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Beginner - Struggling with photos, Rebel T7



I just received a camera for my birthday, a Rebel t7. I've never had a professional camera before, just my phone and a "Coolpix" as a kid.

I found that when I started up the camera I couldn't take photos, so I started searching these forums & others for answers but am struggling to find a workable answer. Here's circumstances I've tried already:

-switching from AF to MF; I CAN take photos this way but would prefer not to manually focus

-tried turning focus dial all the way from one end to the other in MF then switching to AF; no success

-tried switching from One Shot to AI Servo, no difference

-tried AF in Program AE mode, it did work but not well-- ie, I could successfully take a photo, but it was difficult and took multiple tries, or was blurry

-Scene Intelligent Auto, Portrait, and other "basic zone" modes I could not take pictures in unless using manual focus

-viewfinder vs live did not make a difference

The purpose of the camera was for me to take photos of animals, so having a completely still subject and waiting a long time to focus is the opposite of what I need, and ideally I can take photos of those subjects without having to quickly manually adjust. The camera is brand new, brand new SD card in it with nothing on it, all factory settings to start with when these issues were occurring. If anyone can help me that would be great! I am very much a beginner and confused why this is happening after trying so many things listed in the forums.



Go into camera menu and reset all camera settings and clear all custom settings. Set the lens to AF. Set the camera to green square auto. Go outside midday. Walk about 20 feet from your home, turn around and take a photo of your home. If it works there is nothing wrong with your camera. If it doesn’t there is a problem with the camera. 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, M200, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, Lr Classic

Thank you for your response! This seemed to work decently well, just have to figure out how to take photos in situations less than extremely sunny. I appreciate your help!


At this point I can not stress strong enough to follow John Hoffman's advice especially the part about resetting the camera. Menu, tools, clear all setting and clear all custom settings. Also at this point don't use Ai-servo. It sounds like you may just be a victim of the camera just not achieving focus. It will not fire if it can't. That may be why it works when you MF it.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Switched back to one-shot instead of AI servo, and went outside to take photos in super bright sun; seemed to work decently well! (Sometimes took a bit long to focus but could generally take photos in time.) I'm curious, though, what I should do if the lighting conditions are not so blatantly lit/in circumstances where, say, the weather is slightly foggy, or I am indoors, or there is a grayer sky. Should I be switching to MF for this? I know I will want to take photos in less than premium lighting conditions, so I'm not sure how I should approach it in that circumstance.

I haven't watched the content the others have suggested but I will be soon; hopefully there are answers in there, but if you have any other advice from your own perspective I would love to hear! Thank you for your response!

In all but the most extreme conditions a modern camera will achieve focus, but what will challenge it is lack of contrast or something with a sharp edge to focus on.  Your camera will generally try to get the right exposure for the conditions, thus it should be able to focus when that is achieved.

The camera sensor looks to make most tones (i.e. level of brightness) what is called 18% grey - about the same level of brightness as grass.  Generally that is enough to give you enough light to find something to focus on.  Definitely look at the videos suggested to you - sooner rather than later.  If your library has access via it's on-line catalogue, look for an item called LinkeIn Learning.  It's a link to a website absolutely full of videos on a wide range of subject, but with a huge range of professionally-produced training series on almost every aspect of photography and at every level.  Going via your library gives you free access, otherwise it's by paid subscription. 

cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris


I agree with resetting the camera.  Set the top dial to “P”, which should enable all of the menu options that are hidden in the Automatic / Basic shooting modes.  Look for the menu option to reset the camera back to factory defaults.

Several years ago, Canon USA released a set of videos for Absolute Beginners …. 

"The right mouse button is your friend."

Thank you, I'll look into that for sure!!


If your camera was bought from a bricks and mortar store, it might be worth going to them and getting them to check it out. If it is a setting, they can re-set it; if it is a fault, they should get it sorted under warranty, if it is something you have inadvertently done, then they will likely advise you. 

I am curious: what lens are you using?

One quick think you might want to try is to make sure the camera is off (never do this with the camera on), remove the lens and then re-attach it - making sure it clicks securely.  It MIGHT be that the lens did not seat properly.

If you are new to using a camera such as this, I recommend spending some time watching the following videos:

Chris Bray, Nat Geo photographer has a 2.5 hour tutorial on the basics of photography.  See it Here .
There is a free 1-hour tutorial on the T7i (very similar) HERE 


cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

Thank you so much for all of these resources, Trevor!! I'll definitely be taking a look at them!

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