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04-09-2010, 02:59 PM   #1
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Benefit of Pentax DSLR's - Image Stabilized Prime Lenses

I've considered moving over to one of the big two (Canikon) for some time due to the work that I do... but after doing some events with my K10D/K20D combo, I've come to realize one big advantage for us Pentax users (who use primes) - image stabilized prime lenses.

I think only Sony is the only other company that can boast this right now. Canon and Nikon only make Image Stabilized zooms as far as I know (the lowest F stop going is F2.8)?

Just thought I'd point that out since in came in handy for a variety event I was shooting using the DA*55, the FA31 and the FA77 (and even the DA16-45 when I was pushing it. Nothing like trying to handheld at 1/8th at of a second at f/4!!)

04-09-2010, 04:35 PM   #2
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Yes indeed, this is a benefit we love. It was in the top three reasons I chose Pentax. The others were size and affordability.
04-09-2010, 04:42 PM   #3
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Since I'm pretty new to Pentax I'm not sure if the lenses you are talking about are stabilized or if it's in the body like in the K-x. I know it's probably just the things I am shooting but I have never heard the stabilization working on my camera unless I'm using video mode. I guess for some people it would be a benefit and others it wouldn't.
04-09-2010, 04:46 PM   #4
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The big benefit of in body IS is that ANY lens you mount on the camera is stabilized.

04-09-2010, 04:54 PM   #5
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I think that the original text might mislead some. The Pentax prime lenses are not stabilised, but the Pentax dSLRs have on-board Image Stabilisation (IS). The resulting system (camera+lens) has hence some image stabilisation. The, yes, the Pentax dSLR + Pentax prime lens make a superb IS system.

A major advantage of the Pentax (and Olympus & Sony) is that we do not need to buy some expensive lenses with Optical Stabilisation (OS). The IS does the job instead.

For completeness, there has been an worthwhile comparison of IS versus lens OS conducted by slrgear.com with an Olympus E520: Image Stabilization Test: Olympus E-520 SLR Body - SLRgear.com!. I have not seen any other independent article elsewhere.

Hope that the clarification will assist...
04-09-2010, 05:31 PM   #6
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Wow, I didn't realize that canon did not over image stabilized primes. However, over on the pentax side we do have in-camera stabilization which means any lens that you put on the camera automatically becomes a stabilized lens. It's a very nice feature that keeps the price's of lens down and keeps pentax competitive.
04-09-2010, 05:35 PM   #7
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Well not that I don't love Pentax, but the in body IS systems are also a little less helpful in terms of how many stops they provide than the lens based ones. Because the lens based ones have an actual stabilizer in the lens itself, where the majority of the photo creation is going to happen. The downside to lens based though is that you have to buy lenses that have it and you have to pay more for them.
04-09-2010, 06:20 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jct us101 Quote
Well not that I don't love Pentax, but the in body IS systems are also a little less helpful in terms of how many stops they provide than the lens based ones. Because the lens based ones have an actual stabilizer in the lens itself, where the majority of the photo creation is going to happen. The downside to lens based though is that you have to buy lenses that have it and you have to pay more for them.
You may be right but I have always felt those stating that in lens is better were biased. I have gotten good images around 4 stops from 1/focal *1.5 rule with my 50-200 mm.

04-09-2010, 07:44 PM   #9
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When I went with Pentax, previously moving from Minolta, I made the calculation of who could shoot in the lowest light and the winner was Pentax using a F1.4 or F1.8 lens and the 3 stops of stabilization at ISO 800 which was the highest acceptable at the time. Even with a 2 stop advantage due to full-frame, the Pentax had the lead.

A few years later, Nikon introduced the D3 which took that particular lead because the camera itself had a 3 stop ISO advantage but the price for the camera alone was 4 times the Pentax! Add the lenses which are more expensive and even today there is no way to shoot in lower light without paying at least twice.

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04-09-2010, 08:34 PM   #10
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Sorry! I should've changed the subject title!
Yeah, the prime lenses themselves are not stabilized but it's the camera body that stabilizes them... and every other Pentax K-mount lens I put on them...

