Photography can be frustrating. At times, the moment is perfect, the lighting is fantastic, but when you get home to view the shots, you may find the pictures on your digital cameras are pink, blurry or simply not as perfect as desired. So why are my digital camera pictures blurry? Well, this is a common question that doesn’t have an easy answer. Don’t worry. We are here to help.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Camera shake is the root cause of many unclear and blurry photos. The blur is caused when there is a movement of the camera during exposure.
  • The best digital camera shutter speed needs to be reciprocal to the lens’ focal length. So, for example, if you are using a 60mm lens, the camera shutter speed needs to be 1/60s or faster.
  • Instead of using the rear display to compose your shot, the best practice is to raise the camera to eye level.

Reasons Digital Camera Photos are Blurry

Knowing why your digital camera pictures get corrupted is the first step to finding a long lasting solution. Notably, it is sometimes possible to get blurry photos even when the camera isn’t faulty and is in perfect working condition. The following are a few reasons:

Insider Tip

If you want to shoot a landscape, the image needs to have a considerable depth of field. Therefore a small aperture is advisable since it increases the size of the area focus. The problem here is, with a small aperture, the trade-off is a diffraction effect that makes fine detail begin to blur.

Slow Shutter Speed

Perhaps the most common reason why you don’t take sharp images is due to the camera shake as you press the shutter button. Not many people can hold a camera steadily for one second without shaking.

It’s, therefore, essential to avoid blur caused by a camera shake when holding a camera or pressing the shutter button. Ideally, the camera shutter speed needs to be reciprocal to the lens’ focal length or plane of focus. For example, if you use a 60mm lens, the camera shutter speed needs to be 1/60s or faster. Therefore, the longer the digital camera lens length is, the more likely they’ll be camera shake leading to a blur. Similarly, a slower shutter speed also needs to be reciprocal to the lens’ plane of focus.

Not Holding the Camera Properly

Your camera holding technique will lead to a lot of blurry shots. Avoid holding the camera on the sides, even if you have a fast-enough shutter speed. This prevents camera shake. Also, instead of using the rear display to compose your shot, the best practice is to have the camera raised to eye level for image stabilization.

ISO is too High

At times, camera users are forced to use very high ISO to avoid camera shake. However, over the years, the sensor design in cameras has significantly improved, making it possible to shoot at very high ISOs. But, it is essential to note that there will be a lot of loss of detail in sharp images at high settings, and more so when shootings JPEGs, since the camera will use noise reduction, which compromises fine detail.

Lens Aperture too Low or High

If you want to shoot a landscape, the image needs to have a considerable depth of field. Therefore a small aperture is advisable since it increases the size of the area focus. The problem here is, with a small aperture, the trade-off is a diffraction effect that makes fine detail begin to blur.

On the other hand, if a section of the image you have focused on is pin-sharp with a blurry background, you will be shooting with a shallow depth field. This is common when shooting with a wide aperture on your lens, which is perfect since it isolates the subject from its background.

However, if that’s not what you are aiming at, you will have to increase the aperture, which will increase the depth of field, bringing the background into focus.

F.A.Q.

What causes an image blur?

Camera shake is the root cause of many blurry and unclear photos. The blur is caused when there is a movement of the camera during exposure, causing a ghost-like image of the subjects in the picture.


Why will photos be blurry with a slow shutter speed?

The camera shutter speed needs to be reciprocal to the lens’ plane of focus. So the longer the digital camera lens length is, the more likely they’ll be camera shake leading to a blur.


How does holding a camera affect image quality?

The camera holding technique will lead to a lot of blurry shots. Avoid holding the camera on the sides, even if you have a fast-enough shutter speed. This prevents camera shake.


Will my camera take blurry pictures if my ISO setting is too high?

At a high ISO setting, there will be a lot of loss of detail on the entire image, especially when shooting JPEGs, since the camera will use noise reduction, which compromises fine detail.


STAT: The US’s online camera and camcorder industry have an estimated market size of $9 billion, with approximately 3.746 registered businesses. The industry has experienced an industry growth of 6.3% between 2016 and 2021 (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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