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New Contributor
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎03-31-2019

Sudden fuzzy photos - EOS80D

I have an odd problem with my camera. I have been using my camera a lot this week due to graduation photos, so I know this issue is brand new and that the camera was working perfectly fine very, very recently. 

 

In short, my camera's photos are coming out extremely fuzzy. Auto mode seems to help, but not entirely, and I do not know how to fix the issue. Here are examples of photos I took recently, and photos I tried to take yesterday. I'll also show the comparison between manual and auto mode from yesterday. 

 

This photo was taken before the camera experience these problems:

IMG_4042.jpg

 

 

Here's what my photos looked like yesterday, same lens, extremely similar manual settings:

IMG_5244.JPG

Nothing in this picture is in focus.

 

Auto-mode was slightly better, but I still notice some fuzziness...

IMG_5237.JPG

 

 

Any ideas? Has this happened to anyone before? 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,799
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Sudden fuzzy photos - EOS80D

I noticed the out-of-focus shot is taken at f/1.8 (shallow depth of field).  

 

I also noticed you set the focus mode to AI-Servo (continuous).  For non-moving subjects, use 'One Shot' mode. 

 

Two bad things happen when you use AI-Servo (which is really only meant for action photography such as sports).

 

  1. AI-Servo uses a behavior called "release priority".  When you press the shutter button, it WILL take a photo whether the camera has had time to accurately focus or not.
  2. AI-Servo expects a moving subject and may try to react to any perceived motion (the slight motion of your body) and shift focus.
  3. Since you used f/1.8, the depth of field is thin ... so it's easy to miss focus.  (is there a reason you wanted to use f/1.8?)

Use "One Shot" mode.  One shot uses "focus priority" and will not take a shot until at least one AF point has locked accurate focus.  It does not expect a moving subject (once focus is completed, it stops attempting to re-focus ... which also means that camera to subject distance should not be changing.)

 

The backgrounds are a bit blown out in these images.  Use of fill-flash will help here by filling in the shadow so the camera can reduce the overall exposure and that will bring down the over-exposure in the background.

 

Your third image is much sharper than your first image (compare the definition in the subject's eyebrows).  But this is the result of the low (f/1.4) aperture used in the first image which created a very shallow depth of field.    In the first photo, though I can see some backlit hair on the subject's arms and the focus looks good on her dress, her face is slightly forward of the focus distance and is falling out of focus due to the shallow depth of field (low focal ratio).

 

In the third photo you used f/5.6 -- considerably broader depth-of-field ... so your subject's face and your subject's shoulders are within the depth-of-field.

 

 

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
New Contributor
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎03-31-2019

Re: Sudden fuzzy photos - EOS80D

I appreciate your feedback.

I noticed the AI-Servo, and I am still getting similar resutls in One-Shot mode. I was hoping that was it.

I understand what you're saying about f/1.8, and I am not looking for advice for my photography, although I appreciate it, it is simply not what asked.

Compare the two first images. Similar settings. But the second image has some sort of distortion. And, the same results are coming up even in One-shot mode. Both of the first two images have a "wide open" aperture, but they are extremely different in quality. I'm not claiming one is perfect. There is just a distinct difference that is causing me concern and wondering about potential damage... 

 

So to clarify: I am not ask for shooting advice. I am asking about potential damage to my camera and possible solutions, things to check/test, etc. 

 

The problem does worsen when the aperture increases, but comparing before-and-after of the issue arising with two large aperture settings shows that something is wrong outside of my ability, and it is not user error.

 

Thanks for you opinions, though.

Best,

Aubrey

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,799
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Sudden fuzzy photos - EOS80D

The 2nd image is simply missed focus ... plain and simple.  But that's easy to do in AI-Servo mode (press the shutter button too quickly and you'll get that result).  There is no unusual distortion (other than missed focus).  Everything I see in the photo is something I would expect to see in a de-focused image at large aperture.

 

I'm looking closely at your 3rd image and I don't see any issues that make me worry about a camera (I see over-exposure, but nothing that indicates the camera or lens isn't performing correctly).

 

The first image also has missed focus (focus is at shoulders instead of face).


@aubreys wrote:

 

So to clarify: I am not ask for shooting advice. I am asking about potential damage to my camera and possible solutions, things to check/test, etc. 

