Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS II not focusing correctly


Many times now I have noticed a lot of my photos are coming out out of focus and I know that I have focused on the eyes of the subject in each photos. I notice it more with any focal length below 100mm but it's not always happening. It seems that if the shutter speed is slower it seems to be much blurrier. I've attached photos to show what I keep getting with my shots. I use a Canon 5D MK IV. Would you say that the lens is back-focusing?6S7A0002.jpg

First photo is 1/500 sec at 4/3.5 ISO 320 70mm



Second photo is 1/250 sec at f/3.2 ISO 320 70mm


Third photo is 1/640 sec at f/2.8 ISO 320 70mm



I can't see anything sharp in your second image, either behind or in the small amount of the image to the front of the subjects.

The best way to tell if the focusing is off is set the drive and focus for single shot, choose decent lighting so you can keep the shutter speed at 1/1000, set the AF to use a single microfocus point in the middle of the screen, and set up a target to photograph so that you can see where the lens is actually focusing. 

You can use as simple as a stick stuck in the grass, put the focus point on the stick, and closely examine the grass (transfer images to your computer to see them in large format) to see whether the grass is most cleanly in focus in the plane of the target, in front of, or behind the target.  When needed, it is easy to adjust the focus calibration with the 5D4 and other late model Canon DSLR bodies.

The old rule about shutter speed at least equal to the reciprocal of focal length is just a rough guide.  If you have the skills and form of a sharpshooter, then you can handhold at much slower shutter speed.  If held casually, motion blur due to camera shake can easily occur even at pretty fast shutter speed.


EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video


John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic


The very first thing to do is reset the 5D Mk IV, fantastic camera BTW, to default settings. Menu>Tools>Clear all settings>Clear all custom settings. Very important you make sure you do the clear all custom settings. Make sure any micro focus adjustment is set to zero. Remember micro focus does not make a lens any sharper. It simply moves the critical focus point either forward or backward. All lenses are as sharp as they'll ever be on day one of creation. This is not to say that something can't go awry inside later on, though.


Now you can try Rodger's trick for AF. It would be great if you have more than one lens to do at the same time, too. The reciprocal of the lens FL is just a guide. And, as we age that rule may need to be upped a bit. Say even doubled!

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
01/18/2023: New firmware version 1.1.1 is available for EOS R6 Mark II
01/09/2023: Help ensure your autofocus is properly aligned with a Canon Precision Alignment
01/03/2023: Welcome to CES 2023!
12/08/2022: New firmware version is available for EOS C70
12/07/2022: New firmware version 1.7.0 is available for EOS R5
12/07/2022: New firmware version 1.7.0 is available for EOS R6
11/22/2022: New firmware available for EOS R3, EOS R7 and EOS R10
11/16/2022: We're thrilled to be ranked among the Best Employers for Veterans in 2022 by Forbes.
08/31/2022: New firmware version 1.1.1 is available for RF 70-200mm L IS USM
08/09/2022: New firmware version 1.2.0 is available for CR-N 300
08/09/2022: New firmware version 1.2.0 is available for CR-N 500
07/14/2022: New firmware version 1.0.1 is available for CR-X300
06/10/2022: Service Notice:UPDATE: Canon Inkjet Printer continuous reboot loop or powering down
06/07/2022: New firmware version 1.3.2 is available for PowerShot G7 X Mark III
05/31/2022: Did someone SAY Badges?
05/26/2022: New firmware version is available for EOS-C500 Mark II
05/26/2022: New firmware version is available for EOS-C300 Mark III
05/10/2022: Keep your Canon gear in optimal condition with a Canon Maintenance Service
05/05/2022: We are excited to announce that we have refreshed the ranking scale within the community!
04/26/2022: New firmware version is available for EOS R5 C
03/23/2022: New firmware version is available for EOS-C70
02/09/2022: Share Your Photos is back!
02/07/2022: New firmware version 1.6.1 is available for EOS-1DX Mark III
01/13/2022: Community Update. We will be retiring the legacy profile avatars on 01/20/2022. Click this link to read more.