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Super Contributor
Posts: 211
Registered: ‎01-27-2018

Should you pay extra for IS?

Hi All,

 

I would like to know your thought on paying extra for IS. Do you really need IS for 300mm and beyond? I am keen at getting either 300 or 400 mm lens for bird photography. That said, I found myself shooting mostly with a tripod.

 

Thanks.

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Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,029
Registered: ‎01-25-2018

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

I rarely use IS because much of the time I am using a high shutter speed for sports to avoid subject motion blur.  But with birds and other wildlife you will probably find yourself using a monopod at times where IS is very helpful if you need to drop the shutter speed  to put you in your desired area of the exposure triangle.  And there will be times when you will be using most lens handheld, I have even taken a few shots with the EF 800 handheld and IS is definitely needed with it unless the shutter speed is really high.

 

And if you are shooting outside with gusty winds, you will be surprised how much of a workout even a big tripod will experience.  I have a Manfrotto 161 Mark IIB with a Wimberly gimbal head and last week with the 1DX III and EF 800 on it at a pretty low working height (maximum working height is just under 9 feet), with the center column full retracted and locked, and sand bags on the spreader the image still quivered in wind gusting at 30 MPH and if I had been using a slower shutter speed I would have turned on IS.

 

For the type of photography I do, I don't really care about IS in the sub-200 focal length range but I definitely want it in the longer glass.  It is somewhat like having 4WD in my diesel pickup, I rarely use it but when I need it I REALLY need it and you will find the same with IS. 

 

We survived a long time without IS in cameras but it definitely provides an excellent way to slow shutter speed to allow for a lower ISO setting or a means to allow decreased aperture opening for more depth of field and sometimes those will be important to your shot setup.  The downside is IS is one more thing to go wrong with a lens although it seems to be quite reliable. 

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video
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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 4,046
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

Yes. If anything it really helps framing with long lenses.

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VIP
Posts: 12,744
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

"Do you really need IS for ...?

 

I came from a world that didn't have IS.  It was an unknown concept. We learned how to get good shots anyway.  So, for me it is a nice to have but not a must have. If there are two identical lenses, one with IS and the other without, I would buy the one with IS every time.  However, if there was no choice and no IS was the only option, I would have no problem buying it.

 

 

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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Super Contributor
Posts: 211
Registered: ‎01-27-2018

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience. I think you are absolutely right that IS is great in some situations and not needed in others. I have the 70-200 2.8 IS ii, but I have not been using the IS feature much, primarily because I often have it mounted on a tripod. Actually, the real reason for not using IS is that it tends to drain the battery more quickly. And secondly, when shooting with the 5Ds, I noticed even with the slightest movement, it will show up in the photos.

 

I am in the market for either a 300 or 400 2.8. I believe both are available in IS and non IS, the latter is considerably cheaper but also much older in terms of built date. Should that be a concern? I know many would say that these lenses are built like a tank and I believe them, that said, I have seen how badly they are treated by some owners. In fact, one person trying to sell his on eBay with a description "crack housing". Not sure what that really means?

 

Thanks.

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VIP
Posts: 12,744
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

"I have the 70-200 2.8 IS ii, but I have not been using the IS feature much, ..."

 

Of all the lenses that have IS, there isn't one, or any lens, that is better than the IS on the 70-200mm L.  Take that for whatever you think its worth.  It is the top of the mark. I would not be afraid of buying an ugly big white L lens but there is a limit to just how ugly.  A crack is too ugly! My own 600mm L still looks new but that is probably because I don't use it anymore.

 

There are two lenses that I consider a better value than what Canon has to offer.  And, why Canon does not see fit, yet, to produce one is beyond me. Anyway the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens is just a better way to go.

 

The other is my Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports Lens.  Canon also does not make a super zoom in this configuration or f-ratio. Make no mistake these are full on pro level lenses.  Big and heavy and well built. Not cheap either!

I only ever advise people to consider off brand lenses, or any gear for that matter, if Canon doesn't offer the same.  Canon offers neither off these.

 

One thing to keep in mind, these are the Sports models.  The others are just common plastic lenses for amateurs and not built to take the rigors of professional day in day out work.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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VIP
Posts: 9,985
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

I think your question is suggestive of a patently false assumption.  "Should you pay extra for IS?"

 

Your questions assumes that all the only difference between the lenses is one has IS, and one does not have IS.  The lenses that you have cited have more differences than IS.  In one sense, you're comparing apples to oranges.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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Super Contributor
Posts: 211
Registered: ‎01-27-2018

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

I am sure there are many nuances and subtle differences between say 300mm f.28 NON IS and IS model. That said, for many users like myself, we are not professional photographers, thus, trying to get a better understanding from those are.

 

This question is simply not just about potential savings when it comes to costs. It's also about trying to understand the potential implications and impact IS has especially when using these big lenses. I've forgotten where I read this, might have been from Ken Rockwell. IS it not about freezing the object, making it stable, but more of help stoping the camera shake or somewhere along those lines.

 

 

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VIP
Posts: 12,744
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?

"...IS it not about freezing the object, making it stable, but more of help stoping the camera shake or somewhere along those lines."

 

IS has nothing to do with the subject.  It has everything to do with you, the photographer.  It helps reduce motion when you can't hold the camera steady. Also keep in mind the more you need IS the less it works.  I.E. as SS lowers, meaning you are subject to more camera motion the less effective IS will be.  That is why some claim 3 stops, or 4 stops or whatever stops but there is a limit to how well it can work. It also works better for some and less for others.

 

I had both version of Sigma's 120-300mm f/2.8 Lens.  First one I had did not have IS or OS as Sigma calls it. My current one the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports Lens does have OS (IS).  These two lenses are basically identical except for the OS (IS).  Looking at them you couldn't tell the difference.  My gut feeling was the one without OS was a tad sharper.  No facts just a feeling. It just seemed to have that something extra. Is this true for all non-IS vs IS lenses?  Now ask me would I rather go back and have the non-OS lens.  Absolutely not.  The Sport model is by far the better lens.  It gets more usable shots, easily.  So, in this case I would definitely go for the OS lens.

 

I don't know this for a fact but I doubt there is any difference in the optics between a non-IS Canon lens and one with IS if the model don't change. Obviously a newer model will be different. Hopefully better!

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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VIP
Posts: 9,985
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Should you pay extra for IS?


@limvo05 wrote:

I am sure there are many nuances and subtle differences between say 300mm f.28 NON IS and IS model. That said, for many users like myself, we are not professional photographers, thus, trying to get a better understanding from those are.

 

This question is simply not just about potential savings when it comes to costs. It's also about trying to understand the potential implications and impact IS has especially when using these big lenses. I've forgotten where I read this, might have been from Ken Rockwell. IS it not about freezing the object, making it stable, but more of help stoping the camera shake or somewhere along those lines.

 

 


I suggest that you name the specific lens models that you are comparing.  If you want specific answers, then ask specific questions.  Otherwise, you responses will only be the same vague generalizations that you are posing.

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"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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