The focus points leds (red colored ones), looks shadowed (smudged) in my Canon 550D. Not all points, but the bottom 3 points, when the light glows, looks kind of shadowed. I tried cleaning the both the lens and the mirror, but no effect. I don't see any dust in the final output of the images. What could be the reason??

Please help.

  • 5
    What do you mean by "shadowed"? May 19 '11 at 11:40
  • 1
    When the red colored lights glow, I could also see the shadow of the light (kind of smudged) May 20 '11 at 8:13
  • I am having the same exact problem... but it seems like my camera is only picking up on the properly aligned focus points. The 3 in my Rebel EOS XS that are dim or smudged are overlooked more often and I can tell by the amount of blur that is starting to become apparent in my photos. A realignment may be in order. Thanks!
    – user7263
    Nov 13 '11 at 19:03
  • i have a 500d and i have the same problem. the bottom three and lower right af point in the viewfinder, when lit up, makes a faint blurry red on the spot. compared to the other points which light up and colour the square. it is a pain switching af points withe viewfinder in bright light conditions due to the fact that it does not light up the small square, it just shines a faint blurry red on and around the small square. what do i need to do?
    – user9266
    Apr 2 '12 at 16:24

This is due to the focusing screen, which is a small piece of etched glass above the mirror and below the pentaprism/pentamirror, is misaligned. I've had this problem a couple times with my 450D, as I've had to take my focusing screen out on a couple occasions to clean it due to some thing getting thoroughly stuck on it. After reinserting the screen, my bottom AF point on both occasions ended up exactly how you described. Sometimes the AF point will look a bit shadowed, and show a bit of a glow near the top, when alignment is particularly off.

It can take a few tries to get the screen reseated properly such that it aligns correctly with the AF point lighting apparatus. If you removed and reinserted the focusing screen, this can sometimes be due to stacking the filler plates incorrectly...they are fairly precisely machined, and should be paired exactly how they were when you first bought the camera for perfect alignment.

If you are not up to realigning the screen yourself, you can probably find a local shop that could take care of it professionally. It should be noted that a misalignment will not have any effect on your pictures themselves, as the AF point highlighting is a physical aspect of the viewfinder. It will only be an annoyance when the lights blink, but otherwise is harmless.

  • thanks a lot, i would check this with the canon service center. Jun 9 '11 at 5:37

I don't know exactly how the red dots are produced on that model (see How are the red focus point indicators displayed on a dSLR's focusing screen?), but I'm sure that what you are seeing is an artifact of that. Possibly something is misaligned, but it's also possible that the effect is just a compromise of the design.

Is it causing an actual problem in your composition or focusing? As you note, this won't show up in the captured image. The fact that you're worried about it suggests that it's very dramatic. Do you have access (at a store, perhaps) to other cameras of the same model to compare?


It seems to me that the focusing screen is misaligned. If you remove the lens and look up inside above the mirror you should be able to tell (is the spring clip seated properly?, does it look lower at one side?) but I wouldn't recommend fixing this yourself unless you are good at precision D.I.Y.

  • thanks a lot, i would check this with the canon service center. Jun 9 '11 at 5:36

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