Fast lens vs VC/OS/VR/IS lens


May 11, 2004
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#1
Fast zoom lens (example f2.8) vs VC/OS/VR/IS zoom lens (example f3.5-6.3).

If you could only own one and are using it for assignments and photography work, which would you choose and why?

For those who have used both types before, which can be pushed further to snag that elusive shot? Under low lighting etc..

I've only used fast lenses so far but contemplating on switching to a super zoom with VC.

Caught in between at the moment..
 

rhino123

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Sep 1, 2006
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#2
I would definitely choose lenses with image stabilizing system (be it VC, OS or IS). And yes, fast lens works very well... but for my photography styles, I normally open my aperture to more than f4. So image stabilizing system is very useful to me. Of course... if allowed, I would bring my monopod or tripod to complete the shoot.
 

Jun 7, 2011
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#3
I think it doesn't really matter on sunny day, but it's another story if you need to work on a dark places / at night, without proper light source.

It also depends on the assignments. Do you need to capture fast moving objects? Then probably you'll need flash to compensate the slower lens. If you can (& want to) use flash in those assignments & works, then I'd say it's pretty safe to switch to a slower super zoom with (or without) VC.

But in some assignments where flash is not allowed, that's where fast lenses can help you.

My 2 cents.
 

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May 11, 2004
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#4
I think it doesn't really matter on sunny day, but it's another story if you need to work on a dark places / at night, without proper light source.

It also depends on the assignments. Do you need to capture fast moving objects? Then probably you'll need flash to compensate the slower lens. If you can (& want to) use flash in those assignments & works, then I'd say it's pretty safe to switch to a slower super zoom with (or without) VC.

But in some assignments where flash is not allowed, that's where fast lenses can help you.

My 2 cents.
How good are the VC/OS/VR/IS for making up for shooting with slow lens at low shutter speed?
 

coolthought

Senior Member
Jun 23, 2008
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#6
the claimed 4 stops of the VC does live up to it.
best is a fast lens with VC/OS/VR/IS like the 17-50/2.8 VC which (IMHO) allow me to shoot at a slower shutterspeed (in low light condition) than using a 50/1.4.

even for a normal lens with maximum aperture eg. f4 with VC should do better than a lens of similar focal length with max f1.4
 

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Dec 12, 2009
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#7
Fast lenses and VC/IS work based on different objectives in my opinion. Fast lenses work with the objective of shallow dof, achieving faster shutter speed. VC/IS is used to handling lower shutter speed than is reasonable. So I don't see it as one "replacing" the other.

It all boils down to what you want to shoot, and under what circumstances. E.g. can you shoot with flash? monopod/tripod? Are you going to shoot widest aperture all the way? For big group photos I doubt you will shoot with f2.8.

So there is no 1 answer to your question unless you provide more details.
 

May 11, 2004
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#8
Fast lenses and VC/IS work based on different objectives in my opinion. Fast lenses work with the objective of shallow dof, achieving faster shutter speed. VC/IS is used to handling lower shutter speed than is reasonable. So I don't see it as one "replacing" the other.

It all boils down to what you want to shoot, and under what circumstances. E.g. can you shoot with flash? monopod/tripod? Are you going to shoot widest aperture all the way? For big group photos I doubt you will shoot with f2.8.

So there is no 1 answer to your question unless you provide more details.
Mostly shooting events with flash and handheld.
 

Dec 12, 2009
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#9
If it is events, I suppose people don't go around running like a fast dog so you don't need high shutter speeds. Furthermore likely you need to take group photos with a smaller aperture than say 2.8 and with flash I would opt for VC/IS.

I used 18-200 (canon's) with flash at dim indoor events at ISO 800 F5.6 using 500D and results are not bad. The IS helps to produce sharp photos at speeds of say 1/50. The only downside is 500D's noise performance is not fantastic at ISO 800 onwards.

