To IS or not to IS

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by alcb1310, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. I am interested in purchasing a new lens for my collection, this is the Canon 70-200 f/2.8, I've seen there are two models of this particular lens, one with Image Stabilizer an one without. I can afford the price of the IS version of this lens. Normally I shoot my pictures hand held only, so basically my question is it worth it to buy the IS version or should I stay with the non IS version.
  2. No brainer - if you can afford it and given you shoot hand held mostly, get the IS version
  3. I have a lens with IS, and I used it once, and the battery went off after sometime! so, I am not using this IS anymore, cause of the battery duration. And I did not see any particular differences between an IS lens and nonIS lens! But I am sure now, I will never again buy a lens with IS, cause I do not find it practical :) this is my view :)
  4. If you are shooting stationary objects, in low light where you need a slow shutter speed, then IS is useful. If you shoot moving objects in low light where you will be using higher shutter speeds to freeze action, I don't see a benefit.
  5. Biliana, I am not a big fan of IS but I do see how it can be practical. I don't think its the end all and I find it useful only about 10% of the time. Most often I carry a small monopod when I need more stability.
  6. I will never buy a non-IS normal to long lens zoom again if an IS version of it is available. Ultra-wides, not so much.
    Of course, we did manage somehow before IS, but the expansion of hand holding is incredibly helpful.
    I still use lenses like the Reflex-Nikkor 500mm on my Canons, but with a monopod, the poor man's IS.
  7. I have the 24-105L IS, and I have managed to get shots in low light I could/would never have attempted without IS.
    If you have the extra cash, then I say go for it.
    This lens is on my wish list for 2010.. Here is hoping nothing breaks down in 2010 and I have get to spend my savings on something i want.. lolo
  8. I too have the 24-105/4L IS. You want to turn it off when you mount on a tripod, but I've been amazed at how good the IS system is. As I've gotten older I carry the tripod less and less, but the 24-105 with IS on allows me to get sharp shots where I couldn't possibly have done it before. Definitely get the IS if you can.
  9. JDMvW says: ".. with a monopod, the poor man's IS."
    :) When I was learning photography, back when dinosaurs roamed the land, a popular bit of wisdom was: "The best lens I own is a tripod." :)
  10. zml


    When I was learning photography, back when dinosaurs roamed the land​
    And then progress cometh...
  11. Biliana, you bought and used an IS lens "ONCE" and from that experience decided not to use it again or ever buy one again? Wow forgive me, but thats a little extreme and not at all helpful to the poster who asked a relevant question and your opinion is based on nothing really. If you havent used a piece of equipment extensively and weighed up the pros and cons of said equipment then dont offer advice which wont benefit the person asking the question.
  12. IS is to photography what ABS is to braking. You can get by without it but when you need it you REALLY need it.
  13. IS makes my 100-400 very hand-holdable and I can imagine it would be even better on the 70-200. If you can afford it, then I'd have to agree that you should get it. If you don't want to use it, you can always turn it off.
    I've never noticed additional battery drain from using my IS lenses (I also have the 24-105L), but I do have a battery grip.
  14. There is no liability in getting the IS version aside from price.
  15. I'm with John on this one. I'm in the same boat as you Andres. There will be times when it would come in handy. I've used both the 4 L IS and the 2.8 IS, and I'm torn between getting the 4 or the 2.8, both IS. Non-IS is obviously cheaper, but wishing you had IS after you bought the non-IS is an impossibility at that point, aside from selling and spending more.
    Like John's analogy, I have a car w/o ABS, and wishing it had ABS is just....a wish.
  16. I must say that after 5 years of IS, I don't find it as useful as I did when I got it first...
    • It doesn't stabilize your moving subject,
    • It doesn't like fast focus recompose (needs one stable second before shooting).
    Nevertheless, it has its advantages:
    • Stabilizes the viewfinder or LiveView image,
    • Enables to hand hold when small apertures are needed for deep depth of field.
    Today, I tend to prefer to use fast primes with the 5D² high ISO and cropping capabilities.
  17. zml


    It doesn't stabilize your moving subject,​
    I just can't believe that this can be used as "not as useful as I thought it'd be" argument... Did you really think that lens/image stabilization can affect the movement of subjects..? If so, either Canon is doing a very poor job explaining IS to the masses or you might need to revisit grade school science classes...
  18. I have a lens with IS, and I used it once, and the battery went off after sometime! so, I am not using this IS anymore, cause of the battery duration.​
    I suggest you get a new battery, or at the time you battery was in need of being recharged. I have 4 IS lenses and they have minimal impact on battery life. Also in the right situations (which for me is frequently) IS really makes a big difference.
    If you can afford it, get the IS version of the lens.
  19. @Michael: what I ment is that I shoot much less stable subjects than I initially thought of... People at a party have moving hands, birds are flying, tree branches & leaves are moving in my landscapes, children, cars, water, etc.
  20. david_henderson


