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Thread: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

  1. #1

    Question IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    I tend to think that IS/VR/VC/OS at longer focal length is more useful.

    Think about it, at shorter focal length and a few stops slower shutter speeds than the 1/focal length is very very slow. You will not only be handshaking, at such slow speeds your whole body's movement (not small jerky vibrations) would be recorded in the exposure. You should know what I mean. With IS/VR/VC/OS activated the viewfinder doesn't shake but it does move.

    Therefore, it's not really a good replacement for a tripod compared to using IS/VR/VC/OS at longer focal lengths since you would be using a much faster shutter speed.

    It is useful, just not very useful.

    Do share how you think about this issue

  2. #2

    Default Re: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    I think IS is useful at every focal length.

  3. #3

    Default Re: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    When the viewfinder blacks out for so long(slow shutter speed) how do you prevent movement handheld? Try standing on one leg with eyes open and without. There's alot of difference

  4. #4
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    Default Re: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    I think IS is particularly helpful with long focal lengths, but for wide angle, it is not a necessity, and putting IS in, say a 10-22 is not wise IMO as it would just increase cost.

    Also IS may keep your camera steady, but if your exposure too long your subject also will move then pic blur. i.e. when shooting macro and wind blows flowers, or shooting dancers in a concert.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    I was thinking if a few stops slower than the 1/focal length for short lenses than wouldn't it be way too slow to hand hold (4 stops IS for 10mm on crop body = 1 second shutter speed? correct me if wrong.). I tried slow shutter speed + IS and I still don't feel as confident as opening the aperture/bumping up the ISO for a faster shutter speed. I get more keepers this way.

  6. #6

    Default Re: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    Whether or not it is useful depends on various factors, shooting conditions and circumstances.

    I can see it being extremely useful for putting photography and cameras, used more conveniently, hand-held at lower shutter speeds for people with nerve or CNS conditions, as well as other special needs groups, and to me, that's a really good thing.

    For the masses, it would be in general, an aid, but once over-reliance on any aid develops, the downside is that the basics of steady hand-holding, breathing and bracing techniques would be forgotten, or ignored entirely.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    I have said before that in the majority of situations the only focal lengths that stablisation is useful for is in the 200-300mm range. Outside of that window then the value of stablisation tails off significantly.

    That's not to say that it's not nice to have, but in the vast majority of situations outside those focal lengths then stabilisation is essentially a poor compensation for the absence of effective camera support.

  8. #8

    Default Re: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    Quote Originally Posted by sensornoise View Post
    I tend to think that IS/VR/VC/OS at longer focal length is more useful.
    being able to handhold at lower focal lengths is not a boon?

    there are situations where you do not have the privelege of having a tripod, you want to retain maximal image quality (therefore using lower iso speeds) while getting sharp pictures.

    even at 10mm, IS is useful.

    that said, there is a reason why i prefer in-body stabilisation to lens stabilisation. every lens is stabilised in the previous, whereas for the latter, you have to PAY and PAY and PAY.

  9. #9

    Default Re: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    Regardless of focal length, unless you can hold steady at slow shutter speed, it will still be useful.
    Saying that its not useful for wide angles is like saying that wide angle shots are not prone to handshake. Amusing...

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  10. #10

    Default Re: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    Personally I do find IS at shorter focal lengths very useful. Its possible to hand hold about 0.4 second 24mm(on a 7d so its around 38mm) at F/4 and an ISO of 1600 and still get sharp pictures.

    One way to prevent yourself from swaying too much is to lean against something e.g. the lamp post works pretty well for me. Or open both eyes, breath in, breath out slightly and try to be steady where while you activate the shutter.

    One plus point is that if you do video on your camera(be it a D90,D300s,7D,5D Mk II) with VR or IS, it reduces the jello effect caused by the rolling shutter as it compensates for tiny hand shakes or tripod movements.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    What I am suggesting is that outside of the 200-300mm focal length, the value of stabilisation is greatly overhyped. Couple of situations:

    [1] Photographs with living subjects in them. Anything less than 200mm will be affected by motion blur as much as camera shake. Anything over 300mm you really should have mounted on a monopod at least, or a tripod.

    [2] Photographs of poorly lit interiors. At a starting point of say ISO 1600 @ 1/125 @ f2.8 which is probably reasonably average conditions, stabilisation buys you say, 3 stops. So you can do ISO 200 instead, OR f8 instead, or something in the middle. As I said in my previous post, it's a poor compromise for not having a tripod.

    [3] Landscapes outdoors. Stabilisation can get you three more stops or so of DoF which is nice. But personally I don't tend to do landscapes without a tripod and if I dispense with one then a lot of the time it is because I have plenty of light to go around. Stablisation doesn't work well enough for long exposure or multiple exposure uses (water for example). Shoot landscapes with a tripod; stabilisation isn't a substitute for a tripod for landscape work.

