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Image stabilizer mode


Hi Guys--I just purchased a Canon EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM, I am planning to use this len for shooting an air show this weekend.  I am a little confussed these image stabililzer mode to use for ground to air shots of jets and old war brids propeller power planes. I will hand hold for all my ground to air shots, i am gussing mode two or three.  I took this len out for a test run over at Greenfield Village to shoot a 1870 historic baseball game and the len worked great.  But I need a little on which mode to use for an air show.



Use mode 2. Limit your shutter speed to a max of 1/320 for prop planes taking off or doing high speed passes but 1/160 to 1/250 will be better for landings, slow "show' passes. Pan smoothly & follow through after finishing a burst of photos. For jets I use 1/1600 thru 1/2500. Depending on the sky you may need to use + exposure compensation to get good colours because a lot of sky can fool the light meter. This is an example of a "show" pass where you get a nice view of the near wing, 1/2 or more of the far wing & a nicer side view than when shooting a plane flying nice & level.It was shot at 1/160 sec. I shoot hand held ONLY.



"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."


Mode 1 is the standard “full” stabilization mode that tries to compensate for ANY movement (up/down or side-to-side).  If you try to “follow” a moving target, the motion sensors will try to fight to keep the lens steady ... not a good result.  It is primarily intended for non-moving subjects.


Mode 2 stabilizes for one axis only.  It is intended for “panning” shots (intended for moving subjects) and uses sensors to determine which direction you are using to pan (e.g. side-to-side vs. up/down).  It will stabilize in the direction you are NOT panning (it only supports right-angles ... not diagonal movement).    If you rotate the camera body to a vertical “portrait” orientation then it still does the right thing.


Mode 3 is the new mode... it is basically very similar to Mode 2 ... with the exception that while you’re focusing it does NOT activate stabilization.  It leaves its motion sensors active (it knows which way you are moving the lens) but it only activates the optical stabilization in the moment when you take the shot.  In that moment, stabilization is only applied to the direction in which you are panning (again... only at right-angles such as side-to-side or up/down... not diagonals). 


Based on this, Mode 2 would typically be the mode of choice for all lenses with just 2 modes.  Mode 3 is an option for lenses that support the mode.


If you’re in the village, you can test modes 2 vs. 3 ... e.g.: this was mode 2 with my 70-200 f/2.8.  





Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Thanks for the feedback.