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Sudden onset of extremely dark pics and no flash...


Hello.  I am new to the forum.  Please forgive me if this was already addressed elsewhere.


I have a Cannon EOS Rebel T3.  On the bottom of the camera is shows: "Cannon DS126291"


I have had the camera for several years and it has functioned wonderfully. I almost always use the "Full Auto" mode.  The last two days I was on a Yardsale trip and in the middle of the trip, I noticed that the camera doesn't seem to be recognizing the light/dark situations and doesn't activate the flash.  In situations where the scene is light enough to take a decent photo, and normally would not need a flash, the picture turns out completely dark.  In scenes that would normally need a flash, it doesn't pop up.  


Photos in bright sunlight come out, but are a bit dark.  Photos in cloudy situations are visible but quite dark.  


One funny thing.  I have always used the smaller "tradtional" optical viewfinder mode and was using it as always the last two days.  I find now that if I switch the camera over to the mode where the LCD screen now becomes your "viewfinder" the camera will take a picture that comes out OK and the flash even pops up.  I then tried to switch back over the using the smaller optical viewfinder (leaving the flash up) to see if it would work, and again, no flash and a completely black picture.  


I tried resetting the camera to factory settings in the menu going to "P" mode on the camera dial, going to the second "wrench" screen and going through the clear all settings procedure.  Nothing changes.  Same problems.  


It WAS raining on the day this started but not heavily at all.  I have gotten the camera much wetter in years past and never had any issues and don't think this is the problem here.  Just wanted to mention it.


Can you help?


Thanks so much!



Also, if you need me to upload photos for you to evaluate, can you tell me how to do so?  I don't see any form of "attachment" button in the reply space on on the controls.



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Heres your story:


1. camera worked fine

2. camera got went

3. now camera doesn't work fine


When you are using LiveView all focusing and exposure measurement is performed by the actual camera sensor.


I "regular" mode exposure control is measured by a sensor up in the prism area. Cameras with pop-up flash has a lot of opening in the prism area for flash hinge.


I think it sure seems like water had some effect. 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

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

Like I said. It was only a thought. It really didn't get "wet" a couple of drops maybe but again, it's been in worse weather before and no troubles.

Is "live view" when you use the small optical viewfinder as opposed to using the LED screen?

Can you clarify where exactly the sensor is and what is the "prism area".

So if it was indeed a water issue and the sensor got wet and that is what is going on, is there anything I can do about it?


LiveView is when you are viewing on rear LCD. You are viewing the picture exactly as the Camera sensor sees it.

Prism is bulge on top of camera where the flash is. The exposure sensor is inside camera in prism area. It is measuring exposure from image that you see in optical viewfinder.

If it is water damage and it's been a while, such that it has probably dried, repair/replace would be the route.

I' just guessing since I can' t see camera, but if indeed you have reset everything and it's still not working not sure what else it would be.
John Hoffman
Conway, NH

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


It appears to be something with your optical viewfinder.  In live view mode (using the LCD) the mirror is flipped up and stays up as long as you're in live view.  When switching to live mode you can hear it move just like if you pressed the shutter button when using the traditional viewfinder.  You must have some light bleed or something to that effect when using the traditional view finder and this is screwing with the automatic exposure.  I suggest try some manual settings and see if the sensor is faulty or something like I described above.


There may be a problem with your focusing screen... or possible with the camera's light meter.


The camera has an interanal light meter, but that meter is located up in viewfinder chamber -- above the focusing screen (the same area you use to look thorugh the camera when using the traditiional viewfinder.)


When you use "live view", the main reflex mirror inside the camera has to swing up and clear of the imaging sensor.  That mirror folds up and covers the focusing screen (and prevents light from reaching the light meter) so the camera has to meter by using the imaging sensor itself.  In other words, it's a completely separate metering system.


What does not make sense is that you also said it does not activate the flash.  If the light meter believes it is dark AND if you are in full auto mode, then it should raise and use the pop-up flash.


If you can post an example photo, it would help.  But when posting, please take the image from the camera and upload it without allowing any editor on your computer to alter the image (it is especially important that all of the EXIF data is embedded within the image.  This is data which tells us what settings were used when you took the photo.  We can tell what mode you used, how the camera metered the shot, and what exposure settings the camera chose (as well as what lens you used, etc.)  But many editors strip that info out and just leave us with the photo -- which isn't helpful (it's the settings that we really need to see.)


If you can go outside on a completely sunny day and take a photo of a subject which is in full sunlight (not in shade) and post that, then it is even more helpful because we _know_ exactly how much light the sun provides at mid-day (the amount of sunlight that we all get at mid-day is the same for everyone.)  Go take a photo of a flower, etc. in the middle of the day and post it (avoid taking a photo of anything that is completely "white" or completely "black" because that will fool the metering system.   


Also, please take one using the traditional viewfinder, then take another using the "live view" mode (of the SAME subject -- and please tell us which is which.)


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


This was taken in daylight (6 PM) in full auto mode using the traditional viewfinder.



This was the exact same conditions a few seconds later using the live mode LCD screen




This was taken earlier in the day in more direct light.  Full auto mode and traditional viewfinder.  I had to resize it since it was too big to upload.  


IMG_6341 (Medium).JPG




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