Including my Bayonet-Takumar 135mm F2.5 with 2X teleconverter, which I used for my Paralympic Alpine skiing shots. And my FA31 F1.8.

I do agree that some lens-based shake reductions provide a bit more stops advantage compared to in-body, but not having to spend extra money on it is helpful. Also, don't they make the lenses heavier and larger?

Also, Canon L prime lenses are really nice (and expensive!)... but I don't know of any Canon L prime lens that have image stabilization.
04-09-2010, 09:33 PM   #11
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Three cheers for SR. It ain't perfect but it's helped a lot.

One annoyance with the SR has been the slight delay between the shutter half-press and the SR being ready (the shaking hand in the viewfinder). I've worked around that by making the AF button perform focus - not the shutter half-press. Now, I can half-press the shutter to "prime" the SR system while simultaneously pressing the AF button for focus. If you time it right, you can lock focus at the same time SR is ready and snap the shot immediately with a full press...
04-09-2010, 11:52 PM   #12
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No it is true that the lens based IS is better in principle. When the sensor is moving around, that doesn't account for anything except for the movement in the sensor. A lot of the movement that causes blurred photos (hence the extra stops that are mentioned in lens based IS) takes place in the lens, as most of the time it is comparable in size and weight to the camera body. The gyrodes in the lens based IS can help to compensate for that movement, but not movement in the sensor, which is still about a stop or two more than the sensor based IS though.
04-10-2010, 12:01 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jct us101 Quote
Well not that I don't love Pentax, but the in body IS systems are also a little less helpful in terms of how many stops they provide than the lens based ones. Because the lens based ones have an actual stabilizer in the lens itself, where the majority of the photo creation is going to happen. The downside to lens based though is that you have to buy lenses that have it and you have to pay more for them.
In other threads here I seen concerns that in-lens IS just means more mechanisms that can wear out and fail over time. I haven't seen any answers to that. We know that all the major lensmakers have problems with reliability of USM/HSM focusing mechanisms. It would be good to see data on the longevity of in-lens IS vs in-body SR. Non-motorized lenses are theoretically immortal. How long should expensive new glass last?

Also note that in-lens IS requires shifting lens elements, which draws more power than moving the sensor with in-body SR, so batteries drain faster, etc. No free lunches here, nope.
04-10-2010, 04:08 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jct us101 Quote
No it is true that the lens based IS is better in principle. When the sensor is moving around, that doesn't account for anything except for the movement in the sensor. A lot of the movement that causes blurred photos (hence the extra stops that are mentioned in lens based IS) takes place in the lens, as most of the time it is comparable in size and weight to the camera body. The gyrodes in the lens based IS can help to compensate for that movement, but not movement in the sensor, which is still about a stop or two more than the sensor based IS though.
Falconeye has stated in another thread that while these two may be currently roughly equal (edge to the lens based IS), sensor based IS has a lot more potential for improvement, because it can correct in more directions and the sensor is smaller -- easier to move.

I can shoot at 300 mm and 1/8 second pretty consistently with sensor based IS. That is about 5 stops on the K7. Hard to believe that I would get much more with lens based IS. The one thing that I miss about lens based IS is a stabilized viewfinder.

To the OP's point. I agree. IS in the lens adds a lot of size to your system as well as extra cost, but frankly, even if you are 7 feet tall and a gazillionaire, IS stabilized primes are not widely available. Shooting a 50 f1.4 is not possible with SR, except with camera body based IS and it does make a difference.
04-10-2010, 05:29 AM   #15
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There is little or no evidence than in-lens stabilisation achieves better hand-held rates. The only advantage is that the image appears stable in the viewfinder. The disadvantages include more parts to break and higher prices for lenses, not to mention a complete lack of stabilised lenses in some areas.

Primes are the best lenses and Nikon and Canon have no stabilisation. Thus Canikon effectively have no stabilisation for me.

Last edited by rparmar; 04-10-2010 at 01:54 PM.
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