To IS; or ; NOT to IS

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by roger_k, Jun 17, 2004.

  1. Well Well Well, To IS; or ; NOT to IS, is that a question.

    I am going to purchase my first L lens, my question to all L lens
    owners who have IS, is it worth the $400 more for an IS lens? Take
    for example the Canon 70-200/2.8L vs. 70-200/2.8L IS. Most of the
    shots I would take are handheld and of people. Would IS help me out
    of my natural body's shake.

    Here's another question: If I have good exposure on a subject outside,
    for instance f4 @ 250 shutter. The shutter is fast enough to stop any
    little movements. My question is, would IS guarantee a perfect shot
    even thought the camera/lens does not need any help since the exposure
    is fine? Weesh...i let that out....
  2. IS adds about 30% to the cost of this lens. I believe IS would be worth the extra cost to me, but not everyone agrees. If you were a consistent tripod packer, or if you only used it in bright sunny conditions, it might not be worth it.

    1/250 second does not guarantee a perfect shot. Nothing does. It doesn't even guarantee a shake free, blur free shot. 1/250 second usually would result in an acceptably blur free image from most photographers, most of the time, at up to 200mm. If you fired off three shots in a row, probably two of them would be acceptable, and maybe all three. But maybe none of them would be. Also, some photographers are steadier than others.

    But "aceptably blur free" is not REALLY blur free, and IS will likely improve sharpness on most shots at 1/250 @200mm.
  3. Oh well, I shoot at 1/800 s to get a sharp hand-held shot with my 180 mm.
  4. "is it worth the $400 more for an IS lens?"

    Yes, yes, yes.

    "Most of the shots I would take are handheld and of people."

    Then especially yes, yes, yes.
  5. I don't have an L-lens with IS, just the 75-300 IS. I'm glad I have it. Most of the times I shoot the 300mm length handheld. IS reduces blurr a lot - up to the point, that I can use most or my 300mm handheld shots. This wasn't the case when I used the same lens without IS.

    If its worth for you 400 $ - only you can decide. From the practical standpoint: IS makes it possible to use 300mm handheld in real world situations.

  6. "Most of the shots I would take are handheld and of people. Would IS help me out of my natural body's shake."

    In this specific application, mode 1 IS on the 70-200 would definiteley be worth the money. I have this lens and find it works very well in this circumstance. On the other hand I often use this lens for sport, where I pan with the action, and IS (mode 2) definitely does NOT gaurantee sharp results. I often switch it off for "pan" shots because the IS often causes a double image rather than a mild blur and I think the mild blur is a better look.
  7. I have two lenses with IS: the 28-135 IS USM and the 70-300 DO IS USM. Like the others, my opinion is: yes, IS is definitely worth it, especially with longer focal lengths. It will allow you to get reasonably sharp handheld photos with shutter speeds 2 to 3 stops slower than what's possible without IS, so it gives you much more flexibility. But ofcourse it also depends on your shooting habits. If you're never shooting in low light, or if you're using a tripod almost all of the time, IS might be less useful to you.
  8. I have the 70-200 IS for a while. Never switch the IS off because I don't use a tripod. It is worth the extra money. Your only problem is the gyros use up your battery really fast. It can completely drained two batteries in less than 1/2 an hour of continuous use, presumming you're using a DSLR. Good luck.
  9. The other benefit of IS is that it often enables you to use a smaller aperture - because you can afford to drop the shutter speed by the equivalent of a couple of shots. Depth of field of long focus lenses is very small if you are shooting at close distances and being able to use say f8 where you would otherwise have to use f4 can make a big difference to subject sharpness because of depth of field (while still throwing background out of focus). It also means you aren't having to use your lens wide open but a couple of stops down which improves image sharpness.
    So, in poorer lighting conditions IS saves the day and in good lighting conditions it gives you more options in trading off shutter speed and aperture.
  10. Remember that 1/(focal length) is the limit for how long you can reasonably handhold in good conditions, it is not the ideal. With a large, heavy lens after a long hike on a windy day, the limit will be a much faster speed in order to get a reasonable picture. IS really can make a big difference, particularly if you need to stop down to get depth of field.
  11. So, if I can afford it right now (which I can) everyone seems to give their thumbs up for IS. But hey, is it still possible to get razor sharp pictures @ 200mm , handheld without IS. No one has answered this. Before there was IS, I'm sure people were able to produce razor sharp images. I'm just bring up issues to discuss so memebers with the same questions get both sides....
  12. Roger K wrote:
    "So, if I can afford it right now (which I can) everyone seems to give their thumbs up for IS. But hey, is it still possible to get razor sharp pictures @ 200mm , handheld without IS. No one has answered this."
    Well, you know the 1 / focal length rule of thumb, it has been mentioned in some of the answers above. With shutter speeds of 1/200 second or faster, yes ofcourse it's possible to make sharp photos handheld at 200mm. But to be able to use those fast shutter speeds you'll be forced to use a larger aperture and if it's too dark it won't be possible at all.
    Jay wrote: "What everyone said, except of course IS still can't make an optically mediocre consumer-gradew lens like the 70-300DO into an L-quality lens."
    Yeah yeah Jay, it's not the first post I see from you about this. It's clear that you are disappointed with the 70-300 DO.
  13. ooohhhhh! Flame war!


