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IS or non IS?

28 Dec 2012 8:24AM

I'm just about to dive back into the SLR waters (after a considerable absence) with a Canon 650D and the standard lens.

Budget dictates I can't have the add on lens that I'd really like so I'm faced with a choice of 70 - 300 sigma or tamron both non IS.

I do a mixture of stuff but want some reach for wildlife and sport photos.

Is IS 'essential' and would I be better saving up and waiting until I can afford an IS version or will a non IS model (especially at current prices which means I can allso buy a prime) give me reasonable results?

Hope this makes sense!



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digicammad 15 22.0k 39 United Kingdom
28 Dec 2012 8:54AM
IS isn't essential but can make the difference between getting or not getting a shot. If you think you are going to be hand-holding in low light situations it is worth having. If you are using a tripod for your wildlife and are talking about relatively fast moving sports I don't personally think you would notice much benefit.

llareggub 7 825 United Kingdom
28 Dec 2012 9:23AM
How about the Canon 55-250mm, comes with IS and is a little cheaper than the Tamron VC models, it does have it's limitations but perfectly capőable of taking great pictures.

I have never cone for IS on my shorter lenses but would consider it much more for a longer lens Smile
arhb Plus
10 3.4k 68 United Kingdom
28 Dec 2012 9:45AM
I find that having the option of IS to be invaluable. I don't use it for everything but it's so helpful to have at a flick of a switch.
The EF70-200mm L IS range would be my recommendation, because your getting the best glass and build quaility, as well as IS.
Worth saving a bit longer for Smile
puertouk 6 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
28 Dec 2012 9:49AM
IS is advisable with a lense you are looking at, epsecially with poor lighting conditons and will give you a couple of stops using the IS.
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
28 Dec 2012 10:44AM
Many of my lenses have VR (Nikon's equivalent of IS) but I normally have it switched off unless shooting in difficult light (as PuertoUK suggests) without a tripod.

If you go for a non-IS lens and can't use a tripod, remember the reciprocal rule when shooting hand-held and also remember to allow for the crop factor effect when calculating it. Basically, at 300mm the reciprocal rule, adjusted for the crop factor of your camera means shooting at 1/500th or faster.
cameraman 15 227 1 England
28 Dec 2012 11:24AM
In Sport and wildlife photography in general a fast shutter spead is required to stop movement. In which case IS will make no difference. IS comes in use when photographing stationary objects in low light.
stevie Plus
14 1.2k 2 United Kingdom
28 Dec 2012 12:38PM
IS is incredibly useful in all sorts of situations, especially if you do anything that means you can't use a tripod (like street photography and a lot of travel stuff). Unless you're going to shoot everything in a completely controlled tripod-mounted environment, get something with IS. You won't regret getting the best lenses you can afford, by the way, even if it means saving up and waiting a bit.
digicammad 15 22.0k 39 United Kingdom
28 Dec 2012 12:57PM
I know I'm going against the flow, but my advice would be to dive back in and get the lens you can afford even if it isn't IS. There are plenty of ways to work without IS, even in situations where you can't use a tripod. Modern cameras are much more forgiving of higher iso, so to a certain extent the need for IS has reduced.

For both sports and wildlife I imagine you will be wanting to stop the action, therefore slow shutter speeds are not a problem. You can reduce shake by using a monopod (either a bought one or making your own with string, a washer and a tripod screw).

Don't forget that IS is a relatively new invention and photographers managed without it for years, often with cameras loaded with 100 or even 64 asa/iso film.

If you are getting an inexpensive 70-300mm zoom that is more likely to reduce the quality of your results than lack of IS, so choose carefully as the quality varies significantly between makes/models. Also don't be afraid to look for used kit, that will extend your budget.
Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
28 Dec 2012 1:41PM
If wildlife and sport is what you want it for, faster lenses are better. No point in having a sharp as a tack lens if motion blur renders everything unsharp.
Your chosen targets aren't often still, so faster shutter speeds are a must. If that means no IS at the expense of faster aperture, then there are ways of working round times when IS would be an advantage.

arhb Plus
10 3.4k 68 United Kingdom
28 Dec 2012 4:18PM
If you're prepared to take the time learning how to pan skillfully, then lower s/speeds are an option,
as you will be able to capture your subjects head/body/eyes sharp, whilst showing motion blur in the in the limbs/wings(etc) of your subject.
lemmy 11 2.7k United Kingdom
28 Dec 2012 6:08PM
You'll probably keep such a lens a long time so it is worth waiting to buy one with IS. It's very useful and extends the use of the lens.

A year after buying the lens you will have forgotten what it cost you - but you will have the very handy image stabilisation forever.
mattw 14 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
28 Dec 2012 8:01PM
IS is a useful 'extra' feature to have - it's good to have it there for those times when you need it.

However remember that it's only going to be useful when you are in low light, and with a relatively slow moving subject. IS is no substitute for a fast shutter speed.

I agree with Ian - get the lens you can afford now, and don't worry too much about the IS.
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
28 Dec 2012 8:42PM


A year after buying the lens you will have forgotten what it cost you -.

That is an extremely naive, unworldly view.

Experience suggests that a year after buying any lens you will be selling it on eBay to buy an even better one.

So get whatever you can afford today (ignoring IS if it is outwith your budget) and "upgrade" when you have more shekels available.
lemmy 11 2.7k United Kingdom
29 Dec 2012 11:21AM

Quote:That is an extremely naive, unworldly view.

That's a rather unpleasant remark to make. The OP asked for opinions and I gave my honest reply. I don't think that merits such a brusque dismissal.

What's more I stand by that opinion. By 'experience suggests' you are talking about your own experience. Mine is different from yours and no less valid. I prefer to choose carefully and buy to keep. My lens choices are not subject to fashion and whim but bought for use.

Lens design changes rarely so it is worth waiting a bit to buy the best you can and keep it. It is also much cheaper in the longer term to do it that way.

I offered advice. Leftfield appears to offer instructions - "so get whatever you can".

As one Crusader said to another, 'Isn't life simple when you know you're right?'

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