What is to be done? Image stabilization - lens or body? 2012

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by jdm_von_weinberg, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. A few years ago, there were a lot of people suggesting that in-body motion stabilization was tempting to them to allow use of older lenses and still have stabilization.
    Our Own Bob Atkins wrote an essay on stabilization, apparently around 2008 ( http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/digital/image_stabilization.html ). In it he asked
    So Where is Image Stabilization in 2008?
    I dimly remember his saying that he was one who was tempted in in-body stabilization and might shift which platform he was shooting on.
    Now it's 2012, and I don't see much discussion of the choice between one or the other.
    Is in-lens stabilization now so easy (and inexpensive) to implement, that it reduces the attractiveness of in-body stabilization?
    Does in-body stablization work as well as in-lens, or vice versa?
    Just curious, really, not trying to start something, but would like if there are people who have used both, to tell us how they feel now.
    Or does no one really give a rat's ass anymore?
  2. In lens stabilization is tailored to specific lens design, so possibly has potential to get done better.
    Perhaps providing multiple stabilization, in lens and in camera, could be too costly?
    So, to be double protected, multiple stabilization could possibly work even better ?
    There are people wearing belt and suspenders, being double protected...:)
  3. I'm not sure there's a huge difference for most lenses. Lens stabilization may be a little better, plus it gives you a stabilized viewfinder with a DSLR, which is a plus. With mirrorless cameras you can have a stabilized image (though not all cameras with in-body stabilization do).
    While in-body stabilization will work with any lens, unless the lens has electronics that tell the camera the focal length, you have to set the focal length in the camera, otherwise the stabilization my over or under correct.
    Cost aside, I'd rather have lens based stabilization if I had set of lenses that all had stabilization built in. However not all lenses are available in stabilized versions, so in that case body based stabilization is sometimes an advantage.
    I will say again (as I think I said before), there's no reason you can't have BOTH lens and body based stabilization in the same camera system, as long as you only have one system active at any given time. An example would be an Olympus Pen camera (body stabilized) used with a Panasonic micro 4/3 lens (lens stabilization). They work perfectly well together as long as at least one of the stabilzation systems is switched off.
  4. Nikon and Canon arguably make the cameras with the best high ISO performance. This is a lot more useful than extending image stabilization for use with short lenses. For longer lenses many if not most lenses made by these manufacturers have IS/VR already, so there isn't so much of a problem. For short lenses VR/IS is typically not very useful because stopping the subject movement requires a faster shutter speed than is required to avoid camera shake. And in my opinion there is nothing more ghastly than poorly controlled subject blur in a sharp environment. To do well controlled subject movement blur, which can be attractive, VR/IS doesn't cut it, a tripod is needed.
    Olympus, Sony, etc. are trying to fight for market share and they have in-lens stabilization implemented in some of the cameras. I don't see these very often in the field. I guess most people made the same conclusions I did.
  5. I've been very happy with the in-body stabilization on my Pentax cameras. As near as I can tell (totally non-scientific testing on my part) it does indeed work. I don't know if adding stabilzation to a lens increases its size, but I do know that I really like the very small size of the little Pentax DA Limited series of lenses that don't have either focusing motors or stabilizers built into the lenses. (Yes, I do realize that those lenses are also designed specifically for APS-C sized sensors.)
  6. I thought I read somewhere that in body stabilizing doesn't work all that well with longer lenses. Any info on this?

