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Thread: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

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    Default Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    Hi guys, I am a newbie just started out photography as a hobby.

    I am currently using a canon650D for a year and a half now. I want to upgrade my kit lens to a better lens which allows me to take better portraits at larger aperture.
    As kit lens are always coupled with Image-stabilisation, I tend to take this feature for granted.

    I am currently looking into
    1. sigma 24-70 f2.8
    2. tamron 28-75mm f2.8

    Both of them does not comes with IS feature, will it affect me greatly? Is it a worthy upgrade from my kit lens?

    another question:
    Is the kit lens focal length(18-55, 18-135) an accurate representation of the focal length I shoot at?
    I understand 650D has a cropped sensor, so I should multiply that value by 4/3.

    I have the assumption that EF-S lens' focal length already accounted for the cropped factor, while I have to take into account the cropped factor for non-EFS lens, can someone correct me on this?


    Thanks for the answers!

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    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    1) 'Better portraits' itself is vague. If you are looking for lens that gives you more 'bokeh', try looking at primes that have f1.x
    2) Whether or not IS is required, depends on your handholding power. Easiest way to find out is turn off your IS on your kit lens and shoot for a period of time, then see if it have any shakes in the image
    3) 18-55, 18-135, it's EF-S lens. It is not accounting into the crop. So you have to multiply the crop factor in. So 18-55 is actually 28.8 - 88. While a 24-70 is 38.4-112mm.
    4) Canon crop factor is 1.6x. I'm not sure where you get the 4/3 from.. Even for m43, their crop factor is 2x.


    FWIW, I believe a 17-5X f2.8 will be a much better choice in more ways. Also, I'm not sure if you have tried the 50mm f1.8 yet. It's quite an awesome lens for it's price/value.
    Last edited by SkyStrike; 23rd June 2014 at 01:11 PM.
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    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    Quote Originally Posted by SkyStrike View Post
    1) 'Better portraits' itself is vague. If you are looking for lens that gives you more 'bokeh', try looking at primes that have f1.x
    2) Whether or not IS is required, depends on your handholding power. Easiest way to find out is turn off your IS on your kit lens and shoot for a period of time, then see if it have any shakes in the image
    3) 18-55, 18-135, it's EF-S lens. It is not accounting into the crop. So you have to multiply the crop factor in. So 18-55 is actually 28.8 - 88. While a 24-70 is 38.4-112mm.
    4) Canon crop factor is 1.6x. I'm not sure where you get the 4/3 from.. Even for m43, their crop factor is 2x.


    FWIW, I believe a 17-5X f2.8 will be a much better choice in more ways. Also, I'm not sure if you have tried the 50mm f1.8 yet. It's quite an awesome lens for it's price/value.
    Thanks for the helpful answers! I do have a 50mm f1.8 and it has been very useful to me!

    I am looking for a zoom lens to replace my kit lens, to give a better bokeh than f3.5-f5.6 and a better lens for travelling. Multi-purpose bah.

    Thanks for your recommendation too, I will go find out more about it!

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    Moderator rhino123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    Actually TS. You could look at Tamron 24-70mm VC... best of both world. You got VC and the 24-70mm range that you need, plus it had fabulous IQ.
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
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    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    Quote Originally Posted by rhino123 View Post
    Actually TS. You could look at Tamron 24-70mm VC... best of both world. You got VC and the 24-70mm range that you need, plus it had fabulous IQ.
    would love to get that but it is way out of my budget, i am currently a student, not earning my own keeps yet

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    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    Quote Originally Posted by RhythmCL View Post
    Thanks for the helpful answers! I do have a 50mm f1.8 and it has been very useful to me!

    I am looking for a zoom lens to replace my kit lens, to give a better bokeh than f3.5-f5.6 and a better lens for travelling. Multi-purpose bah.

    Thanks for your recommendation too, I will go find out more about it!
    imo, 18-135 is a good travelling lens.

    For lens options, I would still not choose a 24-xx lens for a crop body for travelling. On a budget, you can consider looking at the 2nd hand market for Tamron 17-50 VC/Non-VC or Sigma 17-50. Should be in the range of 350-500.

    Also, if you don't have the spending power, then I would actually even suggest holding off any purchases till you can afford it.

    *Bokeh is not the only thing that makes nice portraits. The studying of light and shadows, posing your models is also key to it.*
    Too many great equipments but too little quality photos. [My Flickr] | [My Blog]

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    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    Whether a lens has IS or not actually depends how it's held. A sturdy hand is most certainly required.
    Image shot with 70-200mm w/o IS.

    Last edited by Zeisser; 25th June 2014 at 10:22 AM.
    5D/5D3/Zeiss/28-85/100 F2/200 F4/50 F1.4/70-200/24-85/85 F1.4
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    Another vote for the Tamron 17-50 VC/Non-VC or Sigma 17-50. Both are good lens for your current needs n budget.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkyStrike View Post

    imo, 18-135 is a good travelling lens.

