Canon EOS R5 Autofocus Not Working: Causes and How to Fix It

Canon EOS R5 Autofocus Not Working: Causes and How to Fix It

The Canon EOS R5 is a highly regarded mirrorless camera, celebrated for its superior image quality, rapid autofocus system, and user-friendly operation. It’s an ideal choice for capturing everyday moments and is equally adept at both photography and videography. However, even with its impressive performance, users might occasionally face challenges, such as autofocus not working properly. This article is here to assist you if you’re experiencing this issue with your Canon EOS R5.

We will explore the various reasons why the autofocus might malfunction and offer practical solutions to resolve these problems. By identifying the root causes and applying the recommended fixes, you can restore the full functionality of your Canon EOS R5’s autofocus system and continue enjoying a smooth photography or videography experience. Let’s delve into troubleshooting the autofocus issues of the Canon EOS R5.

Canon EOS R5 Autofocus Not Working: Causes and How to Fix It

1. Incorrect Focus Mode

One of the most common reasons why the autofocus on the Canon EOS R5 camera may not work properly is that the focus mode is set incorrectly. The camera has different focus modes to suit different shooting situations and subjects, such as One-Shot AF, AI Servo AF, and AI Focus AF. If the focus mode does not match the subject movement or the shooting conditions, the camera may fail to focus or track the subject accurately. For example, if the subject is moving and the focus mode is set to One-Shot AF, the camera will lock the focus when the shutter button is pressed halfway and will not adjust the focus as the subject moves. This may result in blurry or out-of-focus images. Similarly, if the subject is still and the focus mode is set to AI Servo AF, the camera will continuously adjust the focus even when the subject is not moving, which may cause the focus to shift or hunt. Therefore, it is important to select the appropriate focus mode for the scene and the subject before taking a picture. To change the focus mode, press the AF-ON button and use the main dial or the quick control dial to select the desired mode. You can also customize the buttons and dials to assign different focus modes to them.

2. Manual Focus Mode Activated

Another possible cause of autofocus not working on the Canon EOS R5 camera is that the manual focus mode is activated. This mode allows you to adjust the focus manually by turning the lens focusing ring, without using the autofocus system. The manual focus mode can be useful for situations where the autofocus may not perform well, such as macro photography, low light, or low contrast scenes.

To activate the manual focus mode, there are two options:

  • Set the lens’s focus mode switch to MF. This will disable the autofocus completely and let you control the focus manually. For lenses without a focus mode switch, set [: Focus mode] to [MF] in the camera menu.
  • Set the lens’s focus mode switch to AF and enable the Lens electronic MF option in the camera menu. This will allow you to adjust the focus manually after the autofocus operation, by keeping the shutter button pressed halfway and turning the lens focusing ring.

To deactivate the manual focus mode, you can either set the lens’s focus mode switch back to AF or disable the Lens electronic MF option in the camera menu, depending on the option they used to activate it.

3. Autofocus Lock Engaged

Sometimes, the autofocus on the Canon EOS R5 camera may not work because the autofocus lock is engaged. This feature allows you to lock the focus on a specific subject and recompose the shot without changing the focus. This is useful for shooting subjects that are not in the center of the frame, or for shooting multiple shots with the same focus setting.

To disengage the autofocus lock, you can either release the AF-ON button or change the [: Shutter button] option back to [Metering and AF start] in the camera menu, depending on the option they used to engage it.

4. Low Light or Low Contrast Scenes

The Canon EOS R5 camera has a remarkable autofocus system that can operate in light levels as low as -6EV1, which is equivalent to the illumination of a half-moon2. However, there are still some situations where the autofocus may struggle or fail to achieve accurate focus, such as in very low light or low contrast scenes. Low light or low contrast scenes are those where the difference between the brightness or the color of the subject and the background is very small, making it hard for the autofocus system to detect the edges or the details of the subject3. For example, a dark subject against a dark background, or a white subject against a white background, may pose a challenge for the autofocus. In such cases, the autofocus may take longer to lock on the subject, or it may hunt back and forth, or it may focus on the wrong area.

To overcome this problem, you can try the following tips:

5. Lens Compatibility Issues

The Canon EOS R5 camera has a new lens mount system called the RF mount, which is designed to offer better performance and features than the previous EF mount. However, this also means that the camera is not directly compatible with the EF lenses, which are the most common and widely used lenses for Canon DSLRs. To use the EF lenses on the Canon EOS R5 camera, you needs to attach an adapter, which is a device that connects the lens and the camera body. Canon offers three types of adapters for the RF mount: a plain adapter, an adapter with a control ring, and an adapter with a variable ND filter.

