Bob Atkin's - sensor vs optical IS - even Bob is coming around to the win-win fact of having sensor IS in the camera
Olympus_E510_with_Leica_14-50mm - lens based IS vs E510 body IS - body IS seems more effective, can't use both at same time though as they presumably counteract each other.
no IS enabled
IS enabled with focal length set to 50mm
Above is a comparison of the effectiveness of the Olympus E510's image stabiliser using a legacy OM 50mm macro lens to take hand held photos of my laptop screen. Both images are 100% crops ie. not resized (left is bigger because I was lazy in selecting the size to crop and perhaps I was a little closer to the screen).
Both of these were taken at 1/8th sec which for a 100mm effective length should be impossible to get sharp images hand held - but look how beautiful the IS image is on the right.
This is what a camera with IS built in can do for you - ANY of your lenses whether old manual focus ones, mirror lenses or your new digital AF lenses can benefit enormously from the camera's IS.
In-camera, sensor-shift IS is the way of the future as it works on almost ANY lens.
Heck, you could even put Nikon's brand new 24mm tilt-shift lens on the E510 and have an image stabilised 48mm tilt-shift lens!
I've always wanted a 45mm tilt shift lens, time to talk to my wife! (June 2008 - time to buy myself a Canon 45mm)
But first, my next project may be to test it out on my 500mm f/5.6 Maksutov Cassegrain telescope lens - an image stabilised 1000mm f/5.6 lens which you can hand hold seems to good to be true! - see telephoto reach - super-telephotos on a budget - my tests
Personally I think Canon & Nikon have made a big mistake on their attitudes to IS - why can't my Canon 1D Mark III do what my much, much cheaper E510 can do?
Guess it will end up being like the live preview saga - Canon & Nikon belittled Olympus in bringing live preview to the dSLR world, and now almost every camera must have it!
I know I won't be buying any more optical IS lenses.
image stabiliser (IS) technologies reduce camera shake blurring photos but are not of use in reducing blur due to a moving subject or focus issues, nor are they of much use when the camera is mounted securely on a tripod, in which case they can even make the image worse.
image stabilization is not a replacement for high ISO - it can combat camera shake, but it doesn't allow you to increase the shutter speed and therefore cannot do anything about blur due to movement of the subject in low light.
BUT IS has a potential BIG advantage over high ISO in that it allows a slow shutter speed for when you want motion blur but no camera shake blur which is useful for moving water, etc. (of course using a tripod would be better but you don't always have your tripod with you and even if you do, you can't always position your camera in the spot you want when using a tripod).
image stabilisation was 1st released for 35mm photography in 1995 with the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens.
image stabilisers come in one of two main types:
traditional optical IS embedded in the lens:
Canon IS lenses - most are about 2-3 stops but the newer models are 3-4 stops
Nikon VR lenses (VR for vibration reduction) - currently about 2-3 stops but the newer models are 3-4 stops
Tamron VC lenses (VC for vibration compensation) - mainly for Canon/Nikon - 3-4 stops
Panasonic Mega O.I.S. / Leica IS for Four Thirds - currently about 2 stops
newer, cheaper CCD sensor shift IS in the camera body and which should work on all lenses and will be the future of IS:
Pentax K10D Shake Reduction system 2.5-4 stops
Sony Super SteadyShot
in general, the IS mode can be switched on or off or activated only during shutter activation.
some IS systems allow panning mode so that IS is not used to reduce horizontal movements but only vertical movements.
note some manufacturers deceptively call a high ISO mode an image stabiliser and whilst this is true to some extent as high ISO allows faster shutter speeds, all cameras can increase ISO to some extent with variable impact on image noise, lack of detail and sharpness and reduced dynamic range.
IS is also of great benefit when using super telephotos:
even when tripod mounted as the high magnification and the often slow 1/60th sec shutter speeds for dawn/dusk means any camera vibrations due to wind, etc needs to be minimised.
even when shooting birds flying using 1/3000th sec, IS in mode 1 is of some benefit in improving image sharpness
for maximum resolution the requirements in approx. order of importance are:
zero camera shake - ie. tripod preferably with mirror lock up +/- image stabilisation
stationary subject or a sufficient shutter speed to freeze the motion adequately
lens resolution (usually maximal stopped down 1-2 stops but diffraction reduced resolution at apertures smaller than f/11)
reducing image blur using software:
although not image stabilisation, it's worth discussing here.
software algorithms can reduce image blur by several methods:
Photoshop's "unsharp mask" tool and similar tools
multiple image de-blurring and de-noising:
said to give a better image than sensor-based IS but I would need to see the proof - someone needs to compare a Leica 14-50mm IS lens on an Olympus E3 camera and compare optical IS vs CCD shift IS with the same settings and camera shake.
