Is I.S. really necessary?

Started Aug 18, 2012 | Discussions
LincolnB
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Is I.S. really necessary?
Aug 18, 2012

Handheld, 1/125th of a second with a 200mm lens. No I.S., manual focus. I used to shoot with an E-P1 and thought that I.S. was really helpful but I'm not so sure anymore. Now I think it's a minor feature that I can do without.

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Detail Man
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Re: Is I.S. really necessary ?
In reply to LincolnB, Aug 18, 2012

LincolnB wrote:

Handheld, 1/125th of a second with a 200mm lens. No I.S., manual focus. I used to shoot with an E-P1 and thought that I.S. was really helpful but I'm not so sure anymore. Now I think it's a minor feature that I can do without.

That is a really nice, steady, well-focused capture, Lincoln (particularly if derived from a crop of the full image-frame)! Is it from a crop, and what (roughly) was the percentage of cropping going on ?

In an attempt to perhaps explore possible answers to the question that your thread-title poses, I would ask you what percentage of your (non-stablised in any way) hand-held, manual focused shots come out as well as the one that you have displayed here ? How would that percentage compare to any stabilized shots attempted ?

An additional matter - and one that is implicitly involved in answering such a question - relates to the effectiveness in performance of the particular image-stabilization system(s) being referred to (in the particular range of Shutter Speeds within which such a determine of IS efficacy is being made)

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Clayton1985
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Re: Is I.S. really necessary?
In reply to LincolnB, Aug 18, 2012

There are lots of "minor features" in today's cameras that I could live without but I don't want to.

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LincolnB
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Re: Is I.S. really necessary ?
In reply to Detail Man, Aug 18, 2012

Detail Man wrote:

LincolnB wrote:

Handheld, 1/125th of a second with a 200mm lens. No I.S., manual focus. I used to shoot with an E-P1 and thought that I.S. was really helpful but I'm not so sure anymore. Now I think it's a minor feature that I can do without.

That is a really nice, steady, well-focused capture, Lincoln (particularly if derived from a crop of the full image-frame)! Is it from a crop, and what (roughly) was the percentage of cropping going on ?

I'm not good at percentages - this was 3000 x 4000 cropped down to 3362 x 2521. So about 75% ?

In an attempt to perhaps explore possible answers to the question that your thread-title poses, I would ask you what percentage of your (non-stablised in any way) hand-held, manual focused shots come out as well as the one that you have displayed here ? How would that percentage compare to any stabilized shots attempted ?

I would say I haven't seen a big difference in keeper percentages between IS and non-IS. I think my percentage of keepers may be about the same. In fact, I'd say a lot of the stabilized shots seem to add a tiny bit of shudder that might not have been there if IS had been turned off. I'm guessing the I.S. would often try too hard. In other words, I.S. seems to help improve the keeper rate if your standards are less than super sharp but not if you're looking for that super crisp shot. Good for street shots, not so good for ersatz Nat'l Geographic shots.

If there is a need to turn on I.S. then it's already acknowledged that the shutter speed is marginal. So already the odds are the shot will be marginal. I've found several other techniques more effective than turning on I.S. in those situations -- better bracing against the body, pulling out a tripod, bumping the ISO, switching to a faster lens, focus on breathing, trying burst mode, etc. -- that should be tried first.

An additional matter - and one that is implicitly involved in answering such a question - relates to the effectiveness in performance of the particular image-stabilization system(s) being referred to (in the particular range of Shutter Speeds within which such a determine of IS efficacy is being made)

lol
Is that a question?

Handheld I often get keepers when the shutter speed is half the focal length. It's a low percentage but I do get some. That seems to be about the limit. I can't remember any keepers with this 200mm lens at 1/80th for example. But as a rule of thumb I find that shutter speed needs to be at least equal to focal length or better if I want a reliable % of keepers.

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MAubrey
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Re: Is I.S. really necessary?
In reply to LincolnB, Aug 18, 2012

Well...on the OMD, you could have shot at 1/50...
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jkrumm
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Re: Is I.S. really necessary?
In reply to LincolnB, Aug 18, 2012

IS at telephoto lengths with the older pens is pretty much like shooting without IS. If you have stronger IS like with the OMD or even the E5 or E30 you start to see a clear difference.

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tjuster1
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Re: Is I.S. really necessary?
In reply to LincolnB, Aug 18, 2012

I'm sorry, but this is bad logic.

1) As others have noted, nailing one sharp picture doesn't prove much . . . it's the percentage of keepers you get at this FL/shutter speed. Even IS doesn't give you 100% results, as tests have repeatedly shown. But it sure as hell improves your odds. Again, testing has proven this beyond a shadow of a doubt; there is no argument here.

