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04-07-2010, 09:32 AM   #1
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Is Image Stabilization That Needed Anymore?

First off, this more of a look forward thought and doesn't apply to older cameras with less sophisticated high ISO ability, nor to people who hand hold telephoto work and probably a few others I haven't thought of.


The Pentax K-X, and the Canon 550, show the ability to very capably deliver, what I would call extremely high ISO images. It seems reasonable to assume this capability will become the norm across all brands, and will probably improve even further. This means photographers will have more flexibility under all lighting conditions to select ISO, aperture, and shutter speed combinations that deliver the image they want hand held without the need for image stabilization, So is shake reduction/image-stabilization that necessary a feature anymore? Especially for your average shooter with average needs

As camera prices go up, is IS a feature you want to keep paying for whether it's an in-body feature or built into every lens that goes on your particular model. Will the IS mechanisms become unnecessary potential points of failure in future cameras. I'm beginning to think so.

FULL DISCLOSURE; In the interest of getting a variety of inputs, I've posted this same thread one other place, in a different camera brand forum, on a different site altogether. I am curious as to what people think

04-07-2010, 09:51 AM   #2
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I guess there will always be the conditions where a lower iso and slower shutter delivers the better result.

And since many cameras are capable of shooting HD video it will be even more important to have SR.

For pictures it might be that one day a new generation of sensors make them obsolete but for now I don't think so.
04-07-2010, 10:01 AM   #3
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High ISO is not always enough on it's own

please see the attached photos

SHot at ISO 800 and 1/40th of a second using an SMC 300F4 and SMC-F 1.7x AF TC for an effective 510mm F6.7 lens.

Higher ISO and SR helped me get a shot of this immature night heron, but fortunately he was stationary (very stationary). I will admit very good technique while hand held and free standing (nothing to lean on, or support my arms) also make shake reduction more effective, but what if this bugger moved AT ALL in reality, I would have needed between 1/250 and 1/500 to freeze subject motion. Assuming nothing else changed, that would require ISO 6400 to get in the middle of the freeze action range at 1/320.

While things are getting better, I would be willing to bet even the K-x cant shoot at ISO 6400 with this quality. Soon, (a few years from now) perhaps, just not yet.




and a 100% crop

04-07-2010, 10:16 AM   #4
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Just my personal opinion: I see SR and High ISO helping each other, rather than competing against each other.
Each one makes the other even stronger.


Thanks,

04-07-2010, 10:59 AM   #5
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I consider to be good any factor that can contribute to the 'freezing' of a scene in difficult light situations.
04-07-2010, 10:59 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by geezer52 Quote
The Pentax K-X, and the Canon 550, show the ability to very capably deliver, what I would call extremely high ISO images. It seems reasonable to assume this capability will become the norm across all brands, and will probably improve even further. This means photographers will have more flexibility under all lighting conditions to select ISO, aperture, and shutter speed combinations that deliver the image they want hand held without the need for image stabilization, So is shake reduction/image-stabilization that necessary a feature anymore? Especially for your average shooter with average needs
Well, let's start by noting that shake reduction is a relatively NEW thing. So to ask, is it necessary any more? is to overlook the fact that it was obviously NOT necessary to anybody until pretty recently.

And even today, Canon and Nikon don't include shake reduction in their DSLR bodies, which means that the vast majority of Canon and Nikon DSLR users (that is, all those non-pros out there using XTi's and D40s) are working without shake reduction. These are your average shooters with average needs, as you put it. Apparently they're able to take acceptable pictures. So shake reduction has NEVER been necessary to them.

It's not because of terrific high-ISO performance either. It's because most of these average shooters with average needs are seldom using really long focal lengths. I'm pretty sure an awful lot of Canon and Nikon DSLR users never buy a lens other than the 18-55 kit lens. And most of them aren't shooting in really low light, either. Given average to good light, shake reduction or image stablization (whatever you call it) is less important the shorter your focal length. If you are shooting at 28mm, f/5.6 and 1/200th sec, I doubt that shake reduction makes any difference at all. It matters to me, if I'm shooting a bride in a shadowy church, without flash, using a 105mm lens at f/2.8, ISO 1100 and 1/20th sec; but most people don't shoot like that.

