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Author Topic: Effectiveness of IS  (Read 7360 times)

daniemare

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Effectiveness of IS
« on: April 12, 2011, 11:35:41 AM »
Hi all
I am a newbie to forums in general, but after learning so much from communities like these, I know this is where help is at hand

I am looking to replace my walk around lens. I like the kit's range, more than the 18-200mm (I have one), but I would like better quality.   So without going into optics and IQ (there is a lot of posts on this) of the step up alternatives, I need some OPINIONS on the effectiveness on IS (real world)

The Canon EF-S 17-55mm would have been the awnser, but it is out of the question expensive. So I am looking into 3rd party 2.8F's.  Owning a Tokina 11-16, I love the build quality and colour, and naturally lean towards their 16-50mm option, but it has no IS. 

The Canon kit for example is only 2/3rds of a stop slower at 3.5F (wide side) and 2 stops at tele.  If IS is supposedly giving you 3-4 stops help, does no IS F2.8 give you a real advantage over F3.5-F5 with IS.

(I know about the Sigma and Tamron options, but this post is to understand the real world effect of IS)

Thanks in advance for the insights
Canon 6D, Canon 24-105 F4L IS, Canon 70-200 F4L, Canon 100 F2.8L IS macro, Canon 50 F1.4, Canon 28 F1.8

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Effectiveness of IS
« on: April 12, 2011, 11:35:41 AM »

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2011, 11:55:39 AM »
The real world effect of IS

1.  With focal lengths below 100mm equivalent:  If you do not or cannot take the time to use a tripod, or you cannot set a high shutter speed, there will be a noticable benefit.  Most new photographers benefit greatly from it, once they become experienced, they can make do without it.

2.  For longer telephoto shots where a stable tripod is not available, and there is not enough light to set a high shutter speed, it makes for a much sharper image.

Photographers made do without IS for many years, so look at it as a tool to make things easier and faster, but you can work without it.  I use a 135mmL just fine without IS as long as I keep a 1/150 preferably faster shutter speed.  At 400mm, either a tripod, fast shutter speed, or IS is necessary.

EYEONE

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2011, 12:06:28 PM »
In my opinion (and I think this is what you are asking), I'd go with a Non-IS f2.8 lens over a IS f3.5-5.6 most of the time. If we're only talking about nomral range zooms, 24-70mm, 17-55 and the like I'd go with Non-IS f2.8 everytime.

I don't feel you really need IS at this range and you are more benefited by a larger aperture. On my 24-70 f2.8 I have never been shooting and wished I had IS. What is more useful however is a faster shutter speeds. IS is only going to correct camera shake, it will not help with moving subjects. A faster shutter will do both.

Now, on the long tele side of things I'd be more likely to take the IS. Once you start getting up over 150mm (in my opinion) IS becomes more useful for correcting sway.

So for the normal range zooms, eh, I wouldn't worry about IS.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2011, 12:10:34 PM by EYEONE »
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branden

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2011, 01:14:10 PM »
Currently I am shooting with zero IS lenses. Ken Rockwell will tell you to always use an IS lens, but I honestly think he's kind of crazy (and yet, a much better photographer than I). I have no interest in standard zoom IS lenses because I'm entirely focused on shutter speed and aperture, and making sure these are appropriate for what I'm shooting. I've never found IS to be reliable enough to factor into my settings while shooting.

In my opinion, the place for Image Stabilization is in the super-telephoto lineup, where the focal lengths are much, much longer.

tomscott

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2011, 02:53:49 PM »
Like others have said use it as a tool, i dont have mine on all the time just when i need it. I have to disagree about not having it tho, F2.8 isnt remarkably fast there are many times where i have faced situations where im shooting at 3200 ISO and still only getting like 1/10th second at F2.8 and this is where it can come in handy, anything below 1/100th of a second the slightest movement can cause blur.