    Biliana. Does it occur to you that with so many people using IS and so many people responding positively to it ( and not just on this thread) that it has to basically work, and work well?. There is something wrong with your experience - either a product problem or user error - that has spoiled your experience with IS . I can understand a degree of frustraion but that doesn't merit "Humph. Tried it once , didn't work, won't ever buy it again, it's junk" I mean you have to know that that's just wrong.
    OP. In my opinion IS is very valuable especially with a zoom of this focal range. It makes a big difference to the usability of the lens. I can't think of a single downside , except maybe that you need to remember to turn it off when using a tripod. If I had to , I'd change brands to get IS.
  21. I have become a big fan of IS over the last two years. I first got it with my kit lens for the Canon XSi. I was amazed at how slow a shutter speed I could use and get sharp photos.
    When I was shopping for a longer zoom I opted to spend the extra money to get the 70-200mm f/4 IS. I am so glad I did. It has a 4-stop IS system. It also has a mode for panning. It provides sharp photos of race cars and other fast moving objects.
    I have taken up to 800 images at sporting events while using IS. I have never had a battery issue.
    If given a choice between a lens that offers an option for IS or not, I would spend the extra money.
  22. I use a Nikon 70-200 and with the VR (IS) can hand hold down 1/30 and have snuck usable shots down to 1/15 if I didn't have a 2nd cup o coffee. I would say, generally, if you can afford it, on a long lens IS or VR is a big plus. I don't know what the situation was on the 1 poster that with 1 use drained his battery and had no effect. I imagine he had a defective lens because on a long lens, the effect is obvious. You just have to know it doesn't help for motion blur caused by a moving subject. It does help with blur caused by moving camera.
  23. Take it where you can, particularly if you shoot long (say 200 mm plus) where the effect of camera shake is more pronounced. Shooting concerts is one example where it can be very useful. It will give you a latitude of hand held shots that you would otherwise not get. It was designed to extend a photographer's flexibility in achieving shots free of "camera shake" (up to 3 or 4 stops beyond what you can normally hand hold), and it does this very well. And of course, you can always switch it off to preserve battery power when it is not required.
  24. "There is no liability in getting the IS version aside from price."
    Except a few minor things:
    - more moving parts to go wrong
    - battery drain
    - a heavy lens even heavier!
    I have the non I.S. 2.8 and never once, not once! have I pined for the I.S.
    "... use a Nikon 70-200 and with the VR (IS) can hand hold down 1/30 and have snuck usable shots down to 1/15 if I didn't have a 2nd cup o coffee."
    THAT is amazing. Quite a testament indeed. What focal length though? 70mm? 200mm?
  25. Given its resale value, you can always buy the IS version, shoot with IS for a week, then shoot without IS for a week; then if you decide you don't need the extra feature, sell it for its value and get the non-IS.
    I personally feel that it's a great tool in a wedding photographer's box because of the typically dim locations in which we shoot.
    Full disclosure: I shoot the older model, an EF 80-200mm f/2.8L which is non IS. I've used the IS version once, and it did increase my keeper rate, but not in a magic "every frame came out perfect" kind of way.
  26. Hamlet. Act three, scene one.
  27. Well Ken you are not pushing yourself, and your limits of handholdability, then (is that an echo I hear?). How could you not, even occasionally, want to handhold an effective 390mm at 1/80, or as Barry says a 70-200 at 1/30 or less?
    Andres, read this thread as a short cut to this one :)
  28. Toby,
    I believe even Hamlet, mad though he was, did end up getting a Pentax with in body stabalisation :)
    He does, of course, mention it in his most famous speech, though the meanings of his ramblings, like Nostradamus and his ambiguous predictions (he predicted IS and these threads), are discussed and whether he was for or against IS is still in dispute. The contested point is the meaning of line 30 and its beginning.
    Happy holidays everyone, Scott.

        And can you, by no drift of circumstance,
        Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
        Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
        With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?


        He does confess he feels himself distracted;
        But from what cause he will by no means speak.

