Are Out Of Focus Images Gone For Good?

Are Out Of Focus Images Gone For Good?

Everyone who has ever picked up a camera has felt the unforgettable feeling of regret when you miss the perfect shot because of a focus problem. It's a gut wrenching feeling because you know you can't do anything about it.


Wrong! While the incredible technology used by the professionals on CBS's CSI hasn't yet been released, those of us who don't live in a TV Drama will soon be able to use a program called SmartDeBlur. This program uses a massive amount of programming to redistribute the out of focus data from your image  into something usable. It even tailors its work to the specific type of blur affecting your image.

So while the program isn't perfect as you can see above, it's already seeing applications in law enforcement, in the courts and with private detectives.

So do you have a shot that was ruined by missed focus? Have you ever missed anything important? Let us know in the comments below.

Thanks to Gizmodo for the story.

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HATE HATE HATE BLOWING FOCUS!!!!! One of the few things I'm super paranoid about and make sure to take 3 or more duplicate shots for things that are absolutely critical.

Will this work with the rude bits that magazines and what not "blur" out?? This could be an interesting use of the program to see what is behind the blur and maybe even bad if hiding someone's identity... 

thats horrible to think of, but i dont think they just "misfocus, I think they use different patterns to blur. 

Pros should just get it right and in focus. That's that make you a porfessional! If you're having to worry about how to fix bad focusIf and you're relying on programs to get your pics on focus, then you should maybe try a different profession. That's just so unprofessional and there is no program in the world that can truly focus an out of focus photo. You either got or you didn't!

Face palm.  Serious. 

You've never missed focus?  Wow, you're better than I am.

I guess you assume that "everyone who has ever picked up a camera," is a pro? That comment is a joke, David.

My big point is this, if you miss the shot, you miss the shot. Sure I've missed spontaneous shots before, of course, but I don't try to "fix" them with a program and then show them off. They just don't look good no matter what you do. Take a look at that photo they are using as an example. the "corrected photo looks like crap if you look at it stand alone (also, there is no program in the world that can actually save a photo that is as blurry as their example. That HAD to be simulated. Ok, I admit, my opinion I wrote was a little jaded toward fake pros that take horrible pictures all the time and then try to fix them. I concede I have become a bit jaded toward them. I did not mean to insult hobbiest photographers and real pros who miss the occasional shot, which of course happens to us all. My mean point is, if you miss it, suck it up and let it go. Don't settle for a half-assed crappy "fixed" photo like they show above. I would never give that to a client or show that to a friend!

Sometimes, for family or sentimtal purposes, you might not want to,let it go. Is that so bad?

in David's eyes, yes.

 You're not allowed to hold on to anything other then the perfect shot! In fact, unless you get commissions, you shouldn't be holding a camera.

John Dewberry's picture

Lol did anyone notice his profile pic, or his photography logo?

W van de Kletersteeg's picture

David Crockett: I agree that being a professional means getting your sh*t together and making good pictures. But even so, there are situations where it might accidentally happen that you do blow it. Being able to fix this (small focus misses) is a godsend. I'm not saying one should rely on this possibility, but as a last resort it might save your ass (or your job). 

But aside from the practical use, let's look at it from a technical stadpoint. I was always taught that out of focus images could not be fixed because the information needed to correct it is simply not there. Makes total sense to me. Seeing how they reconstruct the blurry image in the example to something usable (though full of sharpening artifacts) really blows my mind. Where does this algorithm take the information from? Based on assumptions maybe? Really, I'm totally amazed.

No, that photo is only simulated! There is no way a program was able to get that much detail from that "blurry" photo! NO WAY!!!!!!!! I teach photography and photoshop and there is no way to get detail back from a photo that out of focus. The data is lost. That is why I am saying that you have to get it in the camera when you take the photo. Sharpening tool in photoshop is for taking a photograph that is normally in focus and making it razor sharp and for taking a  slightly out of focus photo and helping it a bit. But it CANNOT take a totally our of focus photo and fix it as shone. Nor can any other program out there. Period. And and challenge anyone to prove me wrong!!! 

eenoog (one-eye)'s picture

Obviously Google is not a tool in your shed (which isn't filled with a lot of sharp tools to begin with, or so it seems).  It's real.  

Also, this:

Frankly, this website should be careful about showing photos like that if they haven't tested the program themselves. That photo was retro blurred. there is NO WAY any program got that much detail from that blurry of photo. It is very deceptive and quite frankly, false advertising!!! Don't be fooled!!!!

If you look at the original link ( ), you can see that it was initially with software-blurred images (which is where the thumbnail is from), but that later real out-of-focus images were used.

The result with out-of-focus images is not as good as with software-blurred images (likely because the lens blur is not a gaussian blur), but it's still quite interesting !
The software is available, so you can make your own review !

Plain and simple, the finished product from these "fixed" photos still look like crap. The simplest solution is to check the photo, see if you got it focus and if not, shoot it again! If you can't, then just let it go! Let it gooooooo... let it gooooooooooooooooooooo...

Brandon Luckain's picture

I think you need to let it go, I think we get your opinion after 5/13 posts saying the same thing lol.

You have to remember this software is a "stepping stone", and the first one of many no doubt into  fixing out of focus shots. Yes the results might suck a little, but its the first step of many as software and algorithms improve with time.

Hopefully nobody would rely on this software for normal day to day work, however some of the other examples show recovery of text from documents or signs - Imagine the usage from a legal point of view, or trying to find out exactly a photos location by a sign in the background.

The examples show a an extreme example of "deblurring" too... So the results will look a little crappy - However, from a professional point of view, what if you have a photo from a wedding, or event that is absolutely perfect except that its marginally out of focus! The software itself maybe able to recover it to a point that a client would be happy with!

eenoog (one-eye)'s picture