E-PL5 Stabilization

Started Aug 19, 2013 | Discussions
springsnow
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E-PL5 Stabilization
Aug 19, 2013

I want to ask those using the Olympus micro four thirds about its image stabilization feature when using it handheld. How do you feel about it? I have the E-PL5, and many times it seems it's not doing its job. I don't have the most stable hands, but it seems like I get too many blurry pictures as a result of camera shake with my E-PL5 than when I was using my NEX3. Often times I have to push the shutter speed way up, and even bumping up the ISO to 800-1600 on good lighting just so I can make sure I have fast enough shutter speed. Maybe it's just because I suck, but I want to double check with Olympus owners out there, especially if you have other cameras from other manufactures.

Guy Parsons
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Re: E-PL5 Stabilization
In reply to springsnow, Aug 19, 2013

springsnow wrote:

I want to ask those using the Olympus micro four thirds about its image stabilization feature when using it handheld. How do you feel about it? I have the E-PL5, and many times it seems it's not doing its job. I don't have the most stable hands, but it seems like I get too many blurry pictures as a result of camera shake with my E-PL5 than when I was using my NEX3. Often times I have to push the shutter speed way up, and even bumping up the ISO to 800-1600 on good lighting just so I can make sure I have fast enough shutter speed. Maybe it's just because I suck, but I want to double check with Olympus owners out there, especially if you have other cameras from other manufactures.

With E-PL1 or E-P3 or E-PL5 IBIS I manage about 3 stops better, so the usual min safe unstabilised speed of around 1/300 for 150mm can go to 1/30 for me. Likewise for 14mm the min of 1/30 unstabilised falls to something like 1/3 sec with stabilisation.

I also get the same 3 stops with the OIS of the Panasonic 14-45mm and 45-150mm lenses using the E-PL5 for the latter lens.

But from listening to this forum, some do better and some do worse, I happen to fit the normal pattern that fits the formula.

Same with any other camera that I've tried, the old film rule fits for the 35mm equivalent focal length (no matter what sensor size) unstabilised and then stabilisation makes it from 2 or more stops better depending on camera model.

Regards.... Guy

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Pedagydusz
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Re: E-PL5 Stabilization
In reply to springsnow, Aug 19, 2013

Like Guy Parsons in the post above, I get some benefit from the E-PL5 IS, but in my case I would say that it is more like 2 stops, safely. If I brace myself carefully, and get additional support, it can get a bit better, but in difficult conditions (like a difficult position, with arms above my head, in strong wind, etc.) the two stops  benefit has failed sometimes. Yes, I am not very steady, I'm afraid!   

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Punda
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Re: E-PL5 Stabilization
In reply to Pedagydusz, Aug 19, 2013

Try a e-pl5 with a 75-300, you hardly get 2stops!

Greetings,
Iroon
Gear: E-pl5, 14-42, 45, 75-300

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Guy Parsons
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Re: E-PL5 Stabilization
In reply to Punda, Aug 19, 2013

Punda wrote:

Try a e-pl5 with a 75-300, you hardly get 2stops!

Greetings,
Iroon
Gear: E-pl5, 14-42, 45, 75-300

Like I said, everyone is different, some get 1 stop, some get 2 or 3 stops. Naturally that old film rule assumes standing with good hand-holding method and no wind. Other than that, anything can happen.

My guess is that if I can reliably manage 3 stops better with 150mm then 3 stops with 300mm would be normal. The minimum speed rule for 300mm on M4/3 bodies means that unstabilised 1/600 sec, and 1/60 sec stabilised for Pens prior to E-P5.

Regards..... Guy

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Isabel Cutler
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Re: I find myself using shutter priority more often
In reply to springsnow, Aug 19, 2013

When I saw your question I immediatelycame up with 1/30 of a second as my safe speed to avoid camera shake, but I did a quick test with a static object and found my results were more reliable at slow shutter speeds when I used the VF-2 viewfinder to stabilize the camera.

I was able to shoot down to 1/6 of a second, using the VF-2 with my 45mm lens and get a crisp image. Without the VF-2 I would say 1/30 is my safest speed.

1/6 of a second with VF-2

1/10 of a second with VH-2

I do a lot of shooting in low light and have learned how to brace myself to get sharp shots at very low shutters speeds - even with no stabilization.

If you don't have a viewfinder, I suggest you get one - it will improve your success rate at slow shutter speeds.

Isabel

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Isabel Cutler
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Re: But...with the 45-200 I got down to 1/10
In reply to Punda, Aug 19, 2013

...didn't try it any slower.  The Panasonic 45-200, however, has stabilization built in and that makes a BIG difference.  It is a super bargain lens.  I love it.

Both my 45mm lens pictures above and this were taken with auto white balance and yet those taken with the 45-200 were way blue in tone.  I had to correct the color a bit for the result seen here.

Panasonic 45-200 lens, 1/10 second at 200 millimeters zoom

Isabel

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Brian Wadie
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Essential and works fine for me
In reply to springsnow, Aug 19, 2013

I find I use the IS1 mode for >95% of my work and its excellent. Its particularly impressive with my 500mm mirror lens on the front allowing me to get sharp hand-held images of a variety of subjects, including birds in flight.
(Except where noted, these are all hand-held with the 500mm http://imagesfromnature.foliopic.com/gallery/tamron-500mm-mirror-lens-images-17212 )

At the other end of the scale, I can't shoot my macro subjects without it (always hand-held) and its always on when shooting in the studio

(all hand-held macros here http://imagesfromnature.foliopic.com/gallery/macros-from-the-garden-18452)

Never had a query as to whether its working or not either

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jericho77
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Re: Essential and works fine for me
In reply to Brian Wadie, Aug 19, 2013

i've not use the e-pl5 but tried the new e-pl6. have used the 14mm f2.5 indoor and tried to shake up the camera abit while firing the shutter. i was kind of surprised that the pictures came out ok.

