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RF 70-200mm Blurry/Shaky Images


Hey there!

Random issue that cropped up recently. I've had my RF 70-200 for a couple of months now and have used it quite a bit, however it is still very very new to me. This is my first telephoto. I've noticed that when I take a photo at random the resulting image will be blurry/shaky looking. I shoot 98% on a tripod and thus use the tripod collar. It usually will happen when the shutter speed is 1 second or greater, in f/ 8-22 and when the histogram is leaning left, it seems to get better when shutter speed is <0.5 seconds, but not always.

I first started noticing this with leaves at 200mm. It looked like there was some camera movement. I chocked it up to the trees moving, but then I started noticing stationary items that cannot move also looked this way.

I've taken hundreds of shots to try to figure this out, but can't seem to form any really pattern to it. I'm hoping that it is just something simple or that I'm overlooking.

I have not had this issue with other lenses, I own a EF 16-35mm (with adapter) and an RF 50mm prime.

Camera is an EOS R.

Things I have tried but to no avail:

  • Both mechanical and electronic shutters (silent shutter) - I thought it was shutter shake
  • Various filters (on and off)
  • Tightening everything on the tripod down (including collar)
  • Changing types of ground that the tripod is on (hard or soft)
  • Firmware is up-to-date on both lens and camera
  • Happens in both AF and MF
  • Image Stabilizer is off
  • Focus limiter switch is always on full
  • Happens in One-shot and Servo 
  • Changing drive modes (usually single shooting or low continuous)
  • Touch shutter and shutter button
  • Continuous focus on and off

Photo examples that I took to try to show what this looks like:

First photo the words are doubling.

11canon 1.jpg22canon 2.jpgFV2A7969.33333.jpgcanon 3.jpg

AF was achieved on each photo. I really don't know, it's like the tripod or camera moved, but assure you it did not. These photos were taken today and yesterday in an attempt to document it. Hope it just something simple that has completely evaded me.


Thanks for looking 😃 I appreciate the feedback in advance.


Rising Star
Rising Star

The main problem is the slow shutter and how you're triggering the shutter.

1) the slow shutter means that any movement of the camera may result in the double image, even though you're on a tripod.

2) when you press the shutter or press the touch shutter on the back of the screen, you are moving the camera a fraction which gets compounded by the telephoto lens.  what you are seeing is two stabilized images of you pressing the button and then the 2nd image after your finger is lifted off the camera. notice that the double image is slightly down consistently, this can be pressing the top shutter down or pressing the touch shutter forward (moving camera forward which will result in lens moving up/down).  The blur is consistent (see trash can and tree limbs pics)

if you weren't using a tripod the image would have just been blurry but the image is recording two distinct moments when the camera is moved ever so slightly.

the fix is to use a wireless trigger so that you don't touch the camera at all.  or use a faster shutter speed.

Another possible problem is cheap quality filters that is causing a ghost image.  Unless you're using high quality filters, cheap glass can cause a ghost image depending on the lighting hitting the filter at a certain angle.

edit: on second thought you are set to continuous focus, you should be using single shot focusing.  continuous focus will also compound the issue i described above as the focus is not "locked" to a single shot and may be adjusting with the slight movement of the camera.


Rebel XT, 7D, 5Dm3, 5DmIV (current), EOS R, EOS R5 (current)

View solution in original post


@jaewoosong wrote:

if you weren't using a tripod the image would have just been blurry but the image is recording two distinct moments when the camera is moved ever so slightly..

That is probably a side effect from having IS turned [on] when using a tripod.  It is only very specific combinations of camera body and lens that can automatically disable IS when the lens thinks it is mounted on a tripod.  Those combos are usually 1Dx bodies and a “great white” prime.

"The right mouse button is your friend."

The fact that it is so inconsistent, this does make sense.

Since your comment I took more shots in an attempt to try some of the solutions here.

  • You're right, there are two distinct captures in the image. (I thought this was initially due to shutter shake or IS being on by accident).

The shakiness and double image result is the same whether it's 0.4 or a 10 second exposure. I took notice of how much movement the camera/lens had when mounted on the tripod. The movement is very minimal, but enough to offset an image.

  • Put my hand on the camera while pressing down on the shutter produced a blurry image if I wasn't so aware of the slightest movement and even then it would happen.
  • I found that the touch shutter is definitely much better, but the slightest additional pressure would produce a fraction of movement resulting in the doubled image. I can use the touch shutter consistently without producing a blurry image, I just have to be extremely careful not to create slight movement.

I use Kase wolverine filters, which have been fantastic and used/rated by plenty of photographers that I respect. Unless there's something I don't know about the quality of their glass?

I think you're right that increasing the focal length does compound any movement's impact on the image, something I'm definitely not use to. Since this is my first telephoto, I'm still adjusting to its use (I usually shoot wide).


To sum it up: slight, slight, slight movement compounds with focal length. When I'm out in the environment, it's easy to overlook this slight movement. Longer exposures need super graceful touches or a remote shutter.I thought I was being careful, I need to be more careful. I absolutely love taking longer exposures.

For now, unless I experience otherwise I'm going to say this is the answer. I'll be back if not. I'm just so happy this was user error and not something mechanically wrong!

Thank you for your wonderful feedback! The Canon community is awesome!


I just noticed that you stated your Focus Limiter on the lens is always set to FULL.  That could be a major part of the issue you’re experiencing with focusing on small objects dozens of meters away.

"The right mouse button is your friend."

I don't necessarily focus on small objects per se.  I primarily shoot landscapes and don't want to limit focus ability, that's why I have always kept it on full.

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