It just keeps trying to find focus. If I press the half-click focus button I hear the motor moving and the numbers on my lens go from smallest to infinity and stop. If I press the half-click focus again it goes from infinity back to the smallest number (0.5meter) and stops.

If I repeat the above exercise 20-25 times, then maybe 1 time it will lock the focus nicely and let me take a good picture. The same thing happens no matter the scene, object or light conditions.

I have tried two different Nikon lenses that focus well on my other camera. Even the D5500's View Finder works perfectly, the issue only happens during the live view.

I have tried cleaning the contacts, the sensor looks clean too. The camera is on the latest firmware too, the battery is full. The picture quality is great (otherwise).

No warranty, I bought a used camera. Was wondering if I could fix it.

  • 1
    Are you sure you are trying to focus on something that is far enough away? In liveview we keep the camera further from our face, so it is closer to the subject.
    – Orbit
    Apr 18 '20 at 10:16
  • From dpreview: Live view autofocus isn't as good as what Canon's doing these days with Dual Pixel AF, but it's not terrible either. Having the touchscreen is a boon for video recording, allowing you to achieve focus 'pulling' with ease, and relatively good results, with occasional AF hunting being the main issue. (my emphasis)
    – xenoid
    Apr 18 '20 at 12:32
  • @xenoid That's with a camera that's working properly. OP's issue is not a universal one.
    – chulster
    Apr 18 '20 at 22:01
  • 1
    I had a similar issue on my Dxxx, but only with one particular lens: a Sigma 400mm f/5.6 APO Tele Macro. This lens could not focus in Live View at all. It would slew to one end of the focus scale, then to the other end, and stop. I never found a cause or a solution. This was a screw-drive AF lens. Are your lenses AF-S, AF-P, or just AF?
    – chulster
    Apr 18 '20 at 22:07
  • What lighting conditions? Low light? Is your target very low contrast? What lens are you using?
    – Michael C
    Apr 21 '20 at 16:31

As the nikon d5500 is a dslr it will not expose the sensor to light when using the viewfinder. This leads to a need to use specialized focusing sensors of the main sensor, this thechnology has a long development history from the film era.

What this means is that the d5500 has two separate focusing sensor systems. One of the sensor when using the viewfinder and one on the sensor when using live view.

This likely means that the quality of the separate focusing system is better than the on sensor focusing system. That could be the whole explanation.

If there is a problem more information would help. Which lenses did you try. Which lighting conditions did you try, was it all indoors or did you test outside. Where the subjects high contrast or not?


Try this in good light (contrast detection in live view needs more light than the sensors used when looking through the finder) and with a target within the range of the lens, i.e. not too close to the camera.

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