Do Canon IS lenses park? Which ones? Ok if they don't?

YuengLinger

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I noticed that my Rf 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS lens exhibited a surprising amount of free movement of the visible part of the image-stabilization cylinder. With no camera attached, looking down through the front element, and gently tilting the lens in different directions, I can see the topmost element bumping and tapping against the inner-barrel.

When the lens is attached to a body with IS on, the movement is different, showing that the IS system is compensating. With the body on but IS switched off, the visible inner element is held rigidly.

From a new owner's standpoint, I was concerned that this movement I'm seeing might be more than what is normal for this lens, and that it could, over time, result in elements getting bumped out of alignment.

Some of you will have read my posts elsewhere asking for others to check their own lens. Since then I have had nearly two hours of conversations with Canon CPS, which has helped bring the issue into better focus.

Three CPS techs, two whom I spoke to directly, and one involved by relay, expressed surprise, because they thought the IS system would be parking when the lens was attached to a camera that had been powered off, or when the lens was not attached to a camera. We walked through the proper sequence for parking (something I had believed to not be relevant to newer lenses), and whether I powered off the IS while the body was still active or not, the 100-500mm's elements behave exactly the same--no parking.

Being the last few days of the year, and up against the weekend, the techs said that they are going to start "digging deeper" next week. They said they did have a surprising number of customers calling to ask about unusually loud IS sounds from the 100-500mm, but had not considered whether is was parking or not.

So my case is being looked into further. Naturally, in the meantime, I searched the web to find more about this issue, and only found two primary references (and a bunch referring vaguely or directly to the two I found).

First is from Canon, an article from Rudy Winston about noises from IS lenses, and about the procedure for parking IS lenses:

Canon U.S.A., Inc. | Whats-That-Rattling-Sound-From-Your-Image-Stabilized-Lens

The other is a briefer mention in a lensrentals.com blog post:

Lens Rentals | Blog

This leaves me wondering whether the 100-500mm should be parking. Common sense suggests that lens elements should be kept fairly well secured when the lens is not being used, so that the elements aren't gradually getting nudged out of alignment. (I think of it as analogous to hard disk drives parking when powered off.) Now I'm not planning to run cross-country with my 100-500mm, but I do hike and walk about 15-20 miles a week for fitness and health, and I'd like that lens with me most of the time. I'd like to know that it is not going to need an expensive realignment from time to time due to not parking properly. Being an early adopter is fun and exciting, but it also leaves us with no info about long-term issues.

I will, as expected, share what Canon CPS tells me next week, but in the meantime, anybody interested in this, please look at your own longer lenses with IS and share how they behave according to Rudy Winston's suggestion to let the IS system stop for a few seconds before turning off the camera. Do you see more movement if the lens is parked or not?

Maybe others here have been through all this. What exactly should be parking? How well secured should those elements be when IS is not energized?

I've checked my other RF lenses, the 24-70mm and 70-200mm. As might be expected, the 24-70mm has barely discernible movement inside when detached, and the 70-200mm a slight bit more--but it doesn't have that same freely bumping and tapping movement, maybe just because it is much shorter than the 100-500mm.

Happy 2021!
 
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Bdbtoys

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I'm really curious as to what CPS says on this. I thought the 100-500 just didn't park for crap as I noticed the same thing.

For reference, I'm using the latest firmware on both the lens and R5. I also give the system plenty of time to shut down before removing lens for the park to engage (actually, I notice it more when lens is mounted and body is off).
 
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Mt Spokane Photography

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As I recall, its recommended to turn off the camera before removing the lens and the IS parks. I don't have that recommendation at hand. The IS lenses here on my desk (RG 35 1.8, and RF 24-240) do not rattle, they were removed after the camera was off.
 

