IS or No IS that is the question?

Discussion in 'Sports' started by hatcher_jon, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. Hello
    I am planning on purchasing a new Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens but do
    not know if I should purchase the IS version or not. I photograph
    high school sports for the schools yearbook and as most of yall know
    that prep gymnasiums and fields are not well lit. So would the IS
    help in this low lighting condition. Or should I get the non IS
    version, save $600, and just use my monopod instead?
  2. Hatcher, The problem is that IS helps keep the camera from showing movement, but does nothing to stop subject movement.Subject movement is the problem with sports. You need the speed of the lens and a fast shutter speed not IS.
  3. It's true what Michael is saying about subject motion, but that said, I'd still be glad to have
    both the monopod AND the IS. I don't know about the 70-200, but my 100-400 has a dual-
    mode IS switch. Mode 2 disengages horizontal stabilization such that it will not fight your
    panning, but will still assist vertical stabilization.

    Still... only you can decide whether it's worth $600.

  4. For subjects that you have to follow all over the place then IS may not help much, but for more stationary ones it will help a lot. I take theatre photos under very dim lighting and I need both IS and wide aperature.
  5. so what would yall do, buy the IS or the non IS version for what I am shooting?
  6. I would not,as it would not help you with the sports photos,where the subject is moving.
  7. If you can afford it, always go for the IS, as I'd be willing to bet that you shoot other things beside indoor sports. Once you get used to it you wonder how you ever shot without it.
  8. I'm with Mike. You'd surely never regret having it. You must shoot other subjects too, right?
    I have a few really fine, sharp images shot hand-held with my IS lens, that more than likely
    would have been unusable without it. And I still think it would be of some use still with the
    indoor sports. You could always try renting a lens first to try it out. Some places that rent
    will credit part of the cost of rental toward a purchase made within, say, the next 30 days.
  9. I bought the non IS version of the 70-200 2.8L. I bought the 100-400L IS the same day ... I love both lenses!

    The vast majority of my sports shooting is outdoors; as a result I just couldn't justify the extra $600. So far my wife isn't buying my logic of "I saved $600 by sacrificing on this lens - doesn't that justify my spending another $4k on a ID Mk II N?"
  10. IS/VR is terrific for travel actually, as well as general hand-held, not-so-fast shutter speed photography, but really doesn't come into the equation when talking about typical sports photography which requires fast shutter speed to freeze the motion which in effect, if achievable, already eliminate the need for IS/VR or monopod, IMO. Monopod however is very useful if one can not hand-hold large lenses like 300 f2.8 or larger.
  11. Thanks yall, I have decided on buying the IS version. Can't wait!
  12. Hmmmmmmm, You ignored the advice of the two most knowledgable posters in the thread!

    You will have to look at everyones portfolio who posted here to find out who they are :)

    With the $600 you would have save by not buying the IS lens you could have brought a 85 1.8 that would be very useful in some of those low light gyms that you posted about!

    You will find the monopod in most cases a hinderance, IS or not, with a 70-200 2.8 which was designed to used as a fast hand held meduim telephoto
  13. Not everything you photograph in sports is action. There are a lot of still moments where IS can help. Sideline conferences. Coaches & players waiting for a referee ruling. Player at the foul line. Faces of players as they wait or between bits of action.

    Get the IS as it will come in handy more than you think.

    Go to the above site & read what pro sports shooters have to say about the lens.
  15. Forgot to mention. When you go to the page be sure you click on the names of those who post their comments (underlined names) to see their posted images. This might give you an idea of what they shoot to help in guaging their opinion of the lens use in sports work.
  16. Heck I don't even use autofocus for sports so how could I possibly suggest IS. I use a manual focus 400/2.8 instead of a 70-200/2.8 IS and I use a manual focus 200/2 instead of a 200/2.8 L. I have a few sports photos posted and will post some more shortly.
  17. Daniel, just to point out, you assume that responders to this post shoot post samples of all their work at Since I shoot mostly youth sports I don't post that work here since many parents don't expect to see their children's likeness posted on the internet in a place they aren't expecting - no matter how honorable the forum.

    I agree with the suggestion that the monopod will prove to be an annoyance - these lenses are easily handheld. (OK, I do admit that after a couple of days of 4-5 hrs of handholding the 100-400 I end up having to ice down my left elbow ... but it still beats being hampered by the monopod!)
  18. I agree with those who say "if you can afford it, get it". It's definitely true that IS helps, even though for most sports, if you need the IS, you'd better start considering figuring out how to get more light.

