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My Rebel T1 EOS can't lock focus



I have a Rebel T1 EOS that I've been using for about 3 years with no difficulty.  I love it.  I did not become proficient enough to shoot in manual mode,  so 99% of the time I shoot in automatic mode and I've had no problems in any type of lighting. 

Suddenly last week my camera stopped working.  I did not drop it or damage it in any way, it just stopped capturing in AF mode and it says "busy".  I see other posts with this exact same issue so I've been following some of the advice on those posts.  I attempted to shoot in MF mode and it will capture a photo in that mode.  I've also attempted to test it in different lighting and can manage to shoot a rare photo in AF mode if the lighting and contrast is just perfect, however I have never in 3 years of using this camera had to worry about making the lighting perfect.

I'm at the point where I suspect I need to have it serviced, but I know how that goes.  Before you know it I've spent $200 to get it functional again and then it's not likely to last.   I'm debating if I would be better off just buying one of the new camera bundles that have both the 18-55 lens and the zoom lens which I've been wanting, but that frustrates me that a $700 camera is not working after 3 years.  I suspect that things just aren't built to last anymore.  Any thoughts....does this sound like a simple repair or the beginning of the end of this camera?





There are a few things you can do....


P, Tv, Av, or M mode you are allowed to pick which AF point the camera will use to lock focus.  Normally you'd press the AF selection button (on the back located in the upper-right corner) and then use the main control dial (the wheel behind the shutter button) to scroll until the camera highlights the AF point you want to use.  


I would test each point individually to see if you are having a problem with "all" points or if it's just a specific point.  


You can also test the camera in "live view" mode to see if that can focus.  


Make sure the camera has adequate light (don't do this in a dark or dim room.)


I mentioned in the other thread, that sometimes this is a problem with the lens and switching lenses will fix the problem.  You mentioned you don't have another lens -- but that would be a good way to test.  Do you have any familiy members or friends who also shoot with Canon EOS cameras (all EOS lenses except for the mirrorless "EF-M" lenses will work on your camera... that means any EF, EF-S lens will work -- it does not have to be the same lens you normally use.)


The issue can literally be as simple as a cleaning (but a test of each focus point as well as testing "live view" mode as well as testing with another lens can help isolate the problem.)  It could be a very inexpensive fix.


Lastly... Canon does have a Loyalty program.  So if you did decide to upgrade to a newer camera, you should check out the options.  You have to contact Canon to learn what options are available -- but the program offers a discount to owners of current products by trading it in for a replacement product.  Program details change regularly so the only way to find out about current offers to call them.    

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

Hi Tim

Thanks for your reply.  It took me a little time, but i managed to borrow another 18-55 lens and a zoom lens briefly and they both functioned well in AF mode on my camera body, so i guess that means that the problem lies in my 18-55 lens.  IS that likely to be a simple repair or should i just purchase a new lens?

thanks for your input


A used copy of the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II is relatively inexpensive.  You might contact Canon to inquire about the cost of repair, but there are other lenses that you might take the time to consider as well.


Starting at the high end:


The "bees knees" is probably the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM.  Note that this particular lens can provide a focal ratio of f/2.8 at all focal lengths -- e.g. it can provide f/2.8 at the 55mm focal length where your current lens can only provide f/5.6.  Those two full "stops" of aperture allow the lens to collect four times more light as compared to your current lens (allowing for dimmer lighting or the use of lower ISO settings.)  This is normally an expensive lens... over time it's come down to $879 retail price.  You can find it on Canon's refurbished store for $704 (see: )


The kit lens for your camera is the lens you have now.  


Canon has offered three different lenses... which were the:

EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II

EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS 

EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS


The middle one ... the 18-135mm -- was probably the best of the lot in that it had internal focusing and zoom while also offering an improved zoom range while still maintaining respectable optical quality.   The 18-200 is convenient, but it's optical quality begins to suffer toward the high end of the range (so you trade convenience for optical quality -- for super-zooms, there's typically a trade-off of optical quality for convenience, though they are getting better.)


Canon has since introduced "STM" versions of the 18-55 and 18-135 (you can still get the non-STM versions).  The STM is Canon's "stepper motor" technology.  It is noticeably faster to focus and audibly a MUCH quieter lens (almost completely silent.)  BUT... a big factor I noticed about these new STM lenses is that they take a big bump up in image quality (a noticeable improvement in the "MTF" scores.)  And yet... they only cost about $50 more than their non-STM counter-parts.  To me, that bump up in performance would be well worth the $50 increase in price.


A used copy of your current lens is relatively inexpensive and widely available.  A quick glimpse of sites such as eBay and you'll probably find quite a few of them available.  The new price is about $200, but a used copy is probably roughly half that (prices can vary widely... always carefully check the condition of any used lens.  Some sites known for selling used equipment are particularly good about providing an honest "grade" of the lens' condition.)


Canon has a "refurbished" section of their online store... but the selection can vary daily based on what Canon happens to have available.  It is not uncommon to not be able to find a lens one week, have it pop up the following week, and then disappear again a few days later.  If you do not see what you want, you may have to check back every few days.


I WOULD at least check with Canon service to find out if they can provide you with a rough idea of how much these things cost to repair.  Just note that they may not be willing to provide a quote for your lens over the phone (they will probably want to evaluate your lens).  But it's my understanding that if you mail them the lens, they will provide an estimate once they evaluate it and you can decide at that point if it is worth it.


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

Thanks Tim.  I'll keep all that in mind in making my decision... thanks for all your help