Can someone suggest what has caused the blur in my photo?

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by june_daley, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. Hi everyone,
    Attached are two crops from photos I have taken, both with Canon 40D at maximum resolution and similar amount of the subject's face in view.

    Bottom image taken with Canon 60mm Macro, f/3.5, 1/125 second. ISO 200
    Top image taken with Canon 55-250mm, f/3.5, 1/500 second. ISO 400
    My question is, what appears to be causing the blur/lack of quality? I am certain it is not a case of the lens or the focal length (as one is a zoom the other is fixed) as I have made crystal clear photos from the 55-250mm on occasion. I understand these things will make a difference, but should the difference be this big? Is it the ISO used that could cause the difference? Or does it look like hand shake?
    Thanks for any advice... I'm just a bit lost about how to fix this problem and whether it is the camera or me!
    Thank you!
  2. Sorry - I should correct myself! Top photo also taken with a Prime, Sigma 50mm
  3. Hi June,
    The top one looks to me like it's not correctly focused, it doesn't look blurred as a result of shaking. If it were the latter then you'd see each shape in the image (eyes, eyelashes etc) smeared out more rather than being evenly fuzzy. Plus you write the top one was taken at 1/500 sec which is more than plenty for (what looks like) fairly normal light conditions.
    Can you post the exif data from both photos to see what were the other settings of the lens and camera?
  4. Hi Paul,
    Sure I can... can you tell me how to do that?
  5. It could be a number of things, which are hard to tell without seeing the entire photo(s). The first thing that comes to mind is that you may have surpassed the minimum focusing distance for the lens you used in your top photo. In other words, you may have been closer to your subject than that lens is able to focus. Since the bottom image is taken with a macro, that's why you were able to get closer with that one.
    Other things that could have happened are that your subject may have moved, you may have moved (camera shake), or you weren't focused properly. Were you focusing manually or using autofocus? If you were on auto, it's possible that the camera chose the wrong point to focus on. The ISO shouldn't be the problem, since the more blurry photo was taken at a faster ISO than the clear photo, unless your subject wasn't holding still.
  6. Thanks for the responses... I'm getting the feeling I'm not focussing properly, as some photos from the same lenses are coming out tack sharp. I use auto focus, and although the photos aren't visibly blurred during normal viewing, once I zoom in a bit they are. I use one focus point, always on the eye of my subject. Maybe I am mis-foccusing.
  7. Blur all over the frame is a clue to camera shake. Isolated areas of blur are clues to subject movement. Blurs due to motion will usually have an axis.
  8. You mention that you were shooting with a Sigma 50mm. Were you shooting at the largest aperture? I'm not sure about the wide-open clarity of this particular lens but know that most are not tack-sharp at their largest apertures and tend to amplify any focusing errors, at least that's my experience with my 50mm f/1.4 (back in the days when the auto-focus actually worked).
    Depending on the software you are using, there is usually a simple way to extract the EXIF data. For Canon's own Digital Photo Professional you simply right click on the image and select "Info". You can cut and paste that here. It should look something like this...
    File Name IMG_1880.CR2
    Camera Model Canon EOS 5D
    Firmware Firmware Version 1.1.1
    Shooting Date/Time 3/29/2009 11:56:47 AM
    Owner's Name Copyright J S Lear
    Shooting Mode Aperture-Priority AE
    Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/200
    Av( Aperture Value ) 1.8
    Metering Mode Spot Metering
    Exposure Compensation 0
    ISO Speed 200
    Lens EF50mm f/1.4 USM
    Focal Length 50.0mm
    Image Size 4368x2912
    Image Quality RAW
    Flash Off
    White Balance Mode Auto
    AF Mode One-Shot AF
    Picture Style Faithful
    Sharpness 0
    Contrast 0
    Saturation 0
    Color tone 0
    Color Space sRGB
    Noise Reduction Auto
    File Size 11397KB
    Custom Function C.Fn:00-1
    Drive Mode Single shooting
    Camera Body No. 2821XXXXXX
  9. It looks like you top image is out of focus and not movement. If you are spot focusing by half-pressing the shutter release
    and then recomposing, make sure that the camera is set to hold the focus and you do keep the release half pressed during
  10. The top image appears to have been taken either wide open (i.e. maximum aperture) or at too close a focussing distance. Many lenses are very soft wide open
  11. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    I agree that the eyes in the top image are simply OoF.
    This could be from a number of causes: some have been already mentioned.

    If you want to nail (or get closer to nailing) the exact cause of the eyes being out of focus, then post the whole frame of that particular image, with the EXIF details attached.
    As you state that you always focus on the eyes, you might be rendering the eyes OoF when you recompose the shot - especially if you are working close to the subject and/or using the lens at wide apertures.
    BUT by posting a full frame of the problem image with EXIF details and details of how you focus and shoot will make it much easier to diagnose the matter: listing all the “possible causes” does not further your cause that quickly, IMO - I wait for those details before making further comments.
    EXIF details are attached to the image in camera and unless you remove them purposefully they should usually stay attached when you post the image here. Some Post Production Programmes delete the EXIF if you use "Save for Web Page" - so I suggest you don't do that
  12. If the top one was blurry due to camera shake, you would see some streaking in the catchlights in the eyes. It is simply out of focus.

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