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markintosh13
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Re: E-PL5 Stabilization
In reply to springsnow, Aug 19, 2013

For me, PL1 and now PL5 stabilization has always worked well.

My technique is to use the camera strap tensioned between the camera and my neck, arms bent with elbows pulled into ribs, one hand under the camera body/lens, other hand around the camera grip, often using my thumb on the shutter instead of index finger and if necessary (for very low light) - braced up against a wall, pole or other object.

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Barry Stewart
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Shaky tests
In reply to markintosh13, Aug 19, 2013

People cursed the arms-out shooting style for its inherent instability, compared to against-the-face DSLR shooting. I wondered if there was a difference for me.

I filled a mug with water and tried walking down the outdoor stairs with it held against my head. Splashes!

After refill, I tried it with my arms out, slightly bent. Much better!

Next, I got a laser pointer, held it with two hands against my forehead and aimed it at a small target 10 paces away. I was amazed how shaky it was, from balance adjustments in my feet, to heartbeats, to neck movements. Breathing, too... though you can hold that briefly or do a long exhale.

Arms-out, slightly bent, I'd say was no worse — and perhaps the variations were less jumpy.

Interestingly, waist-level shooting — as allowed by cameras with flip-up LCDs like the E-PL5 — seemed the most stable.

YMMV... but I encourage people to try the laser-pointer test. If you can attach the pointer to your camera — or cut a hole in a bar of soap to hold the pointer — so much the better.

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Guy Parsons
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Re: Shaky tests
In reply to Barry Stewart, Aug 19, 2013

Barry Stewart wrote:

People cursed the arms-out shooting style for its inherent instability, compared to against-the-face DSLR shooting. I wondered if there was a difference for me.

I filled a mug with water and tried walking down the outdoor stairs with it held against my head. Splashes!

After refill, I tried it with my arms out, slightly bent. Much better!

Next, I got a laser pointer, held it with two hands against my forehead and aimed it at a small target 10 paces away. I was amazed how shaky it was, from balance adjustments in my feet, to heartbeats, to neck movements. Breathing, too... though you can hold that briefly or do a long exhale.

Arms-out, slightly bent, I'd say was no worse — and perhaps the variations were less jumpy.

Interestingly, waist-level shooting — as allowed by cameras with flip-up LCDs like the E-PL5 — seemed the most stable.

YMMV... but I encourage people to try the laser-pointer test. If you can attach the pointer to your camera — or cut a hole in a bar of soap to hold the pointer — so much the better.

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Barry

When I was doing shaky tests with the E-PL1 to see what my slow limits were, both with and without IBIS, I found that the VF-2 against the head stance slightly less effective than the CD about 12 inches from my face. Only a faint difference and probably experimental spread was happening, but to me the VF-2 was no advantage, both for stability or composition. But it is valuable for mucking about with manual focus lenses.

Again, everyone is different, so what works for me may be totally different for others.

Regards...... Guy

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Pedagydusz
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Re: Shaky tests
In reply to Guy Parsons, Aug 19, 2013

For me, and without putting any numbers on that, I feel that waist level shooting is perhaps the best, as Barry suggests. That is why I like so much the E-PL5 swivel LCD.

My first camera was a twin-lens Reflex (Ikoflex) with a large 6 x 6 cm ground glass VF, may be that is what I am missing!  

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Jorginho
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Re: E-PL5 Stabilization
In reply to springsnow, Aug 19, 2013

No..it works well here with my EPL5. When I switch it off I notice it clearly. For anything below 100 mm  FL it is about as good as my OIS in my panny lenses.

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springsnow
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Re: Essential and works fine for me
In reply to Brian Wadie, Aug 21, 2013

Wow, your pictures are amazing!

When shooting handheld, what shutter speed do you usually use?

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springsnow
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Re: E-PL5 Stabilization
In reply to markintosh13, Aug 21, 2013

markintosh13 wrote:

For me, PL1 and now PL5 stabilization has always worked well.

My technique is to use the camera strap tensioned between the camera and my neck, arms bent with elbows pulled into ribs, one hand under the camera body/lens, other hand around the camera grip, often using my thumb on the shutter instead of index finger and if necessary (for very low light) - braced up against a wall, pole or other object.

I really need to learn some zen technique or something to keep my hand stable.

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Brian Wadie
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Re: Essential and works fine for me
In reply to springsnow, Aug 21, 2013

springsnow wrote:

Wow, your pictures are amazing!

When shooting handheld, what shutter speed do you usually use?

thanks, it varies depending on the subject.

Birds in flight I try to keep above 1/1000th sec, 1/1600th+ is better but I have shot below 1/400th and got decent results.

static macro shots 1/400th + if possible but down below 1/100th sec if conditions are poor. For Bees and the like in flight, as for Birds in Flight

Studio work, 1/60th - 1/200th depending on the action

Flowers and the like, whatever is relevant to the shot I'm after, I've had excellent results at 1/13th sec hand-held

That's why I like the IBIS system so much, I find it remarkably versatile with the m4/3rds lenses and an excellent tool when shooting with"Legacy Lenses"

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markintosh13
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Re: E-PL5 Stabilization
In reply to springsnow, Aug 21, 2013

springsnow wrote:

I really need to learn some zen technique or something to keep my hand stable.

With some seriousness, breathing techniques do help... breathe in... out.... shoot.

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