 


 

I don't see anything in these photos that suggests that your camera or lens is damaged.  I'm in specing the out-of-focus blur to see if I can detect any patterns that might indicate de-centered optics (e.g. if the lens took a hard hit and was internally damaged such as optical components were askew) - but I'm really not noticeing evidence of that.  Out of focus blur appears to be more-or-less symmetric.    Sagital vs. Meridonal blur seems to remain consistant around the corners.

 

If you are referring to the "bokeh balls" -- that's normal for out-of-focus blur when points of light are peaking through the gaps between tree leaves.  It's nothing to worry about (and a lot of photographers use it as an artisitic effect.  You can even create "designer bokeh" by using custom-cut large aperture masks that resemble things like stars or moons or other shapes.)

 

Also, the 3rd photo (I'm not sure what you're seeing here) looks fine to me -- and is sharper than your first photo.  I think you mentioned this is an example of photo that makes you suspect a problem and you posted the first image of an example of the lens & camera not having a problem.  I think the first photo is a bit soft in the face ... and the third photo is better.  I'm checking the out-of-focus background (in both) and everything appears to be symmetric (no side of the frame is noticeable more or less sharp than the other side.)

 

These are small JPEG images so I'm not looking at big RAW source files, but I'm not noticing problems that would indicate camera or lens damage.

 

 

 

And while you say you were not asking for shooting advice ... I'm still giving shooting advice.  This is because the "things to try" are changing the camera to a mode where you're likely to get better results.

 

Use of AI-Servo is not meant for non-moving subjects.  Certainly it is your camera so you can do as you want.  I'm just pointing it out because often a photographer doesn't realize they switched a mode and never switched it back (e.g. they forgot it and didn't realize the camera was still in a wrong mode.)  It's very easy to imagine missing focus in that mode because it requires a slightly different shooting style.  (it's not a camera defect)

 

Do not be too quick to blame the equipment.  

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
New Contributor
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎03-31-2019

Re: Sudden fuzzy photos - EOS80D

It is not plain and simple. I use this camera a ton. And, I have noticed something different than usual. You can choose to not trust my opinion that it is not simply misfocused, or you can move on. I am confident in my assessment, and have had other professional photographers look too. After using the camera and giving me their (multiple, separate, unbiased) opinions, they are also saying it is NOT user error and that something is strange about the camera when the aperture is higher than 5. This has not happened before. It is a new issue that I wanted some advice about. If it were user error this would have been happening for the last two and a half years Smiley Happy

 

Thanks again for your time towards the manner, but I am going to ask you to please refrain from commenting again.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,799
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: Sudden fuzzy photos - EOS80D

I am trying to be gentle.  You are resisting the notion that the issues may possibly be operator-error.  I will need to be a bit more direct.

 

Is it *possible* that your camera has an issue?  Sure.  It's possible.   It's just not likely based on the sample images that you posted and the settings that you chose (based on viewing the image EXIF data).

 

The likely issue is that your choice of settings ... AI-Servo and wide aperture ... resulted in missed focus.  This isn't a camera issue -- it's a photographer issue.  (Those other photographers are wrong).  When you use AI-Servo, the camera doesn't wait for focus confirmation before it takes the shot ... it's on you to half-press the shutter, wait until you believe it has locked focus, then full-press the shutter to take the shot.  If you focus & recompose, this will fool the camera into believing the subject moved and require a re-focus (which wouldn't happen in One-Shot AF mode).  Canon documents this.  There are videos and books that explain the focus systems and the nuances of how each mode behaves.

 

To isolate the issue to the camera, you'd need to perform some careful testing.  You would need a proper focus calibration target (not just any subject) which provides a flat, high-contrast surface as well as an adjacent scale laid at an angle which makes it possible to detect if a camera & lens has a front-focus or back-focus issue.   The camera must be on a tripod (hand-holding is forbidden as this completely invalidates the test and puts the blame back on the photographer).  Camera must be in "One Shot" AF mode.  A specific AF point must be selected (rather than automatic point selection) and typically it's the center point.  The shot should be triggered either via the self-timer or via a remote shutter release (such as the phone app, or a wired or wireless release) but not via physically pushing the shutter button (which would create vibration).

 

You can also test the camera by using "live view" mode which uses a completely different focus system vs. the one the camera uses in viewfinder (normal shooting) mode.  