    Toby, what do you mean by this?
    That the poster that dislikes IS is confused?
    Kinda roundabout way to say that.
  30. In film days battery drain may have been a problem, since then IS was one of the biggest power consumers in the system. Nowadays with DSLRs with rechargeable batteries I do not consider this an issue: The other electronics in the system is also draining the battery so IS does not add that much to the total power consumption.
  31. " are not pushing yourself, and your limits of handholdability, then (is that an echo I hear?). How could you not, even occasionally, want to handhold an effective 390mm at 1/80..."
    Yes, an echo, indeed! ;-)
    Redo your math: it's an effective 320mm for the APS-C. If you can handhold a 200mm lens on an APS-C at 1/45 (or even 1/80) and get "sharp" then you've sold me!
    However ISO 800 at 1/320 = ISO 100 at 1/40.
  32. Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite
    jest, of most excellent fancy who favoured not IS. He hath bore me on his back a
    thousand times, and now how abhorr'd in my imagination does the softness of his pictures tell!
    My gorge rises at it.
  33. Ken,
    I have sold you then. I wasn't talking about Barry's experience but my own. I often post this image as a plus for IS. Taken with a 300mm f2.8 IS, it was on a 1.3 crop camera so effective 390mm from a camera shake point of view, no tripods or monopods allowed so hand held at 1/80 sec. Yes a 390mm handheld at 1/80 sec and this is not a "make do" image or anything like it, it is tack sharp and prints perfectly.
    IS is very useful for many things and on many occasions.
  34. You guys are too creative and way over my head. The thread title reminded me of Hamlet . . .
    I'd get the IS/VR version.
  35. Scott, that's an excellent example of what IS can do.
    "... use a Nikon 70-200 and with the VR (IS) can hand hold down 1/30 and have snuck usable shots down to 1/15 if I didn't have a 2nd cup o coffee."
    THAT is amazing. Quite a testament indeed. What focal length though? 70mm? 200mm?​
    With my 100-400 IS I have gotten sharp photos at 1/50 (full frame, 400mm) but not consistently. At 1/100 at 400mm the pictures are always sharp. I have had similar results with my 70-200 (at 200mm) and 24-105 IS lenses. However it should be said that the amount of improvement one gets is dependent on you. If you have very steady hands a 3 or maybe even 4 stop improvement is likely. In my case it is 2, sometimes 3 stops.
    a heavy lens even heavier!​
    The 70-200 F2.8 IS is 3.2lbs. The tripod collar add 0.3lbs making it 3.5lbs. The none IS version is 2.8lbs (the B&H web site doesn't say if that is with or without the collar. The F4 version is 1.56lbs without IS and 1.71lbs with IS. The IS system doesn't add significantly to the weight of the lens. The weight is trivial when compared to the weight of a good tripod.
    more moving parts to go wrong​
    Over the last couple of years I have only seen one post about a IS failure. I have lost track on how many focusing problem posts I have seen.
    battery drain​
    On a fully charged battery I can go all day with IS on. The increase in battery drain does not appear to have a significant effect on battery life. The only time I had a problem was when I forgot to charge the only battery I had with me. The battery was almost dead. The camera worked fine without IS, but when IS was and I hit the shutter the camera would turn off.
    IS is well worth the money.
  36. Toby, Geoff,
    "And thus the native hue of resolution
    IS sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
    And enterprises of great pith and moment"