AlanF

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As I recall, its recommended to turn off the camera before removing the lens and the IS parks. I don't have that recommendation at hand. The IS lenses here on my desk (RG 35 1.8, and RF 24-240) do not rattle, they were removed after the camera was off.
Yes, and it's doubly important as turning off also closes the protective shutter to stop dust getting inside and onto the sensor. That protection is one of the neat things about Canon mirrorless.
 

YuengLinger

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As I recall, its recommended to turn off the camera before removing the lens and the IS parks. I don't have that recommendation at hand. The IS lenses here on my desk (RG 35 1.8, and RF 24-240) do not rattle, they were removed after the camera was off.
Please see the link to Rudy Winston's article for that recommendation in my post above. I might not be remembering correctly, but I think the ef 70--200mm f/2.8L IS II's concise user guide mentions that. I did not check the online archives.

But it is thanks to CPS that I've narrowed down my concerns to whether the lens is parking, and whether it should be parking. I must have caught them during a slow time, when there wasn't a lot of pressure from incoming calls. And they might actually see this as something worth bringing to Canon's attention. One tech did tell me that CPS centers seem to be the last in line for news about changes in how things are done, as in this case with the parking of the IS system. But, I still can't get past the thought that having any of the inner elements bumping around during normal transport is bad in the long run.
 
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Bdbtoys

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Please see the link to Rudy Winston's article for that recommendation in my post above. I might not be remembering correctly, but I think the ef 70--200mm f/2.8L IS II's concise user guide mentions that. I did not check the online archives.

But it is thanks to CPS that I've narrowed down my concerns to whether the lens is parking, and whether it should be parking. I must have caught them during a slow time, when there wasn't a lot of pressure from incoming calls. And they might actually see this as something worth bringing to Canon's attention. One tech did tell me that CPS centers seem to be the last in line for news about changes in how things are done, as in this case with the parking of the IS system. But, I still can't get past the thought that having any of the inner elements bumping around during normal transport is good in the long run.

I noticed this most in a chest harness I have, that connects to the camera with a special adapter that screws into the tripod mount. When the camera is hooked to the harness, it sits high on my chest, with lens pointed down. During normal walking (with camera off), I could hear it clanking around so much... and it was so bad(loud) I actually decided to hold it instead.
 
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AlanF

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I noticed this most in a chest harness I have, that connects to the camera with a special adapter that screws into the tripod mount. When the camera is hooked to the harness, it sits high on my chest, with lens pointed down. During normal walking (with camera off), I could hear it clanking around so much... and it was so bad(loud) I actually decided to hold it instead.
What lens was attached?
 

usern4cr

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My RF 100-500L will lock the IS lenses only if the lens is on the R5, the R5 is ON, and the stabilization switch is OFF. In all other cases the IS lenses are free to move. If this is how all these lenses are then I'll live with it (I'm getting great images now and really love that lens). But I'd like to know for sure that it's supposed to behave this way.

I tried the RF 70-200L and it behaves the SAME way as the RF 100-500L. It has the same "free IS" behavior, except that the free IS travel is smaller and less noticeable. Edit: LenRentals did a teardown of this lens and I posted below their photo of the IS unit.

I tried the RF 24-70L and I can't see any IS travel at all, on or off the camera, in use or not. So maybe the travel and lens viewing effect is so small as to not be noticeable (by me) if it exists.

I don't notice any IS travel (when off the R5) on the RF 15-35L and I didn't bother to put it on the R5 as I assume it's same as the RF 24-70L.

I tested the RF 800mm f11 and I don't see any IS motion off the R5 or on it whether turned on or not. I'm not sure where the IS elements would be as the whole view seems to be one massively open tube when looking down it. Edit: LenRentals did a teardown of the RF 600mm f11 and showed a glimpse of the IS unit (see their picture below).

Any verification by others of this effect for these or other lenses would be appreciated.
 
