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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Stabilised or not?...I'm looking to get the 75-300mm zoom lens for my Pentax but it isn't stabilised. Speaking to Ali at the ...
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Old 28-08-2007, 14:47   #1 (permalink)
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Stabilised or not?

I'm looking to get the 75-300mm zoom lens for my Pentax but it isn't stabilised. Speaking to Ali at the weekend, she was very glad that a similar lens for her Nikon was stabilised.

How important is it to have the lens stabilised?

This is the lens and, second question, has anyone used Microglobe?
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Old 28-08-2007, 15:11   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

It makes a huge difference if you have tripodphobia like me (actually just plain lazy ) but you pay for IS in terms of extra size, weight and cost.

The rule of thumb is that the slowest shutter speed you should use to avoid camera shake is 1 divided by the focal length - e.g. 1/50 with a 50mm lens, 1/300 with a 300mm. That's just a guide because it depends on how steady you are, but IS these days gives you (allegedly) around three stops more. That means you should be able to shoot at around 1/60 at 300mm. I'm not sure it's that cut and dried, but IS certainly helps a lot. If you look through the viewfinder and half press the shutter release, everything stops jittering.

However, if you use a tripod for telephoto shots, which of course you should , it makes little or no difference.
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Old 28-08-2007, 15:25   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

I have never had a lens with IS, VR or any other system, but I have not got extreme telephoto lenses - the longest is 200mm, and that has f2.8, so maybe this is not too relevent to your top end 300mm f5.9. Stabilisation is a good solution to not having to have the weight and bulk of a fast telephoto lens, because it does give you two or more stops to play with in less than ideal conditions.

Like most other things, it is very handy, but not essential. If you do not use a stabilised lens, you will have to be much more careful with shutter speeds, and as a consequence, also more in tune with ISO and apature. You will also need to perfect your posture/breathing/stance techniques, rather like someone using a rifle. Years ago I had a rifle grip made by Kaiser. The camera was mounted onto this thing that was like a crossbow, but without the bow, and it was just like using a rifle - the trigger connected to the camera via a cable release. It was very easy to hold steady. Problem was it was not an potion to use portrait format. Bit like a monopod, unless you get one with a ball head.

You need to decide first what lens you need. From your recent posts, it seems that 300mm top end is what you want. Second, how much is an equivalent lens with stabilization going to cost? Third, is it worth the difference? The lens you are looking at seems to be a bargain, but is it the best one for your needs? Is there a similar/better lens available for the same price?
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Old 28-08-2007, 15:43   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

Thanks both That gives me something to think about anyway! The Pentax lens doesn't look as long and heavy as Ali's Nikon. I don't think the Sigma equvalent is IS either though....
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Old 28-08-2007, 15:46   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

No, the Sigma isn't stabilised. It does have a pretty good reputation though, and decent semi-macro.
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Old 28-08-2007, 15:48   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

It depends a lot on your type of photography. IS or VR is great for allowing slower shutter speeds hand held BUT it can't freeze a fast moving subject. For that you still need the 1/Focal length or pretty close.
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Old 28-08-2007, 16:41   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

I have IS in my lenses and love it. Wouldn't go without it. I'm so dang old and shake like a leaf
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Old 28-08-2007, 16:47   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

I've got IS on both my Canon EF 100-400 and EF 70-200, but never use it for cycling shots. I tried using it at the track, but the shots just didn't cut it and a journalist I was chatting to told me that it's best not to use it for most sports. It's been switched off ever since.
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Old 28-08-2007, 21:41   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angela View Post
Speaking to Ali at the weekend, she was very glad that a similar lens for her Nikon was stabilised.
Canon...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angela View Post
The Pentax lens doesn't look as long and heavy as Ali's Nikon.
Canon...



Personally I find the IS was worth it's weight in gold (and the extra pennies). I had a 30-700 Sigma APO DG which despite being a super lens I just couldn't get to grips with it. I upgraded to the Canon 70-300 4-5.6 IS USM and I absolutely love it.

