Camera image very dark and very blurry

Hi there,

I’ve looked through the forums on this issue, and I’m at wits end.
Full disclosure: I have a Glowforge Pro that I received a couple of years ago. It sat in storage while I waited for the filter. My machine is among the first units to ship.
I just started using it two weeks ago.

Anyway, The camera exposure seems to be really dark, and blurry. Is this normal??
I typically use the machine for simple engraving on dark leather panels. For this application, the results have been excellent, but I am forced to use masking tape to ensure proper placement of art.
The problem is that the poor exposure and focus seems to limit what I can accomplish with this machine.

Any insight is appreciated.

Here’s a screen shot for reference.

Paul Cunningham
Leather Head Sports

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Hi Paul, lots of changes since two years ago. :slightly_smiling_face:

First thing you probably want to do is run the Camera Calibration here.
Some blurriness is normal out at the edges of the bed due to the fisheye effect of the camera…that lid camera calibration routine minimizes it. Using the Set Focus tool will also improve your alignment.

Darker materials are always going to be harder for the camera to see, so using a light colored masking tape will help a lot with placement on dark materials. The Set Focus tool will fire a red dot laser beam at the material, and the camera has to pick that up for the algorithm to do it’s calculations - it needs to be seen. So if you find that the alignment remains consistently off after running the calibration, try using a swatch of light colored tape on the surface of the black leather for the Set Focus step. Once you’ve done that you’ll get a better placement view.

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Yeah, that’s normal and expected on both counts.

Depending on the situation, you can put another piece of material underneath to highlight the edges - just adjust focus height to compensate.

It’s not really the “exposure”, but just how bright the LEDS are & how much light is getting thru the lens.

My unit, about 2.5 years in use, nearly always I notice the LEDs dim down a lot after an initial bright start. So like you, it’s often a problem with darker leathers. (Dan had mentioned they were supposed to be addressing this, but any change they did hasn’t altered my unit).

But as @jules or @eflyguy guy mentioned, placing light paper either underneath the leather, or just butt it up to on either side (remove after alignment), and that can work wonders & save masking the piece itself–IF you’re using an edge for alignment.

If you can’t align to an edge, use strip of masking to mark a reference line in the center of the piece for an alignment aid, so you don’t actually need to etch/cut this masking directly (I don’t like masking my leather, either).

Thanks so much for the tips! Once you’ve had a chance to try those out, please let us know how it worked for you. If you run into any more trouble, please let us know, and we’ll send over the next best steps.

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Thanks everyone for your insight and suggestions.
I cleaned the lens and recalibrated. I haven’t seen an improvement in the focus, but the accuracy of the engraving is still excellent.
I’ll continue to use the machine and learn.
Much appreciated.

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Camera focus doesn’t change, it is set then locked during manufacture. Calibration only aligns head position to the lid camera image.

Is there a process to adjust the focus?

No. Technically you could break the lock and adjust it, but that would void any warranty regarding the camera.

Ok, Thanks for your insight. Much appreciated.

Thank you for letting us know how that went. As @eflyguy mentioned, your lid camera can not be adjusted. If you notice your camera focus getting worse, please let us know so we can look into it further. I am going to close this thread now. If you run into any trouble or have any questions, please feel free to start a new thread or email us at

Happy Printing!