Article ID : 00108204 / Last Modified : 07/12/2018

Why is it difficult for the camera to focus automatically?

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It may be difficult for the camera to focus automatically in the following situations:

  • In case of fast movements or high speed, such as a driving car
  • When a subject appears too close to the camera
  • If there is a scene with a lot of low contrasts, such as a blue sky or a sandy beach
  • A scene that is constantly changing, such as waves or a water fall
  • In low-light situations, such as inside a church or during nighttime
  • When the subject is backlit by a strong light source, such as the sun
  • In case of overlapping objects that are appearing both near and far, creating depth, such as a subject located behind a fence 

When the auto focus has difficulties with locking on focus it can be due to a number of cases, such as the distance between yourself and the subject/object you are taking a picture of. It can also be difficult to focus, depending on the light condition.

Each camera lens has a minimum distance from which it can shoot a subject. This is called the minimum focusing distance. If you are closer than the minimum focusing distance to the subject you are trying to take a picture of, you will not be able to focus properly. The minimum focusing distance varies by lens; and in zoom lenses, it can also vary depending on the focal length. To check the minimum focusing distance of a lens, refer to the lens specifications or the distance printed on the lens, as shown in the picture below.

Image

The digits indicated here show first the maximum aperture (3,5f - 6,3f) and then the minimum focus distance (4,3 cm - 129 cm), depending on how much the lens is zoomed in or out. This means that when the camera is zoomed out, taking pictures in wide-angle, the minimum focusing distance is 4,3 cm. If the camera is zoomed in to the max, taking pictures of subject farther away, the minimum focusing distance is 129 cm.

If you get closer than this distance, you cannot focus on the subject properly. In situations where you want to get as close as possible to the subject, first get extremely close to the subject. Then move away little by little to find the distance where the subject is in focus.

If it is still difficult to find the focus, try the following operations:

IMPORTANT: Supported functions or function names vary depending on your product. For details, refer to the manual.

  • When you press down lightly on the shutter button, a green frame is displayed around the area that is in focus (Focus-lock). If you want to focus on a very tiny subject or a small area, move the AF range frame to the desired point on the monitor using Flexible Spot.
    Image
  • If the problem persists, try locking the focus on another object as close as possible to your original subject and recomposing the image, or use the manual focus.
  • When Lock-on AF is set, you can automatically keep moving subjects in focus.
  • When you shoot dark scenes or under backlit conditions, use Superior Auto.
  • When you shoot night scenes, use Night Scene or Hand-held Twilight in Scene Selection, or Center in P (Program Auto) mode. When you shoot night scenes including people, use Night Scene or Night Portrait.

NOTE: If you are using a DSC-RX10 Series or DSC-RX100 Series

  • If Focus Mode is set to Continuous AF (AF-C), the product will continually adjust the focus and maintain focus on the subject while the shutter button is held halfway down. Although it may seem that the focus is not locked when you are holding the shutter button halfway down, this is not an issue. The lens moves or the angle of view changes on the monitor in order to adjust the focusing position, so you can shoot without worrying that the image will go out of focus.

  • When Focus Mode is set to AF-S (Single-shot AF) or AF-C (Continuous AF), make sure that the subject on which you want to focus is inside the green frame.

  • The MF Assist and Peaking Level functions make manual focusing easier. For some models, MF Assist and Peaking Level functions are not available.

If the lens is dirty, try cleaning your Cyber-shot camera .
If the problem remains unresolved, and the camera can still not focus properly, the product may need to be sent in for service. If you believe this to be the case, please contact us for further assistance.