And even when the focal lengths get longer and it does start to matter, MOST photographers shooting at, say, 200mm, are doing so outdoors, in good light; and if you can keep the shutter speed over 1/250th sec, you probably don't need shake reduction there either.


Now, I would add that the premise of the question is somewhat flawed. The ability to use a higher ISO does not obviate the need sometimes to use a faster aperture or a slower shutter. I understand that, on some of the high-end cameras now like the Nikon D3, ISO 400 is nearly indistinguishable from ISO 100. But only "nearly," not absolutely. We'll know it's absolutely indistinguishable when Nikon stops releasing cameras that can go to ISO 100, that is, when ISO 400 or 800 becomes the BASE ISO for the camera.

And while you can adjust ISO, aperture and shutter speed in ways that don't move the exposure meter one way or the other, it's simply wrong to pretend that these changes don't affect the resulting photo.


QuoteQuote:
As camera prices go up, is IS a feature you want to keep paying for whether it's an in-body feature or built into every lens that goes on your particular model. Will the IS mechanisms become unnecessary potential points of failure in future cameras. I'm beginning to think so.
I certainly don't want to keep paying for IS in the lenses. That is one of the reasons I chose Pentax.

Now, as I said, shake reduction simply isn't necessary in many situations. And it can only do so much. Even at 18mm, and even with shake reduction, you can't shoot people or animals or even flowers in a light breeze much slower than 1/20th sec, at least not without putting the camera on a tripod, because at speeds below 1/30th sec or 1/20th sec, SUBJECT MOVEMENT becomes at least as big a concern as camera shake. I rather doubt that shake reduction technology will continue to make huge breakthroughs. I could be wrong, but I think it's gotten about as good as there's any point in it getting.

And I feel much the same way about ISO. Perhaps the ISO performance of the Nikon D3s (where you can apparently get acceptable shots at ridiculous ISOs like 12,800) will, within a couple of years, become available in entry-level DSLR bodies or even compact cameras. But I doubt that too.

The question I have is, will Canon and Nikon ever start selling DSLRs that have shake reduction in the body. I'm guessing the answer is no.

Will
04-07-2010, 11:13 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Well, let's start by noting that shake reduction is a relatively NEW thing. So to ask, is it necessary any more? is to overlook the fact that it was obviously NOT necessary to anybody until pretty recently.
I am not so sure, video cameras have had some form of image stabilization (although done in software since the sensor resolution ws very low for over 15 years. it is not a question of new, or newly discovered as needed, but more likely newly possible to do
QuoteQuote:
snip....These are your average shooters with average needs, as you put it. Apparently they're able to take acceptable pictures. So shake reduction has NEVER been necessary to them.
I may be asking for trouble here but, Does that mean I'm not average?
QuoteQuote:
It's not because of terrific high-ISO performance either. It's because most of these average shooters with average needs are seldom using really long focal lengths. I'm pretty sure an awful lot of Canon and Nikon DSLR users never buy a lens other than the 18-55 kit lens. And most of them aren't shooting in really low light, either. Given average to good light, shake reduction or image stablization (whatever you call it) is less important the shorter your focal length. If you are shooting at 28mm, f/5.6 and 1/200th sec, I doubt that shake reduction makes any difference at all. It matters to me, if I'm shooting a bride in a shadowy church, without flash, using a 105mm lens at f/2.8, ISO 1100 and 1/20th sec; but most people don't shoot like that.
true perhaps, but most people are not forum members or serious shooters who want every technical advantage in order to get the shot no one else can
QuoteQuote:

And even when the focal lengths get longer and it does start to matter, MOST photographers shooting at, say, 200mm, are doing so outdoors, in good light; and if you can keep the shutter speed over 1/250th sec, you probably don't need shake reduction there either.
.
I repeat my comment from above, true perhaps, but most people are not forum members or serious shooters who want every technical advantage in order to get the shot no one else can
QuoteQuote:


