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Does RF 100-500 shut down IS when it's mounted on a tripod?


Hi everybody!

I switched recently from Canon EF 70-300 IS USM II to RF 100-500 L and noticed that when mounted on a tripod my 100-500 unit (looks like) shuts down IS. Just want to know... is it something wrong with my unit or is it just a normal behavior?

I film videos in zoos. My camera stays on a tripod with a ball head.

Usually I pan my camera (R6) tracking an animal (holding it by a grip), when an animal stops I just point my camera on it (my hand is on the camera, holding it lightly because the ball head isn't locked). When an animal starts moving I start panning.

I noticed that when I keep my camera still (with my hand on the grip), I start seeing all these tiny vibrations caused by my hand. Which wasn't the case with EF 70-300.

I tested both lenses at home.

I put them on a tripod. I hit record button, waited for 15 seconds, and then knock the camera lightly with my finger (reeeeally lightly). With 100-500 (on 300mm) I saw these vibrations on a screen. With 70-300 (on 300mm) a image was super steady.

I did another test. I hit record button, pan the camera from right to left, quickly locked the ball head and lightly knock the camera with my finger (reeeeally lightly). Both lenses gave a steady image.

So it looks like 100-500 somehow detects that it's on a tripod and turns IS off after 10 seconds. It makes sense for power saving I suppose, but it makes really hard to film videos with this lens mounted on a ball head 

Here's a video to illustrate the problem

Does anyone seeing this or it's something wrong with my unit?



I have a 100-500 unit and it does turn off IS on a tripod.  This is becoming true of a lot of lenses these days because so many people leave it on and it continues to vibrate the element, causing its own camera shake.

Did you have IBIS still turned on at this point?  Given that the two work together, it might be the case that the IBIS is still working and doing so against you - just like a lens with OIS does on a legacy camera.   If you are experimenting, I recommend turning off both type of stabilization and see what happens when your camera is mounted on a tripod.

I am  not a videographer, so please excuse my ignorance, but is a ball-head considered the best mounting method for a video camera?

cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

I use Canon R6. As far as I know there's no way to turn IBIS off on this camera 😞 At least I didn't find any IBIS related settings in a menu.

There are options related to digital stabilization (which is a software stabilization method) in the menu. I tried to turn it on and off. It didn't make any difference.

A ball head is not the best solution for videography. I use it because I need to be low profile and I'd like to have my gear as light as possible. It's definitely that my tripod and a head are not the best to do the job.

But... I'm surprised that 70-300 IS USM II and 70-200 2.8 L II don't turn off IS units, and they are able to compensate limitations of my gear and produce really stable videos. 100-500 on the other hand gives much better image optically, but video is so shaky and cheap looking 😞


I think it may depend upon the camera body you are using, too.  In the DSLRs, it was only !D bodies and certain lenses that would automatically disable IS.  I would expect some of that to carry over into the MILC camera line.

"The right mouse button is your friend."

To the best of my knowledge, and having the R5 and R6 bodies, along with the L series 24-105 and 100-500, all of these lenses can turn off OIS when the camera is mounted on a tripod, even thought they have separate switches - I suspect that this is to allow IS to be disabled in other situations.  The issue is also because of the role that IBIS plays, which was not an issue in DSLRs.

I am hoping a product specialist from Canon will come in on this and give us the benefit of their wisdom, otherwise it will require a fair bit of experimentation.

cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris

I see your point regarding IBIS.  But, I am not sure how much of a correlation there is between disabling IS and using a tripod.  The biggest benefit from IS is focusing..  It is easier to focus on something that is not jumping around the frame.

With the DSLRs, it was usually the recent 1D bodies and “Great White” primes that would automatically disable the IS. I think the 70-200mm f/2.8s may have had a firmware exception.  

I think this was done so that the Autofocus System could have a more stable “look” at the subject.  When I use my Sigma 150-600mm to manually focus on the Moon, I leave the IS turned on because the image is more stable.  But, I disable the IS before I take the shot!

"The right mouse button is your friend."

The User Manual contains notes that would seem to contradict the camera/lens combo sensing that it is mounted on a tripod, and disabling IS automatically.  Similar language can be found for shooting stills and capturing video..

If the setup can automatically disable IS when mounted on a tripod, then why would the user manual contain this comment?


"The right mouse button is your friend."

I use R6 but I think they're pretty similar with R5 in terms of stabilization.

I have a feeling that this behavior comes from a lens and not from a body.

I tried 4 tele-lenses EF 70-300 IS USM version 1, EF 70-300 IS USM version 2, EF 70-200 2.8 version 2, and RF 100-500. First three lenses don't shut down IS when mounted on a tripod. RF 100-500 does.

The weirdest part of it is that... with 100-500 mounted on a tripod ALL stabilizations are disabled. I don't see movements of IS element in the lens, IBIS seems to be turned off as well, and even Digital stabilization doesn't work! As mentioned in a document you posted above Digital stabilization doesn't work when lens IS is off. For me it seems that a lens tells to a body smth like «Hey body, IS is OFF now! And the body turns other stabs OFF».

Of course, the user manual also contains comments that suggest that the R5 is able to detect when it is mounted on a tripod with certain lenses.  It still leaves the question wide open of whether or IS is automatically disabled or not with RF lenses.  The comment seems directed specifically towards EF lenses.

My gut instinct says the R5 is probably capable of disabling IS with the EF mount primes listed below.  The RF lenses seem to use a completely different design strategy when it comes to IS because of IBIS.

I would expect the RF super telephoto primes to be able to sense a tripod is use.  Personally, it is a feature that I wish could be disabled.  As I noted in another comment, having IS enabled when manual focusing a super telephoto lens on a tripod is very useful.


[EDIT] Note, these screen shots are from the User Guide, revision E.  It applies to firmware v1.5.0 or later.

"The right mouse button is your friend."

I think a good way to test whether or not the camera is able to automatically disable the IS is to try to manually focus the lens using a magnified view on the rear LCD, with and without IS enabled on the lens..

When I use my 150-600mm at 600mm, the difference is significant.  With IS disabled, touching the lens creates a minor “earthquake” in magnified view.  With IS enabled, the magnified remains steady.  Try it!

I am using a RRS BH-55 ball head on a 100mm video tripod, which is how I usually photograph the night sky or the Moon.

"The right mouse button is your friend."
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