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Why are my Canon Powershot photos blurry?

It can be frustrating when you take photos with your Canon Powershot camera, only to find later that many of the images are blurry or out of focus. There are several potential causes for blurry photos with a Powershot camera. In this article, we’ll discuss the most common reasons you may get blurry images and what you can do to resolve the issue.

Holding the Camera Still

One of the most common reasons for blurry photos with any camera, including Canon Powershot models, is movement or shake when capturing the image. If you move the camera slightly while pressing the shutter button, the movement gets recorded in the picture, causing blurring.

Canon Powershot cameras tend to be fairly lightweight and compact. While this makes them very portable, it can also amplify the effects of camera shake. Slight movements of your hands can shift the camera enough to create blur.

Try using two hands to hold the camera as still as possible when shooting. Support your upper body and elbows against your torso while capturing images to minimize camera movement. Using a tripod or placing the camera on a stable, flat surface can also help reduce blur from camera shake.

In addition, enabling image stabilization features on compatible Canon Powershot models can help compensate for small amounts of camera shake and improve sharpness.

Motion Blur

In addition to camera shake, motion blur is another common cause of blurry Powershot photos. This occurs when the subject or objects in the frame move while the shutter is open, resulting in a blurred effect.

Fast moving subjects like kids, pets, or sports increase the chance of motion blur. A shutter speed that is too slow can also contribute to this effect. Most Canon Powershot cameras have Scene modes or Exposure settings that select faster shutter speeds to freeze motion and avoid blur.

If you are manually setting exposure, make sure to choose a fast enough shutter speed to “freeze” your subject in place. For fast moving subjects, try shutter speeds of 1/250th of a second or faster to eliminate motion blur.

Focus Issues

Problems with your Powershot’s autofocus system can also lead to blurry, out of focus images. The camera may struggle to lock focus or keep up with moving subjects in lower lighting conditions. Autofocus limitations are a common cause of blur with any camera brand.

If you find the autofocus is slow or frequently “hunts” to find focus, first make sure the camera’s focusing areas are aimed at high contrast areas of your subject. Avoid focusing on uniform or repetitive patterns. In lower light, also consider enabling the AF assist light if your model has one.

You can also switch your Powershot to manual focus mode for stationary subjects. This prevents any autofocus issues from causing blur. To further aid focusing in manual mode, enable focus peaking if available on your camera model.

Depth of Field

The depth of field, or area in sharp focus, can also impact blurring in Powershot photos. Depth of field is influenced by aperture, focal length, and distance to your subject. Wide apertures produce a shallow depth of field with limited area in focus. Narrow apertures maintain sharpness through a larger range.

If you use wide apertures or zoom in closely on a subject, only a small portion may be within the zone of sharpness. The background or other elements at different distances then appear more blurred.

Stopping down the aperture, zooming out somewhat, and having more distance between your subject and background will all increase depth of field. This helps keep both your main subject and other elements in focus and avoids a strong blur effect.

Lens Issues

In some cases, blurry Powershot photos may indicate an underlying issue with the camera’s lens system. Problems like decentered lens elements, loose lens components, or damaged focusing motors can affect image sharpness and focus accuracy.

Take a series of photos with different subjects at varying distances. If pictures are consistently softer on one side or corner, it points to a decentered lens element that may require repair. Blurring that occurs randomly in different areas likely signals a more serious issue needing professional service.

Dropping your Powershot or otherwise subjecting it to shocks and impacts raises the chance of lens damage. Handle the camera carefully to avoid costly repairs.

Dirty Lens or Sensor

A dirty lens or camera sensor can also degrade image quality and sharpness. Smudges, dust, fingerprints, or other debris gets captured in your photos. Always keep the lens and sensor surfaces clean.

Use a quality microfiber cloth and specialty cleaning solutions to wipe the lens safely. For sensor cleaning, use products specifically designed for cameras. Cleaning kits provide swabs and solutions to remove stubborn dirt from the sensor area.

Harsh Lighting and Weather

Challenging lighting situations can make it harder for your Powershot to focus properly, resulting in some blurring. Bright, direct sunlight creates high contrast and shadows that confuse the autofocus system. Low light levels also hamper focusing ability.

Try to avoid shooting in the harsh midday light. Morning and evening hours produce more favorable illumination. If stuck in bright conditions, use fill flash to balance and soften shadows to assist with focusing accuracy.

Cold weather can also impact image sharpness due to the effects on the lubricants in the lens mechanism. Let the camera gradually warm up when bringing it inside from freezing temperatures outside.

Using Smaller Image Sizes

By default, Canon Powershot cameras typically capture photos at the highest available resolution and file size. This produces detailed images for enlarging or cropping. The trade-off is that any camera movement or focusing errors become more visible at higher resolutions.

When photographing fast action or in unstable conditions, consider temporarily switching to a lower resolution setting in your camera’s menu. The smaller image size helps mask the effects of any blurring or focus issues.

Image stabilization and other features also work more effectively at smaller sizes. Just remember to switch back when you need full resolution images again.

Enabling AI and Advanced Features

Many newer Canon Powershot models incorporate advanced features powered by AI and deep learning technology. These include scene detection, facial recognition, and more robust autofocus capabilities that help optimize settings to capture sharper photographs.

Be sure to keep your camera’s firmware updated to take advantage of the latest autofocus and image processing improvements. Enable any AI assisted focus modes that your Powershot offers to maximize focusing accuracy and sharpness.


While blurry photos can certainly be frustrating, understanding the potential causes allows you to take steps to resolve focus and sharpness issues with your Canon Powershot camera. Holding the camera steadily, selecting appropriate exposure settings, cleaning the lens, and leveraging advanced focusing features will help you achieve tack-sharp images.

With practice and experience with your particular Powershot model, you will better understand its focusing capabilities and limitations in different shooting situations. Mastering basic photographic techniques like exposure, depth of field, and motion freezing will also improve your percentage of keepers versus blurred shots. The camera likely isn’t the limitation – a little knowledge and effort will have you capturing crystal clear photos in no time.

Other Common Canon Powershot Issues

In addition to blurry photos, there are a few other issues that can arise with Canon Powershot point and shoot cameras. Being aware of these potential problems and their solutions will help you resolve them quickly.

Battery or Power Issues

Difficulty powering on, sudden power off, or quickly draining batteries can be signs of underlying battery or power problems:

  • Try new, fully charged batteries – old or defective batteries can cause power issues
  • Inspect battery contacts – dirty or corroded contacts prevent proper power flow
  • Use manufacturer approved batteries – lower quality batteries may not supply adequate power
  • Check power button – debris or damage can prevent proper power operation
  • Consider battery replacement if operating time becomes very short to extend usable life

SD Card Errors

If the camera cannot read or write to the SD card, it could be caused by:

  • Dirty or damaged SD card contacts – gently clean contacts with soft cloth
  • Faulty or slow SD card – check card health and speed rating
  • Card not properly inserted – remove and reinsert card to ensure proper fit
  • Damaged card slot – possible need for repair if contacts are bent or damaged
  • Incompatible SD card – use recommended type and storage capacity

Camera Freezes or Unresponsive Buttons

A frozen camera operation or buttons not working can indicate:

  • Software malfunction – conduct a power reset and update camera firmware
  • Memory card error – remove and reinsert SD card, use different card
  • Low battery power – replace batteries with freshly charged ones
  • Physical damage – drops or moisture intrusion can damage button contacts
  • Faulty buttons – possible need for replacement of affected buttons

Flash Firing Issues

Problems with the built-in flash firing can be due to:

  • Flash settings not enabled – turn on flash firing in camera menus
  • Battery exhaustion – check and replace batteries if low
  • Fully charged flash – flash needs time to recycle between shots
  • Dirty or obstructed flash – gently clean and clear any debris
  • Damaged flash mechanism – possible repair needed if charging or firing incorrectly

Visible Dirt or Debris

Carefully inspect the camera body, lens, and sensor for any signs of dust, dirt or internal debris:

  • Clean lens surface – use proper cleaning supplies for lenses to avoid scratches
  • Clean sensor – use sensor cleaning kits and swabs if debris visible in images
  • Check body sealing – moisture or dust intrusion indicates compromised seals
  • Inspect interior through lens mount – visible debris requires professional cleaning
  • Use an air blower – gently blow away most external dust and dirt

LCD Screen Problems

If the LCD is slow to turn on, dark, scratched, or displays errors, potential causes can include:

  • Reset camera settings – perform a reset and check if issue persists
  • Check screen cable – reseat LCD connector cable inside camera
  • Burned or faulty screen – test by attaching external monitor
  • Low battery power – screen may darken or slow when battery is low
  • Physical damage – replace screen if cracked or scratched display

Difficulty Connecting or Syncing

If you have problems linking your Powershot to external devices, try:

  • Update firmware – ensure camera software is up to date
  • Try different cable – test cables to rule out any defects
  • Reset wireless settings – enter new WiFi password if changed
  • Check compatibility – confirm smart device OS and app versions supported
  • Clear camera network settings – reset built-in wireless settings


While Canon Powershot cameras are generally reliable, they can develop issues after prolonged use. By understanding the most common problems these point and shoot cameras experience, you can quickly diagnose and resolve many problems yourself. For more serious issues requiring internal cleaning or part replacement, seek help from a Canon authorized service center.

Tips for Taking Better Photos with your Canon Powershot

Once you’ve addressed any current issues causing blurry or unfocused images, you’ll be ready to start capturing amazing shots with your Canon Powershot. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Powershot’s capabilities:

Learn the Camera’s Controls

Get very familiar with your particular model’s buttons, dials, menus, and modes. Mastering the camera’s controls allows you to adjust settings quickly to capture shots in changing conditions.

Select Camera Priority Modes

Use Priority modes like Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority to control depth of field or motion blur while the camera handles other settings.

Use Scene Modes for Specific Situations

Leverage Scene modes optimized for portraits, night shots, fast action, landscapes and more to automatically adjust multiple settings at once.

Focus on Eyes in Portraits

Enable Face Detection to track people. Select Eye AF modes to precisely focus on the subject’s eyes for tack sharp portraits.

Clean the Lens Frequently

Keep your lens and sensor spotless to maximize image quality and eliminate dirt or smears in photos.

Shoot in RAW Format

Capture RAW images when possible to retain full editing flexibility with exposure, color, and white balance.

Use Burst Mode for Action

Switch to burst or continuous shooting mode and hold the shutter to capture multiple rapid shots of moving subjects.

Try Different Flash Techniques

Bounce your onboard flash off ceilings or use flash exposure compensation for natural looking light.

Leverage Image Stabilization

Optical and digital stabilization features help reduce blur from camera shake, especially in low light shooting.


Learning photographic fundamentals while also taking advantage of your Powershot’s advanced shooting modes opens up unlimited possibilities for capturing outstanding images. Move beyond basic snapshots and deploy your Canon Powershot’s capabilities like a pro to take your photography skills to the next level.