Now, I would add that the premise of the question is somewhat flawed. The ability to use a higher ISO does not obviate the need sometimes to use a faster aperture or a slower shutter. I understand that, on some of the high-end cameras now like the Nikon D3, ISO 400 is nearly indistinguishable from ISO 100. But only "nearly," not absolutely. We'll know it's absolutely indistinguishable when Nikon stops releasing cameras that can go to ISO 100, that is, when ISO 400 or 800 becomes the BASE ISO for the camera.
but this will never happen because people will still want ISO 100 (some today want 50 and 25) as a means of controlling light so they can get shallow DOF with their F1.4 and F1.2 lenses. so even if ISO 6400 is as good as ISO 100, it will not stop the proliferation of bodies that offer ISO 100
QuoteQuote:

And while you can adjust ISO, aperture and shutter speed in ways that don't move the exposure meter one way or the other, it's simply wrong to pretend that these changes don't affect the resulting photo.
I agree, see comment above, you need full control of all 3 variables
QuoteQuote:




I certainly don't want to keep paying for IS in the lenses. That is one of the reasons I chose Pentax.
this draws a lot of people I think. you get IS or SR when you want, on every lens you own but you only buy it once. In lens IS has one advantage however over in body. You get stabilized view finder, and this means your focus detector has a stabalized image to work with.
QuoteQuote:
Now, as I said, shake reduction simply isn't necessary in many situations. And it can only do so much. Even at 18mm, and even with shake reduction, you can't shoot people or animals or even flowers in a light breeze much slower than 1/20th sec, at least not without putting the camera on a tripod, because at speeds below 1/30th sec or 1/20th sec, SUBJECT MOVEMENT becomes at least as big a concern as camera shake. I rather doubt that shake reduction technology will continue to make huge breakthroughs. I could be wrong, but I think it's gotten about as good as there's any point in it getting.
I agree
QuoteQuote:

And I feel much the same way about ISO. Perhaps the ISO performance of the Nikon D3s (where you can apparently get acceptable shots at ridiculous ISOs like 12,800) will, within a couple of years, become available in entry-level DSLR bodies or even compact cameras. But I doubt that too.

The question I have is, will Canon and Nikon ever start selling DSLRs that have shake reduction in the body. I'm guessing the answer is no.

Will
Will

well put as always
04-07-2010, 11:21 AM   #8
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Personally I liked IS initially because the widest apertures of the kit lens and other lenses within my $$ reach were fairly small and limited my ability to get natural light/low light pictures. In that case IS helped considerably (with reasonable limitations) Now the ability of cameras like the K-X to get decent results at very high ISOs makes IS or SR less necessary. Now someone could say the IS and high ISO would work together to get optimum results, but then I think about things like the so called mirror slap problem, or problems with in-lens systems and I wonder if there's a real need to bother with SR/IS anymore.

To re-state, I think IS is very desirable for telephoto lenses and apparently for some professional work

04-07-2010, 11:30 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by geezer52 Quote
Personally I liked IS initially because the widest apertures of the kit lens and other lenses within my $$ reach were fairly small and limited my ability to get natural light/low light pictures. In that case IS helped considerably (with reasonable limitations) Now the ability of cameras like the K-X to get decent results at very high ISOs makes IS or SR less necessary. Now someone could say the IS and high ISO would work together to get optimum results, but then I think about things like the so called mirror slap problem, or problems with in-lens systems and I wonder if there's a real need to bother with SR/IS anymore.

To re-state, I think IS is very desirable for telephoto lenses and apparently for some professional work
while it is true that advancements in sensor technology are changing the way we think about other issues like ultra fast lenses, and savings in weight and money that result from it (for the photog any way) are you suggesting that pentax remove IS from bottom end cameras because only pro's use it. part of the savings involved is that the mechanizm for this is spread over a ton more production units benefiting every one.

