Camera’s Autofocus is the real engine behind adjusting the camera lens and achieving accurate focus on the subject. But, with any product or feature that is manufactured, there is always a chance that it may be faulty. As a result, we can see many Nikon DSLR’s with defective AFs. In fact, the question that keeps popping up and causing grief among Nikon users revolves around the autofocus problems.
Are these Nikon’s AF problems tangible and should you be concerned? Yes, you should definitely be concerned if you are a professional photographer. Here are some quick troubleshooting methods to fix Nikon Autofocus issues. Follow these steps, in this order:
#1 Check whether the lens is clean
Remove the lens. Examine the front and rear lens aspects for dirt and dust. Check also if there any damage happened on lens as well as filters on lens. If you find any dirt or smudges on the lens, make sure you remove it using lens cloth along with a cleaning solution. But don’t blow on the lens as it may damage the lens due to dangerous acids present in the human breathe. If at all you feel to blow, then use bulb blower with a brush.
Further, check the nubs and make sure that the nubs are clean and they have a spring attached to them. If any dust is found, clean it with a cleaning solution. Can you be able to focus every time on your camera now? If yes, the problem is solved. If no, then continue reading.
#2 Camera must be set to Autofocus but no Manual
See that your lens as well as camera switches have been set to Autofocus. The camera should be put to AF mode, but not to Manual mode. Whereas the lens can be set to M/A mode, that lets you to use both the options.
#3 Make sure the back dial is not locked
There are chances that you can easily turn the dial towards Lock (L) mode, especially when you are in a hurry. So check the dial whether it is pointing towards the camera icon, instead of L mode.
Also, make sure that the button AEL/AFL is not in locking position. Clicking the button once will lock the Autofocus mode. So click it one more time and unlock it.
#4 Check the camera settings
Sometimes, the AF will stop working if there are any issues with contrast aspect while using multiple sensors. So set the camera for Single Area AF and choose for central autofocus center. And confirm Closest Subject Priority, Auto Area, or 3D is disabled.
Examine your camera’s viewfinder. Make sure there are no smudges or oils present on it. If the viewfinder is dirty, then the sight you are focusing will not be impacted but you won’t be allowed to focus anything on the picture. So, clean the viewfinder using cleaning solution before you use it.
Not only these, yet there are things you can look for: Is there any variations from side to side on the lens? Is there any distance related problem? Etc.
“Exclusively for Nikon cameras, the NEF is a raw file format that is the default image format for saving RAW images on Nikon. While performing steps to fix Nikon Autofocus problems, you might be in a hurry and chances are there for unintentional deletion of NEF files stored on the camera. If so, then you can easily recover NEF files using this software.”
However, the solutions for AF problems are same for all the DSLRs, but not only Nikons. Whenever you feel like your camera is running out some issues, then turn it off for some time and then turn it on. If this fails, you can try removing camera battery and put it back after sometime. As a next option, you can try with factory reset option to reset all functions and settings on the device. When nothing seems to work out, take your camera lens to get serviced.
Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.
As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.