    There are obviously situations where it does help. In example [1] above for instance, you might be shooting a portrait where the person can stay still for you. But weddings, events, action portraits, candids... ie the majority of situations, stabilisation doesn't help. And if you are shooting a portrait where the person can stay still then you could also bother with a tripod, or lights...

    I'm not saying stabilisation isn't useful... it is better to have it available than not have it available, and in the case of [2] above, some help is better than no help. Or if you have some >300mm zoom lens that you can comfortably handhold then it is helpful - but I do tend to think primarily in the telephoto primes and that's why I draw the line at 300mm - you wouldn't handhold anything longer than 300mm.

    The point I'm making is that stablisation isn't the be all and end all that marketing people would have you believe, in the same way that more megapixels isn't always better. It has its uses, yes, but these are more restricted than many people first think.

  12. #12

    Default Re: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    The point I'm making is that stablisation isn't the be all and end all that marketing people would have you believe, in the same way that more megapixels isn't always better. It has its uses, yes, but these are more restricted than many people first think.
    well, that's for sure.

    i am thinking of examples where i couldn't use a tripod, these are usually more applicable in specific places, like churches in europe. majority of them don't allow tripod photography on grounds of "respect" , etc. fair enough.

    other situations include landscapes where it is next to impossible to set up a tripod, i.e. limited space.. architecturals where you cannot set up a tripod because you have backed up to a corner to get the composition you want.. being on a place (e.g. boat) where you can't set up a tripod.

    but these are largely limited. if in doubt, just use a tripod.

    well, one example where i was thankful was here; it was not a short exposure, i think 1/10 second; and granted, i was lucky that the swan did not move, but composing with a tripod would have been next to impossible here given the dynamic context, rather than static.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    i am thinking of examples where i couldn't use a tripod, these are usually more applicable in specific places, like churches in europe. majority of them don't allow tripod photography on grounds of "respect" , etc. fair enough.
    Actually the bigger problem given where you and I live is that most churches don't allow photography

    I agree with you in these situations but [1] VR is the poor substitute as per my indoor example - you really want to shoot with a small aperture and base ISO. VR doesn't allow you to do that; [2] more importantly, VR is "solving", or rather reducing, a problem that isn't camera shake in the first place, it is the strict photography policies at these venues (not debating the moral or religious reasons behind the prohibition of photography/tripods here).

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    other situations include landscapes where it is next to impossible to set up a tripod, i.e. limited space..
    Agree, but this is relatively a rare occurrence.

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    architecturals where you cannot set up a tripod because you have backed up to a corner to get the composition you want..
    Agree again, but this is very similar to your landscape example. The vast majority of your shooting and shooting options will not by restricted by not having a tripod. And see my point above - in neither of these instances does VR solve the problem, it only helps reduce the impact of not being able to use a tripod; you will face compromises in DoF or ISO or both.

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    being on a place (e.g. boat) where you can't set up a tripod.
    Agree, but as I have been trying to point out, this is not exactly a very common occurrence. I comfortably do in excess of 99.99% of my shooting outside of a boat, plane, automobile...

    I don't knock stablisation for what it does and I appreciate it for what it does do.

  14. #14

    Default Re: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    I don't knock stablisation for what it does and I appreciate it for what it does do.
    yep, i guess we both agree that it's a "nice to have", rather than a "must have"..

    now, proper holding of camera and shooting stance, that is a must have in most situations..

  15. #15

    Default Re: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    Quote Originally Posted by sensornoise View Post
    When the viewfinder blacks out for so long(slow shutter speed) how do you prevent movement handheld? Try standing on one leg with eyes open and without. There's alot of difference
    This logic doesnt make sense. When the viewfinder blacks out your eyes are still open. The camera is not standing on 2 limbs. Its resting on your hands.

  16. #16

    Smile Re: IS/VR/VC/OS - at shorter focal lengths

    Dream Merchant: Thx for pointing that out. Its indeed helpful for people who are more prone to hand shake. Over-reliance is a real problem too.

    Jed, night86mare: Really appreciate you senior CSers for the useful comments

    Legoz: You are right. Handshake occurs at all focal lengths. However, at wide angle focal lengths, even the 1/focal length rule is quite dangerously slow to handhold even with IS on, not to mention handholding it slower by a few stops.

    I do feel that IS would be still be useful without a tripod, yes, just not as useful compared to longer focal lengths or using a tripod.

    doom102938: Thx for sharing your experience

    liveevil: We usually use our body to support our arms, and any movement of the body could be transferred to the hands.

    To sum it up - IS is 'nice to have' (for shorter focal lengths) giving you the option of deeper DOF or lower ISO provided you have very stable hands to hold at extremely slow shutter speeds(sorry to repeat, but even the 1/focal length rule is quite dangerously slow to handhold even with IS on, not to mention handholding it slower by a few stops), or when you have something solid to lean against (like what doom102938 did).

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