    Thanks for the compliment. The usefulness of IS has been so well proven I don't understand how people can not recommend it in these situations. Sure if there are other priorities (f2.8 non IS over f4 with IS) or simply never using your camera not on a tripod there is no point but otherwise I can't see how most people would not benefit sooner or later by having it.
  37. Scott,
    I thought for image stabilization purposes the focal length that is being stabilized is 300 mm even though the image is cropped to 390 mm. If the same lens was fitted to a 1.6x body, the IS would still only apply to the 300 mm focal length, even though the image is now cropped to 480 mm.
    I think it is misleading to say that IS applies to the "35 mm equivalent" focal lengths of 390 mm or 480 mm.
    However, I do agree that the sharpness resulting in these images will be a true reflection of the image quality that IS is able to achieve.
    This shot taken at handheld at 300 mm and 1/3 second @ f/8 and ISO 1600 using the D200 fitted with the Nikkor AF-S 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED demonstrates the value of IS (or VR in Nikon terminology). The effective crop is 1.5x or viewing angle equivalent to 450 mm. The original image was horizontal. While I would not normally chose to shoot in this way, the shot (without flash) was made possible because of VR technology (see EXIF data in image for full details of camera settings). It was the difference between no shot or a shot.
    So yes, it is worthwhile to have IS for situations such as these.
  38. Greg,
    I respectfully disagree.
    Camera movement is magnified due to the increased enlargement. Camera shake, just as coc, is a function of enlargement. If I had taken the same image with a 400mm and a FF it would have had the identical sharpness characteristics. A 300mm on a 1.3 crop is the same (from a camera shake point of view) as a 400mm on a ff. Why? Because to get the same image size (coc/sharpness) the crop camera image has to be enlarged much more than the ff one, but the ff image has more camera shake blur in it in the first place, it is just not so apparent because it is enlarged less.
  39. I get up to four stops when shooting at distance with the Canon 100 f/2.8 IS Macro. Together with the 70-200 f/2.8 IS, I can cover just about any situation in plays and concerts in a pretty dark theater without either a flash or a tripod--which is good since in those places I typically cannot use either.
    I always run out of card space before I run out of battery power on the full-frame Canons. I know the limitations of IS, but those who do not acknowledge its enormous strengths have never seriously used it.
    If one combines IS with very good low-light/high ISO performance, then one gets a glimpse, I believe, of the photography of the future, a future in which tripods will be less and less necessary for many types of shots. I own the best tripods I can buy (Gitzo and Manfrotto) as well as the best mounts (Arca-Swiss, Wimberley gimbal, Manfrotto, etc.) that I can get--and I use them--but there are times when they are simply no longer necessary. Not to see and exploit the implications of that fact is to live in a kind of denial, I think. Yes, IS is expensive, but it can be worth its weight in gold in the right situations.
  40. After reading all of your responses to my question, I think I will finally buy the IS version of this lens. Thank you all for your input.
    Finally I want to take this time to wish all of you a merry christmas and an excelent 2010
  41. Yes, IS is expensive, but it can be worth its weight in gold in the right situations.​
    Completely right, but not as many situations as one would think at first. Oh, and did you ever try the statistical stabilizer (4th tip here) ?
  42. [​IMG]I see this question asked over and over again and every time there seems to be someone who says that IS/VR has no use if the subject is moving. This is untrue. Sure it won't help motion blur if the subject is moving and the shutter speed is too slow to freeze the action, but neither will a tripod. But it will help with the blur that comes from hand/camera movement. You can freeze a moving subject at 1/250th of a second with a 400mm lens but still get blur from camera movement if not on a tripod or if not using IS/VR. VR has completely revolutionized the way I shoot and I'm just shocked that this is still a debate. Yes, if you always take a tripod with you where ever you go and only shoot subjects that wait around long enough for you to set up the tripod, compose and shoot, then you don't need it. Otherwise it's the best thing that happened since the digital sensor. And I don't know how IS works, but with my two Nikon lenses with VR, it doesn't matter if the VR is left on or not while on a tripod. I think it actually helps in instances when I still use my tripod. Also, the split second it takes for VR to engage I hardly even notice. That's not really an issue. Here's a shot I took at 360mm on a D300, so in effect 540mm. The shutter speed was 1/15 of a second. You can see the motion blur from the monkey's hand movement, but the eyes are sharply focused. A second after taking the shot, the monkey was gone
  43. Here's another shot at 600mm at 1/30th of a second handheld with VR.[​IMG]
  44. 1DMk2n, 500f4 plus TC1.4x plus TC2x - top frame = full frame. Bottom frame crop of the above. Yes IS works!
  45. What body are you using?
    Where will you be using the lens?
    If you are using an APS-C body then the slightly higher image quality from the non-IS version may be the one to go for.
    If you are using it in adverse conditions then the weather sealing of the IS version may make it the better choice.
    IS, great for hand-holding, monopods or tripods, even better for iamge quality.
    A bit like ECF, some folk loved it, others just didn't get it at all. Thankfully Canon have put a switch on their IS lenses,as the did with their ECF bodies. It's a great thing choice.
  46. I have the lens you seek. It is DEFINITELY worth the extra few hundred dollars. Here's a scenario that you will find common if you shoot outdoors much. You want to zoom in on something, and you set your lens to 200 mm. You are tired, because you've been shooting for two hours. The light is failing, so you have your camera set to ISO 400 already. You don't want to make the photo any grainier by moving up to ISO 800, and you have to use a slow shutter speed of 1/30 sec. because you are trying to get more than just the subject's eyes in focus, so you have the lens set on f8 or f5.6 rather than that amazing f2.8 setting. You shoot five or ten shots. The one that you like best is slightly blurry - too blurry, because you forgot to turn on IS. You have to give your client your second choice image. Hmmm.