 

Your third photo (I'm not looking at the EXIF right now but I thought I recall that it was f/5.6) came out with the most accurate focus of any photo you posted (and if I understood your explanation of the three photos ... this was one that you considered a photo that showed the camera having focus problems).  This adds more weight to the idea that the issue with photos #1 and #2 are photographer issues and not camera issues (otherwise you'd need to explain why a camera & lens with a focus problem just took an accurately focused photo).  Unless you were trying to focus on the building or the tree ... that camera is working correctly.

 

I can sense you really want to blame the camera -- that's premature.  There are a few photographer issues that need to be isolated before we blame the camera.  

 

If you'd like, you can contact Canon support and have it sent in for evaluation.  I suspect you'll get the camera back with a report that the camera is functioning properly and no issues were detected.  Which means you might waste a bit of money and be without a camera for a few weeks.  But if it would put your mind at ease ... maybe the investment is worth it.

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎04-01-2019

Re: Sudden fuzzy photos - EOS80D

[ Edited ]

 I think photo 3 is sharper than the first photo, but the first photo has a lot more contrast. The second photo is not focused well, anywhere in the photo. The third photo is focused well. 

 

I believe you might be seeing a lack of contrast in the photos 2 and 3. Perhaps your picture style in the camera was changed (less contrast) from your first photo, or a lens hood is needed to block light coming at an extreme angle into the lens, causing a washed out look. I edited the photo in photoshop and increased contrast and added some sharpening, and it looks ok after adding contrast.

 

 

 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 7,786
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Sudden fuzzy photos - EOS80D

[ Edited ]

@aubreys wrote:

I have an odd problem with my camera. I have been using my camera a lot this week due to graduation photos, so I know this issue is brand new and that the camera was working perfectly fine very, very recently. 

 

In short, my camera's photos are coming out extremely fuzzy. Auto mode seems to help, but not entirely, and I do not know how to fix the issue. Here are examples of photos I took recently, and photos I tried to take yesterday. I'll also show the comparison between manual and auto mode from yesterday. 

 

This photo was taken before the camera experience these problems:

 

Here's what my photos looked like yesterday, same lens, extremely similar manual settings:

 

Nothing in this picture is in focus.

 

Auto-mode was slightly better, but I still notice some fuzziness...

 

 

 

Any ideas? Has this happened to anyone before? 


I do not see any EXIF data.  What lens are you using?  Many consumer lenses are considered to be soft when shot wide open.  I do not think the problem is soft optics as much as it is inconsistent focusing.  The AF motors do not perform well enough to produce consistent results with narrow DOF.

 

Which part of the photos are you describing as extremely fuzzy?  I do no see anything extreme, but maybe focus is a little soft.  But, soft focus is to be expected on images posted in the forum, due to the file size limitations.

 

You asked for ideas.  Do not forget that.  You cannot determine the problems because you are operating from a baseline set of false assumptions, first and foremost being that there is something that must be wrong with the camera.  I suspect cheap lenses.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,176
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Sudden fuzzy photos - EOS80D

If you think something is wrong with the camera send it and the lens to Canon for them to check it out.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎09-16-2013

Re: Sudden fuzzy photos - EOS80D

Hi Aubreys.

 

I own this lens as well as the mark 2. It's a lens with a steep learning curve ...

The way you hold the camera at the time of capture is critical because of its weight.

Assuming that you support the camera & lens with your palm under the lens - sharp pictures can be had..

I don't see the in-focus point(s) on DPP (Canon's software).

 

img_1402: EF35 f1.4L; Spot metering; AV 1.4; TV 1/250; One-shot; Manual; Sharpness ?;

img_5237: EF35 f1.4L; Evaluative metering; AV 5.6; TV 1/160; One-shot; Night Scene; Sharpness 3;

img_5244: EF35 f1.4L; Spot metering; AV 1.8; TV 1/1000; Servo AF; Live View; Shapness 2;

 

As you can see the three pictures were taken with different setting(s) that result in different outcomes.

 

Spot metering is dependent on where the main focus point falls (i.e. on a dark pixel or a light coloured one, affecting contrast, and perceived sharpness) and is most effective when the subject fills all or most of the viewfinder.

 

Take some test shots with the camera mounted on a tripod with the same settings (i.e. evaluative metering, one-shot, same Av, say, 2.5, same sharpness, etc) - to know how the lens behaves under different subject and light conditions.

 

I don't think there is anything wrong with your lens and/or camera.

 

Regards,

Paul

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