can visualise it's effect in an optical viewfinder, potentially making manual focus easier in some situations
nice big buttons on the lens to adjust mode and turn it on/off
the Canon and Nikon guys reckon its the only IS but perhaps they have not seen the Olympus E3 or care to believe it even exists - maybe they are just feeling threatened as they have to lug around a big, heavy camera and lens
expensive as designed in each lens
means not only your digital camera will depreciate fast but also your lens as new lenses with better performing IS come out.
older versions not as effective as the newer CCD shake IS such as in the Olympus E3
Nikon's VR I give 2-3EV while their VR II is said to give 4EV, not quite matching the Olympus E3's 5EV IS.
adds weight to the lens
adds extra optical elements to lens which increase aberrations and lens flare whether you have it turned on or not
astrophotographers generally avoid optical IS lenses as they cause aberrations on the shapes of stars.
only work on the camera body it was designed for, thus, although you can use a Nikon VR lens on an Olympus digital camera, the VR will not work (at least I don't think it will - certainly the AF doesn't work, and if its a DX lens with no aperture settings, the aperture won't work either).
most optical IS only give 2 stops although latest optical IS gives up to 3 stops reduction in camera shake while potentially newer CCD IS technology is giving 3-4 stops.
more to go wrong with your lens
the arrogance and marketing economics may prevent Canon or Nikon adding CCD-shift into their camera bodies so they can keep selling IS lenses but this may be to their detriment, at least in the prosumer market who will be more interested in CCD IS, lighter, smaller, cheaper cameras and lenses than lugging around big, heavy, expensive lenses. If they don't provide CCD-shift, then I can foresee Olympus and Pentax gradually taking over in the prosumer market place, and as sensor noise technology improves this will potentially provide an impetus into the professional marketplace.
Canon EF image stabilised lenses:
1st generation IS:
lenses with mode 1 & 2 (ie: panning) 100-400mm and 300mm f/4L IS for example... as well as ones that did not have Mode 2. These were the first 75-300mm IS and the 28-135mm IS.
lenses had to have the IS manually turned off when mounted on a tripod or solid arrangement, as the IS could introduce image anomalies and otherwise unwanted behavior if left on while tripod mounted.
2nd generation IS:
all second generation IS lenses have Mode 1 & 2, but recently some of the newer models at the wide ends also lack the Mode 2 function.
In addition to faster start up times, and improvements that Canon claims add more "stops" to your hand-hold-ability, the current 2nd generation of IS only adds one set of features in addition to those already found in 1st gen multi mode IS. That feature is Tripod detection and tripod vibration mode.
basic 2nd generation IS will disable IS when it detects that the lens is mounted solidly such as on a tripod.
SuperTelephoto lenses with 2nd Gen IS also detect tripod mounting. Rather than disable the IS, 2nd gen Superteles will use IS to counter subtle vibrations that are present and magnified by super teles even when on a tripod. This includes mirror slap vibration. Lenses include:
most fast primes in range 300mm, 400mm, 500mm, & 600mm
70-200mm f/2.8L IS
70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS
28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS
Sensor shift IS:
it's a no-brainer really, assuming it only adds $50-100 to the cost of the camera, you would be crazy to forego it if you had the choice - whatever you believe about which is better, unless you have optical IS on ALL your lenses, then sensor based IS makes very good sense.
for legacy MF lenses on Olympus bodies, you just dial in the actual focal length that is on the lens, not the 2x crop value, and it works for all lenses 8mm-1000mm even mirror lenses, macros, fisheyes and tilt-shift.
more versatile and cost-effective
can still use an optical IS lens if you wish and there is one available
it is much cheaper to replace a IS camera body than a whole kit of IS lenses in order to upgrade the performance as new technology is introduced.
most optical IS give 2 - 3 stops reduction in camera shake while newer CCD IS technology is giving 3-5 stops.
Olympus and Pentax allow IS to work on ANY lens - if it is not a digital lens, user can select a focal length manually
cannot visualise it's effect in an optical viewfinder but only in a live preview LCD image.
without it being available to the AF sensors, AF may not be quite as effective for hand held telephoto shots.
