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While on holiday, my Canon 500D with EF-S 18-55mm lens stopped autofocusing at all. After fiddling, I’ve discovered that it only focuses when I manually turn the focus to as close up as possible, flick back to auto focus and sample a spot.

After doing this, the camera correctly focuses, but the lens remains fixed in that position and can only be refocused by setting the focus to manual again and setting it back to the shortest focal distance.

Are there any fixes I can try whilst on holiday?

  • When the lens is switched to manual focus, is there any more resistance to turning the focus ring in one direction as compared to the other direction? – Michael C Jul 19 '18 at 21:51
  • No, that’s what’s strange about it- but as I think your suggesting and the comment below is, I think the lens is only able to focus in one direction. – Oliver Bean Jul 20 '18 at 8:34
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It sounds like your focus motor is only working in one direction. If so, that will be a difficult repair to make on the road, unless you happen to be in a major city where Canon happens to have a repair centre.

Unfortunately, these kit lenses are usually made to an inexpensive standard and are usually uneconomical to repair (unless under warranty). It might be worth popping into a camera shop, trying another lens to rule out a camera fault, and buying a replacement lens if indeed that new lens works.

There's a small chance it's simply a contact issue - if you have a pencil eraser you can very, very carefully clean the metal contacts on the lens and on the camera (be particularly careful on the camera, as the eraser bits can fall on your sensor and will be hard to remove - make sure the lens mount of your camera is pointed down while you do this, so debris falls away, not toward your sensor.) Try this first, since you have little to lose, but it's a long shot.

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    Thanks so much for the answer, really appreciate it. I came to the same conclusion- thanks for the advice as well I’ll try take it to a camera shop tomorrow. – Oliver Bean Jul 20 '18 at 8:35

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