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Canon EOS Rebel SL1 not working in Close-Up feature


I'm a beginner in terms of photography and have just started taking a class. I recently got this digital camera and have loved playing around with it, trying to figure out how it works. I really want to take a close-up photo, but (and I'm still on the basic settings but without flash) every time I get close to my subject and press halfway down on the shutter button, the autofocus fails to focus on the object I want. Then, a red square appears on my screen and I cannot take the photo. This is really frustrating and nobody seems to have the answer to my problem. I've gone through the reset process and cleared all the settings but it still doesn't work properly. It is only able to take a picture when it focuses on the background. And, keep in mind, this is on the CLOSE UP feature with the flower on it. I am on the lowest f/speed setting and get really close in with the camera, but no matter what I do it refuses to focus on my subject, gives me a red square at the center of the screen, and doesn't let me take the picture. 


Someone please help!!



You maybe too close to the item that you're trying to photograph. Every lens has what is called a minimum focusing distance. If you're within that distance the camera won't attain focus. Also live AF can be slow with older cameras. The viewfinder is usually faster at acquiring focus. Also what are the lighting conditions like. If it's low the camera won't AF. Is there plenty of contrast. If low contrast the camera won't lock focus either. This is where what is called an "AF Assist Beam" is used. Canon uses 3 different kinds of AF Assist Beams. 

  • Intermittent Flash Firing (built in flash and speedlites) 
  • IR (red grid pattern, only used on speedlites)
  • LED (speedlite or EOS R series cameras)


Current Gear: EOS 5D Mark IV, EF F/2.8 Trinity, EF 50mm F/1.8 STM, EF 85mm F/1.8 USM, 470EX-AI & 600EX II-RT

Retired Gear: EOS 40D

Not applicable

You don't mention what lens you are using, but you could go to the Canon support site and download the manual for your lens and check the minimum focus distance specification for your lens.

Canon Support 


The "Closeup Feature" doesn't change the physical properties of the lens. It's a group of settings that suits closeup work. Read your manual to see what is DOES do.

Any/all lenses have a minimum-focusing distance. Get too close and it can't focus. Plain and simple. The camera manual will likely show the lens specs in the Specifications section, if the lens came in a "kit" with the camera. If not, you can web-search the exact lens and find its manual (for many lenses), or just a site about this lens's specs. 

click here to view the press release