Subject Not In Focus

If I have it on autofocus and it looks clear in the view but comes out completely blurry, is that the autofocus not working, or is it just me? I have a Canon Rebel T1i.

The rufous-tailed hummingbird is in focus but the wings and tail are blurred. The camera was set to 1/300th of a second shutter speed. Focus confirmation on the head. Wings and tail are blurred because the shutter speed was not fast enough.

My Answer: Good question.  When you look through the viewfinder and focus – there’s a green dot in the lower right or left of the viewfinder.  That green dot flickers if you’re on AF-C and it’s solid if you’re on AF-S.  That’s the focus confirmation.  Your camera is focusing on something. 

BUT, if the shutter speed is too slow then you won’t stop the action.  Shutter speed too slow and the subject will be blurry.

Here are some screen grabs from various camera manuals to illustrate:

Reminder that shutter speed stops action. The shutter speed (that’s the 125 above) needs to be fast enough to freeze the action.

Shutter speeds to keep in mind when shooting:

  • 1/8th of a second blurs water (that’s 8 in the view finder) if camera is on a tripd
  • 1/15th of a second is needed if camera’s on a tripod but the subject is gently moving
  • 1/60th of a second is needed for living subjects standing still
  • 1/250th of a second is needed to stop fast walking or slow running
  • 1/500th of a second is needed to stop running
  • 1/4000th of a second is needed to stop a duck in flight

This is the type of thing we cover in my Basic Photography class. Join me for a class in the future. See all my online classes on my website.


%d bloggers like this: