I am a beginner to the photography on DSLR.

I have started with VR 18-55mm kit lens and its been not at all satisfactory till now. All the images I have taken till now are blurry. I have checked with A/M focus. Changed both aperture and shutter speed for different combinations, used different modes such as aperture, manual etc...nothing works...still no sharp images....the images are too blurry.

What I am doing wrong.

Both images are taken at around 1/800 shutter , 4 to 5 range Aperture with autofocus and manual focus both tried, result is almost same. I did not use any tripods, but I took photos with steady hands.

As you can see photos are blur , not at all sharp, and there is shadow everywhere on the face and overall photo.

What is wrong?

  • The 'shadows everywhere' are just the result of your exposure setting and the bright sunlight, which results in deeper shadows. That is perfectly normal and easily corrected in post-processing (or by shooting portraits in softer light). However, the focusing is a different issue and you should probably have your lens looked at to see if there's a fault. Jun 3, 2014 at 8:57
  • The sample image provided seems pretty sharp and clear as posted. It doesn't really show any problems that I wouldn't expect from a cheap camera and lens. Even on high end cameras, you will notice issues when pixel peeping (zooming in really far). Their were more obvious problems in the previous image that you removed from the post. Was that image shot when you were trying Auto focus or Manual focus? My gut impression is that focus was simply not correct on it.
    – AJ Henderson
    Jun 3, 2014 at 14:04
  • @AJHenderson Yeah I hope it is the issue with focusing and not the lense or sensor. The image which I removed had been shot with auto focus on. I know I have not explored the possibility of D5000 yet but it bugs me when the images of D5000 cant compete with 8MP mobile camera pics, I know I need to learn to use all features but just I am expressing my frustration. And further more I will test as per all suggestions and I will post further. Thanks..:)
    – cppiscute
    Jun 3, 2014 at 15:23
  • @statisticalbeginner - DSLRs are far more difficult to get focus, but that is part of what makes them better. You can achieve shallow depth of fields to get good background blur with a DSLR that would be impossible with a point and shoot, but the trade off is that the camera is also far more sensitive to proper focus.
    – AJ Henderson
    Jun 3, 2014 at 15:36
  • see also: Why are my photos not crisp?
    – inkista
    Sep 30, 2014 at 19:03

3 Answers 3


Are you using single capture focusing mode? (S)? (This is usually a physical switch on the camera, switching between S/C/A, in the case of the D5000 specifically it's an item on the Info screen). If you are using continuous focusing or auto, the camera will allow you to take a shot even if you do not have focus confirmation.

Also, if your VR is faulty, it can shake enough to create a blur.

To test focusing and lens fault (lenses can incorrectly focus sometimes):

  1. Use a tripod. Set single capture focusing mode. Set Autofocus mode (A). Make sure you never mess with the focus ring in A mode!. Turn VR off. Reset to factory defaults. Go out on a sunny day, find a non-reflective thing, like a car, even better, a poster on a wall. Use 18 mm. Set P mode. Focus with the center spot, that is, aim with it, then press the shutter button halfway down, and you hear the lens focusing. When you get a focus lock, press the button down fully. Make 3-4 shots like this.

  2. Do the same as (1) but with VR on.

  3. Turn the focus mode on the lens to manual (M). Turn off VR. Now turn the focus ring to one extreme. Make a shot, then move the focus ring a bit, then make another shot. Make at least 10 shots, sweeping the range the focus ring can travel. (Always separate the focus ring movement from the shutter actuation.)

  4. Do the same as (3), but turn VR on.

When you are done with this, you will have 3-4 photo from (1) and (2) each, and 10-10 photos from (3) and (4). Now go home, and fire up ViewNX. It can show the focus points the camera used for focusing.

Now, browse through your photos.

  • If (1) and (2) is fine, you were just not focusing correctly.
  • If (1) is fine but (2) is not, your VR is damaged.
  • If (1) and (2) is both wrong, check the focus points in ViewNX. Are you focusing correctly? Is the are near the focus points sharp?
  • Further, (3) and (4) shows how the in-focusness of the picture changes. Do you see changes in picture quality? Is there a particularly good one? If so, your focusing mechanics is okay (we do not know about the motor though). If you do not see changes, then your focus ring is not working, and maybe there is some damage in the lens.
  • Also check the change turning VR on causes. You should have no big difference (since you took the pictures on a tripod :-) ), but if with VR is noisier, again, there is some trouble with the VR.

Good luck debugging. :-)

  • Thanks.... I will go through all the steps .....hoping nothing is damaged or faulty...:(
    – cppiscute
    Jun 3, 2014 at 12:07
  • Please let us know what you have observed. :-)
    – TFuto
    Jun 3, 2014 at 13:03

i found the 18-55 stock lens that came with my D5600 was not as sharp as other lens i bought especially if you look in detail at the picture.

  • 1
    This seems backed up by some research as well. Maybe you can expand on this answer a bit more? What year/edition is this lens, and does it correspond to refs like photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-18-55mm-dx-vr-af-p where the lens was (by one reviewer) generally not good until some later rev?
    – user31502
    Dec 20, 2018 at 15:17

Do you have former experience with using a DSLR camera? I mean the basics: button functions, the lens, etc., and are you using a new camera unit?

Try to set your camera/lens in autofocus. Put it in 55mm. Look for something/someone for a test shot. Place your model at the center of your viewfinder. Half press the shutter button (do not completely press, that will trigger the shutter, press down only half to focus the lens.) Hold then continue to press to capture the photo. Check the image if its in focus.

For manual focus try to move the focusing ring of the lens to left and to right until you get focused in your subject.

If you still can't get a focused subject then maybe your lens or camera have a problem.

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