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Won't focus or take a picture


I have read several of the suggestions to make it work. I have a Rebel t3, NOT a t3i, which is where a lot of the information is directed. I have had this camera for about 5 years. It has worked amazingly well, up until this past weekend. I went to take pictures at my daughter's volleyball game, and it won't do anything. It just tries to focus with no success and won't let me take any pictures. This has happened one other time after owning it for a few months, but then it eventually fixed itself. 

I took out the battery and SD card, I have returned the settings back to factory, I have tried different lenses and tried cleaning the probes. All of which have been done with no success on remedying the problem. 

Any other suggestions, or a link to a repair service would be much appreciated. 



Call the Canon support number for a repair, or arrange it online.


Does it focus in liveview?

Thank you! It doesn't work with live view either, so I think I'll just have to send it in.


Try switching the camera to "live view" mode (so it uses the viewfinder screen) and test to see if it will focus and shoot.


Live view uses a completely different focus system.


When using the viewfinder (not "live view") the camera bounces some light down into focus sensors on the floor of the camera.  There is a secondary mirror (hiding behind the reflex mirror - which is semi-transparent in that spot) responsible for doing this. If the mirror isn't moving into the correct position, or if there's dust blocking the AF sensors, then it may be forcing the camera to hunt for focus until it gives up.   


If all it needs is a cleaning, that's not a big deal.


But if the secondary mirror isn't moving into the correct position (the one responsible for focus) ... or if the AF sensors are failing, then that would be a more expensive repair.



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

Thank you for the tip! It won't focus or take a pciture with live view either. So it sounds like I'm going to have to send it in and get it looked at. 

That doesn’t sound encouraging... it can’t focus with either lens regardless of whether you use viewfinder vs. live view (view finder uses the phase-detect sensors on the floor of the camera vs live view which uses contrast-detect auto-focus using the camera sensor).  


This makes me think it’s something more serious with the camera itself.  


Will it take a photo of you switch off auto-focus (set the AF/MF switch on the lens barrel to the “MF” position (Manual Focus))?


In “One Shot” mode (the most common mode) the camera wont take a photo until it can achieve focus.  But it will take a photo (without focusing) if you switch the lens to manual focus mode (expecting you to focus).


Since it’s a T3 (it would have been the lowest priced DSLR in the Canon line-up when it was released) the repair cost might exceed it’s true value — in which case you might consider just replacing it.  But you may as well send it in to get an evaluation and quote.


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