I have a problem on Nikon D3200 with autofocus, using viewfinder it works in cca 70% cases, sometimes it has a problem to focus on objects (which distance is relevant). Using liveview it works correctly always, so when I cannot focus to something, I switch to liveview, and it magically works. I had this problem with all my lenses, it means it is something in the body. Any idea how to solve this problem? Thank you!

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ What is different about the 30% when it does not work than the 70% when it does? Shooting conditions? Type of subjects? Etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 14, 2018 at 16:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Usually distance of the object, shooting conditions are the same. For example, if the object is 3 meters in front of me, I cannot focus. It it is 2 or 4 I can. \$\endgroup\$
    – wair92
    Mar 14, 2018 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ How large is the subject? How much contrast (like, clear lines or shapes) does it have? Are you aligning a focus point specifically with the party you want focused? When it doesn't work, what exactly does it do? (Hunt around? Not even try? Focus wrong?) \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Mar 18, 2018 at 14:54

2 Answers 2


The camera uses two different technologies for focus. When you focus through the viewfinder, the camera uses phase detection for focus. When you activate live view, the camera uses contrast detection. Contrast detection is available only in the live view mode because it needs the camera's sensor. For more details about how these technologies work more, see this Fstoppers article: The Difference Between a DSLR's Viewfinder Autofocus and Live View Autofocus


When this happens I shut the camera off, remove the lens and reattach it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Care to explain further why that would be helpful? It doesn't seem like OP has any lens errors that would be corrected by a reset. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Jul 9, 2019 at 3:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I really cannot explain why it's helpful. But it has corrected my camera when the focus has locked up. Another thing I quit doing is turning the camera on and off so much. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 13, 2019 at 11:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.