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

Can't take sharp photos with Canon 5DS

Rising Star

Hi All,


I recently switched from Nikon to Canon, and bought a new Canon 5DS along with the Canon 24-70 II 2.8 lens directly from Canon USA. For some strange reasons I am not able to get sharp photos with this camera and lense. Curious anyone else have the same problems, and more importantly how to adjust or correct it? The photos look sharp when not viewing at 100% sizing, however, when zoomed in at 100% it definitely not clear. To be clear, these photos were taken on stable tripod and timer, so no movement. I also using manual focus and live mode, thus I certain the photos were focused before taking the photos.


Any suggestions?




Nice image and beautiful GSD! I just got back from walking my GSD Cheyenne (all black working line shepherd) and she makes herself a part of many photos.
EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

Thanks! How old is your GSD? Mine will be 11 in July. Doesn't like walking too much, much preffered saving what energy he has left playing with his favorite toy! 

Cheyenne turned 4 in August.  I have had several GSD but Cheyenne is the first working line shepherd and the temperament is different making her much more independent than my prior shepherds.  It takes a little getting used to, she is sort of like having a teenager who wants to argue rather than directly follow commands.


She is solid black except for a little white on her chin and a very small white spot on her chest.


The attached photo was an early experiment the day I got the 1DX M2 shot at 25,600 with her cat playmate Vladimir Purrtin blurred in the background.  Once the weather is nicer I need to get some good current outdoor shots.Cheyenne.JPG

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

Rising Star

Hello, I have the Canon 5DsR and the exact same lens as you do, I am not experiencing what you are, I also have several L Series Lenses, I have never micro adjusted and I am reasonably satisfied that I do not need to.


I also utilize CP & ND Filters, I have not found that it degraded the clarity.


I will say this about the 5DsR, my experience at f2.8 is that the DOF will in fact work against you, IMHO if I was looking for a close up f2.8 photograph I would not pick the 5DsR, would I would try is f7.1 to see if it the effect that I suspect it is.


I utilize the 5DsR primarily for wide angle landscape, I have heard low grumbling from the owners about the 5DS & DsR that on the shallow DOF it is like getting an f1.2 lens and then wondering why the photos look the way they do.

A DOF calculator can be enlightening for those who haven't spent time with this concept.  A quick google search brings up this one which hasn't been updated with all of the latest camera bodies but just plug in a camera model that has the same sensor size (full frame or actual crop factor) as your camera for the correct results:


When using the micro-AF adjustment on Canon cameras be sure and do the lens testing/setup with the lens wide open since depth of field is minimal and accuracy of focus is most critical under these conditions.  A lot of lenses that appear fine under typical usage will show the need for matching to the camera under more rigorous conditions when either shooting in low light or intentionally blurring the background is necessary.  Not taking the time and effort to do this lens setup with a better DSLR and set of lenses is like buying a sports car and neglecting proper suspension alignment because you will never get to experience the capabilities that you paid for.

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



I took a few sample photos with various apature and noticed marked improvement with 7.1 and up. Does that mean this lens was not made for the 5DS? Curious if I would run into the same issue when using 70-200 II 2.8?



The 24-70 2.8 L series lens will work fine with the 5DS and is one of Canon's most popular given its very useful focal length and low F stop capability. 


Assuming you have it set at 60MM with a nominal 8 foot distance to the subject the acceptable total depth of field will go from under 1 foot at F2.8 to over 2 feet af F7.1 and within this acceptable range the smaller range that is considered "tack sharp" will also increase as the apperture is decreased (higher F value).   Also note that the acceptable range where focus is acceptable is NOT just centered on the point of focus but will be greater to the rear of the subject and less for the front so with the lens wide open in some cases you will need to adjust where you autofocus to make sure that the range of focus achieved is what you want.  "locking" the AF and then recomposing is useful for this situation.


So focus effectively becomes far more critical as the lens is opened up and any focusing issues with the camera/lens combo will become obvious as the F stop is lowered. 


Set the lens wide open, zoom to 70 MM, choose single center focal point, and shoot slightly downward towards a highly textured carpet or outside with the grass. Make sure that the light is sufficient where the shutter speed is far faster than needed to avoid camera shake blur and take a couple of shots with AF on; manually defocus between shots and force it to focus again.  Sharpen the RAW file in DPP (or whatever software you are using) and display the focal point overlaid on the image.  See whether this point is sharp or if some point nearer or further from the focal point is maximum sharpness.  I suspect that your lens is front or back focusing slightly and needs to be corrected via the micro-AF adjust by lens settting.


If your test photos are sharp at the focal point then the camera and lens are doing what they should and your scene may require a different combination of F stop, shutter speed, and ISO to increase the depth of field so that everything of interest to you is in focus.  You are coming from Nikon and it is likely that Canon's program mode chooses a slightly different combination of shutter speed, F stop, and ISO (if set to auto) compared to what you are used to so you may have to make some changes in setup.  I rarely use the DOF preview button but it can be useful in these situations; normally the camera has the lens wide open while you are viewing and setting up the scene since this provides the brightest possible viewfinder display but pressing the DOF preview button will step it down to the settings it will use for the shot and this will let you better determine if the depth of the scene within focus is sufficient for your needs.

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

Thank you for the many comments and suggestions here!



After much testing, it was determined that the lense/camera was a bit out of alignment. It was slightly rear focusing. After the correction, the lens is focuing where I want it to.


That said, I am now noticing the entire frame is not tack sharp, especially toward the edge of the frame. I was wondering if I should be playing with the photo style the camera has? Speaking of which, any recommendation on what setting I should be using for Landscape, by that I mean what are the optimal settings for sharpness (i.e. Strength, Finesse, and Thresshold)?


I noticed the camera default setting has Auto and Landscape set to the same values.


To an earlier comments about stepping down on F stop to increase sharpness and depth of field. I am curious what's the optimal F stop for this lens for landscape?



Rising Star
My experience f7. 1

Per the latest test I did the other night, it seems F8 seems to provide the sharpest image. Now, trying to figure out what is the optimal focus point for 24-70 when taking landscape? Have not had times to hit the field to test. Any recommendations? Thanks!