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Author Topic: What is the Advantage of IS on Canon Lenses?  (Read 4779 times)

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« on: December 27, 2014, 20:01 »
+1
I am looking into buying a 70-200mm Lens for my Canon, my question is what is the importance of the Image Stabilization feature as the lens without it is $700 and with the IS the lens is $1,299? I plan to use it primarily in studio with flash so my thought was that since flash freezes the shot why bother with the IS except for those instances that I am outside with it, but even then is it really needed? Still being new to photography I don't know anything about Image Stabilization and wether it makes that much of a difference?

Also one version of this lens opens up at f4 and the other at f2.8, does this make a big difference as well?
« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 20:04 by pixel8 »


No Free Lunch

« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2014, 21:00 »
+1
I am looking into buying a 70-200mm Lens for my Canon, my question is what is the importance of the Image Stabilization feature as the lens without it is $700 and with the IS the lens is $1,299? I plan to use it primarily in studio with flash so my thought was that since flash freezes the shot why bother with the IS except for those instances that I am outside with it, but even then is it really needed? Still being new to photography I don't know anything about Image Stabilization and wether it makes that much of a difference?

Also one version of this lens opens up at f4 and the other at f2.8, does this make a big difference as well?

If used in Studio, especially on a tripod where you shut off the IS, than no advantage whatsoever! Get the one without IS.  The advantage of IS lens outdoors is that it allows you to hand hold at slower shutter speeds or better ISO settings than compared to a lens without IS.

« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2014, 21:05 »
+3
They reckon IS can make up to 2 f-stops of difference. If you can hold your camera reasonably steady then, in studio conditions at least, IS shouldn't make any difference at all. If you can't actually hold your camera steady then I doubt that IS will be of much help anyway. If you're shooting for stock then I would struggle to believe that you would make significantly more money with an IS lens than a non-IS lens.

If you happen to find yourself with an unexpected and totally amazing low-light opportunity ... with only a non-IS lens to hand ... you could always up the ISO by a couple of stops to have pretty much the same effect.

Practice the correct grip of a DSLR camera/lens assembly and how to 'freeze' when clicking the shutter. That's way, way more important than having an IS lens __ and much cheaper too.

« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2014, 00:01 »
0
Practice the correct grip of a DSLR camera/lens assembly and how to 'freeze' when clicking the shutter. That's way, way more important than having an IS lens __ and much cheaper too.

Any video links on proper grip of DSLR cameras?

« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2014, 05:20 »
+2
They reckon IS can make up to 2 f-stops of difference.

A modern IS can be better than that, I'd say in some cases almost 4 stops. I have many images that would have needed me to crank up the ISO on my camera without IS.

I love the IS on some of my lenses, but let's not forget that you can't freeze motion with IS. Also IS don't work as well in closeup/macro distances.

Also a modern IS can be used for panning motions, resulting in greater amount of sharp images when panning for moving objects.

« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 05:27 by Perry »

« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2014, 05:24 »
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it allows you to hand hold at slower shutter speeds or better ISO settings than compared to a lens without IS.

No. Slower shutter speeds AND better ISO settings.

« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2014, 05:31 »
+2
If you happen to find yourself with an unexpected and totally amazing low-light opportunity ... with only a non-IS lens to hand ... you could always up the ISO by a couple of stops to have pretty much the same effect.

What if your ISO is already on the borderline to make the noise really ugly? And in many places, there isn't the possibility to lug around a tripod.

Quote from: gostwyck link=topic=24067.msg403375#msg403375
Practice the correct grip of a DSLR camera/lens assembly and how to 'freeze' when clicking the shutter. That's way, way more important than having an IS lens __ and much cheaper too.

Yes, a correct grip and technique is essential, but I wonder if you have any real world experience on (modern) IS lenses? When shooting at borderline shutter speeds, IS will dramatically raise the percentage of acceptably sharp images! I'd rather shoot 50% acceptable images than 15%.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 08:02 by Perry »

Semmick Photo

« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2014, 06:59 »
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They reckon IS can make up to 2 f-stops of difference. If you can hold your camera reasonably steady then, in studio conditions at least, IS shouldn't make any difference at all. If you can't actually hold your camera steady then I doubt that IS will be of much help anyway. If you're shooting for stock then I would struggle to believe that you would make significantly more money with an IS lens than a non-IS lens.

If you happen to find yourself with an unexpected and totally amazing low-light opportunity ... with only a non-IS lens to hand ... you could always up the ISO by a couple of stops to have pretty much the same effect.
.

