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IS efficiency of the 70-300 IS

Yakim Peled , Jan 16, 2006; 04:59 a.m.

1D, 70-300 IS, 300mm.

These threads are in Hebrew but ignore this. Just look at the pictures and EXIF.

Un-aided: http://d-spot.co.il/forum/index.php? showtopic=58527

Leaning against a car: http://d- spot.co.il/forum/index.php?showtopic=58528

As I see it, the word amazing is simply not enough.

Happy shooting,


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Jim Miller , Jan 16, 2006; 06:27 a.m.

But IS is overrated. And don't slip in the sarcasm...

Ralph Jensen , Jan 16, 2006; 11:04 a.m.

"But IS is overrated."

Yup -- after all, we can all handhold a 200mm lens at 1/6th or 1/8th of a second and get plenty of keepers, can't we?

I think IS is one of the greatest inventions in photography of the past 50 years.

I am continually astonished by the photographs I can get with IS lenses (I have five of them) that I would have NO chance of getting with a non-IS lens.

Best of all, as the links in Yakim's post show, anyone can see the benefits immediately; it's not like a vague minor difference in possible corner sharpness that only shows up under certain conditions.

With some lenses IS is expensive, but it's worth every penny!

Greg Chappell , Jan 16, 2006; 12:19 p.m.

Image Stabilization is a great feature, but only if (1) the subject is static, and (2) the glass is good. All image stabilization does on a mediocre lens is show how mediocre the optical performance really is. If your subject is going faster than standing completely still image stabilization is worthless compared to being able to shoot at a fast enough shutter speed.

Even with image stabilization and a static subject, 1/4, 1/2 second and 1 second at 300mm handheld seem a little unrealistic in terms of expectations. There are practical limits.

Jim Miller , Jan 16, 2006; 01:13 p.m.

There was a classic post back a week or so ago from somebody who said that s/he didn't own an IS lens, but didn't see what the big deal was. Chances are high that this person hadn't given one a solid test.

I will concur with Greg to a point. You do need good glass in the lens. But static is not a requirement. In my case, if I'm shooting my 300mm f4L, I will utilize the IS hand-held to get slow moving subjects (slow moving horses, sheep, etc) at a range of 1/125 to 1/350. I'm happy with the results.

Mark Chappell , Jan 16, 2006; 01:55 p.m.

Concur with Jim.

Christian Hoffmann , Jan 16, 2006; 03:19 p.m.

I don't understand why some people start looking for arguments against IS everytime it is mentioned?!

It's like having some kind of built in tripod, of course it can't stop a formula one car driving by at 200mph if you are shooting at 1/5s, but that is not the point altogether.

IS lenses are good. They can't make coffee though...

Ralph Jensen , Jan 16, 2006; 03:47 p.m.

"Even with image stabilization and a static subject, 1/4, 1/2 second and 1 second at 300mm handheld seem a little unrealistic in terms of expectations."

Concur with Christian: people think that if IS can't make coffee it's not worth it, but I say that if it buys 2-3 stops it IS worth it.

What I'm most tired of hearing is the staple of every IS thread I've ever seen: "IS is worthless on moving subjects" (duh) as though all anybody shoots is sports. Scrolling through the galleries on this site I'm struck by how few of the photos involve subjects that wouldn't lend themselves to IS lenses.

Even if only a *quarter* of the photos I take didn't involve fast-moving subjects -- and the actual percentage is far higher -- I'd still invest in IS lenses to help one-quarter of my photos! Heck, I'd invest in them if I only needed them on a tenth of my photos.

P.S. There aren't any optically poor lenses with IS. The old 75-300 IS isn't great at the long end or on FF cameras and the 28-135 IS isn't supersharp, but both are very respectable for the price --certainly not dogs -- and the rest of Canon's IS line is very impressive.

Chuck C(CharlotteNC) , Jan 16, 2006; 05:29 p.m.


I totally agree... IS, especially the 3rd generation in the New 70-300 IS is fanastic. I've stated this in an earlier post... I haven't deleted any photos using this lens because of blur from shake. I have examples of photos at 300mm with shutter speeds at 1/15 and some slower. I let that guy that commented that the Canon IS lenses are overrated have my two cents. He said he didn't know anyone that thought that IS was of any use. I, and others provided him a definite difference of opinion.

The 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM... a great price/performer.


Alistair Windsor , Jan 16, 2006; 08:40 p.m.

Well. I like IS. I used to use a 28-135 as my walk around lens. On my 20D its focal length range doesn't suit me. Now my most used lenses are the 17-40/4L and the 70-200/4L. For low light photography I use the 35/2 and 50/1.8. For these focal lengths I would not swap lens speed for the advantage of IS since the main problem I encounter is subject motion. At longer focal lengths IS is incredibly useful.

Of course I am an inveterate tripod user.

I did find one situation where IS was invaluable; taking pictures off a boat. The IS was able to deail with the motion of the boat. In this situation a tripod alone is useless.


You seem to have sold your soul. First zooms, and now zooms with IS. I am truly shocked ;)

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