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stevelee

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As I recall, its recommended to turn off the camera before removing the lens and the IS parks. I don't have that recommendation at hand. The IS lenses here on my desk (RG 35 1.8, and RF 24-240) do not rattle, they were removed after the camera was off.
It would have never occurred to me to remove a lens while the camera is still on. It’s not like I’m going to shoot anything without a lens on, or something.
 

AlanF

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The 100-500 that we are discussing.
We are not discussing just the 100-500mm. Several different ones have been mentioned as the thread title is Do Canon IS lenses park? Which ones? Ok if they don't?
 

Bdbtoys

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We are not discussing just the 100-500mm. Several different ones have been mentioned as the thread title is Do Canon IS lenses park? Which ones? Ok if they don't?

Was that necessary?

The OP noticed it on the 100-500. I commented earlier how I specifically said I also noticed it on the 100-500. And then commented again how I noticed it. Reading it over, perhaps I was a bit snarky (which actually was not intended) in the 'we are discussing'... but it was the main example, which I confirmed. Granted OP is also asking about all... but how I commented was in context.
 
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AlanF

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Was that necessary?

The OP noticed it on the 100-500. I commented earlier how I specifically said I also noticed it on the 100-500. And then commented again how I noticed it. Reading it over, perhaps I was a bit snarky (which actually was not intended) in the 'we are discussing'... but it was the main example, which I confirmed. Granted OP is also asking about all... but how I commented was in context.
I was asking a straight question and explained why I asked In light of your reply.
 

SteveC

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It would have never occurred to me to remove a lens while the camera is still on. It’s not like I’m going to shoot anything without a lens on, or something.

True, but some people get in a hurry and just do the actual lens swap. They have no intention of trying to shoot with no lens, but they forget to flip the switch (or don't think it's necessary to) twice.

I know once I forgot and then chastised myself mentally.
 

YuengLinger

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It would have never occurred to me to remove a lens while the camera is still on. It’s not like I’m going to shoot anything without a lens on, or something.
While I did take your post as humorous, I'd just like to point out that what Canon spokesperson Rudy Winston recommended was actually waiting 3 seconds before powering off the camera--or switching IS off before shutting down.

But with the R bodies having IS/IBIS always engaged except when sleeping or powered off, it seems switching off the lens IS before removing would be the standard procedure. Except some Rf lenses don't seem to be parking at all, no matter what steps are taken.

And this is what I hope CPS will address. Does parking reduce wear and tear on the elements and IS unit or not? The little I found, namely Rudy Winston's PSA, suggests it does. And if it does, why does the Rf 100-500mm not park, not secure the elements so to reduce knocking around inside the barrel?

It would be great to get a quick answer, but I'm not counting on it. By middle of next week I will either decide to buy a CarePak (first time) and see how it goes, or ship back my lens and wait and see if the issue gets addressed in the future.

I wish LensRentals would do a tear down! Or somebody with credentials could weigh in about parking being something that could be done with firmware...But if it's magnets keeping the elements "rigid" when the camera is powered on but the IS off (as when using the lens on a tripod), how could that be accomplished when the lens is detached? Maybe there is a mechanism that just isn't engaging?

Conjecture, conjecture, conjecture.

EDIT: Curious...Has anybody ever received a new Canon lens that had the IS switch in the OFF position when unboxed? (I never did--they all came with IS switch in ON position.)
 
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usern4cr

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While I did take your post as humorous, I'd just like to point out that what Canon spokesperson Rudy Winston recommended was actually waiting 3 seconds before powering off the camera--or switching IS off before shutting down.

But with the R bodies having IS/IBIS always engaged except when sleeping or powered off, it seems switching off the lens IS before removing would be the standard procedure. Except some Rf lenses don't seem to be parking at all, no matter what steps are taken.

And this is what I hope CPS will address. Does parking reduce wear and tear on the elements and IS unit or not? The little I found, namely Rudy Winston's PSA, suggests it does. And if it does, why does the Rf 100-500mm not park, not secure the elements so to reduce knocking around inside the barrel?