    Here's another scenario. You're not so old that you shake much, but when you're shooting on a really cold day (this happens to me in Florida, so imagine what it might be like in Wisconsin or New York in the Winter time), and you get chilled. You can't stop your hands from shaking. Now you NEED the IS feature to stabilize the lens, because you're acting like you have advanced Parkinson's disease.
    Here's another scenario. You're shooting on a windy day. You brought your heavy duty tripod, but the damn thing is still shaking like crazy in the strong wind, no matter how much you try to shield it with your body. You have an IS lens, which saves you, because you can turn on the IS feature and the lens stabilizes the picture, and combined with shutter speeds of 1/125th and 1/250th you get the shot you're after.
    I don't use IS most of the time.
    I use IS a lot though.
    I've shot thousands of photos with IS that I could not have shot (well, they would have been very blurry) without IS.
    It all depends on you, what else you need to buy (we photographers seem to always want something else), and what you will be shooting. If you specialize in shooting something that never needs IS, and you ALWAYS shoot indoors, you might not need IS. If you'e like me, and you shoot in a wide variety of situations, you should definitely have IS on a long lens.
  47. I'll now have to sell my non I.S. zoom to fun the I.S. version. After seeing all these excellent examples of slow shutter speeds at long FL's -- it's simply amazing.
    The trumpet player -- 1/3 of a second? Sure? No subject movement either that example. Was he frozen--totally paused?
  48. David Henderson wrote: Does it occur to you that with so many people using IS and so many people responding positively to it ( and not just on this thread) that it has to basically work, and work well?.
    That's a silly way to debate. You could just as easily argue "Does it occur to you that with so many people using cocaine and so many people responding positively to it ( and not just on this thread) that it has to basically work, and work well?. "
    I have owned both the IS and non-IS versions of the 70-200 2.8, and the non-IS version is noticeably sharper. Granted, the difference is more important for severely cropped images and large print sizes, but there IS a difference (no pun intended). But also, I shot mostly stage productions, pictorials and landscapes with this lens on a full frame sensor and I almost always am on a tripod. I would undoubtedly feel differently if I was shooting wildlife.
    In a nutshell, the IS is better if it's better for you. For me, not so much.
  49. Horse,
    Not really, given the parameters David and this thread are talking about, increasing handholdability when using IS, he was merely offering a rebuttal to some of the cynics, some of whom, due to the evidence presented, have now changed their positions. When people say things "like IS is not useful" it does make sense to say, "but lots of people do think it is and it works for them".
    To a lot of cocaine users cocaine is good and does make them feel good, so to them it does work. Maybe only in the short term and maybe it is doing them more harm than good though, your analogy does not translate well.
    You fall into a small group of users, if you always use a tripod then you have little need for IS, though I do use mine on tripods sometimes too. For you the cost and marginal IQ qualities of the non IS make more sense. The OP, Andre, specifically says, "I shoot hand held only", our recommendations to him should be based on our experiences of his needs, not our experiences of our needs.
  50. Well, as I use a very light tripod for travelling, stabilization is an enormous plus for me in those conditions. Much more than when shooting moving targets in mode II, or focus recomposing in mode I.
    With third generation IS at least on a tripod, you need to depress the shutter release halfway, standing still for a full second before fully triggering (time needed by the lens to detect the tripod) => no self-timer.
  51. I have owned both the IS and non-IS versions of the 70-200 2.8, and the non-IS version is noticeably sharper.
    We hear that a lot from individual owners of non-IS lenses. We also hear a similar claim from users of the IS f/4 version. And so on... There are several problems with relying on that sort of anecdotal stuff - and they are at least as problematic as the "cocaine" analogy you complain about:
    • A host of factors can affect perceived sharpness besides whether or not the lens as IS. One of them is sample variation, and there is some thought that the magnitude of individual sample variations may exceed the magnitude of any general differences between IS and non-IS versions of a given lens.
    • More or less unbiased testing of the lenses doesn't really support your anecdotal conclusion in any consistent way
    • Any "sharpness" differences among the four uniformly excellent Canon EF 70-200mm zooms are truly trivial - all four are excellent in this regard and among the very best available lenses of this type.
    • If, for the sake of discussion, we go with the claim that the non-IS version of a lens might be sharper than the IS version... while this could be true on the tripod it likely won't be true when doing handheld shooting since the other factors affecting sharpness will have a much greater impact of final image sharpness than the presence or not of IS.
    • People become slightly deranged, in my view, when it comes to comparing these four (IS/non-IS and/or f4/f/2.8 70-200mm L) lenses on the basis of sharpness. Of all the things you could compare among these four lenses, sharpness is the very least significant difference among them .
    To close, I'll repeat my original response to the question that OP asked:
    There is no liability in getting the IS version aside from price.
    (Who currently uses the non-IS f/4 version of this lens, along with a variety of other IS and non-IS lenses)
  52. This "Handhold for Birding" thread:
    is quite informative regarding the effectiveness of IS.

