I recently did a shoot of a baby and my 6 year old son, and I got some fantastic shots that were super sharp. I then did another shoot of a 6 year old and toddler and every single photo was slightly blurry. I used the same lens on both shoots - canon 100mm macro 2.8F.

Can anyone provide any possible reasons for this? I am a little perplexed as to why every single photo (about 300) would have the same slight blur. I only used Av and changed the setting throughout the shoot along with the ISO. We also changed locations and therefore lighting conditions. I have photos really close up of the toddler's face and also from about 10 metres away. And I used AF with the central focal point only (so I could focus and recompose before taking the photo).

I don't know what focus setting the lens was on for the first shoot, but I know it was on 0.31 to infinity for the second. Could this have an impact?

The other thing is that I accidentally deleted the photos when trying to import them onto my iPad (stupid iPad!!), but my husband was able to recover them for me. I can't see why this would matter, but could this have impacted the photos?

I'm very confused, although I am still learning about photography, so any assistance would be very much appreciated.

Oh and I cleaned the lens before I used it.

Thank you.

  • Can you post an example? There can be many causes of blur. Particularly, what do you mean by "same slight blur"?
    – mattdm
    Jul 30, 2012 at 4:46
  • The first thing that comes to mind is that you may be having a bigger effect than you expect on the focus when you focus and recompose, either because of the necessary motion to realign the camera or simply because you unconsciously move more than you think when doing that.
    – mattdm
    Jul 30, 2012 at 4:47
  • Thank you mattdm that is definitely something to consider in the future, but I don't know if that could be the reason for all of the photo's though as I didn't do that for many of them.
    – Melissa
    Jul 30, 2012 at 6:32
  • When I said they all have a slight blur, I mean that there is nothing in any of the photo's that is sharp. When you zoom in on the photo, it's all just slightly out of focus. It's almost as though the camera is focusing just in front or behind the subject (I think, maybe?). I did forget to mention that my aperture never went above F5 (ie: I was generally using F4 - F5). Hope that helps, and thanks for your help. I can't attach any photo's to my question though, sorry.
    – Melissa
    Jul 30, 2012 at 6:33
  • 2
    What shutter speed did you use? If the lighting conditions were different, and lower for the second shoot, you might have been using a slow shutter. That could give you blur when hand held. Jul 30, 2012 at 9:18

2 Answers 2


Sounds like you may have accidentally hit the AF-M slider on your lens, causing it to go into M mode or manual focus mode.

This is easy to do, as I know from experience. Of course, to make this even more "non-idiot proof", in most modes, your Canon will refuse to actuate the shutter if the lens does not confirm focus. However, when the lens is in manual focus mode, the camera then assumes you know what you are doing, and will happily take all the out of focus images it can hold.

  • That's a good suggestion. However, I'm pretty sure it was on AF as I remember feeling the lens move when I half pressed the button. But I will test my camera again when I get home tonight and see if that could have been the problem. Thanks for your help.
    – Melissa
    Jul 31, 2012 at 0:41
  • I was thinking about this last night, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but if I had the camera set to Manual focus mode wouldn't that mean that some of my photo's would be REALLY out of focus considering the distance to the subject changed quite a lot through the day? If so, then that can't be the problem, as every photo is out of focus by the same amount.
    – Melissa
    Jul 31, 2012 at 23:41
  • Most likely if indeed there was a large range of subject distances.
    – cmason
    Jul 31, 2012 at 23:48

if you shot with an 100mm lens you should use shorter exposure time, like 1/125 seconds. I recommend you to set your camera to Tv mode (shutter speed priority), maybe crank up the ISO a little if you don't have enough light and give it a try. With shorter times you get more static images. For example, with 1/8000 you can "freeze" a fast moving object.

  • 1
    As I was doing a portraiture shoot, I wanted to be able to control my DOF. I realise that with a very quick shutter speed I can 'freeze' movement, but that's not what I was going for. My ISO was set to 400 as I found the shutter speed to be too slow and resulted in movement blur. So depending on the light at the time my shutter speeds ranged from 1/80 to 1/400 or so.
    – Melissa
    Jul 31, 2012 at 0:33
  • Sorry make that from 1/80 to 1/1600
    – Melissa
    Jul 31, 2012 at 0:44

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