Troubleshooting Common DSLR Video Problems

DSLRs are packed with such great video functionality. But capturing the perfect video can be tricky, even for regular DSLR users. In this article, we discuss a few of the most common DSLR video problems and provide some troubleshooting tips for preventing them.

1. Out of Focus

One of the most common and frustrating issues DSLR users face is a lack of focus, or when the camera focuses on the wrong thing.


Autofocus has improved in recent years but there are still quite a few scenarios that favour manual focus. Shooting crowds, for example, requires a deft touch to define the right focus point and control over the depth of field. Here are two tips to improve the focus of your videos:

Narrow the aperture

The aperture is the hole within the lens that allows light to pass into the camera body. Narrowing it reduces the light and produces a much deeper focus, which gives you a bit more room for error. It pays to keep your aperture on the narrow side unless you require a shallow depth of field (e.g. to blur the background for artistic effect or take a brighter video).

Focus on stationary objects

Taking video of a moving subject is one of the hardest techniques. To keep the best possible focus, try to focus on stationary objects close to the subject you want to focus on. This helps the camera focus on one point instead of having to constantly shift its focus.

2. Sound Quality Issues

It’s a crying shame when you capture the perfect video only to find the sound garbled and unintelligible because the internal mic wasn’t up-to-scratch. This is a particular issue for people who like to take videos at noisy celebrations or parties. Luckily, it’s simple to solve this issue…

Equip a Mic to Your DSLR

Most DSLRs are equipped with an audio connector, which allows you to attach a mic to your camera. The Rode VideoMic or the Sony Shotgun Microphone are a couple of popular options. These will significantly improve your audio quality.


Dual-system sound

Dual-system is a fancy name given when shooting audio and video separately. By being wireless, it creates more freedom over how you record your audio but also means you have to sync up the video and audio manually, which can be a time-consuming task.

This Nikon wireless microphone set, for example, is water resistant and compatible with all DSLR, Nikon 1 and Coolpix models, and can capture crystal clear audio up to 164 feet away in stereo or mono or both.

3. Poor Picture Quality

If you’ve noticed your picture quality getting worse, it could be that your DSLR has been exposed to a foreign object or been affected by the conditions.

Sand, Hair, Dust etc. on Lens

Over time, you’ll use your camera in many different environments and settings. And no matter how careful you are with your lenses, you’ll probably encounter a few videos with spots or specks on them.


One trick is to take a picture of a plain white surface – an A4 sheet of paper will do – as this will highlight whether your lens or camera body requires cleaning.

If you clean your lens thoroughly and still find marks, it may be that particles have gotten inside the camera body itself. In such cases, you should be extremely careful when cleaning and use the correct products, such as a gentle blower and a quality cleaning pen. Or seek the help of a professional.

Protect Your DSLR from Heat, Moisture and Rain

It’s important to remember that there’s no such thing as a waterproof DSLR, so be careful when it’s raining, especially if you’re switching lenses.


Moisture damage is one of the most terminal issues for DSLR users and can potentially damage your camera forever. If you fear some water may have penetrated the body, remove the battery, lens and memory cards and then keep the camera in a dry spot.

And while water is a huge bane for camera users, heat can also damage your DSLR. This can either be external heat or due to overuse or shooting for long durations.

You can prevent this by being aware of when your camera feels hot, or by following logical storage steps like not keeping it in direct sunlight or in a stuffy environment like a hot car.

There are so many features crammed into a DSLR, and our blog has tips and tricks to making the most of them. Learn more about common under-exposure problems or which DSLRs are best for beginners.

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