How useful and usable is IS/VR ?


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jitkiat

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Out of the best photos you have taken, how many best shots you have done with Canon IS/Nikon VR turned on? How usable is it in practice e.g. can you handhold at 1/5 or 1/10 second when shooting at 28mm ? Is IS/VR battery-hungry?

It seems like Canon is very slow in introducing IS to its lens, make me wonder if IS/VR is actually that useful. Why don't Canon come out with 70-200 f4L IS where it will be more useful say compared to 28-135 IS ?
 

sequitur

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#2
IS and VR are useful.. the same can't really be said of sigma OS though because they're still new in the market (and test results say that sigma OS can't match IS nor VR yet)

IS WILL give you the chance to take images that you might usually have missed due to mild camera shake. yes. i myself have been tempted to get canon's famed 70-200 2.8 IS as well. however after thinking over a little, my conclusion is as thus.

70-200 f4 weighs 650g
2.8 IS weighs about 1.4 - 1.5kg if i'm not wrong.
given the difference in weight, i feel that i will be able to hold an f4 more steady than i can hold the 2.8 IS. so at the end of the day, it sort of cancels each other out. on the weight that is.

for that matter, i got myself an 85 1.8 instead and i'm happy with it. not a perfect substitute but at least 85 falls within the 2.8 range. if you really need another lens, 135/2 is another light and fast lens that doesn't weigh too much.
 

Feinwerkbau

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In a word: INDISPENSIBLE.

Have successfully taken handheld shots at 1/15-1/60 f2.8 at 350-420mm ISO 100.

When used for wider lens settings (say 28-50mm), I have gone down to 1/6 and 1/4.

Couldn't have done it without some sort of IS.
 

#4
Posted b4 in another thread..
Here is a couple of shots taken at low shutter speed with 100-400mm IS lens hand-held.

1
400mm, ISO: 200, Shutter: 1/13

2
400mm, ISO: 400, Shutter: 1/30

3
400mm, ISO: 400, Shutter: 1/15

4
400mm, ISO: 400, Shutter: 1/100

5
400mm, ISO: 400, Shutter: 1/40

I find that IS does help sometimes.
 

jitkiat

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Jul 16, 2004
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sequitur said:
70-200 f4 weighs 650g
2.8 IS weighs about 1.4 - 1.5kg if i'm not wrong.
given the difference in weight, i feel that i will be able to hold an f4 more steady than i can hold the 2.8 IS. so at the end of the day, it sort of cancels each other out. on the weight that is.

for that matter, i got myself an 85 1.8 instead and i'm happy with it. not a perfect substitute but at least 85 falls within the 2.8 range. if you really need another lens, 135/2 is another light and fast lens that doesn't weigh too much.
Totally agreed. A lot of people have rushed out to buy those 70/80-200 f2.8 (1.5kg) lenses without first considering the weight and size of those lenses. These lenses have built-in tripod collar for a good reason because it is real hard to handhold them. Like you, I use a Tamron 90/2.8 macro (<400g) instead of the 70-200 2.8 zoom.
 

2100

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#6
Get a good monopod, poor man's image stabilisation. :) Very fast to setup and not very inconvenient too, pros use it all the time in sports shooting and stuff with the long heavy lenses. The idea is the correct way to use it, and the upright perpendicular to the ground is not it. :) Another bonus is that it works with ALL your lenses. You can squeeze 3 stops out of it if used correctly. Eg 1/200s becomes 1/25.
 

jitkiat

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2100 said:
Get a good monopod, poor man's image stabilisation. :) Very fast to setup and not very inconvenient too, pros use it all the time in sports shooting and stuff with the long heavy lenses. The idea is the correct way to use it, and the upright perpendicular to the ground is not it. :) Another bonus is that it works with ALL your lenses. You can squeeze 3 stops out of it if used correctly. Eg 1/200s becomes 1/25.
Agreed. I used one during my trekking in Nepal, double up as a walking stick too.
 

r32

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#9
The cynical side of me would say that the *purpose* of this thread is similar to other threads in the ilk of threads that seemingly ask for a debate about the practicality of IS/VR/OS, digital/film, etc when the thread author already has a stand and just wants to gain moral or popular support such that he is doing the right thing (in already having taken a particular stance). Looking for someone to agree with? Perhaps there will always be that amount of uncertainty when making a choice among the huge array on the market, and what better than to make a choice with everyone cheering you on?

*shoves Mr Cynic back into the box*

Most of the replies are great, in fact they're excellent in both proving/disproving both sides of the coin - size/weight being a factor, focal length being the other factor.

Everyone's shooting habits and needs are different. If you shoot a certain type of image often enough and found your equipment wanting, you'll eventually justify the cost these high-tech lenses anyway.