    I really don't have a concern, being a Canon shooter. Just curious.
  7. I know for a fact my Pentax K100D's on body IS doesn't work positioning the camera for vertical shots, but does excellent IS holding it horizontally. I shot under some very dim UV/IR blocked halogens at my local museum and got tack sharp results shooting at 1/5's shutter speed. Turn the camera on its side and I blurry shots.
    Maybe my camera model has something wrong with the IS shooting vertically. Not sure.
  8. I'd rather have body stabilization. It's a better solution for smaller sensors than resorting to higher ISOs. There will always be older manual focus lenses I'll want to use.
  9. well its good to have is. you never know when you might need it. having had both systems i believe its cheaper and just as well implemented now and may work better having in body is as opposed to in lens is. i believe the in lens is remains a more expensive alternative today for at least the 2 major canikon manufacturers. i think in body is today is cheaper and well implemented and works just as well as an in lens is system. ll
  10. Not sure but which one draws more power from the battery lens stabilization, or in-camera stabilization ?
  11. I think the difference is insignificant enough that your camera purchase decision should not be influenced by one method over the other. It may be the least most important thing.
  12. I think the advantage for in-lens stabilization for longer lenses is mostly theoretical. I have no real difficulty at all getting sharp results with a 210mm at 1/30th using in-body stabilization. If I can sit down or brace against something, 1/15th becomes quite reasonable. A few third-party (E.g., Sigma) lenses provide in-lens stabilization even in mounts (e.g., Sony and Pentax) for cameras that have in-body stabilization, allowing (at least some implementation of) the two to be compared directly. I've yet to see a clear advantage for the in-lens version on any such lens.
    As for high-ISO and a shorter shutter speed being a better alternative, I can't entirely agree. I know some people like the "frozen" look, but it's not entirely to my taste. Even when I'm shooting outdoors in plenty of light, I (strongly) prefer a shot with at least a little blur somewhere to give a better indication of the speed. Just for example, when I shoot bicycle racing, I generally a long enough shutter speed to pan and blur the background a bit, as well as show some blur in (at least the outer part of) the wheels.
    [Darn I wish he would have looked up for at least a moment!]
    At least in my experience, stabilization does help quite a bit even for things like indoor sports where it's harder to choose an ideal shutter speed. Shooting indoor volleyball (for one example) I've found it adequate so the player's faces were sharp, even though their hands and the ball showed definite blur -- using long enough shutter speeds that without stabilization it would have been hit and (mostly) miss at getting anything sharp.
    I'm left uncertain how a tripod would make it easier to control blur of the subject. At the risk of sounding like flamebait, this sounds to me like it's just making an excuse to avoid admitting that in-body stabilization can really provide an advantage.
    I'd tend to agree, however, that few people are likely to find it (stabilization) a sufficient reason to switch systems. For somebody with no existing investment in lenses, it might be enough to tip the balance or keep a smaller lens selection from being (as much of) a liability, but that's probably about it. I doubt that many shooters would see it as enough of an advantage to sell an existing collection of glass and buy a whole new system.
  13. I appreciate your taking the time to discuss and speculate about this.
    I guess I remain where I've been for years -- I have way too many old manual lenses and it would be nice to have 'body' stabilization for those, but the best digital camera (I think, anyhow) for using old manual lenses of many different kinds is still the Canon - where only lens stabilization is available. I've thought about 4/3 but don't care for the substantial cropping of the resulting image so I haven't looked into what, if any, body stablized 4/3 cameras are available.
    Ah me.
  14. I'm left uncertain how a tripod would make it easier to control blur of the subject
    I was thinking about a scenario where for example dancers are moving about on the floor in different directions, or people walking on the street; the shutter speed required for good amount of blur at this speed of movement would be of the order of 1s I think. This is a bit long for VR/IS/AS, and there is no specific panning direction (since the movement is in all directions) thus a tripod would work well (and allow the environment i.e. the walls of the room and decorations to be sharp). For faster moving things such as your sports example, stabilization technology works better since the shutter speeds are much faster but then a telephoto is typically used, for which all the manufacturers provide stabilization. So I am not sure where the problem is with in-lens stabilization.
  15. While the ability of in-body stabilization to stabilize any lens is tempting, to me the stabilized viewfinder you get with stabilized lenses is more important. Stabilization is more important with long lenses and I find that as I've gotten older the image in the viewfinder has been bouncing around too much with unstabilized lenses or with in-body stabilization. I find that this bouncing around of the subject in the viewfinder makes composing difficult not to mention that it's annoying as h...
  16. JDM. The reports I have read generally (don't make me look them up) state that in camera IS is maybe 1/2 to 1 stop worse than lens stabilization. I have a Sony (body IS) that I shoot with Minolta AF lenses and a Canon which I shoot with the old EOS 50 mm and the 28 to 80 zoom. The Sony does not have the high ISO noise control that the Canon does so the lower shutter speeds benefit from the body IS. The Canon goes up to 3200 ISO with minimal noise so higher shutter speeds can be used. Chances are you have already considered this but the old lenses are hard to give up.

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