Does IS lower lens durability?

Neil S.

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Jul 16, 2010
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I was thinking today about IS, and realized that I don’t know that much about how it works.

After doing a little research into it I now feel I have a better understanding.

The Canon system uses electromagnets to move a floating lens element that counters camera shake. This means obviously that moving parts are involved.

Attached is a diagram from the Lens Work III book showing the system.


I am assuming that because there are moving parts involved, it would be more likely that the lens could be damaged from impacts.

Can anyone confirm this, or add any additional information?

Should we be extra careful with IS lenses, or are they as durable as non-IS lenses?

Why certainly. Any lens that is larger, more complex, has more moving parts, or is heavier has generally less durability than a simpler design of similarly study construction.

Is it worth worrying about? Not in the slightest.
Are you worried about it? Maybe you should insure your camera gear and then stop worrying about it.
Yes, it does impair long-term reliability.
Another moving part is another thing that can break. I have a friend whose sister refuses to buy cars with electric locks and windows, because, as she puts it, "they are expensive add-ons that break easily and are expensive to fix." In a sense, this is true, but it is not necessarily likely to happen. IS is a great feature on a lens. I don't think that the stabilized element moves enough to bang into other elements.
I believe if they brake it will no longer IS any more but will still work like a non IS lens.

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