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HELP!: Canon Rebel XS Changing Settings Randomly and Not Taking Photos!!


PLEASE HELP! This is a very desperate attempt at reaching out for help before I THROW MY CAMERA AT THE WALL! Frustration level 1000 reached. 


The problem: I power up my Canon Rebel XS (purchased in 2009 and treated like my baby), point it at the subject matter, press the shutter button to take my beautiful photo, and all hell breaks loose! The camera decides to change all the settings, usually the shutter speed. When it's in full auto mode, the shutter speed changes between 3 or 4 different options (depending on the settings of the photo) and then it never releases, resulting in no photo. I've tried holding down the button and pressing quickly, neither work. 


So I've tried this in all settings: In Shutter Priority mode, the aperture changes randomly. In Aperture priority mode, (you guessed it!) shutter speed changes randomly. What changes in manual exposure mode? Exposure level... all on its own.


OH -- I FORGOT TO MENTION, as they change, they BLINK! Whatever setting is randomly switching itself, it blinks. As if to taunt me and grab my attention -- "Hey, you! This is why I'm not taking the picture! HAHA!" 


So honestly, if anyone has any insight, I would be EXTREMELY grateful. But I'm pretty sure it's possessed by an evil spirit intent on seeing me rip all of my hair out. >.<


Both symptoms, not taking a picture and also the blinking variable, are consistent with what the camera does when it can't give you a good exposure. Like if the scene is so dark or so light it can't give you a workable exposure.

See if there is some setting to blame that makes the camera unable to achieve the exposure it is trying to hit. . If perhaps you have + or - 3 stops of exposure compensation dialed in, or if you accidentally jacked the ISO up to a super high level, or your aperture is at f/22 or something. It happens when the lens cap is left on but I know you checked that.

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?

Does it happen in the AUTO mode? Any special settings you entered deliberately or inadvertently would be over-ridden.


The standard suggestions - remove and re-install lens and battery.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

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


"The standard suggestions - remove and re-install lens and battery."


And reset the camera to factory defaults.  This is very important.  Afterwards make sure you remount the lens and check that AF is selected on the AF/MF switch.  Also if you are still using the original battery, it may need to be replaced. (A real Canon brand battery too not a off brand)


This is NOT the cause ....

"But I'm pretty sure it's possessed by an evil spirit intent on seeing me rip all of my hair out."

The Rebel XS works equally well with fully bald people as it does with a full head of hair!  Smiley Wink

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


What if we control the shooting conditions?  If you go outside on a sunny day, there would certainly be enough light for the camera to focus and take a shot.  Have you tried this?


I ask this because if I attempt to take a photo in a situation where there is simply not enough light, the camera will do precisely what you are describing...   it has some limits to ISO, shutter speed, and aperture that it cannot exceed (it could in manual control, but will not in the auto or semi-auto modes.)   I've noticed that my camera doesn't want to exceed certain shutter speed limits, ISO limits, and of course the lens constrains the aperture values available.  Also, if the lens auto-focus is enabled and the camera is in "One Shot" focus mode (the default) it will not take an image until it can lock focus on at least one AF point.


Give the camera enough light... and all of these problems go away.


Shoot in Manual mode and all of these problems (except focus) also go away.


If the camera is not moving (e.g. on a solid tripod) and the subject is not moving (e.g. a still scene) then you can take an exposure as long as necessary to get a shot -- but you may have to manually focus the lens if the lighting is poor and the subject lacks adequate contrast.


Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da