While the adapters allow you to use the EF lenses on the Canon EOS R5 camera, they may also introduce some issues or limitations that affect the autofocus performance. Some of these issues are:

  • Size and weight: The adapters add some extra size and weight to the camera and lens combination, which may make it more difficult to handle or balance. The adapters also increase the distance between the lens and the sensor, which may affect the image quality or the focal length.
  • Communication: The adapters may interfere with the communication between the lens and the camera, which may cause some errors or malfunctions. For example, the camera may not recognize the lens, or the autofocus may not work at all. This may happen if the adapter or the lens is dirty, damaged, or outdated.
  • Performance: The adapters may reduce the performance or the functionality of the lens or the camera, which may affect the autofocus speed, accuracy, or reliability. For example, the lens may not support some of the autofocus features or modes that the camera offers, or the autofocus may be slower or less responsive than with the native RF lenses.

To avoid or solve these issues, you can try the following tips:

  • Check the compatibility: you should check the compatibility of the lens and the adapter with the camera before using them. Some lenses may not be compatible with some adapters, or they may require a firmware update to work properly. you can use the Canon Lens Compatibility Checker or the Canon Knowledge Base to find out the compatibility information.
  • Clean and inspect: you should clean and inspect the adapter and the lens regularly, and make sure that the contacts and the terminals are free of dust, dirt, or damage. you should also check the AF/MF switch and the focus mode switch on the lens, and make sure that they are functioning correctly.

6. Dirty or Damaged Lens Contacts

The lens contacts are the metal parts on the rear of the lens that connect to the camera body and allow the communication between the lens and the camera. If the lens contacts are dirty or damaged, this may cause the autofocus to malfunction or stop working. Some of the symptoms of this problem are:

  • The camera displays an error message, such as Err 01 or Err 99, indicating a communication failure.
  • The camera does not recognize the lens or the lens information, such as the aperture or the focal length.
  • The autofocus does not operate at all, or it operates slowly, inaccurately, or inconsistently.

To fix this problem, you can try the following steps:

  • Clean the lens contacts with a soft cloth. you should gently wipe the lens contacts with a clean, dry, and lint-free cloth, such as a microfiber cloth. you should avoid using any abrasive or wet materials, such as sandpaper or alcohol, as they may damage the contacts or leave residues.
  • Inspect the lens contacts for any damage or corrosion. you should look for any signs of physical damage, such as scratches, dents, or cracks, or any signs of chemical damage, such as rust, oxidation, or discoloration. If the lens contacts are damaged or corroded, you may need to replace the lens or have it repaired by a qualified Canon service technician.

7. Camera Firmware Outdated

The camera firmware is the software that controls the functions and operations of the camera. It is important to keep the firmware updated to the latest version, as it may contain bug fixes, performance improvements, or new features that enhance the camera’s capabilities. One of the aspects that may benefit from a firmware update is the autofocus system, which may become faster, more accurate, or more reliable with the new firmware. For example, the firmware version 1.9.0 for the Canon EOS R5 camera added some features that improved the autofocus performance, such as the ability to erase or add voice memos to images, and enhanced security when sending images via FTPS transfer.

To update the firmware on the Canon EOS R5 camera, you can follow these steps:

  • Download the firmware file from the Canon website or use the Canon EOS Utility software to check for available updates.
  • Copy the firmware file to a formatted memory card and insert it into the camera.
  • Power the camera on and go to the yellow wrench icon in the menu. Scroll over to screen 6, where you’ll see “Firmware” and the version. Select firmware and then choose update. The camera will begin the upgrade process, and it will let you know when it’s done.
  • Restart the camera and check the firmware version in the menu.

Salik Waquas is a seasoned professional in the world of cinema, bringing over a decade of experience as a cinematographer and colorist. With an eye for capturing the perfect shot and a passion for enhancing the visual storytelling of films, he has made a significant mark in the industry. Aside from mastering the art of cinematography and color grading, Salik also enjoys sharing insights and knowledge through the written word. As a dedicated blogger in the film industry, His articles cover a wide range of film-related topics, offering readers a unique perspective and valuable insights into the world of cinema.