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To IS or not to IS

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kodachrome
17 May 2012 - 5:04 PM

Is there any advantage in using IS on your kit zoom lens [average focul length 18-55] or in body like Pentax, Sony, Olympus when shutter speeds are above 125.
I read some where that image definition/sharpness can be down graded slightly when its switched on. Also which is more efficiant in body or in lens. Any views on this.
There was another review from a Polish mag where they posed the question, to have a moving sensor like Olympus or a moving lens element like a Nikkor is debatable which is better as both can affect image quality.

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mikehit
mikehit  56484 forum posts United Kingdom9 Constructive Critique Points
17 May 2012 - 5:14 PM

IS can degrade an image if you press the shutter button quickly (such as taking a 'reaction shot'). The IS takes about half a second to calcualte you rmovements and work out how to counteract them, so if you frame the shot and depress the button in one go, the IS mechanism is sitll settling down. and the shake of the IS mechanism blurs the shot.
That's he theory, but is why many wildlife photographers turn IS off.

The general formula for calculating longest shutter speed (on 35mm cameras) is 1/focal length (so 200mm lens, you should not have shutter speed longer than 1/200 sec). With APS-C camera you need to multiply this by 1/5. For MFT, multiply by 2.

There is not much to choose between in-body and in-lens IS, but the former allows you to use a whole range of legacy lenses (such as old Leica lenses) and keep IS. A few years ago it was claimed that in-lens IS is superior on medium to long telephoto and I have not read anything to suggest this has changed.

StrayCat
StrayCat e2 Member 1014818 forum postsStrayCat vcard Canada2 Constructive Critique Points
17 May 2012 - 6:16 PM

When I got my first IS, or VR as Nikon call it, lens, which was the Nikon 80-400mm, and was the first Nikon VR lens, I swore by it; I didn't even install the tripod collar and took thousands of wildlife images with the lens handheld, or braced on something. Then after a couple years I was convinced by reading many articles on the subject to start using a tripod when practicable. It was only then that I began to fully appreciate the fine optics in that lens; I then began to think of IS as a sort of backup if a tripod couldn't be used to get the shot. I still think and do things that way, even with the new Olympus E-M5, although the 5-axis IS is the best I've used.

puertouk
puertouk  21073 forum posts United Kingdom17 Constructive Critique Points
17 May 2012 - 6:56 PM

If you have a zoom lens IS is the way to go, especially in poor light.
Stephen

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315392 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
17 May 2012 - 7:49 PM

I did`nt think I could ever find a use for IS until I picked up an E3, then I found myself taking hand held shots like 1/16 sec without problems Smile

sherlob
sherlob e2 Member 82325 forum postssherlob vcard United Kingdom125 Constructive Critique Points
17 May 2012 - 9:20 PM

One thing thing about IS in lens v IS in camera body - the IS effect can be seen through the viewfinder. I'm not sure if this advantage still applies with models that use an electronic viewfinder.

Paul Morgan
Paul Morgan e2 Member 1315392 forum postsPaul Morgan vcard England6 Constructive Critique Points
17 May 2012 - 9:26 PM


Quote: I'm not sure if this advantage still applies with models that use an electronic viewfinder

it does on the latest CSC from Olympus Smile

ianrobinson
ianrobinson e2 Member 41107 forum postsianrobinson vcard United Kingdom8 Constructive Critique Points
17 May 2012 - 9:38 PM

well rule of thumb is, the higher you go with the shutter speed the more impact blurr will be with IS, example i have a 120-300mm sigma lens i use for wild life and I use a shutter speed of 1/1000 or 1/1250 with these shutter speeds if i used OS, sigma's equivalent to canons IS then i would expect very soft images, turn OS off at these speeds and i get 90% pin sharp as long as i get on target of course.
So lower shutter speeds expect to use IS, higher shutter speeds turn IS off.

MikeBonsall
18 May 2012 - 6:05 AM


Quote: So lower shutter speeds expect to use IS, higher shutter speeds turn IS off.

just a thought...is there any system available that allows you to set a custom function to automatically switch off IS when you exceed a chosen shutter speed?

kodachrome
18 May 2012 - 7:35 AM

Wow folks, some great answers and some good advice from experience. Talking about in lens IS or in body IS, in lens IS is apparently a 360 degree system where as in body is more on 2 or 4 planes or in the case of the Oly OM-D, 5 planes/axis.

