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New Contributor
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎06-17-2020
Accepted Solution

Powershot sx720 hs won’t stay in focus

I am considering returning this camera, but I thought I would put an honest effort into checking settings and get some feedback before I blame the camera for my failure to set it up properly. I bought this because of the 40xs zoom with 4x digital zoom to capture better shots than
my iPhone. Objects to capture: hummingbirds, wildlife, family vacation photos, my pets, the occasional lightning storm here in the desert. Another reason is for shooting macro shots of my plants and flowers in the garden and of course who doesn’t want beautifully detailed pictures of the moon? Well imagine my disappointment when no matter what I do, when I zoom in to the distance I want, the picture goes blurry or the camera decides to focus on stupid rocks that are further away, rather the cool little lizard I had in the frame a second ago. Even tried to take video, started out good, but I zoom in closer to the lizard to get better detail and BAM! Blurry! Am I doing something wrong in the settings? What do you recommend? Or should I just return this camera and chalk it up to system limitations and purchase a better one? I had a powershot years ago and I remember using the shutter to focus first, but this one just won’t do it.
Product Expert
Posts: 345
Registered: ‎07-03-2019

Re: Powershot sx720 hs won’t stay in focus

Hi there,


There's a few things that can help, but the types of shots you are describing tend to be a little difficult to get right even with a more advanced camera.


There are a couple things you can do to increase your keeper rate however. The first would be to stay out of the 4x digital zoom range as often as possible. Digital zoom crops into the camera's image sensor and degrades the image so it should only be used when you absolutely have to see closer and cannot crops in the computer. Second, keep in mind that all autofocus systems depend on contrast, the variance of light and dark areas with defined lines. Speaking from my own experience photographing lizards in my garden, they naturally blend into their environment to stay safe from predators so it is often very difficult to achieve good focus on them specifically. The lizards in my garden are varying degrees of brown and gray just like the dirt and rocks here in New Mexico so other than manually focusing, you may try backing up or zooming out just a little and trying to focus on something close to the lizard which has greater contrast. If they tend to hang out in the same or similar area all the time you might even consider bringing a small contrasty object with you as a focus reference point. Something like a small sheet of paper with writing on it would do the job.

The lens will also let in less light the further in you zoom which will also impact the focus accuracy, and the relative brightness of the moon compared to the night sky can make proper exposures very difficult, but if you set the camera to "P" and move the exposure compensation down to -1 or -2 you may find your moon photos come out better as well.


The types of photos you are mentioning can definitely be a challenge for a little camera like this, and if you intend to take these types of photos often you may have better results with something more advanced like an EOS Rebel T7i or EOS M50. These have more advanced optics, focusing systems and more manual functionality which will allow you to really dig in and make much better images than what the automated functions of your Powershot will do but if this is more of a one-time thing then the suggestions above would be your best bet at getting more "keeper" shots.

New Contributor
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎07-24-2021

Re: Powershot sx720 hs won’t stay in focus

The "solution" seems more like an excuse than a solution.  I recenty bought a SX70 HS and have the same problem.This is the most expensive camera I've bought and every other camera I've had takes betterpictures in zoom than this one.  I wouldn't invest any more money in a Canon product if I can't get better pictures from this camera.07162021BurrowingOwl.jpg07202021Bat.jpg

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