I bought a used 550D body recently. Everything was fine the first night I used it, however after a flight across Europe (might've possibly gotten a bump along the way, although not that I'm aware of) the focusing points are very dim and I can only see them in the dark.

I tried removing, cleaning and readjusting the focusing screen, no luck.

Any ideas?

I can more or less take pictures by setting it to the middle point, focusing there and then correcting my framing, however this is less than ideal.


1 Answer 1


Many EOS cameras have a menu or custom function option regarding when AF points light up in the viewfinder and when they don't. The default setting is "automatic", which means they light up in darker situations and don't light up in brighter situations. The other two options are normally "always on" and "always off". It may be possible you've changed this setting.

You should probably never consider removing and cleaning the focusing screen unless you really know what you're doing. It is one of the most fragile pieces of your entire camera. Just rubbing it with a soft cloth can sometimes be enough to change how much light it allows through. This, in turn, affects the accuracy of your camera's light meter since the light meter is located in the prism housing and reads light downstream from the focusing screen. Getting to the focusing screen also entails working around the camera's mirror, which is even more delicate and a reduction in the amount of light it reflects also has an impact on metering accuracy.

  • \$\begingroup\$ No such option on the 550D. That and I can see the leds light up fine with the lens off but they're just really dim in the viewfinder so only visible in the dark, can just barely be made out in medium light and completely not visible in daylight. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 23, 2016 at 16:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ And yeah, I did actually manage to scratch the focusing screen a little but metering seems to be fine. Since the replacement focusing screen part is relatively inexpensive I figured worst case I'd need to take it to an authorized repair shop anyway and the part is pretty cheap. That and I know my way around electronics. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 23, 2016 at 16:42

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