Photozone tested a series of Tamron and Sigma lenses and found that the lenses not fitted with IS had better optical performance/sharper images and they put this down to the in lens 'floating' element system. It was also interesting that switching the IS off did not improve the picture quality. Their advice was to go for the non stabilised lens if focul lengths were practical/possible in hand held situations. I believe 'Lenstip' came to similar conclusions.
I keep my VR off on my Nikkor 16-85 and the pictures are razor sharp.

miptog
miptog  83532 forum posts United Kingdom61 Constructive Critique Points
18 May 2012 - 8:54 PM


Quote: Photozone tested a series of Tamron and Sigma lenses and found that the lenses not fitted with IS had better optical performance/sharper images and they put this down to the in lens 'floating' element system. It was also interesting that switching the IS off did not improve the picture quality. Their advice was to go for the non stabilised lens if focul lengths were practical/possible in hand held situations. I believe 'Lenstip' came to similar conclusions.

I do wonder with higher iso, lower noise Camera bodies, which allow you to raise shutter speeds, by increasing the ISO if VR,OS and the like is really needed, and that anything over 1/250th if not lower does not require OS / VR .

kodachrome
19 May 2012 - 7:53 AM

What prompted me to pose this question was a few years ago I was using a Olympus E-510 which has in body IS. It was my first DSLR after years of 35-mm SLR's. You won't believe this but for the first 18 Months or so I completely ignored the IS button on the 510 as I thought it yet another 'black art' feature I didn't need, I was still trying to get to grips with this new technology.
Any way to cut a long story short when I viewed my pics on the PC they were all pretty sharp with good definition. So 18 Months of no IS seems not to have affected my pictures as far as I can tell looking at them on the monitor.
miptog, you make a very valid point.

NEWDIGIT
NEWDIGIT  3401 forum posts United Kingdom
19 May 2012 - 8:58 AM

It would seem that lens and camera manufacurers are falling over themselfs to convince us that we must have all the bells and whistles simply so they can make a bigger profit.
Im sure I am not the only one that never uses scene mode or video on my nikon yet Im forced to pay for it as theres no option as for lense low light up the iso there are very few times that I use VR .
Its a pity that more manufactures dont give us options on the add ons.
If you still not convinced about VR take a shot with it on then repeat with it off adopting offcourse good technique now view the results personally I find the non VR as good if not better than the VR version

kodachrome
19 May 2012 - 11:37 AM

I'm a stills man through and through because thats all we had with 35-mm. People used 8-mm cine for movies.
If I wanted to do movies I would buy a camcorder.

I have often wondered why the camera manufacturers don't offer non movie versions of their DSLR's, at reduced cost. These ever higher pixel counts are more to do with the movie aspect of the camera. My old Nikon D5000 at 12.3mp takes absolutely stunning pictures that even when cropped at 100% remain detailed, mind you lens quality must play a part, my standard kit zoom is a Nikkor DX 16-85.
I will try a few shots with the VR on and off and report back some time.

Overread
Overread  63768 forum posts England18 Constructive Critique Points
19 May 2012 - 11:39 AM

If you want a totally customisable camera experience you can - RED offers you this. Downside is that a modular "build your own" camera isn't cheap to produce, as the RED prices will show. In general its actually cheaper to have versatile tools that can do more than one function provided that those functions compliment each other and thus provide a high level of service (and honestly video mode is just streaming the live-view to the memory card in a decent, usable manner).

To be honest a few years ago Live-View was the "dark art" method nobody wanted in DSLRs and everyone debated on if it was worth it - was it "really" worth it. Thing is, like many functions, it IS worth it - maybe not all the time, but its there for when its needed.


IS/VR/OS is very much the same. You might well not need it for every shot, in fact on shorter focal length lenses you might not need it all that often. But having it there for when you do need it is the boon you pay for.
Also the increase in stabilization in the shorter focal lengths is partly the result of the video modes - the stabilization helping with giving a smoother captured video when recording and not using a tripod setup.

For photo work its generally easier to get sharp, clear shots with the proper shutter speed and the stabilization tends to become much more of a boon on longer focal length lenses; not just letting you use slightly slower shutter speeds and still get a sharp shot, but also allowing for a smoother viewfinder image to compose the shot and work with ( a great boon when handholding 300mm - 600mm + length lenses).

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