I think it would be a msitake to remove it. Here;s why.

Only pro's and seriuos wild life photographers use it. In principle, they can also afford the more expensive in lens system because they can afford it ( obviously because they are pruchasing the more expensive cameras) So lets delete it from the entry level modles, and deny the poorer masses the use of it because they also cannot afford either the more expensive body or more expensive lenses, but may still like to use advanced features. It can't work that way.,

Pentax has it right , offfer it on all cameras, just like backwards compatability.
04-07-2010, 11:35 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Just my personal opinion: I see SR and High ISO helping each other, rather than competing against each other.
Each one makes the other even stronger.


Thanks,
Right. They're additive, not exclusive.
04-07-2010, 11:41 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by geezer52 Quote
Personally I liked IS initially because the widest apertures of the kit lens and other lenses within my $$ reach were fairly small and limited my ability to get natural light/low light pictures. In that case IS helped considerably (with reasonable limitations) Now the ability of cameras like the K-X to get decent results at very high ISOs makes IS or SR less necessary. Now someone could say the IS and high ISO would work together to get optimum results, but then I think about things like the so called mirror slap problem, or problems with in-lens systems and I wonder if there's a real need to bother with SR/IS anymore.

To re-state, I think IS is very desirable for telephoto lenses and apparently for some professional work
You're still going to be aiming to use the lowest possible ISO, though. If you can use ISO 3200 w/o SR, then if you can use ISO 800 w/SR you'll get a better image.

As far as "problems", there are auto-focus problems, too, but that doesn't mean we should ditch AF.
04-07-2010, 11:46 AM   #12
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Lowell, you are definitely ABOVE average. :-)

Re the permanent need for ISO 100: I am out of my technical depth here (actually, I'm out of my technical depth almost the minute I put my toe into the water, but that doesn't stop me....), but I notice that some cameras already lack ISO 100, and apparently most DSLR bodies lack 50. I really don't know how this will shake out. But right now, if I am shooting in bright light, already at ISO 100, and I want to open the aperture up wider to narrow depth of field even further, I just use a faster shutter.

Re the advantage of in-lens image stabilization: You make a good point I don't remember hearing before. I always hear people say, "With in-lens IS, the image doesn't move around!" which I've never understood, because this has NEVER been a problem for me using in-body SR. But your comment that it helps auto-focus makes some sense. Although I think this would only be an issue if you were using a rather long focal length, and at some point, you're already at the limit of the focus range anyway and I'm not sure it has ever mattered to me.

*

geezer52 says, "To re-state, I think IS is very desirable for telephoto lenses and apparently for some professional work...."


Yes, this is, as I suggested earlier, the position of Canon and Nikon. I suspect their IS/VR lenses are sold mainly to pros and serious enthusiasts. My brother-in-law is a pretty serious amateur landscape photographer. He uses a Canon XTi, and takes beautiful photos. He owns only a couple of lenses and I'm almost certain that none of them are IS lenses; he uses a tripod instead. I even know more than a few wedding photographers (maybe not full time pros) who are shooting with cameras like the Nikon D90 and who (from what I can tell) have no VR lenses.

I get the urge once every blue moon to switch to Nikon. The lack of image stabilization in the body always gives me pause, but to be honest, it's not what keeps me from switching. I am glad to have it and it was one of the important factors in my decision to buy Pentax initially. But I believe now that I actually could live without it.

