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Author Topic: Stabilization for IS lenses?  (Read 6482 times)

bholliman

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Stabilization for IS lenses?
« on: August 18, 2013, 08:57:58 AM »
Nasim Mansurov points out in the article at Photographylife.com that Nikon VR lenses need a few seconds to stabilize before vibration reduction is really effective.  He also indicates that VR is only beneficial when the shutter speed is less than the focal length of the lens.  It may actually hurt image sharpness otherwise.  His testing was with supertelephoto lenses, 300mm and up so this may or may not apply to shorter lenses.

http://photographylife.com/proof-that-vibration-reduction-should-first-be-stabilized

Does anybody have any information if this is also true for Canon IS lenses?  I plan to do some testing myself at some point when time allows.
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Stabilization for IS lenses?
« on: August 18, 2013, 08:57:58 AM »

rs

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2013, 09:34:46 AM »
The mk II Canon super tele's have mode 3 IS - this leaves it off for composing so you can more easily track erratically moving subjects, and then powers on in an instant to stabilise the lens for the shot:

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/standard_display/Lens_Advantage_IS

I'd guess if this can power up and be effective that quick, at least some Canon lenses don't suffer from this two second rule.
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Click

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2013, 10:15:10 AM »
Very interesting thread, looking forward to the results.

Sporgon

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2013, 10:28:59 AM »
I've had a hunch that IS may randomly effect sharpness at higher shutter speeds, but it is just that; random, not easy to test or replicate.

So at the moment I just don't know, but I switch it off when using speeds that I am confident I can hand hold 95% shake free.

I should add that's for normal focal lengths. I can't hand hold 300 mm and above to save my life.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2013, 10:31:38 AM by Sporgon »

alexanderferdinand

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2013, 11:51:50 AM »
I never turn of the IS on my 70-200IS  v2; never noticed unsharp pictures above 1/250s.
2 seconds for the IS or VR to wait seems a bit long; I give my glasses with IS half a second and this seems to be ok.

Pi

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2013, 12:02:24 PM »
IS on a tripod can be a problem, this is what he is saying.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2013, 12:12:09 PM »
Old design lenses with IS do not turn off automatically when on a tripod, and after a few seconds they begin to hunt and that causes the image to jerk around.  Newer images sense the tripod and don't do that.  The very long telephoto lenses generally need IS even on a tripod, because there is always some motion.
 
It can be true that very high shutter speeds may not always work well with IS, but the premise of shutter speeds of 1/focal length is wrong.  Most newer high MP cameras need 1/(2 X the effective focal length) for sharp images.  Thus a 7D with a 100mm lens should be at 1/(2 X 160) or 1/320 sec before you turn off IS.

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2013, 12:12:09 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2013, 12:41:34 PM »
IS on a tripod can be a problem, this is what he is saying.

No, he's not - that's why he points out at the end of the article that the Nikon 300/2.8 VR has tripod detection.

His main point is that VR takes a period of time to reach full stabilization, and that if you just mash down the shutter release without giving the VR system time to start stabilizing the image, it's no better - and maybe worse - than not having VR turned on.
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Pi

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2013, 01:12:43 PM »
IS on a tripod can be a problem, this is what he is saying.

No, he's not - that's why he points out at the end of the article that the Nikon 300/2.8 VR has tripod detection.

His main point is that VR takes a period of time to reach full stabilization, and that if you just mash down the shutter release without giving the VR system time to start stabilizing the image, it's no better - and maybe worse - than not having VR turned on.

I was talking about this (second chart): Interestingly, sharpness drops a bit with VR turned on and stabilized for a few seconds. Looks like VR does impact the sharpness of images when it is engaged.

That you need to let IS/VR stabilize is too obvious (his third graph) to be even mentioned. 

My IS lenses also benefit from turning the IS off on a tripod regardless of whether they have the tripod detect feature or not.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2013, 02:07:28 PM »
IS on a tripod can be a problem, this is what he is saying.

No, he's not - that's why he points out at the end of the article that the Nikon 300/2.8 VR has tripod detection.

His main point is that VR takes a period of time to reach full stabilization, and that if you just mash down the shutter release without giving the VR system time to start stabilizing the image, it's no better - and maybe worse - than not having VR turned on.

I was talking about this (second chart): Interestingly, sharpness drops a bit with VR turned on and stabilized for a few seconds. Looks like VR does impact the sharpness of images when it is engaged.

That you need to let IS/VR stabilize is too obvious (his third graph) to be even mentioned. 

My IS lenses also benefit from turning the IS off on a tripod regardless of whether they have the tripod detect feature or not.

Yes, he says that. But your post suggests that's the main point of his article, when it's pretty clearly not - you're picking up a minor point and suggesting that's the key takeaway.

Also, stating that IS should be off when on a tripod isn't universal.  A supertele hood makes a nice sail, and wind outdoors and turning off IS is not the best plan.  Even in a stable setting, the recent Canon supertele lenses have a secondary IS mode that's active on a tripod, and acts to suppress the vibration from mirror slap at certain shutter speeds.
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Pi

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2013, 02:25:17 PM »
His "minor point" is Summary point number 1, and it is totally wrong both as a conclusion of his test (no mentioning of a tripod there); and as a general fact (regardless of his test). The rest is known and in a way, trivial.

If you read the comments, nobody is actually surprised that you need to wait a bit for the VR to stabilize; the vast majority of the comments are how VR hurts IQ for speeds faster than 1/FL (no mentioning of a tripod), which he never tested; and nobody noticed or cared. The author replies to many of those comments, and says, for example:

The point of the above article is to remind our readers, that VR should be turned off when the shutter speed is very fast. For example, if you are shooting in daylight conditions and you have a shutter speed of say 1/250th of a second, you will get better results by turning VR off.

This is how the author sees the main point, in his own words, who am I to argue with that?

Now, my experience is the opposite but in any case, he never tested that although he thinks that he did.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2013, 02:27:26 PM by Pi »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2013, 02:52:34 PM »
I keep thinking of the standardized test questions where you read a paragraph and pick the best title.  Why'd the guy title his article, "PROOF THAT VIBRATION REDUCTION SHOULD FIRST BE STABILIZED??

From what you pasted...1/250 s is 'fast'?  Way too slow for much of what I shoot...
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Pi

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2013, 02:59:39 PM »
I keep thinking of the standardized test questions where you read a paragraph and pick the best title.  Why'd the guy title his article, "PROOF THAT VIBRATION REDUCTION SHOULD FIRST BE STABILIZED??

Good question, ask him.

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2013, 02:59:39 PM »

tpatana

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2013, 03:10:07 PM »
I'm yet to see the picture where IS did hurt in any way, sharpness or other.

Only sure thing I know IS hurts is battery consumption.

TAF

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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2013, 03:31:14 PM »
Yet another Nikon fail?

Based on my experience with several Canon IS lenses (and their IS binoculars), I would say that the IS is essentially instantaneous (below my reaction/sensing threshold, anyway).

I don't know what Canon's official line would be, but here's my guess comparing Canon to Nikon.  Having designed and built a few pieces of equipment that had accelerometers in them, I suspect that Canon keeps the power on to the accelerometers (they use very little power) and thus only need power the servos (which will drain the battery) when you press the shutter button; while Nikon probably tries to save that last little bit of power by powering down everything.  Since it does take MEMS accelerometers a moment or so to stabilize when initially powered up, this could account for Nikon's showing in those tests.

Point to Canon.

I'll note that I too have never seen an image where IS caused degradation, so I never turn it off except when on a tripod.


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Re: Stabilization for IS lenses?
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2013, 03:31:14 PM »