    I shoot Nikon (70-200 f/2.8 VR, same deal), available light, and I always end up shooting at 1/250-320 for basketball (although some well-lit gyms allow for 1/400), and at least 1/500 for football - I usually end up at 1/2000.

    The IS helps in the little ways - even at 1/250, you can generally freeze most of the action, and even if you couldn't, the IS isn't going to help. HOWEVER, if you're nearing the 200mm mark, it becomes a completely different story. Let's just say that I'd rather shoot a game with the 70-200 VR/IS than a 80-200 f/2.8, and it's not for the extra 10mm.

    Food for thought - you will never find a pro-shooter at something like a basketball game working with the non-IS 70-200. Period.
  19. I read Daves post on using IS lenses for shooting Sports.I no longer shoot a lot of sports ,since I do not work weekends or nights. I thought I would ask some of the Photographers who do shoot a lot of sports about their using IS. I asked 11 photographers,who shoot, The Phoenix Suns, NHL hockey,College Hoops,Arizona Rattlers,Diamondbacks Baseball,Nascar,Indoor Soccer,NFL (if you think of the Cardinals as a NFL team) and any other sport you can imagine.Two of these photographers have covered the past 3 summer olympics and the past 2 winter olyimpics.These photographers have covered the NCAA Final 4 , 3 Superbowls and the Fiesta Bowl every year. One shoots for AP,One shoots for Gannett and USA today, The rest for the Arizona Republic.None of these photographers uses IS when shooting sports. All gave the same reason ,that I did in a earlier post,it does not do any good to use IS, when you are shooting faster than 1/125 of a sec. and most, if not all photographers, will not shoot slower than 1/250 as it will not stop motion.The downside of using IS is that it drains life from the battery, it diverts power from the auto focus and Buffering as well.Jon if you wish to buy a Lens with IS that is your decision, I would take in all the facts before you spend the extra money.
  20. Again, IS/VR is a non-factor especially when you need to stop motion in typical team sports. For an example, here's something shot without IS/VR. Although I shoot sports without using IS/VR, I would however value the technology for travel photography where in several occasions I came across situation where the needed shutter speed is a bit below reciprocal focal length, but not having time, nor the circumstance does not allow for a use of a camera support. Going back to original poster's question, if sports are all that you shoot, then I'd vote for non-IS lens and put the $600 toward a 300 f2.8 or an ultra-wide zoom (10-22mm f3.5-4.5, 12-24mm f4, etc.) Just my 2 cents.
  21. I'd consider VR a major plus, but I have shaky hands. For me, VR helps up to 1/250 second. Beyond that, sure, it's not entirely necessary. But I've compared my photos taken with and without VR turned on at 1/250 and below and there's a difference. I need all the help I can get. I think it's great that some folks can handhold an 80-200/2.8 zoom steadily at 1/125 second. I could, years ago. Not now.

    VR also helps when shooting from a moving vehicle. Tried it. It works. That might be useful in special circumstances.

    Yup, it sucks extra battery juice. I have three batteries for my D2H so it's no biggie. Yup, it takes a fraction of a second for VR to kick in if I let off pressure on the shutter release button. You get used to it. Yup, the image shifts ever so slightly when VR kicks in and out, and there's a barely audible "click" when it engages and disengages. Again, no big deal.

    If my hands were steady or I planned to always use a monopod I might pass on the VR. But there's little difference in price between the 70-200/2.8 AF-S VR Nikkor and the now-discontinued 80-200/2.8 AF-S Nikkor. Might as well get the VR version. The less expensive 80-200/2.8 AF Nikkor lacks the Silent Wave Motor and is slower to autofocus, at least on some cameras.
  22. Michael, all the photographers you talked to have one thing in common - they are shooting in well lit venues. Where I live, high school football stadiums are rarely that well lit; to the contrary, they often have very definite light and shadow areas on the field - usually directly related to the number of burned out bulbs in the stadium lights. I've had the ISO cranked up to 3200 to get 1/125 shutter speeds - massive noise but it sure beats the motion blur. In this case IS would come in handy. Hence, if you shoot in that kind of venue and you can afford it, get the IS.
  23. Patrick, The places I mentioned are well lit as you say. We at the paper also cover High School basketball,and Football , Community college Football,High School vollyball, all are very dark. I have found that if you are shooting in a very dark place,to set the camera on Manual,1/250 of a sec. wide open,at the highest ASA that will give you quality, and pop a dialed down flash for fill. You can shoot using this method in almost any gym in the country, even with those horrible sodium vapor lights.Jon has already said he is getting the IS, I hope he finds it worth while.

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