But get to know what it actually does. IS only combats shake not subject movement, actual movement of the camera. So say you are shooting a still life the subject will be still and the IS will correct any movement you produce like the mirror, or slight hand movement. But if your shooting a bird in its nest at 400mm IS comes in handy without a tripod, holding a 400mm lens fully extended without a tripod for any length of time will produce some movement so it will help correct that, but if the bird is say building a nest moving its head up and down, its getting darker and your only getting say 1/60th of a second it may appear sharp, zoom to 100% and there will be some slight blur which is annoying. Same with any grinding animals, sheep/cow/cammel/giraffe while its chewing may appear still, shoot at 1/100th the body will most probably be sharp IS will have helped because it is not moving, but the head wont. The grinding causes the head to vibrate and they do this quickly so a speed of 1/500 or over is best to get a sharp pic (trick to shoot any grinding animal).

It helps to know your subject what its characteristics are. There are also things you can do, breathing techniques, similar to a sniper, holding the camera close to your body to create a tripod effect etc.

The thing i love about IS is that it is there, when it is a bit darker when you half press the shutter button and everything just stops is such a great feeling to know that it is helping. I would rather have it than be without it just because a situation will come and you wont have a tripod and the shot wont be there, or it will be heavily degraded because of a high ISO.

It is a tool, like a camera, alot of people are almost scared not to have IS now which is crazy, Photography is over a hundred years old and people have been perfectly fine. Alot of people just dont understand and have to have the best and think it will make them better photographers but in most cases that is false, having an understanding of your subject, its behaviour, how to combat a situation is key, thinking fast in situations. IS is not a miracle technology, it will not make an f5.6 lens turn into a F1.8 it will just alow you to shoot at slower speeds at smaller apertures, but your subject must be still or it still wont make any difference.

But as a tool is useful and is definitely worth considering. I always thought the same as you when it came to the 17-55mm but finally took the plunge from a 17-85mm IS and its probably the best decision i have made. The quality difference between the 17-85mm and the 17-55mm is ridiculous, its amazing how much faster and shaper it is, F4 in my opinion is too slow for a standard lens so is 5.6. I dont like variable aperture lenses for that reason SLOW!!! But the 17-55 compared to the 17-85mm is off the scale, SHARP this thing is really sharp, barely any chromatic aberration and a very small amount of vignetting at the extremes. 

Your not just paying for the IS or F2.8, this lens is basically an L lens without the weather sealing. It has phenomenal quality, there isnt another zoom lens that will better suit a crop body. All the L series standard zoom start at 24mm (unless you get a wider full frame version) so you will be at 38mm with the 1.6 crop and thats the widest. Yes you can buy third party lenses but unless they are digital versions you will be in the same place with the 1.6 crop. Ive heard good things about some other lenses but at the end of the day i dont think any other standard lens can compete with the 17-55mm. I got mine a 2 month old second hand item for £550 thats £350 off RRP so look around, there are alot of people recently that go crop then decide its not for them so trade in there gear for full frame leaving some good savings for us. Alot of 24-70mm L owners are envious there is not a full frame equivalent to the 17-55mm and on a crop body the 17-55mm will outperform the 24-70mm.

Tom Scott
« Last Edit: April 12, 2011, 03:00:32 PM by tomscott »
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daniemare

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2011, 06:09:50 PM »
Thanks alot Tom for the time explaining your opinion on the IS.  It is greatly appreciated.  I will save up a bit more.  Also, thanks to the others fr shuch quick replies

I wasn't really thinking of the 17-85.  More towards the Tokina 16-50 F2.8 (for price and I love my 11-16).  But I thought I should explore the real advantage of having F2.8 no IS vs f3.5 with IS.  But your right, to freeze movement you need to speed up shutter speed, which although it has IS, F3.5-5.6 can not necessarily do in all situations.
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2011, 09:56:24 AM »
to freeze movement you need to speed up shutter speed, which although it has IS, F3.5-5.6 can not necessarily do in all situations.

