There’s nothing more frustrating than coming home after a great photoshoot and realizing that the majority of your photos are out-of-focus. Blurry or ‘soft’ images can be caused by several different things. To rule out needing a lens calibration, look at the list below and make adjustments accordingly.
What can cause out-of-focus images?
- Using cameras with dirty lenses and/or sensors
- Shooting with a shutter speed that is too low for movement or shake
- Adjusting to the wrong focal point for your depth of field
- Using the wrong aperture setting
- Not letting your camera come to a complete focus before the image is captured
- Using incorrect image stabilization settings
- Shooting with poor quality equipment
How do you know if you need a lens calibration?
You have recently purchased a new lens and it’s not as sharp as you expected.
Lenses need to be calibrated specifically to your camera body. You ideally want to calibrate each lens to each of your camera bodies that you would be using them with. The manufacturers can’t guarantee perfectly calibrated lenses, especially when they can’t control how the lenses are handled during transport.
You accidentally dropped your lens or have treated it roughly and the focus is now off.
Parts and elements can shift in your camera overtime. This is made worse when the lens is handled roughly. These shifts can affect focus and overall quality but luckily can be corrected with a calibration.
Your images are consistently out-of-focus in the same way on every image.
Take a close look at a series of photographs that you recently took and are out-of-focus. If all of these photos are consistently out of focus in the same area in front of or behind your focal point, you should calibrate your lens.
How often should you calibrate your lenses?
Calibrate your lens if it is new to you or if you purchase a new camera body. If you are a full-time photographer that uses your camera every day, calibrating your most-used lenses once a month or so is recommended. If you shoot with your camera once a week or less, you can let it go longer in between. Some photographers only get their lenses calibrated once or twice a year or when they start to notice a problem.