How good is Canon IS Lens Technology

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Mark Williams, Aug 14, 2006.

  1. In need of a lens that could be used in low light situations... like
    concerts, graduations and indoor portraits.

    I tried experimenting to determine the focal lengths I would need in order
    to determine if there is one lens that would cover the range I would like to
    use it for. For the family holiday shot... done indoors in an average size
    room... I figure I would need to be able to go down to at least 35mm for
    small group shots... even less for indoor family type shot. I then tried
    to set up distance close to a concert or graduation... 135mm would be
    good... but 200mm would be better. They do make a Canon EF 28-135mm
    f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens, but that would be putting a lot of faith in the IS
    technology. How good is Canon IS Technology?

    I found some good info on the IS (gain 3 stops)... check out IS info on
    right hand side

    Still on the hunt to see if they make a fast lens in this range that is not
    a ridiculous price. I guess a perfect lens would be a fast lens (f/2.8)...
    with a range of 28mm-200mm. Any recommendations on the best thing to get
    for the money? Thoughts on IS?
    Mark Williams, Aug 14, 2006
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  2. Mark Williams

    Joe Guest

    IS is very good. However, you need prime lenses for moving subjects. For
    zoom lenses, the 24-70 2.8 and 70-200 2.8 are excellent, although limited.
    For real low light you need to go for primes.
    Joe, Aug 14, 2006
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  3. Mark Williams

    gypsy3001 Guest

    IS is wonderful. But it is really only good for still lifes, such as
    the indoor portraits you mentioned.

    For concerts and graduation, people are moving. IS at f/5.6 isn't going
    to be sufficient to stop motion. I shot my brother's graduation with
    the 28-135mm IS once (see URL below). Few indoor shots are useable,
    though it worked well outdoors.

    Now, I carry three fix focus lens for indoor shots: 28mm f/2.8, 50mm
    f/1.8, and 85mm f/1.8. I will still carry the 28-135mm IS if I want a
    single lens, but I only shoot photos of people while they are still (in
    between expressions), or if I wanted the blurring effect of motion
    (such as a waltz).

    gypsy3001, Aug 14, 2006
  4. Mark Williams

    JohnR66 Guest

    While on this subject, I wonder about the advantages of in body IS vs. in
    lens. Obviously, in body reduces the replication of the technology in each
    lens (less $$). However, I wonder how effictive in body IS is when used with
    long telephoto where sensor movement would need to be fast and large to
    oppose the camera shake.
    JohnR66, Aug 14, 2006
  5. Mark Williams

    Mark² Guest

    Not true at all.
    All L telephoto IS lenses have panning mode (mode 2) which works extremely
    well with fast-moving subjects.

    Only the wider angle to normal line and non-L IS lenses are without mode 2.
    Mark², Aug 15, 2006
  6. Mark Williams

    Matt Ion Guest

    Another thing to consider is a faster prime lens (f/2 or f/2.8). IS will
    typically buy you about two to three stops more exposure... f/2.8 being two
    stops faster than f/5.6, you'll be able to get about the same shutter with
    either, but a pair of non-IS primes (one 35mm, one 200mm) would probably not
    cost you much, if any, more than your IS zoom.

    What body are you using? The newer ones have excellent noise characteristics on
    high-ISO, which would allow you to shoot at ISO 1600 without much problem.
    Matt Ion, Aug 15, 2006
  7. Mark Williams

    SkipM Guest

    I've used an IS lens of some sort or another for several years now, starting
    with the 28-135 f3.5-5.6 IS USM. I really liked that lens, but shooting
    indoors (at weddings) pointed out its shortcomings, or rather, shortcoming,
    it isn't an f2.8. The drawback there is any f2.8 IS lens is going to be
    stonkingly expensive. In fact, the only zoom f2.8 IS lens is the 70-200
    f2.8L IS USM, (which I have and love) coming in at about $1200, your other
    choices being fixed focal length lenses of 300mm f2.8 ($3900) 400 f2.8
    ($6600). Ouch.
    Makes you want to go for a 70-200 f4 and a monopod, doesn't it?
    As far as the zoom range your looking for, that prospect is a little better,
    with a high of the 28-300 f3.5-5.6 L IS USM, ringing up at $2200, or the low
    of the 28-200 f3.5-5.6 USM at $360, but no IS. Or the 28-135 IS that
    started the conversation at $420...
    As far as IS goes, I wouldn't buy a lens without it, if I had the option of
    one with it. No matter what, it will save a shot one day, and it never (or
    at least under normal circumstances) will negatively affect a shot. It is
    worth the extra money.
    SkipM, Aug 15, 2006
  8. Mark Williams

