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Lens not focusing


Hello, I'm new to the camera/photography thing so I don't know much about much. For context, I have a Rebel T7 camera, and I recently purchased a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L USM lens. I take a lot of sports pics of the kids and thought this would be a nice little upgrade from my Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III lens. I'm often taking photos from afar and am zoomed in to 200mm with the new lens and not a single picture came out clear, all were out of focus. Pictures were taken from a tripod with AF for some and manual focus for others. I did some test shots at home zooming in on the bookshelf and still couldn't get any focus on the photos. Being new, I'm not 100% sure I'm doing something wrong, but I don't feel like any of the photos should be that out of focus. With closer shots the lens focuses better, but I still think it's not as clear as my other lenses. I'm at a point where I'm thinking it's more of a lens problem than a me problem, but wanted to be certain before sending it back. 


I appreciate and look forward to any help!

Thank you!



Hi and welcome to the forum!

First, just make sure that your lens has the autofocus switch set to the ON position.

Second, make sure that the camera is not set to macro mode according to the dial on the top, right side of your camera. If in doubt refer to P30 of your manual, HERE is a link to the on-line version.  That dial should be on P, Av or Tv mode, but not the one with the flower

If neither of those work, look up how to reset your camera to factory default. 

cheers, TREVOR

Professional photographer, engineer and educator since 1980

"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
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OK, here is what you need to do. I am going to suspect this is a used lens? BTW, it is not a "nice little upgrade from my Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III lens."  It is a major upgrade!

First reset the T7. Menu, tool, clear all settings and clear all custom settings. Now set the T7 to P mode. ISO 200 and daylight WB. Make sure the camera is set to One shot not Ai-servo, never Ai-servo.  Use the center focus point, only. Make sure the lens is set to AF, not MF.  IS in the on position. Consult your manual if you do not know how to do any of these settings.


Now on a nice bright sunny day go outside and take some random shots. Shoot some trees, buildings, go to the park. Take a few of the kids. Different distances. You know random stuff just make sure some have vertical lines, a fence, and good contrast (not the sky). Now doing all this, if it works and all the shots are great there is nothing wrong with the camera and lens. If it doesn't work the lens is faulty and needs service. However if it is the first original model, it may be out of service life by Canon. So, a local camera service center may be your only option. Perhaps you can return it.


Make sure you follow the steps exactly especially resetting the T7 to default. A lot of the time new folks will try to out think the camera. And, a lot of the time the camera is smarter than you think it is. You will be far better served if you stay on the P mode side of the dial. P, Av, Tv are best for sports. Avoid manual and Ai-servo.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


Thank you, Tronhard and ebiggs1! I will give these a try later this afternoon! Though I don't like the angles that I get on this particular field, the daughter has a softball game that I'll be taking pictures at and will utilize the tips you both provided and see what I can get. I've always used the sports mode for shooting these sports pictures and never ran into an issue like this so it threw me off some. 


" I've always used the sports mode for shooting these sports pictures ..."


That would not be my first choice nor Trevor's I suspect.  When you want the best photos and I am sure you do, its best to follow what the pros do. None use Sports mode! The settings on that side of the dial bassically turn your good DSLR into a P&S. The same as an iphone.


Folks that buy a EF 70-200m f2.8L lens are looking for the best. It is one of the best lenses ever made only being topped by its newer models.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

"That would not be my first choice nor Trevor's I suspect."

I had expectations that that would be the case, I think I've been in a comfort zone of sorts of not having to make adjustments to settings on the camera for my shots so much, I have no excuse for that. I've got the settings that you guys recommended dialed in on the camera on my lunch, and I'm going to try to take pictures with both lenses to have a comparison of sorts.

I also missed that you said what a major upgrade this lens was versus my old one, I was initially feeling down on this purchase since pictures weren't coming out as expected and started thinking this was a wasteful endeavor, but it got me excited again now that I know I was at least heading in the right direction! Even if I may have to return it pending what I can figure out with it.


Set your camera on your tripod and take a photo with your 75-300mm lens set to 200mm using whatever settings you normally use and get good images with. (It doesn't matter if they are not the most optimum settings if they are giving you images you are happy with for now; improving your skills can come later).

Now put your 70-200mm lens on. If that isn't giving you images equal to or better than your 75-300 lens you have a lens problem to sort out. If the lens is switched to AF does it seem like its focusing? In MF can you manually focus the lens. Is your camera set to One Shot AF? Camera shouldn't actuate shutter if the green focus light doesn't come on.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LR Classic

Hello, John!

I've had the opportunity to do exactly that today. I've attached a picture from each lens, definitely thinking there's a lens issue. Used pretty close to the exact same settings. AF was one and does go through the motions of focusing, I can also attempt to MF but still doesn't come out clear. It is set to One Shot AF. When I switched lenses, I noticed how much more clear it is looking through the viewfinder on my old 300mm lens vs the 200mm lens (which is also old, bought used). 200mm lens.jpg300mm lens.jpg

Hi. Definitely see what you are talking about. 

One more thing to suggest. Try using Live View via the rear LCD.

If the lens focuses properly in that mode Canon can adjust it. 

Another possibility is the lens itself is defective. Do you know someone else with a Canon camera you could try? There are usually a bunch of Canon shooters at kids sports events. 

If the problem still exists can you return the lens?

Can you post the files (preferably RAW) to Dropbox or One Drive?



John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LR Classic

I believe on a different day, I did attempt to focus from live view, you can hear it go through the motions and will take a pic when done, but still comes out blurry like this.

Offhand I don't know anyone with a Canon, these photos were taken at a high school softball game and the two people I've seen have only used camera's without built in lenses or Nikons.

I still have the ability to return the lens, it was an eBay purchase 🙄 lol

I can, I've uploaded a couple photos from each lens to this link, both jpg and RAW.

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