Any issues with 5-axis stabilization and macro

Started Mar 18, 2017 | Discussions thread
tt321
tt321 Forum Pro • Posts: 12,938
Re: Any issues with 5-axis stabilization and macro

clengman wrote:

Thanks for the responses.

I do like to use a tripod when I have one with me. I am however thinking about the usefulness of the 5-axis system for handheld macros. (Bugs and flowers when I'm hiking and trying to travel light.)

One supposed major advantage of 5-axis over 3-axis is that adding correction for x and y axis translational movement allows for much better correction in the macro range. In fact, that's the only case where correction for this type of camera movement is very useful. At longer subject distances, the rotational components of the movement are far more important.

Now, in theory, in order for the camera to calculate proper sensor shifts to correct for x or y translations, the subject distance must be known. The lens can communicate subject distance to the camera, but if I put a macro lens on the front of my tele, the subject distance reported to the camera will not be accurate. Hence my curiosity about the effectiveness in the macro range when using a lens that doesn't natively have macro capability.

From practice, it screws up in a major way. The greater the magnification, the greater the discrepancy. This is because both the FL and focus distance are different from what the camera thinks, and the 'compensation' moves are entirely wrong and often make a negative contribution.

What it is good at is when you have a native macro lens, e.g. 60/2.8, which makes 5-axis IS fully correct and the two translational axes fully relevant.

However, hand-held macro's biggest enemy is not always hand shake in the compensated directions. If you are shaking and needing compensation in those directions, your subject distance is also micro-altered in real time and this is not compensated for by IS. Depending on your AF scheme this might not be compensated for by AF fully, and you have your focus points at strange unplanned places.

This may be dealt with if you can shoot high frame rate sequences. Just don't refocus during a sequence and some of the shots should be correctly focused.

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