When my Canon EOS 1200D is set on AF, my camera seems to be not working. (I press the capture button and nothing happens except a few very quiet clicking noises (focus adjusting sounds). When I switch the lens to MF, the capture button works fine. Obviously I have inadvertently adjusted something—but I don't know what.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you able to test with a different lens? \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Dec 15, 2016 at 7:25
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It's there any difference in behaviour if you focus on something with very high contrast and decent brightness (e.g. window frame from the other side of the room during the day)? \$\endgroup\$
    – Chris H
    Dec 15, 2016 at 10:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know that specific camera, but to me it sounds like i) either you swiched on some macro modus or ii) your autofocus is damaged or iii) the object you want to focus on is just out of the focussing range of the lens (to close, probably) \$\endgroup\$
    – smow
    Dec 15, 2016 at 10:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HelenF There are a lot of variables that you haven't told us in your question that could be affecting the behavior of your camera. What AF mode is selected (One Shot, AI Servo, AI Focus)? In what type of lighting conditions are you attempting to use AF? On what type of target are you attempting to focus (a uniform colored wall or a high contrast target)? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Dec 15, 2016 at 15:08

1 Answer 1


If your 1200D is in full Auto or P mode, the chances are that your camera/lens combination simply cannot achieve autofocus lock. The most likely possibility is that you're inside the minimum focus distance--that is, you're too close to your subject. The 18-55 kit lens has a minimum focus distance of 25cm.

In Auto/P modes, with autofocus set, the camera will not release the shutter until autofocus lock is achieved, and since you're too close for the lens to ever focus, that never happens. Once you switch to MF, the camera doesn't care if you're focused or not, and lets you take an out of focus image.

If it's not a matter of subject distance, then there's probably another reason you simply can't achieve AF lock. Maybe the light levels are too low (especially with a lens that has a smaller maximum aperture (f-number higher than 4), maybe your autofocus mode is non-optimal for locking on, or maybe you're shooting a scene with no contrast (white wall).


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