    A good number of the photos posted there, including a Barred Owl by Mark Bartosek, were shot handheld with a Canon 500mm F4 IS at speeds as slow as 1/30 and 1/60.

    Bartosek's handheld work, impossible without IS, is eye-opening.
  53. Isn't it nice to have all these problems(choices)?
  54. This "Handhold for Birding" thread:
    Well, I agree with the last post of this thread: shooting moving subjects at slower speeds (without IS, with IS or with a tripod) is pure luck, that's why they talk about taking bursts to statistically get one sharp image...
    This doesn't mean that IS is useless with moving subjects though, especially with longer lenses! It just means that it removes the camera shake problem and leaves you with the moving subject problem! The slower the speed, the less the number of keepers...
  55. Xavier,
    That is the point of IS, you get some keepers where you couldn't if you didn't have it. Nobody says it is the answer to all photographic problems, it is just a useful tool, like AF, auto exposure (my the arguments about in camera meters back at the camera club) and digital capture.
  56. Scott, I agree with you; I just want to warn people about IS over confidence as I had 4 years ago when I got the lens.
    There are other ways to get over camera shake that might be more useful in many cases: fast primes, higher ISO, bursts, etc.
    In the case of birding and longer lenses there is no question about IS being very useful though...
  57. Before IS the argument was sharpness, now sharpness is not as important? If you can afford the IS buy the IS. I myself am waiting for Canon to come out with a DSLR with built in IS, so I keep my old lens for that day;-)
  58. Manuel,
    Sharpness is the whole point! What is the point of a lens being able to render 2 lines per millimeter more if you can't hold it steady though? The stability the IS gives you far outweighs any token aditional sharpness the non IS lenses might have. So in practical terms (not shooting test targets) the IS lens, for nearly all users, will give sharper images when hand held at marginal handholdable shutter speeds.
    It really is as simple as that.
  59. Double double toil and trouble.
  60. Now you've done it, the Scottish play has been quoted!
    I was rather looking forward to turkey, well fake turkey, not dogs tongues and owls wings. Whatever your prefference Geoff.
    Seasons Greetings, Scott.
  61. I already have IS lens, so buying it, for me, is a moot question. But it has been stated that using IS results in a) shutter lag, and b) battery drain.
    Just how bad is increase in shutter lag? Battery drain?
    If shutter lag is significant, I'll switch it off and gorilla glue it down.
  62. Howdy!
    I have owned both. My non-IS version was ripped off, so I used the insurance money to replace it with the IS version.
    The non-IS version is sharper, particularly on the long end. However, the IS version is SO versatile that it more than makes up for it's comparative lack of sharpness. If you shoot hand held, the IS version is the way to go, no question about it.
  63. Howdy!
    Somebody mentioned that the difference in sharpness between the IS version and the non-IS version is anecdotal.
    That is incorrect. The non-IS version has been proven sharper by It's on their website under lens reviews.
    I'd still rather have the IS version.
  64. JDM von Weinberg [​IMG][​IMG], Dec 22, 2009; 11:54 a.m. "I will never buy a non-IS normal to long lens zoom again if an IS version of it is available."
    That pretty much sums it up for me.
  65. The sharpness issue is not as simple as a review or two. For example, there have been reports that the f/4 IS, as wonderful as it is, is not as great at 200mm when focused at minimum focus distance.
    But all of that silliness aside, ALL FOUR OF THESE LENSES ARE VERY SHARP!. Sorry for shouting, but it really is nutty to make a decision among these fine lenses on the basis of sharpness when there are other real differences among them that might actually make a difference to your photography. :)
  66. Scott on those days when I do use my 70-200L non IS are days when I am shooting people that are dancing or moving on stage. If I am shooting non moving objects, I use my primes. I have many more primes than zooms. The only prime that I am aware that has IS is the 100mm macro which just came out (which could come in very well when shooting those darn little critters). Which reminds me besides sharpness IQ was often mention as best when done with primes many years ago. I will wait patiently with my non IS lens for the day when Canon comes out with the IS built in on the DSLR? People keep mentioning taking a tripod, while that may me nice, a good mono pod will add about 2 to 3 f stops and they actually make carrying the camera easier, well for me it seems easier.
  67. John Jennings , Dec 23, 2009; 10:32 p.m.
    Just how bad is increase in shutter lag ?​
    There is no impact on shutter lag, BUT...
    When you depress the shutter button halfway, the lens starts measuring your movements, and after a few oscillations places the stabilization lens in an average position. If your movements are large enough, it may decide to change rapidly to a new average position. You'd better not be shooting at that moment !
    This means that fast focus recompose is not very effective, and may even give you a very fuzzy image if you fully depressed the shutter at the wrong time.
    To use it well in mode 1, you should depress the shutter halfway, be stable for a small second and then fully trigger.
    If you are panning, horizontally or vertically, you should be in mode 2, but then your are only half stabilized...
  68. Before I get jumped all over, primes with IS under 200, which is what I use the most. Merry X-Mas to those that believe in X-Mas, happy holidays to all others.
  69. IMO the only reason to get a non-IS lens is if the price makes it prohibitive. Otherwise get the IS, you will use it and it will help on occasion. The cavet is that f-stops are of higher importance to me. I'd love to get a 24-70 2.8 L, but as I may take video clips every so often I think I'll wait for an IS version. I have the 24-105 f4 L with IS and its OK, happier with the video than with stills. I'd rather have f2.8 and IS, and give up the long end of the focal length. That is assuming they make a 24-70 2.8 L IS any time soon.
  70. After reading this post and all the passionate discussion about the usefulness of IS, i really think that i wish that this post had been on last week, when i had ordered a 70-200mm f4 L non-IS lens! I was originally considering buying a 55-250mm EF-S f4-5.6 IS lens for portrait and telephoto use, and i was generally thinking in terms of that kind of budget too. Some guys on here recommended the above lens (55-250mm), others recommended the 70-200mm f4 L non-IS, some strongly advised the IS version. I chose the non-IS version mainly due to budget reasons. I am no Pro level photographer. I like to think of myself as a 'serious amatuer', but i do really lack the many years of experience that countless other 'serious amatuers' will have over me (am i worthy of a L lens?).