I'm on the hunt for my next lens, and I will be looking for one with IS.

Not sure if it helps but the size/weight of my lens is 630g and is about 5.6 inches in length (with no filter/lens cap). My camera body with that lens attached weighs just over 1.5kg. Please excuse mix of metric weights and imperial measurements!

Last edited by Ali; 28-08-2007 at 21:53. Reason: I can't spell "over"!
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Old 28-08-2007, 21:58   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

Oops!

The Pentax is only 117mm in length - about 4.5" and 386g - so half the weight.
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Old 28-08-2007, 22:19   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

Am trying a couple of IS lenses this week - 100-400mm (with 1.4x TC) and 17-85mm and I must admit that it's great on the long reach but less useful on the wider (tho' by no means useless - allows me to use polariser for longer on handheld shots). Heavier in weight (which I don't mind) and heavier on wallet (not quite so good!). Results will speak for themselves - still find I much prefer to use my macro over the greater reach of the 100-400mm
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Old 28-08-2007, 22:26   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

At then end of the day, if some technology can hekp get that perfect shot, & you can swallow the $/£ diff, then why the hell not
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Old 29-08-2007, 10:56   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

This is a bit of a sod. I can't find a lens with IS to fit my Pentax so I might have to just do without.

I have just spoken to Microglobe and they don't have the 75-300 Pentax lens in stock, apparently it's like hen's teeth at the moment and he recommended the Sigma lens instead.

Decisions decisions!
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Old 29-08-2007, 11:13   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

I'm not trying to sow seeds of discontent, or promote a particular brand (honest guv ), but are you happy with the Pentax? If so that's fine, but otherwise now may be a good time to consider swapping horses before you commit to more lenses which will probably end up costing much more than the camera.

If you'd really like IS lenses, they are readily available for both Canon and Nikon, and with the new models recently announced there are some good deals both new and secondhand.
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Old 29-08-2007, 12:02   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

Oh well, just throw the cat amongst the pigeons why don't you!!

I am happy with the Pentax. I have thought about changing but I don't want to change to a Canon or a Nikon just because everyone else has them. I tried a few Nikons when I bought the Pentax and I didn't find them comfortable to use which was why I bought the Pentax. To be honest, I can't afford to change cameras as well at the moment - unless someone has one going for about £20?
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Old 29-08-2007, 12:19   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

Tamron normally (eventually) release their lenses in the Pentax format, as they've just announced this it might be worth looking into.

http://www.pixalo.com/community/news...-vr-17247.html
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Old 29-08-2007, 12:23   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

Thanks Sonsey, but I want it NOW!!
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Old 29-08-2007, 12:33   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

Typical woman!
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Old 29-08-2007, 12:51   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

I have a simple philosophy - I would rather have a lens with IS, which I can switch off when needs must
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Old 29-08-2007, 13:52   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

I bought the Canon 70-200 L f2.8 IS lens last year and I am very pleased with the IS. I had to replace my 20 year old mid range zoom a few months ago so bought a Canon 24-105 f4 IS. As an amateur, I still consider the IS to be a luxury rather than an essential but I hate carrying tripods.

I recently did some tests on both lenses to check the effect of the IS. Camera shake was not clearly discernable if I set a shutter speed of 1/focal length with the IS off. This is the recommended guidance and it works for me but you need to test yourself to be sure. With image stabilisation on there was no discernable shake for up to three stops slower shutter speed. You should bear in mind that 3-4 stops slower does not mean a slight introduction of shake but a dramatic increase as the IS fails to cope. You should also switch off the IS if you use a tripod as it may "hunt" for shake that is not there.
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Old 31-08-2007, 04:02   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

To second what Dave just said..
My dad has the 17-85mm IS lens, and we've found that if you use a tripod and leave IS on, you get shoddy results. The IS seems to cause camera shake, and screw up the picture a bit.

Handheld, it does help to lessen camera shake. I don't agree with the statement about added stops, since it doesn't apply in really low light conditions. It's definitely nice to have in general shooting conditions though. Just make sure you have enough battery power to handle the added drain.