Olympus/Panasonic/Leica IS lenses:
NB. 2x crop factor
optical IS lenses:
Leica D 14-150mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS
Leica 50-150mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS
Leica 45mm f/2 macro OIS
Micro Four Thirds lenses:
Panasonic 14~45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS
late 2008; 28-90mm
Panasonic 45~200mm f/4-5.6 OIS
late 2008; 90-400mm in very compact lens
Panasonic 14-140mm f/4-f.5.6 OIS
Olympus E510 camera & Olympus E3 - in addition to being able to use the optical IS Leica lenses, both have live preview & 3-4 stop (5 stops for the E3) IS for ALL digital lenses, so you now have some unique IS opportunities such as:
Olympus ZD 8mm fisheye
Olympus ZD 7-14 f/4.0 giving 14-28mm f/4.0 IS
the widest wide angle IS zooms otherwise are:
Olympus ZD 11-22mm f/2.8-3.5 giving 22-44mm f/2.8-3.5
Olympus ZD 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 SWD giving a great travel lens at 24-120mm f/2.8-4.0 IS
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS giving 31-137mm f/4 on Canon 1D
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS giving 27-88mm f/2.8 on 1.6x crop Canons
Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR giving 27-300mm
Leica D 25mm f/1.4 giving a 50mm f/1.4 IS
Olympus ZD 50mm f/2.0 macro giving 100mm f/2.0 macro
Nikon now has a 105mm f/2.8 but at 158mm that is a bit long
Olympus ZD 50-200mm with 2xTC
unique hand holdable 800mm f/7 (sharper at f/10) with 1:1 macro at 1.2m close focus
E510 IS allows reliable images at 1/200th sec which means images possible in sun or shade at ISO 400.
Olympus ZD 300mm f/2.8 giving a potentially hand-holdable 600mm f/2.8 IS weighing 3.3kg
the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS on 1.6x crop gives 640mm f/2.8 but weighs 5.3kg
alternatively, you could bump the ISO up by 1 stop and use the Canon EF 400mm f/4L IS at only 1.94kg
see Olympus E digital for all lenses available.
any other lens that can be fitted with focal length in range 8mm through to 1000mm (actual focal length not 2x cropped value).
although Olympus recommend turning IS OFF when using a tripod, experiments by Stan Williams suggest that turning IS on mode 1 is OK on a tripod using the Olympus E510, and may be beneficial in minimising mirror vibrations at shutter speeds 1/30th sec - 4 sec range, particularly if your tripod is not super sturdy.
also confirmed by Ian Burley's tests.
personally, I would turn IS OFF (and use the Antishock setting to put mirror up for at least 5 secs if timing is not critical) whilst on a tripod as per Olympus' recommendations but you may find it improves shots having IS ON when using slow shutter speeds with mirror not up.
Canon IS lenses:
Canon EF-S lenses for 1.6x crop cameras only:
Tamron AF18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC LD Aspherical (IF) MACRO:
15x zoom designed for digital cropped sensors giving 35mm eq. 28-419mm in a compact, light lens
VC = Vibration Control = optical IS
slow AF so not so good for action shots requiring continuous AF
sharp in middle focal lengths; CA at long end; barrel distortion wide end then pin cushion throughout much of range.
http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/tamron_18-270_3p5-6p3_vc_n15/page4.asp - formal lens tests
Canon EF lenses:
18-125mm f/3.8-5.6 DC OS HSM:
APO 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG OS HSM
1.75kg; 9-bladed; 77mm filter; 4EV IS; removable tripod socket;
also in Nikon mount; 2008;
APO 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM:
1.9kg; 252mm or 10"long; 9-bladed; 86mm filter; 4EV IS; removable tripod socket;
also in Nikon mount;
Tamron for EF mount:
AF 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD Aspherical [IF] Macro
Nikon VR lenses:
16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED AF-S VR DX
24-128mm but aperture is a bit lousy (compare this with the Olympus 12-60mm which has the same range but f/2.8-3.5)
VR II allows 4EV IS
AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR:
27-158mm with 3 stop VR II image stabiliser;
rounded 7 blade diaphragm; SWM AF; 67mm filter; 450g;
AF-S DX Micro-Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G VR
a very useful travel lens covering 27-300mm but image quality is compromised
version II announced July 2009
36-180mm but a bit aperture is a bit slow for action photos
its inferior image quality does not do a Nikon D700 justice
a slow 83-300mm DX lens
to match Canon's popular 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens
105-300mm - very versatile lens & the only Nikon VR that is really useful for portraiture
version II announced July 2009
105-450mm a useful hiking, bushwalking lens but aperture a bit slow at 105mm
120-600mm equiv. but slow at 120mm end
300-600mm equiv. - very nice for sports & wildlife
300mm equiv. to beat Canon's 200mm f/2.8L IS II but big!
NB. Canon no longer make a 200mm f/1.8
Tamron for Nikon mount:
AF 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD Aspherical [IF] Macro - coming 2008.
As I have no idea what ads will display here, they are not necessarily endorsed by me but you may well find them useful and by clicking on them it helps to pay to keep this website alive: