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Author Topic: do image stabilisers decrease image quality?  (Read 12055 times)

tron

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Re: do image stabilisers decrease image quality?
« Reply #60 on: November 09, 2012, 08:36:53 AM »
Seriously now.

300mm f/4L non-IS IQ > 300mm f/4L IS

70-200 f/2.8L non-IS IQ > 70-200 f/2.8L IS
Ok, many will complain and mention that version II is better but that was many years and many lens elements later. Not to mention the price.

I understand that was then. Now if we pay much much more we get IS with high IQ

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Re: do image stabilisers decrease image quality?
« Reply #60 on: November 09, 2012, 08:36:53 AM »

weixing

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Re: do image stabilisers decrease image quality?
« Reply #61 on: November 09, 2012, 09:22:04 AM »
Hi,
   For those who interested in Canon lenses, you can download the Canon lens book "EF LENS WORK III" from the below website:
http://www.canon-europe.com/Support/Documents/digital_slr_educational_tools/en/ef_lens_work_iii_en.asp

   This is the Sep 2006 edition, so no information on the latest Canon lens, but very interesting to read.

    Have a nice day.

sanj

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Re: do image stabilisers decrease image quality?
« Reply #62 on: November 09, 2012, 09:56:14 AM »
I observe (sometimes) with my 24-105 that if the IS kicks in heavily, the bokeh SUFFERS.
The focussed parts are still quite sharp, but the bokeh gets wild and rough.

This makes actually some sense, as the theory says that "good" bokeh comes from well aligned elements, we all agree that most primes have a "better" bokeh than zooms.

Hmmm. 'Kicks in heavily'?? 'Wild and rough bokeh"??? hmmm. You seem to have a better eye than me!

tim

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Re: do image stabilisers decrease image quality?
« Reply #63 on: November 11, 2012, 08:30:13 AM »
Physicist specialising in optics here.

Do image stabilisers decrease image quality?

Yes.  All other things being equal, they do, and for two reasons:
1. A certain optical formula requires a certain number of elements.  Adding extra elements above the minimum required causes problems, such as extra internal reflections and extra aberrations or distortions which then have to be corrected by altering the optical formula.  The overall formula is then no longer perfectly optimal.
2. The IS group puts extra constraints on the design of the rest of the lens.  In the case of telephotos there is usually plenty of space available for an IS group, but wide-angles are much more crowded.  Inserting IS forces the designer to reshuffle the main optical elements and make certain compromises in the design.

Here's the more interesting question:

How much do image stabilisers decrease image quality?

It depends.  It depends on the skill of the designer, and whether he/she is allowed to employ expensive materials, expensive lens coatings, and strict manufacturing tolerances.  There aren't too many examples of pairs of lenses which are identical except for addition/deletion of IS.  Canon's 70-200mm f4 lenses (figure below) are superficially identical, but actually have slightly different optical formulae.  In this case the (more expensive) IS version happens to be slightly better.



So if you're willing to pay for it, IS can -- in certain circumstances -- have little or no significant effect on image quality.  However, even with the best designers and most expensive manufacturing, there are physical limits.  Certain non-IS lenses will never have IS counterparts which are as good.

Click

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Re: do image stabilisers decrease image quality?
« Reply #64 on: November 11, 2012, 09:55:38 AM »
Very interesting info. Thanks Tim.

Ale

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Re: do image stabilisers decrease image quality?
« Reply #65 on: November 11, 2012, 11:17:13 AM »
For those who are looking for simple lens design should check out this 440mm f5.6:

http://www.rugift.com/photocameras/440mm-f56-telephoto-lens-canon.htm

Optical construction: 2 elements in one group  ;D


sanj

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Re: do image stabilisers decrease image quality?
« Reply #66 on: November 11, 2012, 11:30:38 AM »
Thank you Tim!
Since you know what you talking about, could I please ask you two questions:
1. Does IS mechanism reduce only the sharpness of a lens or causes any other type of IQ reduction?
2. Is the IS reduction of IQ enough that it is visible to the eye? (I do not have IS and non IS version of the same lens to make a comparison.)
Appreciate your reply. :)

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Re: do image stabilisers decrease image quality?
« Reply #66 on: November 11, 2012, 11:30:38 AM »

tim

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Re: do image stabilisers decrease image quality?
« Reply #67 on: November 11, 2012, 06:41:08 PM »
1. Does IS mechanism reduce only the sharpness of a lens or causes any other type of IQ reduction?

The IS group is just a bunch of lenses, and so in principle it can suffer from all the same aberrations and imperfections as any other lens.  However my guess from looking at the design is that internal reflections are the most significant effect.  That would show up as flare and reduced contrast.

Quote
2. Is the IS reduction of IQ enough that it is visible to the eye?

It's not something I worry about.  It's going to be a subtle effect, if visible at all.  To test for it you'd need a pair of lenses with the same optical formula except for the IS group, and I'm not aware of any such lenses.

Looking at Canon's 70-200 lenses, the IS versions are both better than their non-IS counterparts.  They are also quite a lot more expensive, and my supposition is that the price difference includes upgraded optics in addition to the IS.  So in practice, from the customer's point of view IS actually improves your image quality because you are buying a better lens overall.

dolina

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Re: do image stabilisers decrease image quality?
« Reply #68 on: November 11, 2012, 07:09:40 PM »
Yes they do! That's why they sell them at a higher price than lenses that do not have the feature.
Visit my Flickr, Facebook & 500px and see my photos. :)

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Re: do image stabilisers decrease image quality?
« Reply #68 on: November 11, 2012, 07:09:40 PM »