    But to Roger's question: Yes, it is possible to get razor sharp photos at 200mm without IS

    The most reliable technique is to use a high shutter speed (over 1/500).

    The next best trick is to use a tripod.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the 4L is half the weight of the 2.8L, so should be easier to keep steady.

    My experience is as follows:

    The 1/focal rule is a rule of thumb. Use with caution.

    On a 1.6 crop camera like a 10D, where the circle of confusion is smaller, you really should have a margin on the 1/focal rule.

    If you have a monopod, or are firmly braced (or sitting down with elbows on your knees!) you can violate the 1/focal rule and still be sharp.

    If your lens is really heavy (ie, the 2.8L), or if you have a heavy flash mounted then it is harder to keep steady, so you need to speed the shutter.

    Physical impairment also inhibits sharp photos => I use a 1/( 2xfocal) rule after the third beer. (once, after 5 beers, I was coherent enough to use a tripod, but not coherent enough to realize that a circular polarizer was still mounted on the lens! Doh! Photos were still sharp, however.)
  14. OK here are my two cents worth. YES spend the extra money.
    I was in costa rica shooting surf shots in some not so friendly
    areas. The last thing I wanted to do was to announce to people
    on the street that I had a bunch of photography equipment in my
    purposefully crappy looking pelican box, by carrying around a
    tripod. Man get the IS. I can think of about fourty other simple
    reasons to get the IS... Anything a photographer can do to get rid
    of all the xtra crap is a good idea.
  15. It depends what are you shooting. I shoot sport for money, and a little bit of everything else for fun. For me personally IS is waste of money. At 1/2000 and stuff like this it really doesn't make any difference if you have IS or not. But this is my case. If you are shooting mostly around 1/100 then IS is worth. But shooting sport and spending $400 more just to say "Look I have IS, it's turned off all the time anyway but I have it" is plain stupid for me :) <br>
    So basicaly you (and your shooting style) are only one who can tell if it's worth for you or not.
  16. forget the whole rule of thumb thing about the focal length /shutter speed, there is more handshake involved than you realize, even at 1/200 and up with a small lens. Some are better at holding than others, so what, that's them, but here's what YOU do:

    go to a camera store, put the IS lens on your camera, and just LOOK, YOUR OWN SELF, at the difference it makes when it cuts on.

    If you're a mainly-handholder, like me, you'll be sold
  17. It would seem that shooting at most sporting events you would
    be able to shoot fast... they have enough lights in those places to
    force you to wear sunglasses even at night games.

    If you want to shoot your friends at a picnic sitting under a tree or
    shoot your dog on an overcast day you'll dig the IS.
  18. Back to the original question. It is possible to hand hold shots slower than 1/focal length. The technique requires practice and patiece (sp). The method I use is taking a reasonable deep breath letting half out, and then slowly squeezing of the shutter. Note you can only do this for about 5 seconds then need to put the camera setup down. I have ASSUMED that you are pretty good shape, and the camera/lens combo does NOT weigh more than 5 or so pounds.

    This method is not perfect! To improve upon it, kneeling with one knee on the ground helps, sitting down works better, and laying down on the ground is the best. If your squeeze technique isn't good try putting the camera into multishot mode and taking 3 shots, one of the three should be pretty good. There is a vey nice article in on this method.

    BTW hi Jay.

