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EOS 4000D Can't do distance photos


I've got a Canon 4000D and a EFS 18-55MM lens. I tried taking close up photos of boats going by in the distance, but everytime I zoom in with the feature on the camera, the photos revert back to a distant shot- so you can't see the boat up close. 

And when I zoom in, I can see the boat. I'm not sure what's going on.



The EF-S 18-55 lens that you are using is a wide-angle to normal view lens.  It is not designed for, nor will it be able to get you close-up shots of boats at any distance. The feature that you think is creating a zoomed-in image is, in fact, simply a magnification of the lens' normal view magnified for composition purposes by the display, but not what the lens is going to provide.

The key is understanding how to recognize a lens type.  The longer the 'reach' of a lens: or, if you will, the lens' ability to magnify and isolate distant objects is defined by its focal length.  The bigger the number of the focal length, the longer its reach. That is where a telephoto lens comes in.Lens numbers.jpg

The numbers displayed around the front of the lens are significant in indicating this.  Here is a diagram to explain what those numbers mean:
Lens Markings.jpg

If you want to get close-up shots of boats then you need to get a different lens.   The cheapest lens for that is the EF-S 55-250 (either the STM or USM model).  If you want something with a bit longer reach and better optics then the EF 70-300 IS USM MkI or MkII would be the next levels up.  A good place to look for those is at the Canon Refurbished Lens website, where lenses are offered to the market at mark-down prices in as-new condition with a year warranty.  See that site HERE 

Given you seem to be starting out on your photographic journey, I would suggest watching a video by respected National Geographic photographer Chris Bray AT THIS LINK , it may help you along your way!

cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris


Unlike a smart phone, a DSLR does not offer [digital] zoom.  The zoom feature in Live View is primarily used for focusing, metering, or just plain snooping and looking around.  Here is a link to set of videos that Canon USA released that was aimed at absolute beginners with cameras similar to yours. 

There are about a dozen videos.  They average around five minutes long.  They cover the basics of photography.  Here is a similar series of videos that discusses the various lens types available for interchangeable lens cameras. 

"The right mouse button is your friend."

I think you meant to say "digital zoom" instead of "optical zoom".  Optical zoom is available with any Canon zoom lens such as the EF-S 18-55 mm.


EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L, 600EX-RT (x6), ST-E3-RT
EOS C70, RF 24-70 f/2.8L IS, EF-EOS R 0.71x


To be more accurate, the EF-S 18-55mm lens you are using is a "moderately wide" to "normal" to "very short telephoto" zoom. It is a "general purpose, walk-around" zoom lens. Its very short telephoto simply isn't intended for or able to "reach out" to small, distant objects like you're trying to do. To use this lens with those, you would need to get a whole lot closer. 

Or you need a more powerful telephoto lens. This is one of the great things about interchangeable lens cameras like yours... you can change the lens to adapt it for different uses.

Canon's EF-S 55-250mm IS STM lens would be a good choice. That will give you much more "reach"... nearly 5X as much as now with your current lens. This lens is capable of making very nice images. NOTE: There is no "USM" model of this lens. There have been two versions of it: an original and currently a "II". I don't know if there is much difference between them. Both are "STM" lenses. Both have "IS" or "image stabilization".

NOTE: Both "STM" and "USM" refer to the type of motor used to focus the lens. "STM" is "stepper motor" that is quiet, smooth and pretty quick. "USM" is "ultrasonic" and even faster, not loud but also not as quiet as STM. There are also Canon lenses that have neither... they use a "micro motor", which is slower and noisier than either of the above. Sometimes less accurate, too.

I DO NOT recommend the Canon EF 75-300mm III lens that's often sold for very low price. It simply isn't all that great.... it has slower, noisier "micro motor" autofocus, doesn't have image stabilization, and has pretty poor image quality out toward the 300mm end of the zoom range (which is where you'll be using it for those distance boats).

The Canon EF 70-300mm IS USM zooms are another matter entirely, There are two quite good versions (an original and now a "II"). While they are likely to be a little more expensive than the EF-S 55-250mm, they both are very capable and get you an additional 45mm longer focal length... almost 6X more magnification than you have now.

There are even longer telephoto lenses.... Such as Canon's excellent EF 100-400mm L IS USM "II" (and the nearly good original version of that lens). But those start to get fairly expensive. Longer telephotos also are harder to hold steady. IS or "image stabilization" can help, but you still can end up with "shake blur" in your images unless you use a really fast shutter speed and/or a tripod to hold the camera and lens.


Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7DII (x2), 7D(x2) some other cameras, various lenses & accessories

Alan, while I appreciate your detail, but question if  the huge amount of detail you have given is something the the OP will digest, but whatever.  Certainly, if they are using a 4000D camera, it is highly unlikely that they are in the market for a 100-400L lens!  Personally, I try to provide a solution that is practically viable for the needs of the person seeking advice.  While you are technically correct in considering the cropping effect of the lens on an APS-C camera, I doubt if that is going to help the OP.  The essence of their issue is, as we both agree, that they have the wrong lens for the job.

You are right about there not being a USM version of the 55-250, I was confusing with the 18-135 lenses, so thanks for picking that up! 

cheers, TREVOR

Before you ask us, have you looked in the manual or on the Canon Support Site?
"All the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris
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