options with Canon in your area by clicking HERE

We know for sure it's not water damage. The person I got it from I trust far too much for that. He can be just a bit forgetful somedays and he's been super busy lately with a move and his full time career. He also collected cameras for a while and was constantly changing and upgrading so somehow it just got left open for a while. I did try micro adjustment a but but trying again today but this would need coarse adjustment to get it even close to where it wants to be in focus I'm moving the focus ring a good 1" or more to achieve proper focus. Sad really been hunting for this lens for a while and being on a very fixed income of disability it was right in my price range. Looks like I'll keep saving up for the STM variant. Honestly eventually all my lenses are pretty old all other than this one with issues were used on my Original Eos Rebel that I acquired from the same person to bring me in from the film side of SLR cameras. Thanks for all the info, wish it was something easy but it appears not. Like I said in manual it takes wonderful sharp photos but when I need to take pics at a fast paced event auto is so much faster for me even when shooting in full manual mode.

Hey there Iggythetiggy!


If you need it calibrated, feel free to send it in! We still repair this beautiful lens! You have the option to send it by itself and we'll do a calibration with a "bench" body - a camera that's precision calibrated and should allow your lens to work with any Canon camera.


The other option (and the one we usually recommend) is to send both your lens and your camera body. Our technicians will first calibrate your lens on our precision "bench" body and then put it on your camera to see if it works like it should. If it doesn't, they'll refine the adjustments to make sure it works the way it should on your camera specifically.


Before any work is done, our Factory Service Center team will give you a free estimate, and you're under zero obligation to have any work done. 


You can setup a repair on our site HERE, or again, if you prefer to speak with a specialist, you're welcome to give them a call at 1-800-OK-CANON (800-652-2666). 

@Stephen will this loyalty program even work as I'm basically a second hand Loyal Cannon person? I even bought the 7D used a few years ago. Only had 194 pics taken with it apparently. Needed a new battery since it sat so long. I got it from an authorized camera dealer Kenmore Camera in Kenmore Camera for a great deal again same person I got the lenses from outside of his job from his personal collection. I wanted to go with the 5D Mk2 and he's like basically the same camera used for fraction of the price? I went for the 7D and have been blown away with it. Just need to seriously upgrade my optics to match the level of camera the 7D is.

I might consider sending both in I would like the camera itself looked over anyway there is some unreachable dust I can see in the viewfinder that doesn't effect pics but could be professionally cleaned. I just don't have the income to dump $3-400 or more into it right now.

@Iggythetiggy wrote:
I might consider sending both in I would like the camera itself looked over anyway there is some unreachable dust I can see in the viewfinder that doesn't effect pics but could be professionally cleaned. I just don't have the income to dump $3-400 or more into it right now.

A Canon cleaning will probably make your 7D look like new.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA