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Camera Losing Focus Over Time? The Fix is Simple!

security camera lens

Modern megapixel surveillance cameras offer increased image quality and greater flexibility in where and how you can mount your cameras. However, sometimes these features cause problems instead of fixing them. If you have video that changes focus throughout the day, changing one setting might be all you need to do to fix the issue!

Here’s the common scenario:

You get a brand-new camera installed and check the quality of the footage. Things look great!

You go about your day and want to check the feeds before heading home for the night. After all, with all those new features, your low-light footage should be stellar.

When you pull up your feeds, everything is blurry! Frustrated, you head home and plan to tackle it in the morning.

When you come back in the next day, things look good. But once again, by the end of the day, images are soft and blurry.

What’s going on?!

Turns out, one of the common features on many surveillance cameras is probably causing a problem while trying to improve image quality.

The most likely culprit for this problem is a camera set to auto iris.

When you focus the image in bright lighting, the iris is smaller. This prevents light from washing out your camera image. However, as the day goes on—and the sun goes down—the iris opens to let in more light and capture more detail. When this happens, the depth of view shrinks.

What once was a crisp image is now blurry!

Fortunately, the fix is simple.

If your camera includes an auto back focus (ABF) feature:

  1. Place a neutral density filter on the lens. This will simulate conditions that cause the iris to open as wide as possible (You can also wait until lighting in the scene is naturally low)
  2. Set the zoom to wide
  3. Set the focus to near
  4. Place an item at the desired range you wish to keep in focus
  5. Adjust the focus accordingly
  6. Remove the filter

This should optimize focal range to account for a wide range of lighting scenarios. It also maintains the benefit of the auto iris feature of your camera or lens.

If your camera doesn’t have an ABF feature, you might consider switching to manual iris mode. While you’ll lose some of the light compensation features of the lens, you can count on the camera to capture detailed, consistent footage in a variety of lighting situations.

Once you’ve set the camera to manual iris mode:

  1. Place a neutral density filter on the lens or wait for lighting to dim
  2. Place an item at the desired range you wish to keep in focus
  3. Adjust the focus accordingly
  4. Remove the filter

Due to the seemingly random nature of this problem, you might worry that it’s a problem with your hardware or someone tampering with controls and settings. In fact, it’s just an issue in light compensation.

As a leading designer and installer of commercial surveillance cameras in Connecticut (West Hartford and other locations), Mammoth Surveillance can help with problems such as this. We’re available around the clock.  Simply call us or send us a message through our Contact Us page or live chat! With years of experience installing and maintaining a wide range of surveillance technologies, you can count on us to find the solution to any of your surveillance woes!

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