2) If, by some chance, you were able to consistently get sharp pictures at this FL/shutter speed combination (which I honestly doubt), then you have some rock-steady hands and I congratulate you. However, this doesn't obviate IS--it only means that WITH IS you'd be able to go even slower. IS is a relative advantage, not an absolute one. So under those (hypothetical) conditions although IS wouldn't be needed forTHIS picture it certainly would be the only way you could capture others using a slower shutter speed.

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LincolnB
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Re: Is I.S. really necessary?
In reply to tjuster1, Aug 18, 2012

You think that I.S. introduces no aliasing errors, as it tries to correct for movement?

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TheEye
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A necessary as testicles on a cow.
In reply to LincolnB, Aug 18, 2012

I can only speak for the E-620's IS and my experience with what I shoot. At 12 mm I use IS if the shutter speed drops below 1/8 second. I stopped using IS with longer focal lengths, because I consistently got better results without IS.

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s_grins
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Re: Is I.S. really necessary?
In reply to LincolnB, Aug 18, 2012

I.S. does not work for me. Since my camera is Panasonic, I need OIS , but I have only 14-45 lens. And even this lens has IS switch "OFF" all the time.
Monopod is my IS, and tripod is my IS square

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Detail Man
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Re: Is I.S. really necessary ?
In reply to LincolnB, Aug 18, 2012

LincolnB wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

LincolnB wrote:

Handheld, 1/125th of a second with a 200mm lens. No I.S., manual focus. I used to shoot with an E-P1 and thought that I.S. was really helpful but I'm not so sure anymore. Now I think it's a minor feature that I can do without.

That is a really nice, steady, well-focused capture, Lincoln (particularly if derived from a crop of the full image-frame)! Is it from a crop, and what (roughly) was the percentage of cropping going on ?

I'm not good at percentages - this was 3000 x 4000 cropped down to 3362 x 2521.
So about 75% ?

Percentage = (100) x (1-B/A), so (100) x (1-3000/3362) = 10.8 % crop to 89.2% of original size.

In an attempt to perhaps explore possible answers to the question that your thread-title poses, I would ask you what percentage of your (non-stablised in any way) hand-held, manual focused shots come out as well as the one that you have displayed here ? How would that percentage compare to any stabilized shots attempted ?

I would say I haven't seen a big difference in keeper percentages between IS and non-IS. I think my percentage of keepers may be about the same.

And what is that percentage ? Let B (above) equal successes, and A (above) equal total shots.

I remember you posting a similar successful low Shutter Speed hand-held shot on June 17, 2012:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1041&message=41812297

In fact, I'd say a lot of the stabilized shots seem to add a tiny bit of shudder that might not have been there if IS had been turned off. I'm guessing the I.S. would often try too hard. In other words, I.S. seems to help improve the keeper rate if your standards are less than super sharp but not if you're looking for that super crisp shot. Good for street shots, not so good for ersatz Nat'l Geographic shots.

The usefulness of IS is a statistical matter. It can perturb things - or make them stunningly good. That's why evaluating the overall success rates (with and without) is the most meaningful.

If there is a need to turn on I.S. then it's already acknowledged that the shutter speed is marginal.

Such situations do arise when shooting hand-held.

So already the odds are the shot will be marginal.

If no IS system that you have so far used helps matters, that is an understandable viewpoint.

I've found several other techniques more effective than turning on I.S. in those situations -- better bracing against the body,

Never hurts a bit.

pulling out a tripod, ...

Ugh. If you insist. How spontaneous for birding ! ...

... bumping the ISO,

There goes your Signal/Noise Ratio as you use a lower valued Exposure for the same light-level.

switching to a faster lens,

If you have to switch, why not just use a fasre lens in the first place, then ?

... focus on breathing, ...

Yup. I always hold my breath. It matters.

... trying burst mode, etc. -- that should be tried first.

What is your percentage success rate for those endeavors ? Why would more shots be better?

An additional matter - and one that is implicitly involved in answering such a question - relates to the effectiveness in performance of the particular image-stabilization system(s) being referred to (in the particular range of Shutter Speeds within which such a determine of IS efficacy is being made)

lol
Is that a question?

Perhaps so ? Knowing how well an IS system tends to perform at the Shutter Speed used helps.

Handheld I often get keepers when the shutter speed is half the focal length. It's a low percentage but I do get some.

And what is that percentage ? Let B (above) equal successes, and A (above) equal total shots.

