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Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I don't want to make too big a deal of this, but I thought I'd point out just how closely two of my recent posts are related. First there's Sunday's post about IS/VR/AS/SR—let's call it "anti-shake" for simplicity's sake—and then there was the print offer on Monday.

In the comments to the former, several people who shoot with cameras that have anti-shake commented that they'd never again buy a camera without it. I'm firmly of the same feeling. And as it happens, a perfect example of the reason why is the print offer I just posted, the streetlight after the snowfall. As I've mentioned, I took it standing on my front porch in a robe and slippers in 15-degree weather, wide open at 1/8th of a second, handheld. The print holds up nicely at 10x15" and the chances I would have gotten out the tripod to take that shot were, shall we say, "below zero." I would say it's as sharp as I can normally hold a camera at 1/30th. Anti-shake bought me those two extra stops.

My experience is just that again and again and again, I run into situations similar to this, where anti-shake makes success more possible than it would have been without it. I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is gee-whiz technology at its practical best.



Blogger inner curmudgeon said...

Absolutely with you 100%. I just wish I could afford more IS lenses for my 30D :(

2:03 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

For me, anti-shake is a "once you pop, you can't stop" thing. I've shot the Konica Minolta A200 (with AS) for over a year, and would never again consider a camera without it. This is even more true of small-sensored cams -- when I got the A200, I felt like I'd found a secret treasure; there were very few fixed lens cameras with AS at that time (it's changing quickly) and I suddenly felt like I had a usable ISO 800 for the first time (which was 200+AS). This path led me to the Pentax K10d as an upgrade. Anyway, just wanted to say we're in violent agreement.

2:18 AM  
Blogger Player said...

Mike, two extra stops is not to be casually dismissed, but to be honest, I'm uncomfortable with IS, always have been, similar to when auto-focus first appeared.

It's always been that the photographer was responsible for keeping the camera steady; it was just part of being a photographer, and the better photographers seemed to find ways to deliver sharp images. It sort of separated the men from the boys, the talented from the less talented.

At what point does technology become too intrusive to the photographic process? Or maybe I'm missing the point that photography is just about the shooter's vision, and not his skill?

And lastly, I'm not so sure about adding another layer of complexity and potential mechanical breakdown to what are already very complex machines.

I was going to let these thoughts evaporate into oblivion, but you flushed me out with yet another blog about IS. ;-)

2:20 AM  
Blogger doonster said...

You've finally moved me to comment...

I agree whole-heartedly with your stance.

I'd defintiely like in-body IS (come on Canon). There is another argument I have in favour of lens IS - framing. For long lenses I like to use IS to help me get a good hold of the subject, even in bright light. Can't get the effect in the view-finder with body IS. Clearly not an issue for wide angle.

I'd support a movement to a dual system, for sure.

4:18 AM  
Blogger RobertoC said...

It's a pity you don't know Phil Askey.
You should really convince him to complain loudly for any new dSLR without a built-in image stabilization, as suggested by jeremy in your previous anti-shake post.
On my side, I curse myself all the time I take a shot in low light (i.e. most of the times, light is never enough) not to have bought a KM. I really hope the new Pentax will be as good as the specifications tell us, and will have a great success. And if that will not convince Canon, too bad I will sell my gear and go Pentax instead.

4:27 AM  
Blogger Brambor said...

I'd love to have it. Most of the lenses I shoot are 24-35-50mm and so Canon's response saying IS is more effective built into the lens (longer lenses) doesn't hold water to me. Manufacturer's should offer in camera anti shake technology. If you are shooting 300mm lens then by all mean get one with IS and turn the camera antishake off for that photoshoot.

7:18 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

One thing that keeps getting overlooked is that for action shooting, in body IS in its current form does not work. It can't handle panning. BUT for what I enjoy shooting - street, candids, etc. the in-body IS would be great as the Canikon group doesn't want to make fast normal or WA lenses in IS. Yes, the 17-55/2.8 IS would work great with my Rebel XT (my "street" cam) but for that price I could get a K100D and shoot some of my wonderful f/1.8 Screw Mount primes as well as competent Pentax AF lenses. Decisions, decisions...but I'm starting to lean toward the Pentax/Sony option.

5:23 PM  
Blogger inner curmudgeon said...

Player, you are so right. We should do away with all the complicated lenses, breakdown-prone shutters, messy chemicals and go back to darkened tents.

11:10 PM  
Blogger Stan B. said...

I'm still shooting film- but I can't see how anyone could be anti-shake anything. In fact, get anti shake and a full frame sensor with dust removal system on a Nikon body (so I can use my lenses) for no more than $2,500 and I'll finally making the move. Maybe...

12:07 PM  
Blogger Bruce M said...

I give credit to Panasonic for pushing image stabilization. Their point and shoot line has featured IS for years.The FZ 20-30-50 range of cameras have attracted loyal users who love the IS.

It looks to me like Canon's recent adoption of IS in their A range and their compact range is a direct response to Panasonic.

By the way, Inner curmudgeon's comments about darkened tents remind me of a story I read recently about photographer Shi Guorui. He won't have to go back to darkened tents. He's already there, and doing some amazing work.

2:33 PM  
Blogger wheatridger said...

Anti-shake isn't valuable in dim light only. In normal light, it's a tool for greater sharpness. Being able to use slower shutter speeds allows me to stop down the lens more than otherwise. Any lens performs better two stops down from open, and most can benefit from another two stops. I've tested various lenses for shapness at infinity, and the difference between individual samples was far less then the BIG difference I saw in each between f4 and f8. In this case, a body feature contributes more to sharpness than having the last word in lens quality. So for hand-held work, I'd rather carry a bag of cheap used Minolta lenses than a set of Leica or Zeiss on a non-stabilized body.

That's assuming your A/S works. I believe mine does. If it ever fails, I might not notice. The camera would then become unstabilized, like any Canon or Nikon body.

Another advantage of the K/M/S cameras- they're also a biofeedback monitor. They indicate the amount of shake you're making, and suggest when you're steadiest to shoot. Compare that to lens-based stabilization; it hides the shaking effect. That makes IS perfect for binoculars, but ill-suited for cameras. Of course, when Canon and Nikon got in this game, in-lens stabilization was the obvious choice. They still had a large base of film users to satisfy, and in-body AS is a digital-only option.

7:36 PM  

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