    SkipM Guest

    You're right, brain fart. Too many lenses with commas in the prices...<G>
    SkipM, Aug 15, 2006
  9. Mark Williams

    Mark² Guest

    Where are you finding the 70-200 2.8 IS for $1200??
    I already own the lens...but where I look it's more like $1600-1700.
    Mark², Aug 15, 2006
  10. Mark Williams

    Mark² Guest

    The 100-400 IS is closer to that...
    ....My brain toots a lot, so no worries.
    Mark², Aug 15, 2006
  11. Mark Williams

    ASAAR Guest

    You're picking nits. Panning mode wouldn't help the OP very much.
    It may be useful for tracking race cars, sprinters, isolated
    wildlife, etc. But the problem with people at graduations or people
    and performers at concerts is that they don't synchronize their
    movements, but move in randomly different directions.
    ASAAR, Aug 15, 2006
  12. Mark Williams

    bj286 Guest

    Canon 35/2
    Canon 50/1.8
    Canon 85/1.8

    Canon 28-135/3.5-5.6 IS
    Canon 70-300/4-5.6 IS

    Canon 17-55/2.8 IS
    Canon 70-200/2.8 IS

    Canon 135/2
    bj286, Aug 15, 2006
  13. Mark Williams

    Steve Wolfe Guest

    IS is wonderful. But it is really only good for still lifes, such as
    He may be referring to the fact that if your shutter speed is fast enough
    to stop motion, it's often fast enough to negate camera shake as well. A
    little while ago, I photographed a Jack Russel Terrier race. When you're
    filling the frame with a racing dog, it takes a pretty decent shutter speed
    to freeze the motion - 1/400th was marginal, 1/800-1/1000 would give me
    really good results. At those speeds, even at 400mm, it really didn't
    matter whether I had the IS turned on or not.

    Steve Wolfe, Aug 15, 2006
  14. I'm surprised no-one has yet suggested the 24-105 f/4L IS. Earlier this
    year I bought one to replace my 28-135 IS; it's a far better lens than
    the latter, and frankly, with the excellent low-noise performance of
    recent Canon DSLRs the f/4 has not proved a significant barrier for me.

    Does not have the long end you were looking at, but for the uses you
    describe yo may find you can live without it.

    David Littlewood, Aug 15, 2006
  15. Mark Williams

    gypsy3001 Guest

    Uhhh . . . actually, I was commenting on what the original poster
    wanted to do with IS. Obviously you aren't going to do much panning at
    a concert or at a graduation.

    gypsy3001, Aug 15, 2006
  16. What body are you using? The newer ones have excellent noise
    I am using a Canon EOS 350D / Digital Rebel XT.
    Mark Williams, Aug 15, 2006
  17. I am fairly new to real photography... what are the advantages of using a
    prime lens over a zoom lens?
    Mark Williams, Aug 16, 2006
  18. Initially when I heard that IS would gain me 3 stops... the thought was that
    it would work like a fast lens and handle low light and even motion better.
    In reading a number of the responses, this does not seem to be the case.
    How should one compare what IS offers to what you get with a fast lens that
    has the ability to shoot similar f-stop range that one is at using IS on the
    Mark Williams, Aug 16, 2006
  19. Mark Williams

    Mark² Guest

    Uhhh... OK...uhhhhh...then!
    Mark², Aug 16, 2006
  20. Mark Williams

    gypsy3001 Guest

    Let's put it into a practical example. Let say in a dim scene, at ISO
    1600, you can shoot with a 50mm f/2.8 lens at 1/60th of a second.
    That's good enough for the sharpness rule of thumb that your shutter
    speed should be at least 1 over the focal length. And that shutter
    speed is fast enough to freeze most of the action you are going to see
    that night . . . at least a fairly high percentage.

    Now, let's say you got a 50mm f/5.6 image stabilization lens. Let's be
    conservative that the IS feature only gives you a 2-stop leaway. So
    shooting the 50mm at f/5.6 at 1/15th of a second (in the same dim
    situation) is still going to be good enough for the 1 over focal length
    sharpness rule. However, most people would agree that 1/15th of a
    second can no longer freeze motion.

    Afterall, water flowing down a fall would best be captured at 1/30th of
    a second. Anything faster would freeze too much motion. But you can't
    shoot at 1/60th of a second with the IS lens, because its maximum
    aperture is f/5.6!

    gypsy3001, Aug 16, 2006
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