Agree with this. I have been contemplating a lot about getting IS or not and decided not to need it. Long exposure shots need a tripod. Studio shots always should have enough lighting. And if ever in need of a quicker shutter speed I will up the ISO. Thats why I chose the 6D as it has great low light and ISO performance, making IS redundant.

« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2014, 07:56 »
-1
Thats why I chose the 6D as it has great low light and ISO performance, making IS redundant.

You should call Canon and tell them their range of IS lenses are redundant.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 08:03 by Perry »

Semmick Photo

« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2014, 08:09 »
+4
Maybe I chose the wrong wording; it made IS less important for me.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2014, 09:06 »
0
If you happen to find yourself with an unexpected and totally amazing low-light opportunity ... with only a non-IS lens to hand ... you could always up the ISO by a couple of stops to have pretty much the same effect.

What if your ISO is already on the borderline to make the noise really ugly? And in many places, there isn't the possibility to lug around a tripod.



If you shoot borderline ISO you need to ask yourself will the image will get past the reviewers. At that point IS is not going to get you a massively better quality image. If you are not shooting for stock, 2 stops ISO doesnt make much difference IMO. I have images of 5000 ISO accepted on SS mainly because of the 6D performance. IS could have helped me shooting at ISO 3200, but I dont see the necessity. This is just my opinion. YMMV.

« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2014, 09:33 »
+1
If you happen to find yourself with an unexpected and totally amazing low-light opportunity ... with only a non-IS lens to hand ... you could always up the ISO by a couple of stops to have pretty much the same effect.

What if your ISO is already on the borderline to make the noise really ugly? And in many places, there isn't the possibility to lug around a tripod.



If you shoot borderline ISO you need to ask yourself will the image will get past the reviewers. At that point IS is not going to get you a massively better quality image. If you are not shooting for stock, 2 stops ISO doesnt make much difference IMO. I have images of 5000 ISO accepted on SS mainly because of the 6D performance. IS could have helped me shooting at ISO 3200, but I dont see the necessity. This is just my opinion. YMMV.
There is always a borderline what is acceptable, depending on the application (There are also other applications than microstock!) I think two stops make a massive difference in noise, depends on the camera how great the difference is.

How do you calculate that two stops from ISO 5000 is ISO 3200? Two stops from ISO 5000 would be ISO 1250. And with a modern IS lens you propably would have gotten away with ISO 800.

If you think ISO 5000 would be enough, you would alternatively have the option to use a smaller aperture and/or if your shutter speed is borderline you might get more sharp photos with IS.

I still think IS gives more FLEXIBILITY in shooting things. How much this is worth to you of course depends on what you shoot and how much money you have.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 09:44 by Perry »

Semmick Photo

« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2014, 09:38 »
0
Yes,  I agree, I mentioned stock and other purposes specifically. And I also referred to my 6D. The difference in noise on my 450D from 800 to 1600 was a lot, but at 800 ISO it was already a mess making the image unsuitable for stock. I am just adding my experience for the OP. I think IS is overrated and not worth the price hike (I have both IS and non IS lenses).

« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2014, 09:50 »
+3
Keep in mind that IS won't help with anything if your subject is moving - people, leaves, etc.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2014, 09:55 »
0
Keep in mind that IS won't help with anything if your subject is moving - people, leaves, etc.
Yeah, and also wont help with rotation movement, only lateral movement

No Free Lunch

« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2014, 11:26 »
+1
one thing that we all can agree with IS- it will cost you more $$$  :)


« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2014, 17:03 »
+2
IS is only useful at the margin of camera shake. It will help get maybe 2 or 3 fStops depending on your holding technique. In the studio you should likely be adjusting lights to cover ISO, shutter speed, and camera shake.

A real world example of where it helped me.... Shooting a NASCAR race pit stop from the viewing stands at dusk. With Canon 7D I can accept noise at ISO 400 but is borderline at 800. The field of view (pit box) is motionless (no panning) so IS can be used. To reasonably stop the action of pit crew members I need at least 1/60th shutter speed but I would like faster. My lens is at 300mm on 1.6 crop camera for an effective 480mm lens length. For the lens length, the rule of thumb is 1/480 shutter - but there is no way to get there as I run out of aperture opening. I have to either use tripod (not available) or IS plus technique to increase my chances of getting a keeper among 8 frames per second.  I will through away almost all of the output but there will be 1 or 2 where I can get my shake coupled with IS help for a well defined keeper.  Without the IS help I would not get a keeper.  IS is about adding just a bit to the margins of ISO and/or Shutter Speed.

