Blurry photos are among the most common gripes of amateur photographers, and if you’re one of them, you may have looked at your lens to see if there are any smudges on it or dirt that’s causing this problem.
However, before you clean your lens, you should figure out why it’s blurry in the first place—and if it can be easily fixed. Here are some of the most common reasons your camera lens is blurry.
1.) Dirty Lens
If you’re trying to take a picture and you notice that your camera lens appears blurry, there are several reasons why that might be happening.
For starters, if you’ve noticed physical scratches on your lens or dust covering it, it may be causing a blurring in your photos. Similarly, an unclean lens could be causing flares—white spots in photographs—which will also make things appear blurry.
To fix these issues, make sure to wipe down your camera or lens before taking pictures. Using canned air can help clear away dust without damaging anything else on your camera.
2.) Poor Focus
Your camera has two settings that determine how sharply your photos will be focused. The autofocus setting automatically determines which of your subject’s elements are in focus based on its proximity to your lens, while manual focus determines where your lens actually focuses on.
If you’re experiencing blurry images with either focus mode, it may be because there isn’t enough light for your camera to properly see what you want it to focus on—and instead, it focuses on nearby objects.
Increase lighting around your subject or decrease lighting behind them if they are standing close to a wall, for example.
3.) Subject Movement
If your photos look blurry, there’s a good chance it’s because your camera lens was poorly focused at some point. Sometimes cameras are hard to focus on fast-moving objects, but more often than not, you’ll find that poor focus occurs when something moves in front of your camera lens while it’s taking a picture.
It can be anything from someone walking by to leaves blowing in the wind. Unfortunately, once you’ve taken a photo, there’s nothing you can do to fix poor focus. All you can do is try again with a better technique next time.
The simplest way to achieve good focus is to use autofocus or manually adjust your settings so everything stays still long enough for you to snap a great shot.
4.) Camera Movement
It’s not always easy to see, but a DSLR in your hands shakes just a little bit with every shot you take. That means any time you’re shooting at anything slower than your camera’s maximum shutter speed, what you see through your viewfinder will be blurry.
So how do you fix blurry images caused by camera movement? There are two things to consider: using faster shutter speeds and using a tripod.
Using Faster Shutter Speeds
Try taking shots at 1/250th of a second and 1/1000th of a second. Between those two speeds, there’s often an exposure sweet spot—when your image won’t look blurred because your hand was moving around during exposure.
Using A Tripod
This is especially useful for landscape photography or when you have to use a long shutter speed. Mounting your camera on a good, sturdy laptop will prevent the camera from moving around during exposure, ensuring a sharp photo.
5.) Poor Lens Quality
Have you ever taken a great photo, but when you look at it later, it looks fuzzy or out of focus? A badly manufactured lens can make an otherwise amazing camera underperform.
What do you do in that case?
You replace your lens.
If your camera has always had blurry photos no matter what you’ve tried, then look for another lens. Your camera doesn’t necessarily need to be replaced; perhaps all you need to do is to upgrade your lens.
It may be hard to swallow spending hundreds on a new lens when your old one still works, but sometimes all it takes is changing up lenses to see drastic improvements—so don’t hesitate to start looking for better ones (you could even try and find some second-hand).
Hopefully, now you have a better idea as to why your camera lens is blurry.
In my many years of photography, a blurry photo is most often caused by a dirty lens. The best way to prevent this from happening is to clean your lens after every use. Not only will this prevent your photos from looking blurry, but it will also keep your lens in a good condition.
Other reasons why your photos are blurry can include poor focus, subject or camera movement, and in some cases, a poor quality lens.