Had this camera around 7 years and recently it just won't focus, with the question mark flashing and when I press to see the error it says "Subject is too dark, cannot adjust exposure, use the flash". The shutter release now when held down doesn't result in the camera adjusting the focus so I'm stuck really not able to take photos like I was doing before. I've tried adjusting settings and modes and the lens. Thanks for your replies.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What do you see in Live view? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 15:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ What happens when you follow the error textand use the flash? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 17:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you shooting in low light? Have you tried shooting a brightly lit scene that doesn't need the flash? \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 17:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is in Live View that I'm experiencing this issue. Changing the lighting doesn't affect the situation either, the camera just won't adjust focus with no lens movement. I can take photos yes with or without flash but there is no focusing it just takes it. Thankyou. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 30, 2021 at 9:14

1 Answer 1


please check if you have accidentally switched the focus mode to MF, both in the i menu and on the lens itself. That could cause the AF disengagement. Also, if you/(someone else who uses the camera) changed the focus mode from shutter button half press to back button autofocus (BBAF), this behaviour would be noticed.

In order to confirm if it is indeed BBAF setting, press the AE-L/AF-L button on the back of your camera and see it it focuses now. If it does, then the issue is BBAF is enabled. just go to settings, controls and reassign what AE-L/AF-L is assigned to. Change it from AF-ON to something else and everything should work like normal.

IF BBAF is not enabled, then try using a different lens and see if the issue is resolved.

Ignore the flash required message for now. First deal with the AF issue and then report back if it has been solved. Once this is done, point the camera in live-view mode at a brightly lit contrasty surface(like a white/yellow car on a black road or a black gate in a white wall) and then try again. Now, the dark scene message should disappear.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Great response, thankyou. I got it to work by switching focus to A on the lens itself and also AF-A in the i Menu. It would not work at first in M mode on the dial ( which is what I use for close-ups ) and I had to go outside and try in other modes and suddenly it starting to engage the AF and now back inside it works on closeups in M mode. Thankyou, I am still a novice despite having the camera for years. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 19:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelNashvili, On all stackexchange sites, it is etiquette to mark as solution if it worked. So that way, whoever is searching for the solution need not go through all the answers to find the solution. If my answer worked, please mark it as solution. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 6:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelNashvili another suggestion is to refrain from using AF-A. It is convenient but troubleshooting your shots gets a lot trickier if you are using AF-A. It is also very temperamental and not as reliable as AF-S or AF-C. Whilst taking macros, if using a tripod, and stationary subject, use AF-S else use AF-C. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 6:51

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