It would be great to get a quick answer, but I'm not counting on it. By middle of next week I will either decide to buy a CarePak (first time) and see how it goes, or ship back my lens and wait and see if the issue gets addressed in the future.

I wish LensRentals would do a tear down! Or somebody with credentials could weigh in about parking being something that could be done with firmware...But if it's magnets keeping the elements "rigid" when the camera is powered on but the IS off (as when using the lens on a tripod), how could that be accomplished when the lens is detached? Maybe there is a mechanism that just isn't engaging?

Conjecture, conjecture, conjecture.

EDIT: Curious...Has anybody ever received a new Canon lens that had the IS switch in the OFF position when unboxed? (I never did--they all came with IS switch in ON position.)
LensRentals DID do a tear down of the RF 70-200L, which behaves the exact same way as the RF 100-500L regarding "unparked IS" in my personal testing. I remember that being a wonderful teardown and one reason I longed to buy that lens. But I don't remember any mention of parking of IS elements in it - I'll read it again just to make sure of it.

They also did a teardown of the RF 600mm f11 which I recently read, and there was no mention (I remember) about IS parking.

Also, to my recollection, all my RF lenses came with IS switched ON when new in the box.

By the way, here's their photo of the RF 70-200L IS unit. You can see the small amount of travel it can do. It looks like they might (?) have a thin soft liner which the IS unit hits if it reaches the edge when free-floating.
AW8A1431sml.jpg


Here's their photo of the RF 600mm f11 IS unit, which they mention is way down in the barrel:
553A0081sml.jpg


I don't see any mention of IS parking in either of those 2 teardowns.
 
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YuengLinger

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LensRentals DID do a tear down of the RF 70-200L, which behaves the exact same way as the RF 100-500L regarding "unparked IS" in my personal testing...

This was a very helpful post, usern4cr! Thanks.

It led me to look again at the teardown for the ef 100-400mm II, a teardown that convinced me it was a great lens. I also don't see any mention of parking mechanisms here, or in any other teardown I've read.

Lens Rentals | Blog

If you see the last photo in the link, you might notice that the IS mechanism seems to show almost no gap, but the angle the photo was taken at doesn't allow for a clear comparison.

I wonder if the 100-400mm II did show "parking behavior." (Which might mean something entirely different to, ummm, photographers with longer memories.)

I'd just like to know clearly if there was some specific mechanism or means in the past, and if so, has Canon gone without it in the Rf lenses. If that is the case, why? Why would parking no longer be important? Very slight travel of the IS element before bumping into the inner barrel/collar doesn't seem a problem on shorter lenses. But on my 100-500mm, the gap is much wider than on any other lens I'm able to look at, and the "bump" can be felt.
 
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usern4cr

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This was a very helpful post, usern4cr! Thanks.

It led me to look again at the teardown for the ef 100-400mm II, a teardown that convinced me it was a great lens. I also don't see any mention of parking mechanisms here, or in any other teardown I've read.

Lens Rentals | Blog

If you see the last photo in the link, you might notice that the IS mechanism seems to show almost no gap, but the angle the photo was taken at doesn't allow for a clear comparison.

I wonder if the 100-400mm II did show "parking behavior." (Which might mean something entirely different to, ummm, photographers with longer memories.)

I'd just like to know clearly if there was some specific mechanism or means in the past, and if so, has Canon gone without it in the Rf lenses. If that is the case, why? Why would parking no longer be important? Very slight travel of the IS element before bumping into the inner barrel/collar doesn't seem a problem on shorter lenses. But on my 100-500mm, the gap is much wider than on any other lens I'm able to look at, and the "bump" can be felt.
I doubt if Canon feels that IS parking is no longer important. I'd rather guess that the latest IS mechanism needs to be as light and responsive as possible and the mechanism to do that can't have a IS park without power being applied, which is not an option in a removed lens - again just a guess.