  19. Gerry is right to make good picture using IS requires practice and practice. I use Canon EOS 3 and 300mm/f4 IS lens with 1.4x or 2x extender for my birds and animals pictures. I like to make action pictures of birds or animals. In this case IS doesn't help. I tried to use panning with 1/125 or 1/60 but I got always blurred pictures. The best results I got is IS off, the shutter speed (for 300mm + 1.4x) from 1/200 - 1/500. Shorter time frizzes all motions. I don't use any support, all shots are from my hands. Of course making one good picture takes 10 or more error frames. IS really helps but only for static pictures any motion except panning (if available). There is an example of panning (1/125 IS 2 - picture is not very sharp).
  20. Next shot 1/250 IS off
  21. Slow shutterspeeds with IS are useless for fast sports or wildlife, with maybe a slight exception in motorsport panning. But it is GREAT for slower or stationary subjects... especially at the slower shutterspeeds.
  22. Glad the debris was cleared away. IS was for me the main reason I bit the bullet and dumped all my Nikon AF gear for Canon. I did *extensive* testing before committing to that horrendously expensive move. IMO there is no single more beneficial technology to hit photography in the past 40 years at least. IS is certainly more than just a bell or whistle. With the small crop (hence greater magnification) and inherently detail-lacking capture of DSLR's, IS makes even more sense. Sure it's possible to make tack-sharp images with long lenses on a heavy tripod, to say otherwise would deny an enormous body of work pre-IS. It's also true that no handheld shot at any shutter speed will be as sharp as the same shot made with a tripod, this has been proven thousands of times, but there are some instances where a tripod is just not feasable or useful, such as in a rocking boat. IN that case IS is not just beneficial, it's essential. I still own several long telephotos that do not have IS, but even on a sturdy tripod and a cable release, IS gives noticeably sharper shots. For wildlife shooting where you have to have the tripod controls loosened to follow action, and constant contact between yourself and the camera, no sane person would come away from an IS/non-IS comparison and prefer the latter. It's fun to go to the rodeo and watch someone shoot a cigarette out of a pretty girl's mouth with a muzzle-loader held backwards over their shoulder, aiming with a handheld mirror, but serious shooters would not attempt to hunt or defend themselves with such parlor tricks. And like all the features that some people snub their snobby noses at (AF, motor drives, AE et al)IS also has a convenient "off" switch. However anyone with their marbles intact will never turn it off once they've had a chance to use it.
  23. <<I use Canon EOS 3 and 300mm/f4 IS lens with 1.4x or 2x extender for my birds and animals pictures. I like to make action pictures of birds or animals. In this case IS doesn't help.>>

    The 300/4 is 1st-generation IS and while it *does* work just fine when panning or on a tripod, the finder image gets weird which confuses some owners who don't understand what's going on. The current crop of IS lenses (including all the f/2.8 teles and the overpriced/underperforming 70-300DO)have separate settings for pan/tripod shooting.
  24. "is it worth the $400 more for an IS lens?"

    It's worth every penny and more. I use the 70-200 2.8L IS and consistently get some of the best technical results I've had in nearly thirty years of photography. Put the 70-200L and the 135L on a tripod and the 135 has a small advantage up to about f5.6. Hand hold them (the way 35mm cameras are meant to be used) and the IS advantage becomes clear, with the 70-200 often performing ahead of the 135.
  25. Here's another consideration:
    1. Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM: expensive, fast, heavy, excellent build, excellent optics, IS
    2. Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 EX HSM: inexpensive, fast, heavy, excellent build, excellent optics, no IS
    3. Canon 70-200 f/4L USM: inexpensive, not as fast, light, excellent build, excellent optics, no IS
    4. Canon 70-200 f/2.8L USM: moderately expensive, fast, heavy, excellent build, excellent optics, no IS
    I do a lot of handheld shooting (in fact, virtually 100% handheld with the 70-200) so IS is a must-have for me, and thus I really only had one choice (which is the Canon lens). If I don't need IS and want to save some money without compromising on speed or construction or quality, I'd go with the Sigma. If you're on a budget or want a light, sharp lens, the Canon f/4 fits the bill. The Canon f/2.8 non-IS doesn't really seem to fit in nicely anywhere, unless you have a mental condition that only permits you to buy Canon L lenses. ;-)

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