    With the advice that i was offered, and was very grateful for, i'd have loved to have gone out and bought a 70-200mm f4 L IS lens, hell, i'd probably have bought the f2.8 version! But then i'd either have been divorced or murdered or, even worse, all my camera gear would've been trashed when i was out at work! (my other half isn't all that interested in photography!) So, Santa is bringing me the 70-200mm f4 L non-IS kinda lens. Optically i am expecting a cracking lens, and one that i am certain will help me produce some wonderful images. But i am much more aware now, having read all these posts, of the limitations of a non-IS lens. I think i am beginning to feel rather depressed! And i haven't even taken it out of it's damn box yet!
    From what has been said a lot throughout this post, i think i can expect much frustration with many of my handheld imaging efforts!
    Merry christmas to one and all!
    an enthusiastic amatuer
  71. Donald,
    Use your 70-200mm f/4 non-IS in good health. If you decide in a couple of years to go to the IS version you will be able to get a good price for your non-IS version. They are very popular.
  72. Donald, don't despair. If you really do want the IS version, return the non-IS copy unopened and pay the difference for an IS copy. IS really is most useful for handheld telephoto photography.
  73. I'm with JDM and Greg on this - I am so utterly persuaded of the benefits of IS that nothing will me make me own or use a non-IS long lens if there's an IS equivalent to be had.
    This is a 100% crop, handheld at 1/80 with a 30D and 100-400mm and 1.4x - 896mm equivalent (converted from RAW with only "capture" sharpening applied) - and you can't do this with any real expectation of success without IS.
  74. [Y]ou can't do this with any real expectation of success without IS.​
    Most of us really cannot, Keith. I can't, but Doug Herr does it all the time.
    In reality, however, 200mm is actually quite short for serious birding. You not only had a good lens and skill on that one--which is fantastic. You also had a bit of luck.
    As for Donald's plaint, I can only say to use a tripod. You will be getting a very sharp lens, Donald, one that will give you plenty of keepers.
  75. Doug's got excellent technique, without doubt - although many of his images seem to be blessed with relatively plentiful light.
    And - while luck surely helps - I took a series of shots of the bird (at 560mm - or 896mm including the "crop factor") which were sharp. I attribute this, to a significant extent, to IS.
    I've got good handholding technique too (you need that even with IS, and I have put a great deal of effort into developing and practicing good technique) but there's no doubt at all in my experience that in circumstances like this IS comfortably doubles the number of properly sharp images I get.
  76. I bought the 70-200 f2.8 non IS for quality and price reasons - the three IS versions I tested were not as sharp but this could have been an issue with that batch of lenses. The non-IS lens is lighter but still a big lens. If you shoot APS-C I would suggest IS as I like having it on my 300 F2.8. That said even with the 7D I got a few months ago I do not really miss IS as I use the 70-200 f2.8 on that body for ice hockey and ski racing where you need a fast shutter speed not IS. If you plan to shoot indoors a lot go for IS. The 70-200 is really the border line case in my opinion for benefiting a lot from IS. When I went from the 24-105 F4 to the 24-70 f2.8 I did not miss IS (but I gained a stop and not long after a 5DII). On the 300 f2.8 I like having Is - especially on the 7D where it is effectively a 480mm lens. If you were buying the 70-200 F4 then I would suggest getting IS (I understand that the IS version of the F4 lens is optically superior to the non IS version). With the F2.8 it depends what you shoot (action sports no real need, weddings a must have) and what else you plan top do with the money. The $500 buys an 85 f1.8 (with change) or is half way to the 135 f2.
  77. Buy the IS version. Some places will not allow a monopod. That's just how it is.
  78. Andres,
    If you can afford it then get it, if not, it will not be a disaster.
    A lot of this discussion has been about IS with longer lenses than 200mm, so is not terribly relevant. Personally I have the f4 IS and find that, although I have it switched on most of the time, my shutter speeds are usually high enough for its effects to be minimal. Of course, in theory it might be useful when it gets very dark, but in practice I don't find I need it that much as I just do not seem to be using the 70-200mm then.
    As you know, IS is of little use with moving subjects when most people need the faster f2.8 lens. However, having said this, for any lens over 200mm I would definitely try to get an IS version because handholding those lenses is very difficult. Handholding a 70-200mm is not very difficult - I find for example 75% of my shots taken with it are in the 100-135mm range for which 1/500th sec is sufficient. With a 5DmkII the ISO can simply be elevated to keep this speed in 90% of the shots I take (and that is with a stop slower lens that what you are considering).
    So make the decision on what you can afford and the weight you are happy with. The 70-200mm f2.8 are heavy lenses so you need to decide whether the extra weight of the IS system will be very useful to you. It surely depends a good deal on how you rate your body's high ISO capabilities.
  79. Robin,
    Got to respectfully disagree. As soon as the 24-70 f2.8 with IS comes out I will dump my standard 24-70, shots like this need IS, I did get a sharp version but in the two or three seconds I had to frame this image I could have got 5 or 6 keepers, not the one I did. 60mm wide open at 2.8 and 1/8 second.
  80. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "so basically my question is it worth it to buy the IS version [of the Canon 70-200 f/2.8] or should I stay with the non IS version."
    Yes, it is worth buying the IS version.
    IMO, most (more than 95% of) Photographers can NOT categorically state that they will never be in a position where IS would not be of benefit.
    This is discussed often and IMO comes down to the simple statement above.
    I am in the position of having easy access to both and I choose the non IS version to use most of the time, because of what I use it for.
    I own this lens, it is very sharp, arguably sharper than the IS version.
    But the point is, I can pick up the IS version after a ten minute drive and use it for as long as I like, almost anytime.
    Have you read the earlier thread Scott Ferris cited?
  81. "IMO, most (more than 95% of) Photographers can NOT categorically state that they will never be in a position where IS would not be of benefit."
    Now I am really confused. Is IS a possibly negative yes or is IS a probably positive no? :<}
  82. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Now I am really confused."
    Sorry, that was not my intention.
    "IMO, most (more than 95% of) Photographers can NOT categorically state that they will never be in a position where IS would not be of benefit."

