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04-29-2011, 04:50 PM   #1
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K-5 Anti-shake (image stabilization) test

I've been thoroughly enjoying my new K-5 for about 6 weeks now. After doing some indoor shooting handheld, and running into the usual compromise between shutter speed to control camera movement and aperture to improve sharpness, I decided to test just how far I could rely on the camera's in-body shake reduction circuitry. So, I began shooting a nearby fire extinguisher at higher and higher F numbers, and slower and slower shutter speeds, until I began seeing motion-related blur. It remained razor sharp right down to about 1/20 sec, at which point I saw the tiniest increase in motion effects. But as I continued to longer and longer shutter times, the effect hardly increased at all. In fact I began wondering if I can really seen any effect. Then, suddenly, at 1s exposure the anti-shake finally failed and motion blur was very obvious and extreme. Amazing! This is better than even the Panasonic cameras I've used, and I had been under the impression that Panasonic was absolutely the best as far as image stabilization.

So, I backed off a bit and checked the results at the slowest shutter speed which seemed to be tolerated - 0.5s, with and without the anti-shake function enabled. The results speak for themselves, below. To say I am amazed is almost an understatement. What a difference this makes. I love this old Zeiss lens, and am thrilled I can get so many advantages with it on the Pentax body. I can just hear the marketing types at Canon and Nikon talking about anti-shake: "Shall we put the circuitry in the camera body, so that people can use our best lenses from the past 50 years? No. That would cut into our sales of new lenses. Make them buy new lenses. If they bought our camera, they can surely afford the lenses." And what does Pentax say? "Putting the anti-shake in the camera body is the proper engineering decision, even if we have to charge a little more for the camera. Pentax users will love our new camera if they can use their best lenses from the 60's, 70's, and 80's." You got that right, Pentax.

Detail: Pentax K-5, 0.5s, f/11, ISO 100, Zeiss T* 50mm f/1.4 lens, indoors under fluorescent light.



Below: the original frame, the one with shake-reduction, scaled down to 800x530px. Pentax K-5, 0.5s, f/11, ISO 100, Zeiss T* 50mm f/1.4 lens, indoors under fluorescent light.



04-29-2011, 11:10 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Skymist Quote
I've been thoroughly enjoying my new K-5 for about 6 weeks now. After doing some indoor shooting handheld, and running into the usual compromise between shutter speed to control camera movement and aperture to improve sharpness, I decided to test just how far I could rely on the camera's in-body shake reduction circuitry. So, I began shooting a nearby fire extinguisher at higher and higher F numbers, and slower and slower shutter speeds, until I began seeing motion-related blur. It remained razor sharp right down to about 1/20 sec, at which point I saw the tiniest increase in motion effects. But as I continued to longer and longer shutter times, the effect hardly increased at all. In fact I began wondering if I can really seen any effect. Then, suddenly, at 1s exposure the anti-shake finally failed and motion blur was very obvious and extreme. Amazing! This is better than even the Panasonic cameras I've used, and I had been under the impression that Panasonic was absolutely the best as far as image stabilization.

So, I backed off a bit and checked the results at the slowest shutter speed which seemed to be tolerated - 0.5s, with and without the anti-shake function enabled. The results speak for themselves, below. To say I am amazed is almost an understatement. What a difference this makes. I love this old Zeiss lens, and am thrilled I can get so many advantages with it on the Pentax body. I can just hear the marketing types at Canon and Nikon talking about anti-shake: "Shall we put the circuitry in the camera body, so that people can use our best lenses from the past 50 years? No. That would cut into our sales of new lenses. Make them buy new lenses. If they bought our camera, they can surely afford the lenses." And what does Pentax say? "Putting the anti-shake in the camera body is the proper engineering decision, even if we have to charge a little more for the camera. Pentax users will love our new camera if they can use their best lenses from the 60's, 70's, and 80's." You got that right, Pentax.
I try to be objective, but the K-5 has me acting like a Pentax Fan Boy. It's by far the most fun I've ever had with a camera. Thanks for the test - I love the fact that I have SR on even my "inexpensive" primes. And in-body SR + 50mm f1.4 + K-5 low light performance == hand held pictures IN THE DARK
04-30-2011, 02:13 PM   #3
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Yes, this has totally revised how I handle the trade-offs. Indoors now I am shooting with 1/8th sec shutter a lot now for still subjects, which allows me to put the Zeiss Planor T* 50mm at about f/4 and get amazingly sharp results in darkened places without going too high on the ISO and inviting noise - though on the K5 that's yet another breakthru spec. K-5 Fangirl here.
04-30-2011, 02:58 PM   #4
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After three bodies with SR, I guess I sort of take it for granted.....maybe we all do? Every once in a while I turn it off for a day....believe me, it will get your appreciation back in focus in a heartbeat!
Yes, it is a great Pentax tool....every lens, every focal length. Too bad Nikon and Canon don't appreciate their users enough to do this for them. Couldn't have anything to do with making them buy those high dollar stabilized Giant Lenses they sell....could it?
Best Regards!

04-30-2011, 03:09 PM   #5
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In-body SR was the first thing that drew me to Pentax 5 years ago. While I usually don't find it quite as effective for long focal lengths, it stills works pretty well IMO. Here's a quick shot I took the other day. I was out in my backyard testing out my new DA*300 and as I walked in the door I snapped this shot off of my son before he noticed me. I don't usually use the 300 indoors, but ended up getting a shot I really liked (at 1/125s) that I might now have go without SR.

