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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Image stabilisers. How and when to use them and what to expect....I am looking for experiences from other members while using image stabilisers, as I have an issue with a recently ...
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Old 11-08-2011, 16:16   #1 (permalink)
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Image stabilisers. How and when to use them and what to expect.

I am looking for experiences from other members while using image stabilisers, as I have an issue with a recently bought lens - a second hand Nikon 80-400 VR.

While I have generally reckoned to get reasonable to good results at up to 2 stops below the accepted norm without a stabiliser, I would have expected a stabiliser to improve on this and give me excellent results, as Nikon quote 3 stops stability for the VR on this lens down to 1/60sec at 400mm. Instead I am getting severe double images - far worse than without VR. The second image is always in the vertical plane.

In order to establish the lens behaviour I have taken shots singularly and in sequence, with and without continuous drive. I have allowed for the required delay to wait for the sensors to acquire stability. With single shots I take my finger from the shutter release, wait for the stabiliser to turn off and start again. With sequnce shots I hold the shutter at half position to keep the stabiliser running, and in continuous mode I keep the release fully pressed. I got secondary images in nearly all my shots.

I have little experience of VR and only have one other VR lens, Nikon 16-85 VRII, as any reference. Being W/A to medium zoom it is not in the same league as the 80-400 in terms of possible "self induced camera shake", but I see no ill behaviour from this lens to suggest that I am causing the shake. With shots above the accepted stable norm (>1/400sec) I can still get shake with the stabiliser ON.

The 80-400 is still under guarantee, so I would be pleased to hear any kind of feedback as to experiences with this lens or stabilisers in general, or even suggestions to confirm any fault one way or another.
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Old 11-08-2011, 17:12   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Image stabilisers. How and when to use them and what to expect.

Severe double images in a vertical plane is shouting to me that one of the stabilising motors is u/s (like the one operating in the vertical plane! ) Sounds like the lens is attempting to 'hang onto' the viewpoint but then jumping away (possibly as a result of the sharp vibration from the shutter release)
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Old 11-08-2011, 19:08   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Image stabilisers. How and when to use them and what to expect.

Is this hand held or on a tripod, I know it sounds like a stupid question but I heard that on a tripod and particularly for low light levels you need to turn IS off because the floating elements move around all over the place trying to stabilise something that isn't actually moving.
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Old 11-08-2011, 19:34   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Image stabilisers. How and when to use them and what to expect.

Can't fault Mark's logic, but before we go any further, what mode are you using and in what situations?

I've only got one vr lens and that is an 18-200, so not in the same category as yours, but I have taken some shots when testing it out that I was very impressed with.

150mm at 1/10 and 200mm at 1/40!

http://www.pixalo.com/community/came...tml#post237075
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Old 11-08-2011, 22:54   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Image stabilisers. How and when to use them and what to expect.

I use a VR lens and its ok.....but you still have to use it properly, the lens that you use is heavy you need to grip it right and sometimes you can sort of hear the VR kick in.... when moving say on a boat your need to use the motion VR....If I were you I would get it checked out...you really should be getting some good results with that lens and its one which I may add to my collection soon...
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Old 11-08-2011, 23:00   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Image stabilisers. How and when to use them and what to expect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helgrrr View Post
Is this hand held or on a tripod, I know it sounds like a stupid question but I heard that on a tripod and particularly for low light levels you need to turn IS off because the floating elements move around all over the place trying to stabilise something that isn't actually moving.
True for older stabilisers (modern IS/OS/VR can usually cope with tripods) but it would only induce minor vibrations which would just give a soft(ish) image - it would probably make sense to switch off when tripoded (though I never do as I usually use the tripod for support rather than fixed - except for sunrise/sets and 'falls when I use an unstabilised wide angle anyway!)
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Old 12-08-2011, 11:50   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Image stabilisers. How and when to use them and what to expect.

I have two Canon IS lenses and they work very well about 3 stops. When I first bought the lenses, I took a shot on a tripod, for comparision then a series of hand held at different speeds IS on and IS off. This showed that for me speeds of 1/focal length or faster were not significantly different to using a tripod. The performance for shots longer than 1/focal length deteriorated as one would expect. For the IR the image held up as good as the tripod until the speed was about 3 stops longer than 1/focal length but after that the image breaks up. For both my lenses Canon state that you can leave IS on when using a tripod because this is sensed and the feedback disabled (it could waste battery power).
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Old 12-08-2011, 12:25   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Image stabilisers. How and when to use them and what to expect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markulous View Post
Severe double images in a vertical plane is shouting to me that one of the stabilising motors is u/s (like the one operating in the vertical plane! ) Sounds like the lens is attempting to 'hang onto' the viewpoint but then jumping away (possibly as a result of the sharp vibration from the shutter release)
A motor/gyro/gimbal that is u/s or more likely on it's way out sounds the most reasonable. It might explain the intermittent behaviour that once in a while I get a good VR-on result which then makes me question my technique


Quote:
Originally Posted by Helgrrr View Post
Is this hand held or on a tripod.
These situations are hand held only.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dabhand16 View Post
Can't fault Mark's logic, but before we go any further, what mode are you using and in what situations?

http://www.pixalo.com/community/came...tml#post237075
Agree, Graham. Your photos are what I would expect to achieve, but more consistently. It would certainly give me more confidence in my technique. I will sort out some examples.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Des Gardner View Post
I use a VR lens and its ok.....but you still have to use it properly, the lens that you use is heavy you need to grip it right and sometimes you can sort of hear the VR kick in.... when moving say on a boat your need to use the motion VR....If I were you I would get it checked out...you really should be getting some good results with that lens and its one which I may add to my collection soon...
Agree with your comment except that on this lens the [normal/active] motion switch found on later (VR-II?) lenses is not present. Recently I have kept the VR-off with more consistent results. On the positive side it is a good hand held, being comfortable and compact for a this zoom range, and does produce sharp images.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Markulous View Post
True for older stabilisers (modern IS/OS/VR can usually cope with tripods) but it would only induce minor vibrations which would just give a soft(ish) image - it would probably make sense to switch off when tripoded (though I never do as I usually use the tripod for support rather than fixed - except for sunrise/sets and 'falls when I use an unstabilised wide angle anyway!)
Concurs with Nikon's recommendation for this lens, to use VR at all times where there is a risk of movement. Only turn VR-off when tripod mounted and fully locked down.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Canon View Post
I have two Canon IS lenses and they work very well ..... until the speed was about 3 stops longer than 1/focal length but after that the image breaks up. For both my lenses Canon state that you can leave IS on when using a tripod because this is sensed and the feedback disabled (it could waste battery power).
Dave, thanks for your input. Helps me get a feel of what to expect. Seems Canon have got IS sorted.
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