That seems to be about the limit. I can't remember any keepers with this 200mm lens at 1/80th for example. But as a rule of thumb I find that shutter speed needs to be at least equal to focal length or better if I want a reliable % of keepers.

How people assess success makes a difference. Lens softness; sensor resolution; RAW/JPG; NR/Sharp; print/display size; display resolution, luminance, and contrast-ratio, viewing distance, ambient lighting, and individual viewer acuity tend to make one viewer's "good enough" not very translatable to the eyes of other viewers. The lower the quality, the less camera-shake is noticed.

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morepix
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In reply to LincolnB, Aug 18, 2012

Focal length. Shutter speed. What year you were born.
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3DrJ
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OK then, let's see what's true
In reply to LincolnB, Aug 18, 2012

LincolnB wrote:

Handheld, 1/125th of a second with a 200mm lens. No I.S., manual focus. I used to shoot with an E-P1 and thought that I.S. was really helpful but I'm not so sure anymore. Now I think it's a minor feature that I can do without.

Oh really? I've always had the ability to hand-hold the camera steady, much better than the average photographer. In fact, I regarded it as a kind of sport to see how slow I could go.

Back in the ancient days of film photography, you know, at the end of the previous century, I was often able to get a pretty sharp photo with a 50mm lens at 1/8 or even sometimes 1/4 sec. on a good day. Today, maybe I'm not quite as steady, but still not bad at all.

Two months ago when the EM-5 finally arrived, among the first things I did was test the super-IBIS.

It was midnight, almost all the lights in the house were doused. I mounted the 45mm f/1.8 on the EM-5. I aimed it at the barely visible coffee table ~3 m away in my dark living room. At ISO 3200, the shutter speed was 1/2 sec.

The image turned out much sharper than I'd expected. With IBIS off, nothing but mush. I've repeated the experiment several times, and 75% of the IBIS-enabled images were acceptable or better. Without IBIS, none were acceptable.

Remember, I'm an experienced and talented practitioner of this sport, yet I don't believe I could ever have successfully hand-held a shot at 1/2 sec. with a 90mm eqv. lens on the camera. But I could do it with IBIS.

How about you ? Go ahead, try this test yourself, and let us know how well you fare.

JRA

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Bob Tullis
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In reply to LincolnB, Aug 18, 2012

And IIRC, you take good care of yourself, and work at it. Physical tone and strength is an asset in this regard. Even without having a lot of mass to wield.

I'm sure of two things, though - your technique isn't haphazard (and it shows - brilliant capture, BTW), and you WILL be using OIS, thankfully, some time soon (when you least expect it [g])

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3DrJ
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Re: Is I.S. really necessary ?
In reply to Detail Man, Aug 18, 2012

You might be interested in my post below. Within it, I suggest a test for the OP that could be made to address some, or all, of your points, but perhaps that wouldn't be necessary for the simple purpose of verifying the OP's original hypothesis.

JRA

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highwave
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Re: Is I.S. really necessary?
In reply to LincolnB, Aug 18, 2012

I tried I.S. at 150mm (300mm Eqv.) and the benefit of I.S. is as real as a slap in the face.

two to three full stops unquestionable. Five stops arguable.

But then again, we had an earthquake once in the office and one of my colleagues didn't sense it. So I guess everything is arguable.

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illy
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no anti wobble here
In reply to LincolnB, Aug 18, 2012

anti wobble can be great for static objects, but once things start moving it becomes a bit useless, so i find it's actual usefulness a bit overstated.
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Detail Man
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Re: no anti wobble here
In reply to illy, Aug 18, 2012

illy wrote:

anti wobble can be great for static objects, but once things start moving it becomes a bit useless, so i find it's actual usefulness a bit overstated.

For motion-blur you'll need a "scene-stabilization" system. They are only in preliminary development.

my body simply pulses gravitons to actually stabilise the world to my motion

Why am I not surprised ? You might trade-mark the system with the name "Cerebral Fixation" ?

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illy
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Re: no anti wobble here
In reply to Detail Man, Aug 18, 2012

Detail Man wrote:

illy wrote:

anti wobble can be great for static objects, but once things start moving it becomes a bit useless, so i find it's actual usefulness a bit overstated.

For motion-blur you'll need a "scene-stabilization" system. They are only in preliminary development.

my body simply pulses gravitons to actually stabilise the world to my motion
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Detail Man
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Re: Is I.S. really necessary ?
In reply to Detail Man, Aug 18, 2012

For an amusing/entertaining study in the human "oh my oh so rock-steady hands" syndrome, see:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1041&message=40197527

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