weird dark spot in viewfinder I recently bought a used Canon 1100D, and I didn't notice this... defect? dirt? chip? crack? dividing organism?! — I don't know what to call it — in the viewfinder until I brought it home.

It's actually quite hard to notice unless you hold the camera a little bit away from your eye and try to focus directly on it. In the photo above, I did my best to bring the... thing... into focus with my other camera. I had max out the affected camera's dioptric adjustment knob to get the image above.

The image below best represents what the "thing" looks like when you look through the viewfinder yourself — it's the dark splotch on the upper-most AF point.

foggy dark spot from viewfinder POV

The "thing" does not show up on images. And it does not seem to be on the mirror or focusing screen (see image below). When I tilt the camera slightly from side to side or up and down while looking through the viewfinder, there is a parallax effect, the "thing" appears to be between the viewfinder lens and the focusing screen (the AF points move a greater distance than the AF points when tilting the camera).

mirror and focusing screen

What could this be?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If it is fungus you better throw away the camera, or at least not share lenses with the other one. \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Mar 6, 2019 at 21:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do the white "scratches" in the focusing screen reflection off the mirror move with changes in perspective? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 6, 2019 at 23:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @xenoid I really hope it's not fungus! \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7, 2019 at 8:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelC Those actually aren't scratches, they are trails from my flashlight — it was a long exposure shot. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7, 2019 at 8:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @foxyjacob That was kind of what I was wondering - if it was reflected light that "moves" with change in position. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 7, 2019 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


It's hard to say for sure without being able to look at it in three dimensions, but to me that does not look like fungus, which typically has a crystalline "snowflake" or branching "spider web" structure when reproducing on glass surfaces.

My guess is that it is a spot of residue left over from condensation that occurred inside the viewfinder lenses. Although condensation is pure water, it tends to attract dust and other substances already present in the lens that stick to the surface of the lens after the water dries. The two faint "wings" are probably dim reflections of the central spot bouncing off other surfaces in the viewfinder lens assembly.


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