Canon does have an IS mode (mode 2) that stabilizes vertically but not horizontally. This can help in panning a race car as in moving left to right. Some help but not all that much in my limited high-speed experience. I'm just to uneven in my left to right tracking that I exceed the vertical panning IS aid and then it tries to recover and makes things worse.

So there are situations where IS can make your hit count worse and that is when being unsteady enough that the IS bumps into the correction limits and hence tracking gets confused and is searching around for recovery of stability.

IS can make images blurry also when you are out of the usable window. Hence the instruction to turn off IS when using a steady tripod. IS will "hunt" to be sure it has locked onto the image. The servo twitches ever so slightly to decide that it is going off target and then it comes back on target. Of course this introduces a very slight blur that is already overcome by a good stable tripod.

« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2014, 18:52 »
+3
I like to shoot handheld in normal lighting conditions. IS is very useful for this sort of shooting. I think it it's worth the extra money.

« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2014, 01:23 »
0
IS has come in handy once in a great while.  Not often enough to justify the difference in price BUT f2.8 vs. f4.0 has been a huge benefit to me both in the studio and outside.  I'm very glad I paid the extra money for the f2.8 IS 70-200.

« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2014, 04:47 »
+2
In studio situations I don't think IS is really necessary.
I do shoot a lot of wildlife, which means long lenses (100-400, 600) and often unfavorable lighting conditions. That's where IS comes handy, as you can handhold longer shutter times.
IS does not help if you have light that allows you very short shutter times (e.g. shorter than 1/500 for a long tele lens) or for long exposures from a tripod.
But all the situations in between (where you fight to keep ISO low enough, while getting reasonably short shutter times) IS will save you a lot of shots (even if used from a monopod or tripod - the modern lenses have an IS that works from a tripod as well).

« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2014, 07:43 »
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The cost of IS... it's an interesting speculation. You may shoot microstock in studio without any benefit from IS. In some other cases the IS can be paid with just one great shot that would not be as good without IS.

« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2014, 05:00 »
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If yoou shoot on 200mm IS could be of great help.

Actually there is a relation between focal distance and exposure time needed to make a staady shot, so if you shoot at 200mm, you need 1/200 exposure time. For croped sensor, it is even worse, as you need to include crop factor (1.5) and then it is 1/300.

If you have only 2 stops advantage with IS, that means that on 200mm you can shoot at 1/75  instead of 1/300, and get steady shot. 

But... Many claim that IS does not always work as expected, and many photograpers try to avoid shooting with IS. Me too. I 've seen that my non IS shots are sharper somehow. In many cases. Don't know why exactly, there are some articles on internet about that.

So, for wide angle linses, IS is actually not needed, if you shoot at 20mm for example you neeed only 1/30 without IS to make steady shot - and that is a reason why I bought non IS (or VR for Nikon users, like I am) wide angle lens.

For zoom lenses, if you do not shoot sports, IS should be prefered.

« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2014, 05:29 »
+1
The idea that the reciprocal of the focal length gives the slowest shooting speed to avoid camera shake was aimed at ordinary enthusiasts, but Ansel Adams did his own tests and reckoned that the reciprocal of three times the focal length was needed  to avoid shake completely. It depends what works to your satisfaction (and how steady your hands are). With flash in a studio the effective shutter speed is the duration of the flash, unless you have enough ambient light to show up in the picture.
As for the difference between f4 and f2.8, it affects the speed at which the autofocus can react and the maximum shutter speed/lowest ISO you can get away with. It's probably most important for sports shooters who need to freeze action as well as for general low-light shooting. 

« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2014, 07:23 »
0
Actually there is a relation between focal distance and exposure time needed to make a staady shot, so if you shoot at 200mm, you need 1/200 exposure time.

That's from the time when images were watched from 4*6" paper prints. If you have a modern SLR with 20-ish megapixels and peep images on the screen at 100% the images have to be totally shake free.
With 200mm and 1/200 may get lucky once in a while if you have the time to take it really slow and take many shots, but it's far away from a guarantee to get shake-free images.

i.e. 200mm and 1/200 is a borderline combination, which would work fine with IS.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2014, 07:25 by Perry »

« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2015, 07:04 »
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I agree 1/200 on 200mm might be somewhat difficult :) I use 200mm mostly for sports with 1/800 or faster - so probably that's why I didn't notice... But I'm achieving 1/30 on 20mm without VR quite regularly...

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