Last edited by ChrisRabior; 31-08-2007 at 04:14.
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Old 31-08-2007, 08:05   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

being new to the DSLR market i have no expensive lenses, and to be honest i cant see being able to afford anything but the basic lens in the future, none of my lenses have IS, i have the 75 - 300mm canon lens, i guess IS would be a boost BUT to be honest as has been said if you use a tripod and in some cases shutter release then you are eliminating other causes of shake anyway. There is a massive difference in price and i guess IF you can afford to spend the money and the extra is justified ( would u get the same image using a tripod?) then i would go for it. on the other hand if you are going to keep the IS switched off most of the time then are you spending money on a flash lens JUST cos you can?
i know this doesnt help you much lol but im trying to look at it from all angles cos im not sure i would pay the extra for it even if i could afford to if i wasnt going to have it turned on the majority of the time.
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Old 31-08-2007, 08:20   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisRabior View Post
To second what Dave just said..
My dad has the 17-85mm IS lens, and we've found that if you use a tripod and leave IS on, you get shoddy results. The IS seems to cause camera shake, and screw up the picture a bit.
I can't supply links but will cut & paste for info.....I'd presume the 17-85 is on the list of "lenses not supported:

The following EF Image Stabilizer lenses support "Tripod IS":

EF28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM

EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

EF70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM

EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM

EF400mm f/2.8L IS USM

EF400mm f/4 DO IS USM

EF500mm f/4L IS USM

EF600mm f/4L IS USM

The following EF Image Stabilizer lenses do not support "Tripod IS":

EF28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

EF75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

EF300mm f/4L IS USM

Specific to the 70-200 f2.8 is usm:
This IS version is tripod-sensing - The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens knows that a tripod is being used when vibrations go below a certain level. Keep IS turned on when mounting on a tripod to take advantage of this secondary IS mode - reducing mirror slap, shutter and tripod vibrations. The downside is the slightly additional battery drain.

(Quote)
Image Stabilizer

4 step Image Stabilizer (IS) extends low light options to previously unimaginable levels. Photographers normally shooting handheld at 1/250 sec can switch on IS to obtain a similarly steady and blur-free result with a shutter speed of just 1/15 second.

IS reduces dramatically the image blur caused by camera shake. Gyro sensors detect unwanted vibrations, triggering the corresponding movement of a correcting lens group perpendicular to the optical axis. This alters the light path, returning the image to its correct position on the sensor or film plane.

For shooting immobile subjects, Mode 1 corrects for movement in the image along both the horizontal and vertical axes. For shooting while panning horizontally to follow a moving subject, Mode 2 turns off vertical correction and prevents the effect of dragging the subject back through the frame.

IS switches off automatically when the camera is mounted on a tripod, thus preventing feedback loops between the IS sensor and internal motor vibrations.(end quote)

I've also read that it doesn't actually switch off but lock.

I've shot many 30 sec exposure with the 17-55 f2.8 is usm tripod mounted and without any problems of blur.
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Old 31-08-2007, 12:54   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Stabilised or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisRabior View Post
I don't agree with the statement about added stops, since it doesn't apply in really low light conditions. It's definitely nice to have in general shooting conditions though. Just make sure you have enough battery power to handle the added drain.
Chris, I probably did not make myself clear. When I referred to 3 stops slower I was only intending to refer to shutter speed so this will be true whatever the EV. You can thus use the IS in low light situations but it will probably be with a high ISO value and/or large aperture.

My statement about switching off the IS when using a tripod was intended to be general. Both of my Canon IS lenses disable the IS, if you use a tripod. Normally I would turn it off when using a tripod (saves the battery) but recently forgot and there was no problem.

As I indicated before, IS is in the luxury category for most amateurs but there are circumstances when IS is useful (e.g. low light where flash or tripods are not allowed or you are not carrying them). Also general photography in poor light. I do not normally carry a flash gun or tripod by choice so fall back on the IS rather than miss the shot. I am also told by a bird photographer that an IS telephoto lens is essential for him for many shots.
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