When does IS not matter?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by aliciaqw, Apr 16, 2010.

  1. aliciaqw

    aliciaqw TPF Noob!

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    Some lenses have IS, some don't.

    When is it necessary to fork out the extra money and go with IS? Is this mostly important with zooms?

    There is about a $1K difference between the 70-200 2.8L with IS and the one without. Is IS crucial on a lens like that? What about the 100mm 2.8 macros? The L IS lens is about $450 more than the non L IS lens. Is there a HUGE difference in performance and is it strictly related to the IS?

    Also, does it matter that there is no IS on the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM? The 24-105mm 4 L has IS but is it any better than the 24-70? Does the lack of IS matter on a lens like the 85mm 1.8?

    Sorry if that's a lot of questions! Just trying to get my ducks in a row! Thanks for any thoughts/opinions/advice you may have!
     
  2. Bitter Jeweler

    Bitter Jeweler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Canon Lenses - Canon EF Camera Lens Information

    Good resource for comparing lenses.

    IS helps gain 1-2 stops of handholdability to aid in getting sharp images.

    Is it needed? That's a personal preference, based on how steady your hands are, I guess. Or how high you can go with ISO for acceptable noise in your images. I would say it's more important with zooms, with a high minimum aperture. (larger f/#'s)

    You might not need IS on a f/2.8 lens, but might like it on a f/4. The higher the minimum f/stop the more it helps.

    That help any?
     
  3. Alan92RTTT

    Alan92RTTT TPF Noob!

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    IMO, if your not using a tripod Image Stabilization is very important with longer lenses. A tiny movement of the lens can add a lot of blur to the image if you don't have something to compensate for it.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's only a $600 difference. $1900 vs $1300...but still, it's a big difference.

    IS steadies the lens, so as to give you the ability to get sharper shots (hand held), at shutter speeds which would normally give you some level of blur due to camera shake. It's usually one - two stops, although I've heard as much as four stops for some lenses.

    The rule of thumb for shooting hand held, is that you want your shutter speed to be at least as fast as the reciprocal of the focal length. So for a 100mm lens, you would want a shutter speed of at least 1/100. Some all factor in the crop factor...so with a 'crop body' camera, you would want 1/160 (canon) or 1/150 (nikon). With IS, you can knock off a couple stops, allowing you to shot at 1/25-1/30 or thereabouts. This is why it's more important with longer lenses (when you say zoom, I assume you mean telephoto).

    Now, and this is very important, IS does not help to freeze subject movement. So if you are shooting sports etc., you still need fast shutter speeds to freeze the movement. IS can help when your subject isn't moving that fast (because it fights camera shake) but you are not going to freeze a running subject at 1/30 etc.

    So is it worth it.....sometimes yes and sometimes no....it's up to you. My opinion is that it's better to have it, than not. And then it comes to the 70-200mm F2.8 L IS, I knew that if I didn't get the IS version...there would be plenty of times when I wish I had...and I didn't want to regret my purchase.
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I agree and longer lenses being defined as over 200mm.

    Below 200 mm all it takes is good camera handeling technique.

    Sadly, because so many lenses have IS, VR, OS, whatever, fewer and fewer photographers know what good camera handeling technique is or looks like.
     
  6. aliciaqw

    aliciaqw TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the link, Bitter. (almost called you "Butter", but I caught the typo..haha).

    I understand that IS helps with shake, and now I know it's more important with telephoto (thanks, Mike).

    I guess my only remaining question is 24-70mm 2.8 L IS or 24-105 4 L for multi-purpose?
     
  7. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I thought it should be 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM and 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.

    The 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM IS .... not out yet, but rumors said .... maybe later this year.
     
  8. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You've got that backward, it's the 24-105mm F4 L that has IS, not the 24-70mm.

    Pretty much any lens can be multi-purpose. But yes, the focal range from 24mm to 70-105mm fits pretty well into the 'normal' range...especially on 35mm film cameras or full frame digital. On a crop body DSLR, 24mm isn't wide enough, for many people, to be a 'walk around' lens.

    Both of those lenses are very good. The 24-70mm has long been the pro photographer's work horse lens. Although, it's big and quite heavy...it's nickname is 'The Brick'. Having IS on the 24-105mm F4, does (in some ways) make up for the smaller max aperture...and it's a nicer lens to work with, being smaller & lighter.
    But having the ability to use F2.8 is still the trump card for a lot of people.

    Lately, a new factor has entered this debate...and that is ISO performance. Only a couple years ago, few people would seriously consider shooting above ISO 800 or 1600. But now, it's not unheard of that you can get good shots at ISO 3200 and 6400.
    So with that added flexibility, F2.8 isn't as important as it used to be....unless you are a shallow DOF junkie...but in which case, you'd be better off with F1.4 prime lenses.
     
  9. rufus5150

    rufus5150 TPF Noob!

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    The 24-105 L is IS, not the 24-70.

    It depends on what you want to do with the lens. The extra stop for me on the 24-70 was a choice based on the DOF and creativity possibilities and the fact I spend a good 1/3 to 1/2 of the time shooting children and the extra speed helps stop motion. I will eventually acquire a 24-105 IS to use as a vacation/walk-around lens simply because of the IS.
     
  10. DerekSalem

    DerekSalem TPF Noob!

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    It *really* depends on what you use it for...If you use a tripod a lot there's absolutely no reason to get IS (usually). For telezooms (especially high-quality ones like the f/4L and f/2.8L 70-200s) the IS is *really* nice. It's actually a different version of IS from their other lenses (most of them at least) and it can get at least 3 full stops (sometimes 4). I've taken a picture at full 200mm zoom at 1/4 of a second with this lens and you can't see a bit of blur. Fantastic stuff.

    Also, if you're going to be buying a super expensive lens like the 70-200 f/2.8L...you might as well just buy the IS version. You might regret it down the road if you don't, but either way it can be a massively helpful feature.

    For reference, this picture was taken at full 200mm zoom and 1/50s shutter speed:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. burnws6

    burnws6 TPF Noob!

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    Just a quick side note....

    If your camera is on a tripod....and you're shooting by remote....take IS/VR off....it'll produce a sharper image.

    That is all.
     
  12. aliciaqw

    aliciaqw TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for correcting my typo. 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM and 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.

    Sooo, I wonder how true the rumors are about IS for the 24-70mm...? That might make my decision a lot easier.

    If in a month theres no IS for the 24-70, I might end up with 24-105 because I do know you can get it as a kit lens with the 5DMII saving you a little bit of cash. Aaaand, I would love to get a 100mm macro, which would give me speed and that shallow DOF option. But I already have the 50mm 1.4. Hmmm. I'm still confused. Grrr...decisions! ACK!
     

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