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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎05-08-2016

problems with blur

Hi,

 

I am an amateur who wants to take nice photos of families and friends. I've had my Canon Rebel about a year. I have been having issues lately where many of my images are not in sharp focus. It just seems to be hit or miss. I don't remember having this problem as much when I first started taking pictures with my camera.

 

So, nowadays, all seems well when a review the photos in the viewfinder, on the camera but when I load them onto my computer and reveiw them, I am disappointed as many of them are not in sharp focus. It is frustrating to me and I've lost all confidence that I can reliably take any photos. I mostly use AV mode and use a wide aperture and let the camera choose the shutter speed.

 

Here is an example of a photo that turned out slightly blurry. What is causing the blur? I am handholding and the shutter speed is fast. I have aimed for someone's eye, probably the older child, press the shutter halfway and recompose... Thanks for any advice anyone might have for me.

 

1-2016-05-08 11.34.54-1.jpg

 

 

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Posts: 10,562
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: problems with blur

Don't rely on my opnion, but it looks like the older child's shoes are in good focus, while his face looks soft.  Then again, my glasses could simply be dirty.  If you are using a Rebel, I assume that you probably do not have AFMA in your camera.  Auto Focus Micro Adjustment.

 

http://www.dofmaster.com/doftable.html

 

With a wide aperture, you are going to get a narrow depth of field.  Use the calculator at the above link to get an estimate of how much, or how little, depth of field you are getting in your shots.

 

Many lenses have a soft focus when the aperture is fully opened.  Try stopping it down one or two steps.  Doing so will also give your more depth of field.  Finally, I think your eye has become more experienced at looking at your photos, and is now simply more critical of what it sees.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: problems with blur

Yes. Don't try to use big apertures for group shots. Hard to line up faces to all be in focus in a shallow DOF. 

 

Cant see on phone screen if sneaker is in focus but if it is you would perhaps have a front focus problem. See if problem is consistently front focus or back focus. 

 

Also a avoid doing focus and recompose with big apertures. Same problem. 

Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
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Posts: 13,169
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: problems with blur

What exactly is your set up.  You said a Rebel? And which lens do you have?

Besides that, I can tell you the one thing that will help you the most is to use just the center focus point.  Turn all the others off. Then put that one focus point on the exact place you want to be in perfect focus.  Most likely the child's face.  If you are using multiple focus points the Rebel is going to lock on the closest thing it finds. Possibly the boys shoe?

 

A camera can have only one perfect in focus point.  Anything in that "plane" will be in focus.  Everything in front of that plane or behind it will become more and more OOF (out-of-focus).

 

"I mostly use AV mode and use a wide aperture and let the camera choose the shutter speed."

For a photo like your example you can simply use the "P" mode. Cameras are smarter than you might think they are! Smiley Happy Sometimes they are smarter than the photographer! Smiley Very Happy They have taught me that several times.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: problems with blur

[ Edited ]

"Besides that, I can tell you the one thing that will help you the most is to use just the center focus point.  Turn all the others off.  ...  A camera can have only one perfect in focus point.  Anything in that "plane" will be in focus.  Everything in front of that plane or behind it will become more and more OOF (out-of-focus)." 

 

Using just the one center focus point is good advice.  I cannot tell you how many times I have pressed the shutter halfway, and then released it because I didn't like the focus points that the camera selected and lit up.  Frequently, I would run out of patience and just snap the picture, which would frequently not have the focus that I was looking for.  I used to ask myself, "Which red square [out of several that lit up] is the camera using to set focus?"  It cannot use all of them, just one.

 

Be aware that the "plane" of perfect focus will usually be a constant distance from the lens, which means a curved arc of a circle, actually a 3D sphere, with the lens in the center of it.

 

I am looking at your picture on a 27" monitor, and I am noticing the grass.  The grass between the older child's legs seems to be the best focus, while the grass outside of his legs, both nearer and further away from that focus distance, seem to be not quite as sharp and in focus.  If you have DPP, then use the feature that illuminates the focus points on your shots, so that you can see what the camera was focusing.  This is most useful when using just the center focus point. 