Will
04-07-2010, 11:51 AM   #13
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I am great fan of SR, as it has probably allowed me to keep hand holding my camera in difficult lighting conditions. A few years ago I developed a nerve condition that makes me shake very slightly when holding something.
I Know that this problem could have been solved by using a higher ISO and faster shutter speed, but I like the quality of pictures taken at lower ISO's. At 1/100 sec I could not hand hold without SR, with SR turned on I can hold down to 1/40th. Also like a lot of people I have not got a huge collection of super fast lenses.
In my opinion it would be a huge mistake to remove Shake Reduction form Pentax cameras.
04-07-2010, 12:02 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Lowell, you are definitely ABOVE average. :-)

Re the permanent need for ISO 100: I am out of my technical depth here (actually, I'm out of my technical depth almost the minute I put my toe into the water, but that doesn't stop me....), but I notice that some cameras already lack ISO 100, and apparently most DSLR bodies lack 50. I really don't know how this will shake out. But right now, if I am shooting in bright light, already at ISO 100, and I want to open the aperture up wider to narrow depth of field even further, I just use a faster shutter.
yeah but.... try shooting at ISO 200 or 400 with an F1.4 50mm, or even the F1.2 50mm lens in bright sunlight, wide open. My *istD for example runs out of shutter speed before I can compensate. Now granted, My K7 can go to 1/8000 (up from 1/4000) so it is a stop better, And I gain a second stop by being allowed ISO 100 where my *istD only has ISO 200, BUT the only solution when you hit this particular wall is to start hanging ND filters on the front of the lens. In the bad old days of film you could and did put ISO 25 into the camera.
QuoteQuote:
Re the advantage of in-lens image stabilization: You make a good point I don't remember hearing before. I always hear people say, "With in-lens IS, the image doesn't move around!" which I've never understood, because this has NEVER been a problem for me using in-body SR. But your comment that it helps auto-focus makes some sense. Although I think this would only be an issue if you were using a rather long focal length, and at some point, you're already at the limit of the focus range anyway and I'm not sure it has ever mattered to me.
not necessairly. Look at my heron shot, maybe 20-25 meters away with a 500mm lens. If there were twiggs in front and below the center of the image, I would have trouble with in body stabalization because camera shake could have the twiggs moving in and out of the focus sensor's "field of view", In lens stabilization would help keep the focus point aimed accordingly. But again, having proven my technique you could always argue I don't need it

*
QuoteQuote:
geezer52 says, "To re-state, I think IS is very desirable for telephoto lenses and apparently for some professional work...."


Yes, this is, as I suggested earlier, the position of Canon and Nikon. I suspect their IS/VR lenses are sold mainly to pros and serious enthusiasts. My brother-in-law is a pretty serious amateur landscape photographer. He uses a Canon XTi, and takes beautiful photos. He owns only a couple of lenses and I'm almost certain that none of them are IS lenses; he uses a tripod instead. I even know more than a few wedding photographers (maybe not full time pros) who are shooting with cameras like the Nikon D90 and who (from what I can tell) have no VR lenses.

I get the urge once every blue moon to switch to Nikon. The lack of image stabilization in the body always gives me pause, but to be honest, it's not what keeps me from switching. I am glad to have it and it was one of the important factors in my decision to buy Pentax initially. But I believe now that I actually could live without it.

Will
I'm not so sure, I find myself in the dark frequently (must be something to do with being an engineer) and whether it is for nature shots or for travel, I rely on IS plus boosted ISO to get hand held shots with poor lighting. I am aware of very few museums, churches, or other venues that allow flash photography for obvious reasons, yet still permit cameras. without IS, my travel photography wouls also suffer, and this is something that the average user does a lot of, using principally very slow lenses. Travel and take pictures.
04-07-2010, 12:08 PM   #15
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Yes, i think it is still needed.

Currently, I have some doubts about its use in some, but not all situations. For example, when i shoot theatre play productions. Some of the movement on stage is fast enough that SR will only ensure that some of the motion is sharp. Also, there is the slight delay in the SR initiation. When you need to capture the moment, there isn't always time to wait for SR to become fully active. Most often now, I turn off SR for theatre work. Of course there are other applications that SR is not too useful as well, tripods, monopods, some say telescopic lenses.

But folks are always trying to get more out of the handheld but low light situations.

The hypotheses that sensors will get so good that we won't need IS/SR could also be applied to eliminating fast lenses and tripods.

I think SR will be improved on rather than eliminated. But hey, the manufacturers will continue with technology improvements, and marketplace will decide how successful they have been.
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