(Unless you need to shoot "wedding - like" photos with some shallow dof shots then maybe fast lens. That's why many wedding photographers uses 24-70 f2.8 and a body with good high iso performance such as 5DII.)
 

daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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#10
If you have used the 70-200/2.8 VR2 or IS you will know that it is a ver powerful and lethal combination.
 

kennykck

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Jan 3, 2011
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#11
Prefer fast lens. Previous experience with 55-200mm VR, it requires to hold the shutter for 2~3 seconds before VR can compensate and produce sharp image. Not so good for subject that move.
 

Jun 7, 2011
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#12
the claimed 4 stops of the VC does live up to it.
best is a fast lens with VC/OS/VR/IS like the 17-50/2.8 VC which (IMHO) allow me to shoot at a slower shutterspeed (in low light condition) than using a 50/1.4.

even for a normal lens with maximum aperture eg. f4 with VC should do better than a lens of similar focal length with max f1.4
Agree with what Cooltought said, it grants you 3-4 stops advantage over non IS/OS/VC/VR lenses (of course it's better if you can get a lens which is fast and also has VC/OS/VR/IS system)

Based on my newbie experience on covering a wedding indoor, F2.8 with OS/IS/VC/VR is good enough. And this was without flash.
 

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pinholecam

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Jul 23, 2007
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#13
I'd use a camera that has in-camera SR with that fast lens :D

SR does not mean subject motion reduction, so you reduce your hand shake doesn't mean your subject does not shake :)
So faster lens over VR/IS lens if not given a choice.

Not to mention the option for shallow DOF subject isolation shots using a larger aperture.
 

tecnica

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Dec 26, 2004
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#14
i will go with the stabilised version, whenever possible.
 

yrh0413

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Oct 21, 2004
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#15
my personal preference: go for fast lens, if don't have then get IS.

Reason being... with large aperture you may shoot at much higher shutter speed at low ISO and it freezes most of the movements; IS/VR/VC only helps if you are on low shutter speed but your subjects still move (given that they are alive).

For example if you were to shoot DnD for your company... I much prefer f/2.8 and below instead of a slow lens with VR/IS. Let's take Nikon 14-24 and 16-35 VR... the former allows you to take the shot at say 1/100s @ f/2.8 with decent IQ and all faces sharp... 16-35 VR might require you to shoot at 1/30s in which you may get sharp background BUT your subjects might not be sharp... you know some shaking heads, some talking, some blinking... there are always actions and movements if you shoot live subjects.

If you shoot mostly still subjects then both options will do just fine. If you can afford it just get lenses that are fast in aperture and comes with IS/VR e.g. 70-200 f/2.8; you get best of both worlds.
 

nathaniel

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Jun 18, 2006
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#16
i'd choose the fast lens if I'm doing mainly candid shots. with IS/VR/VC, shutter speed tends to be too slow (in low light) unless people are posing. on the other hand fast lenses like the Sigma 30/1.4 can be soft wide open.

the other thing going for fast lenses: in my experience, I need roughly 1/60 sec to freeze motion of someone who is laughing, singing, etc. Any lens with a focal length up to 60mm should work handheld (without IS) at 1/60 sec. Since IS is not going to help here, better go with a fast lens instead.
 

JasonB

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Jun 2, 2009
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#18
Depends on focal lenght, I take 1.2 1.4 fast lens over VR anytime for focal length below 100mm.

Fast lens also mean higher quality than just aperture and shutter speed number.
 

yrh0413

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Oct 21, 2004
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#19
There's always flash and tripod to help. Might not be useful all the time but... Yah, they are there
Tripod will never freeze your subjects unless you use it to knock them unconcious :bsmilie: If you have flash it doesn't matter if you have a fast lens or VR as you definitely get high shutter speeds.
 

sjackal

Senior Member
Jul 9, 2008
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#20
Tripod will never freeze your subjects unless you use it to knock them unconcious :bsmilie: If you have flash it doesn't matter if you have a fast lens or VR as you definitely get high shutter speeds.
?

Flash does not equate to high shutter speed. You can shoot with flash at 1/500 the same you can at 1/5, just different results.

Bottom line is VR/IS cannot replace fast shutter speed when you need it.
 

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