Is Image Stabilization really all that great?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Senor Hound, May 5, 2008.

  1. Senor Hound

    Senor Hound TPF Noob!

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    I've been searching far and wide for a camera with built in Image Stabilization at an affordable price. I was looking at a Sony A-100 on dpreview.com, when something occurred to me.

    I was comparing the ISOs of the Sony to the Canon, and it seemed like the Canon produced cleaner images than the Sony. It seemed to be about two steps worth, to be exact. But, the image stabilizer on the Sony is about 2 steps worth (according to dpreview). So basically it can stabilize the image, but with the Canon you can up the ISO, and take the shot at settings where you don't NEED stabilizing. I am fairly new to this stuff, but this really got me thinking.

    So, what do you people here think? Does getting a non-Canon camera with in-body Image Stabilization still make sense, or is it overrated?
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Depends. You can always get the Canon/Nikon body, and later add and IS/VR lens which will really slap the Sony equivalent.

    The in camera IS is for the price concious. But if the improvement is not more than the equivalent higher ISO shots of the competition then the competition wins. Afterall IS can only stabilise the hand, and not stop the subjects from moving.
     
  3. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    What sort of photography do you plan to be doing? Shooting people and kids? Landscape/scenic stuff?
     
  4. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's generally regarded that in camera IS is better in the fact that it allows you to use IS with all lenses but not as good as lens IS as it isn't as effective as in lens IS with certain focal lengths.

    Like the Canon 70-200 f/4 IS is supposed to have a 4 stop advantage.

    I believe it has to do with in body IS moving the sensor to compensate which isn't as effective with longer focal length lenses when compared to having the IS action in the lens itself.

    I've seen one person argue that in lens IS is a waste and that you have to but it with every single lens and it raises the prices of the lens. The user was an Olympus owner. Afterwards I pointed out that Olympus's equivalent of Canon's 70-200 f/2.8 IS, the 35-100 f/2.0, was listed on B&H for $2199 and the Canon lens was $1600 at the time.
     
  5. patrickt

    patrickt TPF Noob!

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    All of the DSLR brands, save one I think, have some form of image stabilization. Whether it's "all that great" depends on what you're shooting but it clearly has a purpose.

    I shoot while I walking around town, frequently in the evening, and I am delighted I have in-body image stabilization.
     
  6. Antithesis

    Antithesis No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    IS only has the benefit of making the lens hand holdable. Even then, it's pretty iffy. ISO on the other hand has the same benefit, though it's your shutter speed increasing, which allows you to freeze action. Combined with a large aperture, it's far better than IS imo.
     
  7. Socrates

    Socrates TPF Noob!

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    Typically, I don't want to freeze action. I want a long shutter speed so that I can pan with the action. Nikon's VR-II is ideal for that because it detects panning and disables VR in that direction. (That feature can be turned off.)
     
  8. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I know I sond like a dork when I say this, but the reason I am finally happy with my setup is because:

    A) I have a D300 which has excellent high ISO performance.

    B) Pretty much all of my long lenses (except the 50-500 Sigma "Bigma" which I am selling and my uber-cheapo Tamron 70-300) have VR, many with VRII.

    Yes, this costs a chunck of change, but now I can do whatever I need to do, use VR, bump the ISO or BOTH... and still get good shots handheld (I pretty well only shoot handheld unless it is a night shot... I don't do landscapes much).

    I love VR, but I also love being able to shoot with excellent quality at 1600 ISO.

    Both together? Look out!
     
  9. IS or VR are not a holy panacea, but they do work. I have two IS lenses, and definitely see a benefit. Canon and Nikon's in-lens technology strikes me as more sophisticated - it is developed specifically to the lens... and of course pre-dates digital photography. That means it's had a longer gestation period. Not sure if the in-camera solutions adapt to each lens.

    I good high ISO like Nikon seems like a really powerful work-around. Hopefully Leica and Canon will offer such technology soon as well.
     
  10. Senor Hound

    Senor Hound TPF Noob!

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    Your replies are great and all, but I'm not talking about Nikon and Canon lens stabilization. If you read what I said again, I'm comparing the in-camera stabilization of Pentax and Sony to simply having a better sensor, like Canon does. It seens to me that a Canon WITHOUT IS could take just as good of shots in low light as a Sony could. This is because at ISO 1600 the Canon is still as smooth looking as the Sony is around 400. The Sony gets 2 stops extra in shake reduction, while the Canon just has a great sensor and doesn't NEED is.

    Does this make sense? I have a theory about this and I would like some feedback if at all possible. Once again, your guys' answers are great, but I would like to know more, if you don't mind.
     
  11. yeti

    yeti TPF Noob!

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    IS is really useful, but there is no contraption that can beat simply having a better sensor. If you are wondering between a better sensor and an in-camera IS, go for the better sensor.

    IS helps reduce shake on your end, but it won't stop your subject from moving. Better sensor will. In-camera IS uses accelerometers and software to "stabilize" your image, but I have heard it also compromises auto-focus accuracy.

    With simply having a better sensor you can do everything IS can do for you plus more. Still, if possible, try to get something with better sensor + IS (in-lens). You won't regret it.
     
  12. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    What I'm most curious about is if "Canikon" cameras are really 2-stops better at high ISO vs Sony. Heck, some Nikon cameras have used Sony imaging sensors. The DSP would be unique to Nikon or Sony cameras I assume, though so YMMV. I've never heard that Sony DSLRs are 2-stops worse as far as ISO noise than anybody else though. Maybe Olympus because of the smaller sensor, but Sony?
     

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