Image Stabilization and Tripod

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by mrspock, Jan 17, 2006.

  1. I have an EOS-20D and a couple of IS lenses (17-85 EF-S and 100-400 L
    IS). The manuals (yes, I actually do read them) say that the newer
    types of IS can be used with a tripod. I tried taking shots of a full
    moon over the weekend and noticed that the IS kept moving the lens.

    I eventually turned it off, and also turned off auto-focus because the
    lens kept hunting, I guess because the moon was bright white and the
    sky was black.

    I also do a lot of wildlife photography with a tripod so should I be
    using IS with a tripod or turning it off?

  2. It's my understanding that the IS gyros depend on slight motion in order to keep the image stable. The 70-200 IS lens I just purchased actually states in its docs to turn the IS off as it will lead to a decreased picture quality (presumably due to the hunting effect you noticed).

    My thought on the tripod wildlife photography, if your tripod is stabe enough and there is little to no wind, leave the IS off. An additional help for tripod photography is to utilize the mirrow lock-up function.
  3. I also do a lot of wildlife photography with a tripod so should I be using IS with a tripod or turning it off?
    Supposedly you should shut of IS on the 100-400 when using a tripod, but I often used this lens on a tripod and often forget to shut of IS when I do. Nonetheless, the pictures are sharp. It may depend on how steady the tripod is and how long an exposure you're making. On a big, solid tripod, I'd switch it off. Dunno about the 17-85 (I don't have that lens).
  4. On my 28-135mm and 75-300mm IS lenses, you turn it off when mounted on a tripod. If let
    turned on, I get blurry pictures.
  5. Only use IS on a tripod when panning (That is what the newer IS lenses support). If you are using it for fixed work, where you won't be panning the camera during the exposure, turn off IS.
  6. If you are taking static shots with the tripod's controls locked, the tripod and head are heavy and solid, there is nothing shaking the earth (such as a passing train or automobiles or foot-traffick), and not enough wind to disturb the camera (in other words, if you can look through the viewfinder and not see any camera motion whatsoever), then by all means turn the IS off. Otherwise, leave it on.
  7. jbq


    You can use IS on a tripod, but not for long exposures. The range of shutter speeds at which IS is effective on a tripod is similar to the range at which it is effective hand-held.

    IS on a tripod is especially useful in windy conditions.
  8. I wasn't aware that the 100-400 had the newer type of IS. Mine didn't seem to, because I never found it very useful on a tripod. The IS on the super-teles definitely works very well on a tripod, in just about any conditions.
  9. Another thread on this subject: .

    Although Canon says both in manuals and at , that IS can be left ON on a tripod, and in fact should even improve results, my experience with two 70-200 2.8 IS's is that IS will cause blur when on a stable tripod.

    The movement that IS causes on a tripod is plainly visible through the viewfinder, and I think your tripod would have to be very rickety or it would have to be quite windy to warrant using IS on it.
  10. Looking at my last post, I didnt' mean to imply my experience would duplicate on the 100-400 L IS. That lens mey behave differently.

    It's easy to test. Take a series of longer exposure (1/2 - 1 sec) shots zoomed in on some detail, with and without IS, and compare results.

    Also use a shutter remote to minimize movement.
  11. FWIW, I just purchased the Canon 70-300mm F4-5.6 IS USM. In the small manual that came with the lens, the only refernce to using a tripod with this lens states: "When you use a tripod, the Image Stabilizer should be turned off to save battery power." So far I have not had the occasion to use a tripod, however on my Canon 28-135 IS lens, I have always turned off the IS. Thought it was necessary, of course, I guess the IS in the newer lens is totally different having the two modes etc. An interesting question for sure. Good Luck.
  12. I'm reading this thread and can't help but to ask a potentially stupid question. Why in the world does the IS mechanism cause unjustified motion when the camera is on a tripod? Having no idea at all, like myself, one would predict that with the camera on a tripod, the IS would be doing nothing! Thanks in advance for explaining.
  13. It's a feedback loop. Motion feeds back to the IS units. If there is no motion the feedback loop goes into a slow drift condition. This is due to the tuning characteristics of the loop (which I'd assume uses some sort of PID control). They could make it so that it didn't move at all, but then it wouldn't work as well when there was motion.

    On the large telephotos (500/4L IS, 600/4L IS etc.) there is some added circuitry which detects a "no motion" condition and shuts off the IS so you don't get any drift. This may well be too complex/expensive to include on cheaper, smaller, IS lenses. When a lens costs $6000 you can add a few frills. When it costs $600, those frills may not get added!
  14. Thanks to all. The consensus of opinion on this forum is to turn IS off when using the 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L IS on a tripod. I also corresponded with Canon Technical support who concurred.

    Mode 1: handheld
    Mode 2: panning, either handheld or on a tripod
    Off: when using camera on a tripod (not panning)
  15. Perhaps your shutter speed wasn't fast enough to stop the moon from blurring? The moon is never still you know... IS ain't gonna save you from that.
  16. A late entry into this discussion but thought I'd still leave a comment here after a similar experience during a holiday in Turkey where I didn't have the means to review my photos on a proper monitor. I had been using a 17-85 on a 40D and took lots of night shots on a tripod in relatively calm conditions. It was pure coincidence that one of the shots appeard so bad (on the camera LCD) that I noticed something wasn't right. At that point I turned off the IS and retook the shots. The quality improved considerably.

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