For the record, the only such lenses I tried are on a 28-135mm IS and the Canon S1 IS camera. I don't own any. Yes, IS consumes more battery power. I get a little disoriented looking in the viewfinder and seeing that image move differently from my handholding but you learn to trust that the IS is doing the job to counter your movements.

It is a nice feature to have, the weight difference between the IS and non-IS 70-200mm 2.8 lens is small. I'd say its negligible. What works against it is the cost.
 

erwinx

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#10
jitkiat said:
It seems like Canon is very slow in introducing IS to its lens,
:bsmilie: :bsmilie: :bsmilie:

Yeah, how come Canon takes so long to launch new products. Why can't they be as fast as other brands... like Leica.
 

Kit

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#11
Actually, I can handhold a 70-200 f2.8 better than the f4. The extra weight does help me stabilise the lens.
 

Kit

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#12
jitkiat said:
It seems like Canon is very slow in introducing IS to its lens, make me wonder if IS/VR is actually that useful. Why don't Canon come out with 70-200 f4L IS where it will be more useful say compared to 28-135 IS ?
How slow is slow? I can't think of any other 135 format manufacturer implementing IS in a scale as extensive as Canon.
 

Caussway

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#13
With IS I'm able to take resonably sharp picture with 380mm at 1/15sec.
Carrying tripod and monopod is not always convenient, especially when your subject is moving. IS really helps to handhold the camera at long FL and low light condition.
 

Gymrat76

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Example of a test shot done with NIkon VR 70-200 f/2.8

ISO:200, f/2.8, Shutter: 1/5!!

VR off:


VR on:


GYR
 

2100

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#15
Caussway said:
Carrying tripod and monopod is not always convenient, especially when your subject is moving. IS really helps to handhold the camera at long FL and low light condition.
Hmm....how does IS help in taking good stable/sharp pics of a moving subject like the hands or head?
 

sequitur

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Apr 17, 2003
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#16
2100 said:
Hmm....how does IS help in taking good stable/sharp pics of a moving subject like the hands or head?

IS does not help stop motion. it helps when you are shooting something more or less still within a time frame of -(insert reasonable shutter speed here)- to eliminate camera shake.

HOWEVER, IS does help "stop motion" (note the quotes) when panning.


yes a i don't deny IS is good to have. sorry i'm also one of those like r32 said, trying to convince myself that i don't need an IS lens. but i was on the verge of buying one. all the way till that morning i had the cash ready for me to make a purchase for the IS. called up shops and people for opinions blah blah. 1 hour later i was on my way to get an 85/1.8 instead and i'm so much more happy with it.

the weight of the lens DOES sometimes help to stabilise the entire system that you are holding. prolonged, it might not be comfortable. i don't deny that it's more stable (due to center of gravity thingy) to hold a 2.8 or a 2.8IS than an f4. however, i find that the f4 allows me to hold the camera for like 4 hours straight without feeling tired. that's the main pull.
 

sequitur

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#17
as for speed of releasing IS lenses...

i personally think canon has enough IS lenses.

70-200 IS
300 2.8/4 IS
400 2.8 IS
500 4 IS
600 4 IS

there's IS all the way from 70mm to 600mm.

what would you want ? 1200mm IS? that would probably cost double the price of what a current 1200mm commands already.


basically up to speeds like 80mm.. it's more feasible to get a fast lens (like f1.8) than to get an IS lens. cost is one thing, weight is another thing.

if i really want speed lenses, i'd change my arsenal to this (cheaper lenses as compared to IS)

20/1.8
28/1.8
35/2
50/1.8
85/1.8
100/2 (not very cheap)
135/2 (not very cheap)
200/1.8 *** (this is one hell of an expensive lens. but f1.8 rocks)
or 200/2.8 (which is a very good light lens)


all of them (less the 200/1.8) weigh below a kg.

then you start to see the benefits.


less the 20/1.8 and 28/1.8, all the other lenses have good wide open performances. 20/1.8 performs well from f/2, sigma 28/1.8 may do good from f2 if you get a good copy, canon 28/1.8 will only do good from f3.5 at least.
 

nickmak

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#18
1200mm with IS? I think maybe it might not work because the lens is already 16.5kg already... i doubt anyone but superman can handhold the lens, let alone shoot with IS on... if canon were to put it on...
 

sequitur

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Apr 17, 2003
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#19
nickmak said:
1200mm with IS? I think maybe it might not work because the lens is already 16.5kg already... i doubt anyone but superman can handhold the lens, let alone shoot with IS on... if canon were to put it on...

forgive me if i'm wrong, but i think leaving IS on on a tripod or monopod is good too.
 

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#20
sequitur said:
forgive me if i'm wrong, but i think leaving IS on on a tripod or monopod is good too.
Actually, for the previous generation of IS, it should be turned off when on a tripod - you'll get blurry pics if you don't. Canon has resolved this issue in the later IS technology though. Personally, I'll keep it off when on a tripod.
 

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