    For lens options, I would still not choose a 24-xx lens for a crop body for travelling. On a budget, you can consider looking at the 2nd hand market for Tamron 17-50 VC/Non-VC or Sigma 17-50. Should be in the range of 350-500.

    Also, if you don't have the spending power, then I would actually even suggest holding off any purchases till you can afford it.

    *Bokeh is not the only thing that makes nice portraits. The studying of light and shadows, posing your models is also key to it.*

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    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    I have budget for a 2nd hand $300-$400 lens

    The lens which rhino123 suggested cost $1000 2nd hand =\

    Thanks for all the suggestions!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    improve your technique. it's free. buying a "better " lens I gear won't do much if you're the one limiting your equipment.
    宁愿遇见丢失幼崽的母熊,也不愿碰上做蠢事的愚人

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    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    on the 1st question, i feel that image stabilization is really not that important a factor. i will not shoot at slow shutter speeds due to potential subject movement which will cause blur. what i think u need is more a prime portrait lens to do the trick. $400 should be able to get a used copy of the canon 85 1.8

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    Senior Member dennisc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    IS feature is more useful if lens is long long handheld but if shooting at f2.8 should be fine. Try shooting 200mm with non IS, chances are better to reformat the entire cfcard image afterwards. Kit lens are sharp and nice, but only reason I changed mine was for the better IQ only.

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    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    Go through the photos you have taken thus far and see how many you have taken at very low shutter speed like 1/20s and so on. If a lot, image stabilisation does help especially if intend to handhold 1/4s. Also, how many possibly photos that could have been better taken if there was stabilisation.

    Here is a light hearted video on having IS.


    In my opinion, if your subject not moving or going anywhere...a tripod or at least a monopod can work in a pinch.
    Last edited by Reportage; 30th June 2014 at 10:09 PM.
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    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    Image stabilization is generally not an important trait for portraiture. This is because you would probably use high shutter speeds under controlled lighting and daytime conditions. Paired with good techniques, the added technology would not yield any improvement.

    However, for that odd shot done under dim lighting, I suppose image stabilization would help, although I would rely more on ISO and a larger aperture. I come to think of it, I do not have any lens with this feature...
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    At first I tot stabiliser is important. But when I shoot indoor events, I always use 1/60s or even 1/80s to freeze people movements. So my stabiliser becomes redundant and wasted money.
    D7100,SB910,17-50/2.8OS,105/2.8VR,85/1.8D,2xE-M1,O60/2.8,12-40/2.8,35-100/2.8,14-42,LX100

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    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    Just sharing a shot with a 70-200mm @ 1/30sec f4.5 ISO640 w/o IS

    5D/5D3/Zeiss/28-85/100 F2/200 F4/50 F1.4/70-200/24-85/85 F1.4
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/zeisser/

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeisser View Post
    Just sharing a shot with a 70-200mm @ 1/30sec f4.5 ISO640 w/o IS
    U shot this at 70 or 200mm? But either one, your shot is impressive if there is not tripod. I can't even shoot at 1/30 for 105mm sometimes.
    D7100,SB910,17-50/2.8OS,105/2.8VR,85/1.8D,2xE-M1,O60/2.8,12-40/2.8,35-100/2.8,14-42,LX100

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    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    Quote Originally Posted by sin77 View Post
    U shot this at 70 or 200mm? But either one, your shot is impressive if there is not tripod. I can't even shoot at 1/30 for 105mm sometimes.
    Hand held @ 150mm just need a pair of sturdy hands
    5D/5D3/Zeiss/28-85/100 F2/200 F4/50 F1.4/70-200/24-85/85 F1.4
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    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeisser View Post
    Just sharing a shot with a 70-200mm @ 1/30sec f4.5 ISO640 w/o IS
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeisser View Post
    Hand held @ 150mm just need a pair of sturdy hands
    I know I wouldn't have done it better... but forgive me for stating it... I seemed to detect a bit of softness in the photo and was it a bit of motion blur? Of course that still take skills that I lacked.
    I am not a photographer, just someone who happened to have a couple of cameras.
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    Default Re: Is image-stabilisation important in taking portraits? and focal length question

    Depends on lighting conditions, IS could be essential in low light to gain that few stops to shoot at lower shutter speed to prevent pushing up your ISO too much. You can also use external flash or remote flash to compensate if needed. Like what most of the CSers here mentioned, start by learning how to shoot with a sturdy stance.

    I usually shoot manual focus, so never had the luxury of IS... Sharing a shot with manual focus lens in good light.

    Minolta MC Rokkor 58mm f/1.2 wide open on Sony A7

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