    . . . .
    It is my opinion that when Photographers hand over the cash to purchase a 70 to 200L, that 95% of those Photographers are NOT in a position to say,
    “I am just about absolutely sure that I will never need to use the IS function whenever I mount this lens on my camera.”
    Hence, I suggest that buying the IS version is the best solution for the vast majority of purchasers.
    Does that make more sense, Marc?
  83. I am amazed by the number of posts when the first one things so well. I hope we didn't scare the OP. One question, one thank-you post and he's gone.

    Happy shooting,
  84. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I hope we didn't scare the OP"

    Well there are certain topics which develop a thread into its own life . . . 24 105 vs. 24 70 . . . To Filter or not to Filter . . . IS or Not IS . . . 100 - 400 vs 70 -200 Plus Extenders . . .

    I think that's worked out by most folk reasonably early on . . . it's only an initiation ceremony and not all that scary . . . once its over. :)

  85. What an important final words...... :)
    Happy shooting,
  86. The botom line one can glean from this thread?
    A non-IS lens might be slightly sharper in absolute terms than its IS enabled sibling, but an IS lens will give sharper images in certain circumstances.
    However when using either of these lenses and cocaine the results will likely be less sharp with both lenses.
  87. I have a 75-300mm non-IS lens. Personally, I find it difficult to shoot above the 135mm range hand held (100mm on days when my hands are being completely uncooperative). Mine came as a part of my camera kit and has been a great learning tool but, if I had to go out and buy a lens in that focal range right now, I'd definitely go with IS.

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