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Saturday, 04 April 2009

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Shutterbug have some comparisons as well. They claim that the Tamron 18-270 blows the socks off of the Canon 24-105. They also like the Pentax K20.

I look forward to this. It might end the battle of whether lens- or body-based IS is better.

Nah, that won't happen. But I still look forward to the testing. If nothing else, it will make manufacturers think twice before claiming outrageous f-stops of improvement. It might also keep my Canonite friend from telling me that he gets sharp images at 300mm shooting at 1/10th s thanks to his lens-based IS.

@Miserere: It probably won't be enough to end the battle but the white paper does mention that lens-based stabilisation works a bit better than body-based stabilisation does.

Miserere,
...Assuming it exists. Most of the lenses I'm interested in aren't available with IS.

Mike

I like Dave Etchells and have always been very impressed with his review site, which both goes beyond the numbers and has the statistical data to back up any conclusions.

But I wonder how scientific the IS testing really is if it relies on two *human* testers who will age, hurt their arm or hand, have good days and bad (e.g., coffee, lack of sleep), and so on.

Would it be that hard to invent a device that holds a camera and can wobble/shake at various specified speeds, frequencies, and degrees? (No "My first Velbon was like that" jokes, please.) Not that *I* could put together such a device, but it seems like it would be relatively easy for the mechanical-assembly kind of person.

I've been having a hard time figuring out if my expectations / hopes are reasonable, and been generally finding the IS in my Nikkor 70-200/2.8 unimpressive. I think I like the IS in my Sigma 120-400 better. For that matter, I think I like the IS in my Panasonic DMC-LX3 better, too (but the focal lengths and holding situation are so different I don't know if that means anything). So other people trying to do systematic testing is all to the good.

On the one hand, human testers look likely to introduce significant variables. On the other hand, I'm not at all sure we can characterize human shake accurately enough to make a valid mechanical tester, either. A well-enough controlled protocol with rest times and such specified, and some retesting, will help figure things out.

For the record, I have yet to encounter any sort of IS that is as effective (for me) as that in my original Konica-Minolta 7D.

Mike

"Would it be that hard to invent a device that holds a camera and can wobble/shake at various specified speeds, frequencies, and degrees? (No "My first Velbon was like that" jokes, please.) Not that *I* could put together such a device, but it seems like it would be relatively easy for the mechanical-assembly kind of person."

The Trick is the "various specified speeds and frequencies." Any simple system with springs or rubberbands will only vibrate at a few frequencies You could probably have three such systems: A low frequency, mid frequency and high frequency. There are random vibration testing systems, but they tend to be big things with motors and feedback systems designed to test military systems, so a bit of overkill for testing a single SLR.

I’ve owned a 70–200mm ƒ/4 IS for a few months now. It's the only zoom I own and it's a very good lens. I use a 35mm F/1.4 for 90% of my shooting. Yeah it's a fast lens but as I often find myself at 1/15 sec at f/1.4 ISO 3200; I know that IS in the body could only be a good thing for me.

The comments I've seen so far only confirm my continuing bias against relying on IS for sharp images in low light. There doesn't seem to be any way to get consistent and repeatable results with it. Mileage varies from brand to brand, lens to lens and photographer to photographer. IS may be better than shooting hand-held without IS, but when you need guaranteed sharpness there's still no substitute for a good (sorry for cussing, Mike) tripod.

I've always thought the Olympus E-3 to be the best of the body based IS, after having owned pretty much every other one out there. (7D, A100, A700, K10D, and K20D) But then there's a friend of mine who says the K20D is the absolute most effective for her. Me, I'd put the Pentax solutions at the bottom of my list for effectiveness...

It is pretty neat just how much of an effect the person has on the effectiveness of the system.

Mike wrote:

Miserere,

...Assuming it exists. Most of the lenses I'm interested in aren't available with IS.

That's an important point, Mike. I like primes, so I'm pleased I shoot Pentax. But no matter how good/bad the IS, it's like sex: when it's good, it's great—but if it's bad, it's still better than nothing.

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