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Author Topic: Just how important is IS?  (Read 4420 times)

lady

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Just how important is IS?
« on: February 16, 2012, 11:04:31 PM »
I did a search non it but nothing in the first few pages came up.

I went for a used 70-200mm f/4L. It's ordered. It does not have image stabilization. Why? It cost twice as much with IS and I wanted to buy an external flash and a tripod too. I plan in the future to maybe sell it and upgrade to the IS version when I can afford to. For now, expanding my arsenal is top priority. Anyway, I did a search on IS via google and found a bunch of websites talking about how everyone needs IS and people who don't get it won't get as many great photos etc etc.

What is your take on it, guys? Is it really a waste of money to buy a non-IS lens if you can't afford the IS version? Just how necessary is IS?

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Just how important is IS?
« on: February 16, 2012, 11:04:31 PM »

wickidwombat

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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2012, 11:14:08 PM »
it depends what you are shooting

IS is needed if

you are shooting still objects in very low light
you are shooting from a vibrating or moving platform
your shutter speeds are low (wont help subject motion blur though)

IS is not needed if

you are shooting from a tripod
you are shooting action moving subjects
you are shooting with a high shutter speed over 1/500 or so. there was alot of discussion on this recently that at high shutter speeds IS can actually cause more probles than it helps

supertele lenses are a bit different becasue the angle of view is so tight IS provides benefit in many of these situations anyway because even the smallest movement of a supertele can cause blurring.
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michi

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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2012, 11:20:22 PM »
The non IS version is a nice lens.  Had it for many years, then sold it for nearly as much as I paid for it.  I bought the IS version and it is even better than the older one.  The IS is a nice addition. If you don't have the money, then this is the best lens you can get.  Much better than all the "normal" zooms in that range.  You definitely didn't waste your money.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2012, 11:37:00 PM »
In the case of the 70-200/4, the IS version is also sharper, and is weather-sealed.

IS can help at the long end, even for shooting (slowly) moving subjects.  The guideline is a shutter speed equal to or faster than 1/focal length will give a reasonable keeper rate to overcome camera shake.  For this purpose, it's the FF equivalent, so a 200mm lens on APS-C means you need 1/320 s or so.  Similarly, for 70mm on FF, 1/60-1/80 s would do.  If you're shooting people, you generally need 1/60 s to freeze the random, involuntary movements that people make (even when holding still).  So, you can see the 'justification' (from one point of view) for not needing IS on a 24-70mm lens on FF - that's thought of as a portrait/wedding/event lens, and you'd likely be at >1/60 s anyway.  OTOH, at 200mm on APS-C, you may struggle to get enough light to shoot at 1/320, especially with f/4 and the relatively higher ISO noise of APS-C.  IS would give you two more usable stops - down to 1/80 s - still enough to freeze people not actively moving), which might be the difference between an acceptable ISO 1600 and an unusable ISO 6400 in some cases (and the f/2.8 IS lens would give you another stop).

Can you live without it?  Sure.  Is the 70-200/4 non-IS a good lens - absolutely!  It's a Canon L-series lens...  IS is just one more tool in the toolbox, helpful sometimes, not needed other times.
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Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2012, 12:02:32 AM »
I did notice that the number of sharp images went up when I bought my first IS lens.  However, with care, you will do fine without.  If you don't have the time for a careful setup, or the light for fast shutter speeds, it does help.

For the high  MP cameras, like the 7D, Canon recommends even faster shutter speeds than the traditional 1/equivalent focal length, so at 200mm, you might want to try 1/640 if images are blurry or not sharp at 1/320 sec.  For fast moving subjects, 1/2000 sec is not too fast. 

TexPhoto

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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2012, 12:16:01 AM »
IS is awesome. That said, the lens you own is going to outshoot the lens you can't afford all day.  Seriously, there is always going to be more expensive equipment available.

ghosh9691

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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2012, 12:36:32 AM »
Tuck your arms in, spread your legs slightly, lean against something, take a deep breath and exhale fully and then shoot! Remember, photography with telephoto lenses has been around longer than IS...

It's not necessary, but sure, it helps...sometimes!

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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2012, 12:36:32 AM »

wickidwombat

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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2012, 12:51:04 AM »
Tuck your arms in, spread your legs slightly, lean against something, take a deep breath and exhale fully
sounds like preparing for canons new pricing!  :o
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EYEONE

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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2012, 01:03:14 AM »
Well, as the others have said IS is great depending on what you are doing. I prefer to have it on lenses over 100 or 135mm, shorter than that and I don't worry about it. But, I wouldn't worry too much about not having it on your 70-200mm f4. If you are happy with the purchase and are looking forward to using the lens then enjoy it!

Truth is, people had been shooting beautiful photos long before IS was invented.
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nicku

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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2012, 01:03:30 AM »
In the case of the 70-200/4, the IS version is also sharper, and is weather-sealed.



You mean that the 70-200 f/4L (without IS) is not weather sealed???

PeterJ

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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2012, 02:12:13 AM »
In the case of the 70-200/4, the IS version is also sharper, and is weather-sealed.
You mean that the 70-200 f/4L (without IS) is not weather sealed???
Just had a quick look now that the CD included with lenses includes product guides for all models. The IS version lists on page 1 as a feature "Tight seal structure ensures excellent dust-proof and drip proof performance". The non-IS version doesn't include that on its feature list.

Tijn

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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2012, 05:20:33 AM »
Only the IS versions have the weather sealing. The non-IS versions don't have the sealing "rubber ring" at the mount. Apart from that, I'm not sure if there's more sealing lacked in the non-IS. It might just be that.

marekjoz

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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2012, 08:08:32 AM »
IS might help also with:
- video shooting NOT on tripod
- trying to focus manually in live view mode with magnification when holding camera on hands

IS will disturb when
- shooting video (LOL) because of terrible noise coming from lens when IS is switched on so external mic is absolutely a must or you don't care with sound

Generally IS on this lens (70-200 f4 L IS) is very, very noisy and not pleasent for ear in fact. It sounds like there were moving metal parts without a grease. So having IS doesn't mean you could use it always you want anyway.
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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2012, 08:08:32 AM »

grog13

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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2012, 08:53:38 AM »
My $.02 worth:
I'm pretty shaky, I guess.  For me the 1/focal length rule seems to apply *if* I'm using IS.  Without IS, it needs to be closer to twice that value.  And I don't start to get tripod-sharp shots hand-held until I get up to quite fast shutter speeds - say 1/800 - 1/1200 or more (talking in the 28-200mm range here, not super-tele).  As for the particular lens in question in this post, mine may have been a lemon, but the non-IS 70-200 I had was very disappointing.  Very sharp wide open from 70 to 135 or a little beyond, but unusably soft at any aperture longer than that.  My 70-300 IS (non-L) was much better at 200 (it was better at 300 than the 70-200 at 200 for that matter).  In reading reviews, this seems to be the tendency for this lens, though mine may have been worse than most.  The IS version is not just the same lens with IS added, it's apparently quite a bit different optically, and clearly better, according to every chart & review I've seen.  (This should be obvious from the fact that the price difference is more than the total cost of some other good lenses which utilize the same IS!)  I sold the non-IS 70-200 and went back to my 70-300 (not bad overall and superb one stop down in the midrange) until I can justify the $1000+ for the IS version. 

neuroanatomist

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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2012, 09:13:18 AM »
In the case of the 70-200/4, the IS version is also sharper, and is weather-sealed.
You mean that the 70-200 f/4L (without IS) is not weather sealed???

The 70-200/4 non-IS definitely lacks the mount gasket seal.  It might have sealing on the switches and zoom/focus rings, might not. Here's what Canon tech-guru Chuck Westfall had to say in response to my email query:

Quote
Pre-1999 white EF lenses such as the 200/1.8L, 300/2.8L, 300/4L, 300/4L IS, 400/2.8L, 400/5.6L, 500/4.5L, 600/4L, 35-350/3.5-5.6L, 70-200/2.8L, and 100-400/4.5-5.6L all lack mount gaskets but have moderate dust and moisture resistance for their switches, focusing rings and zoom rings where applicable.

The 70-200/4L is not on that list, and since it was released in 1999, it's not a pre-1999 lens.
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Re: Just how important is IS?
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2012, 09:13:18 AM »