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Problem

I am using the shutter stream software and I am having problems with the focus. When I take photos sometimes the software refuses to use the automatic focus. After multiple photos at the same distance and location sometimes I get a message that camera cannot focus automatically.

Solution

When we send a snap command to the camera, we are unable to override the cameras Auto Focus (if the lens is set to AF) - this is in the internal working of the camera. So there is nothing our software is doing specifically to the focus that is causing it to fail.  In this case, trying to shoot an image outside our software (that caused focus to fail), the exact same focus failure would happen when shooting manually.

Now saying that, cameras can have a hard time focusing when there is not much detail (ex. shooting a white shoe on a white background). If your Auto Focus is failing you, please try the following steps:

  1. Make sure the lens physical switch is set to Auto Focus (AF).  If the lens is in Manual Focus (MF) then you will need to focus the lens manually.  

    Some Canon cameras also have a Continuous AF menu. Make sure that you disable Continuous AF from the camera's menu, as shown below:

    Lens Manual Focus Switch

    While most lenses should have the physical switch to AF (for Auto Focus), we have ran into a few cases where if the lens is set in AF then the focus changes, even though the software is set to MF. In that case, we recommend you position the lens switch to MF and try refocusing again with MF in software. If focusing from the software does not work, then focus by physically turning the lens.

  2. Make sure the camera is set to fully manual exposure (Mode should say Manual Exposure).

  3. With the lens' physical switch set to AF, the software can now control the lens' focus when you set Shutter Stream in the manual focus mode.  Click the AF button, in the upper right corner of the controller panel, and the button will switch to MF to indicate software manual focus mode, as shown below:


  4.  Once the software is in Manual Focus mode, you can now control the focus using the left and right arrows.  These arrows will show up if you keep the mouse over the MF button:



  5. Final advice would be to take a look at your AF point selection.  This link might be helpful: http://digital-photography-school.com/focusing-quick-tip-single-point-af-methods/

If you are still having difficulties setting the focus then move the lens' mechanical switch to MF and focus the lens manually, by turning it left or right.