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EOS Rebel SL1 New Lens Shows No Image in Viewfinder


I have a canon EOS SL1 and just got a new 65mm macro lens with it.  When we look through the view finder, there is nothing that shows up...not black but has the autofocus set up dots.  This lens does not support autofocus but is compatible with my camera.  Is there a setting on the camera that I can change to allow a photo to be taken in manual mode?






See where it says "WD = 4 inches"? If you have it set to 1X, only things 4 inches from the front of the lens will be in focus.



I think you might have purchased the wrong lens for your needs. The 65mm lens is a special purpose lens - generally classified as "micro" photography rather than "macro" photography.

Screenshot 2022-10-12 150435.jpg

I think you want the Canon 60mm macro lens:

Screenshot 2022-10-12 150818.jpg

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

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

Not necessarily "doctor"Ohea might be a PHD wanting to take micro images.

That’s a possibility. 

To the OP -  there is no focus setting control on the camera. For a manual focus lens you need to position the subject within the focusing range of the lens and then fine tune focus by using the focus dial on the lens as well as perhaps shifting camera to/away from the subject. 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

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

Rising Star

The  65 mm F/2.8 MP-E is a lens with NO focus dial.  The intended operational mode of this lens is to first set the desired magnification on the scale. Then the camera and lens is then moved closer to the subject, or the subject is moved closer to the lens using a vernier focusing rail until the object is in focus. 

For the 65-MP-E the distance from the front of the lens to the subject focal plane is [always] very short.  The farthest setting (at 1X magnification is about 100 mm (4-inches).  At maximum magnification (5X) the distance is just a few millimeters from the front element.  Any "normal" subject even a few feet away from the camera will be completely out of focus.    Using this very specialized lens is more akin to using a microscope, not a "conventional" camera.

Obviously, since this lens has no "focus" mechanism whatsoever, there is no possibility of using the camera's auto focus capability. The moving ring on the 65 mm F/2.8 is a magnification control. It does change the focal point, but that is not its intended function.

P.S.  I, and I expect many other members of the forum, would gladly trade you a brand new Canon 50mm F/1.8 STM for your 65 mm MP-E lens, which will take great "conventional" photos with your camera in auto or manual focus modes. 😋😊


The Canon MP-E 65mm Macro lens is a very specialized lens.

It ONLY shoots macro. The least magnification is 1X and the maximum is 5X.

In other words, the LARGEST thing you can photograph with it on an SL1 camera is about 13mm x 21mm. or approx. 1/2" x 3/4". That will be approx. 4" from the front element of the lens. That's the farthest distance it can focus.

At the other extreme, the highest magnification possible, the largest thing you can photograph with the 65mm is approx. one single grain of rice. And the subject will only be around 20mm...  approx. 3/4"... from the front element of the lens.

This is a freshly hatched garden snail that I photographed at approx. 3X with my MP-E 65mm Macro lens. The snail's shell was perhaps 10mm or less diameter... 9971562424_0a09d672d2_b.jpg

I used the 65mm lens on a camera with similar sensor size as your SL1. The lens was stopped down to f/16 and a flash was required. I used a Canon MR-14EX Ring Lite.

If you want a more general purpose macro lens, able to shoot both close-ups at relatively high 1X magnification and yet still able to be used to shoot portraits of people or anything else all the way to infinity, there a number of good options:

Canon's EF 100mm f/2.8 USM and EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM lenses are both excellent options. These don't come with, but can optionally be fitted with tripod mounting collars (very handy when shooting macro). Only the L/IS lens is still in production, but the non-L version is widely available used.

The Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM mentioned in a previous response is another excellent lens. It's more compact than the 100mm lenses. I don't believe the EF-S 60mm is still in production, so you may not be able to find a new one. But it's widely available used and I would also check the Canon USA website to see if it's available refurbished. (I have bought a refurbished lens from them and it is like new and even has the same warranty as new.) 


Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7DII (x2), 7D(x2) some other cameras, various lenses & accessories


Actually, like all lenses, the magnification setting *is* the focus control. Of course, the lens can only focus in a 1" to 4" range in front of the camera. Not generally useful.

My EFS-60mm has the magnification range displayed so you can use the lens in the exact same way, i.e., set the magnification and adjust the distance to the camera to get the object in focus. I finally just got a macro rail (Yay, me!) so I can finally do this.


Thank you all so much for your helpful replies.  Sadly, doctorohea is an orthodontist and not a pHd, which means that I ordered the wrong lens🙄  However, I never would have figured this out without all of you so thank you very much!