K-5 + DA*300, 1/125s, f/4, iso2500
05-01-2011, 10:45 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
In-body SR was the first thing that drew me to Pentax 5 years ago. While I usually don't find it quite as effective for long focal lengths, it stills works pretty well IMO. Here's a quick shot I took the other day. I was out in my backyard testing out my new DA*300 and as I walked in the door I snapped this shot off of my son before he noticed me. I don't usually use the 300 indoors, but ended up getting a shot I really liked (at 1/125s) that I might now have go without SR.

K-5 + DA*300, 1/125s, f/4, iso2500
It is true that most comprehensive reviews I've seen said the in-lens stabilization is better in really long telephotos (because the sensor can't move far enough, fast enough, apparently), but it's still very helpful.
05-01-2011, 02:12 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Skymist Quote
You got that right, Pentax.
But you must agree, that right image is not perfect. Its better, yes, it may be enough for Web but not perfect. But we have that rattle inside, and that infamous SR-induced blur at shutter speeds about 1/100.
Was is it worth it? Ability to get mediocre image in bad conditions, was it worth sacrificing sharpness at most often speeds?
05-01-2011, 02:52 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by HoundFrog Quote
But you must agree, that right image is not perfect. Its better, yes, it may be enough for Web but not perfect. But we have that rattle inside, and that infamous SR-induced blur at shutter speeds about 1/100.
Was is it worth it? Ability to get mediocre image in bad conditions, was it worth sacrificing sharpness at most often speeds?
What you are referring to is shutter-induced blur, not SR-induced blur.

05-01-2011, 03:06 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
What you are referring to is shutter-induced blur, not SR-induced blur.
Yes, but the reason of this blur is the particular SR design. Sensor is never hold firm, is floats in magnetic field that provides a limited torque. When shutter is released, mechanical impulse disturbs the pendant
If sensor is not floating, that impulse interacts with the mass of not only sensor, but with the mass of entire camera which is about 50-100 times bigger. So the effect is smaller proportionally.
05-01-2011, 03:14 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by HoundFrog Quote
Yes, but the reason of this blur is the particular SR design. Sensor is never hold firm, is floats in magnetic field that provides a limited torque. When shutter is released, mechanical impulse disturbs the pendant
If sensor is not floating, that impulse interacts with the mass of not only sensor, but with the mass of entire camera which is about 50-100 times bigger. So the effect is smaller proportionally.
I don't believe that is accurate. The K20D has an SR system and does not have a blur issue. Here is a link to the article.
05-01-2011, 03:57 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
I don't believe that is accurate. The K20D has an SR system and does not have a blur issue. Here is a link to the article.
Oh but it has! According to the paper it is 3 times smaller than K-7's but it still could be measured.
K20 and K7 shutters are different, so is probably SR design implementation. That's why results are different. But what is clear from Falk's work, that SR design aggravates the shutter-induced blur.
05-01-2011, 04:15 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by HoundFrog Quote
Oh but it has! According to the paper it is 3 times smaller than K-7's but it still could be measured.
K20 and K7 shutters are different, so is probably SR design implementation. That's why results are different. But what is clear from Falk's work, that SR design aggravates the shutter-induced blur.
In the conclusion of the very paper you linked to, it says "all SLR camera produce a certain amount of blur caused by moving masses during shutter operation". This includes bodies without in-body-SR system from other manufacturers. The fact that the K20D has a measurable amount of blur is irrelevant. There is no blur issue on the K20D and it has an in-body SR system. Therefore, while the presence of an in-body SR system may make the design more challenging to the engineers, the mere presence of one does not guarantee a blur issue. To dismiss all in-body SR systems because the K-7 had a blur issue under very specific conditions due to a design issue seems shortsighted to me. I for one am very happy with the in-body SR system and would not choose to give it up.
05-01-2011, 04:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
I for one am very happy with the in-body SR system and would not choose to give it up.
Yes, I do take advantage of SR system also. At last I was, until it failed. Now it experiences a sort of self-excitations and shakes like a crazy, no matter is SR on or off This is not about faulty circuitry though, anything could be broken.
But, honestly, don't you agree that SR design with such loosened sensor is.. well, not perfect? Camera should not sound like a rattle box, this is just wrong
05-01-2011, 05:08 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by HoundFrog Quote
Yes, I do take advantage of SR system also. At last I was, until it failed. Now it experiences a sort of self-excitations and shakes like a crazy, no matter is SR on or off This is not about faulty circuitry though, anything could be broken.
But, honestly, don't you agree that SR design with such loosened sensor is.. well, not perfect? Camera should not sound like a rattle box, this is just wrong
I am sorry to hear your body/SR has an issue. I suppose part of the trade-off with adding new features to anything is that it makes the whole system more prone to breaking.

Certainly I would welcome any improvement to the SR system, including one that got rid of the clunk/rattle sound But the truth is, despite the fact that you have a specific issue with your malfunctioning SR system, for the most part the SR systems have been relatively trouble free. They've been around since the K100D body was released almost 5 years ago and you really don't hear about them failing too often.
05-01-2011, 05:24 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by HoundFrog Quote
Yes, I do take advantage of SR system also. At last I was, until it failed. Now it experiences a sort of self-excitations and shakes like a crazy, no matter is SR on or off This is not about faulty circuitry though, anything could be broken.
But, honestly, don't you agree that SR design with such loosened sensor is.. well, not perfect? Camera should not sound like a rattle box, this is just wrong
The rate of SR failures seems like it is significantly less than the rate of in lens VR/IS failures.

For what it is worth, if you turn off SR, the sensor is locked down pretty tightly and then you will just have to deal with the effects of your shaky hands.
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