 

If lighting up the focus points can be done In Lightroom, I wish someone would point out how to do it for me.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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Posts: 13,169
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: problems with blur

"If lighting up the focus points can be done In Lightroom, I wish someone would point out how to do it for me."

 

OK Smiley Happy

Show Focus Point Lightroom Plug-In

 

You should be able to handle trhe rest?

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: problems with blur


@ebiggs1 wrote:

"If lighting up the focus points can be done In Lightroom, I wish someone would point out how to do it for me."

 

OK Smiley Happy

Show Focus Point Lightroom Plug-In

 

You should be able to handle trhe rest?


Ok, thanks for that, Ernie!  Smiley Very Happy  I'll install it this evening. 

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎05-08-2016

Re: problems with blur

I have a Rebel T5i with a Canon 18-135 mm zoom lens and a Canon 1.8 50 mm prime lens. I usually use the zoom lens, but for the above picture, I used the 50 mm lens.

 

The aperture of that pic was 2.0 and the shutter was 1/4000(!). Is 2.0 too wide for this kind of subject matter? I thought their heads were close enough to the same plane... I had my camera set to One Shot and I aim the center for one of the subject's eyes and recompose. I have AF point selection set to Manual selection with the center chosen. Could AF Tracking be causing this? I thought that if I had One Shot selected that it would not track. Maybe I have a fundamental misunderstaning about how the auto-focus settings work, or how they work together. I don't understand if I aim for the eyes how the grass in front of the subject could get the most focus. My subjects didn't move that much. Did I just miss when I aimed for the eyes?

 

I will try shooting more in P mode more to see what the camera does. That's a good idea. Smiley Happy

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Posts: 10,562
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: problems with blur

No, your problem could be Depth-Of-Field.  The following chart is from the link I posted earlier.

 

DOF_Table_50mm_APS-C.PNG

 

I highligted the " f/2 " column, and the "Distance" column.  "Near" refers to the minimum distance from the camera where focus is accepted as nominally sharp.  Likewise, "Far" refers to the maximum distance from the camera where focus is accepted as nominally sharp.

 

Objects closer than "Near", or further away than "Far", will be out of focus, typically appearing as bokeh.  Take notice of the difference between the "Near" and "Far" values.  This difference will be your DOF. 

 

At a distance of 10 feet, the DOF is just under a foot, which mean if the older child's sneaker, or grass between is knees is in focus, then his face will be close to, or just beyond, the "Far" edge, and dropping out of focus.  I think this is what you are seeing in that shot.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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Posts: 10,562
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: problems with blur

[ Edited ]

@kamiller12 wrote:

I have a Rebel T5i with a Canon 18-135 mm zoom lens and a Canon 1.8 50 mm prime lens. I usually use the zoom lens, but for the above picture, I used the 50 mm lens.

 

The aperture of that pic was 2.0 and the shutter was 1/4000(!). Is 2.0 too wide for this kind of subject matter? I thought their heads were close enough to the same plane... I had my camera set to One Shot and I aim the center for one of the subject's eyes and recompose. I have AF point selection set to Manual selection with the center chosen. Could AF Tracking be causing this? I thought that if I had One Shot selected that it would not track. Maybe I have a fundamental misunderstaning about how the auto-focus settings work, or how they work together. I don't understand if I aim for the eyes how the grass in front of the subject could get the most focus. My subjects didn't move that much. Did I just miss when I aimed for the eyes?

 

I will try shooting more in P mode more to see what the camera does. That's a good idea. Smiley Happy


Shooting in P mode will teach you a lot, provided you have a basic understanding of the "Exposure Triangle".  If not, then do a web search for that phrase.  You'll be up to speed in 5-10 minutes. 

 

You could also use "Av" mode, where you dial in a constant aperture, and the camera determines shutter speed.  Always try to use the lowest ISO possible, one that keep your shutter speeds above 1/200 of a second for still shots.  Determine an aperture setting based upon your distance from the subjects.  If in doubt, just dial in f/8, and shoot away.

 

Turn off AF tracking, and use just "One Shot" until you get a better feel for exposure settings and focusing.  Try to aim for the eyes for portraits.  Don't forget that you can place the center focus point on the eyes, lock focus, and then re-adjust the aim to get the shot you want, and then fully depress the shutter button.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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