You can also use a flash...  (but please, not the pop-up one on your camera!).
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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2011, 09:56:24 AM »

Kuscali

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2011, 04:58:28 PM »
IS works on a camera at all apertures. Yeah a f/1.4 lens gives you more light and a faster shutter speed but it might not give you the depth of field you need.

I have a 14mm f/2.8 lens, say I got the shutter down to 1/8 (I can hold it reasonable still at that) at f/2.8, but if I wanted a larger depth of field, I would have to drop the shutter speed and in the image would be visible camera shake in the image. But an IS lens with a f/4 aperture I would be able get that image without camera shake. But chances are that f/4 lens is not as sharp as the f/2.8 lens at f/4, but that is why there is tripods, and monopods for. Personally I prefer a fast lens over a slow lens with IS.

Monopods are great, it holds the camera up for you against gravity, and I find horizontal movement easier to control.

skitron

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2011, 12:14:31 PM »
IS on a f2.8 lens is a very good thing in my book. Pricey and more bulk but you get the benefits of the (relatively) fast lens and IS in a single package. Since IS is not appropriate for moving subjects you can simply switch it off and shoot those shots in non-IS mode and switch it back on for low light handhelds with stationary subjects. Of course longer the lens, the more desireable IS becomes.
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prestonpalmer

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2011, 12:51:03 PM »
IS is FANTASTIC.  If the lens you are looking to buy has an IS option, get it.  I promise you will not regret it.  IS simply allows for a sharper more fantastic image under ALLL shooting situations.  The IS on my 70-200 f2.8 II, 24-105 f/4 and 100mm Macro are on ALL of the time.  There is simply no reason to turn it off under 99% of real world shooting situations.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2011, 02:08:03 PM »
IS simply allows for a sharper more fantastic image under ALLL shooting situations.

IS counteracts camera shake.  If you're shooting at fast shutter speeds (>1 / ~3x focal length), the shutter speed alone is more than adequate to cancel out the effect of camera shake. 

Also, with the exception of the very expensive 200mm f/2L IS, f/2.8 is the widest aperture you can get in an IS lens.  IS gives you x stops of benefit by allowing you to shoot at an slower shutter speed than your aperture would normally allow at a given focal length.  In low-light, fast action shooting, an extra stop or two of real light (i.e. a wider aperture like f/2 or f/1.4) can provide more benefit than IS.

But in general, I agree - if you have the option of IS, get it.  Even if you're shooting at fast shutter speeds, in particular with long lenses IS can really help you frame your subject (by stabilizing what you see in the viewfinder before you release the shutter).
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kennykodak

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2011, 03:31:42 PM »
there was an old "rule" of photography that stated that the safest slow shutter speed that you could use for a given lens was one over its focal length.  for example a 100 mm lens would have been 1/100 or 1/125 second in the non digital shutter speed days.  therefore the longer the lens, the faster the shutter speed require to prevent body shake.

TexPhoto

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2011, 03:48:24 PM »
Love IS and wish all my lenses had it.  That said, I shoot with my 50mm f1.4 at f1.4 all the time because of the.... you guessed it: f1.4.  Wish it had IS, but my 24-105mm f4 IS does have IS, and has 50mm, but I still love that f1.4.

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2011, 03:48:24 PM »

skitron

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2011, 04:13:42 PM »
The IS on my 70-200 f2.8 II, 24-105 f/4 and 100mm Macro are on ALL of the time.

I've actually been thinking about getting a 24-105 L to replace a 28-135, how does it's IS work out for you when tracking moving subjects? The 28-135 IS pretty much bites when using IS under this circumstance, but then it is a 1st generation IS.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2011, 04:16:52 PM by skitron »
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prestonpalmer

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2011, 04:43:59 PM »
yes, the IS on the 24-105 works fantastic while tracking moving subjects.  The 24-105 has the newer generation of IS, which automatically turns off the pan axis when it detects panning motion.  Again... I leave it on all the time.  the only time its EVER off is If i am shooting out of a car for example.

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Re: Effectiveness of IS
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2011, 04:43:59 PM »