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Panning detection (or lack thereof) in RF lenses with stabilization


I recently got the RF 800mm f11 for my EOS R6. The stabilization works very well for stationary subjects but not so much for panning, where it often works against my movements leading to blurred images. Having owned a previous third-party lens that lacked panning detection I've gotten used to turn off stabilization for for flying birds, but haven't found ducks swimming leisurely to be much of a problem until I used this lens.  Turning off gave me some sharper shots but most were prone to overall blur in both the vertical and horizontal axis. Some of Canon's previous lenses have panning detection built in to them so it seems unfortunate if this is not present in the newer RF lenses, or that IBIS of the R5 and R6 is working against panning as well. 


Product Expert
Product Expert

Greetings, FYLegend

With how the RF800mm F11 IS STM lens was designed, it does compensate for vertical camera shake during panning shots in a horizontal direction, and compensates for horizontal camera shake during panning shots in a vertical direction. Depending on the camera you're using, setting the shutter to electronic first curtain will allow for the image stabilizer to be fully effective.

There are some Canon L-series lenses that do provided different image stabilization (IS) options on the lenses themselves where different modes can be selected depending on the type of shooting one is doing but the RF800mm F11 IS STM lens does not have this option.

If there is panning detection that disables an an axis while stabilizing the other direction, it seems to only kick in when I pan fast enough.  Perhaps the subjects (swimming ducks) I'm photographing are moving too slowly to completely disable the horizontal axis for panning, but it seems the IS is too aggressive and adds motion blur to many of my images. I generally use electronic shutter but have noticed the same problem with electronic first curtain as well.


Canon lenses with IS mode switches are usually telephoto L Series lenses.

"The right mouse button is your friend."

I'm aware of that, but several Canon lenses that only have one stabilization mode have panning detection and/or tripod detection. For example the EF-S 18-55mm, 18-200mm and 18-135mm, and several more third-party lenses. According to JacobT this lens should also have panning detection but if it does it seems like either it is being held back by the IBIS of the R5/R6 or I need to pan a certain speed.

I noticed with filming video that panning is sometimes fine, but other times the motion does "stop and go" suggesting the stabilization is working against your movements.


So it does appear to me that the instruction manual mentions as JacobT describes that there is panning detection. The problem is whether this is a typo or if it just doesn't work well with the IBIS of the R5/R6. It seems I have to pan fast enough or else the stabilization will still fight against my movements. I was photographing a goose walking at a leisurely speed the other day and nearly all my shots were blurred. Once the bird slowed down my shots became more sharp.

I think these issues could be resolved with a firmware upgrade, the question is whether Canon would bother to do so.

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