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Old Jan 15, 2010, 9:59 PM   #1
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Default when to use IS on my lens

I have lens that have IS. Should I use the IS when taking sports action shots or should I turn it off? Or does it matter?
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 5:46 AM   #2
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IS doesn't hurt (except possibly when using a tripod) and it could help.

It's just not always necessary when shooting sports.

Image stabilization prevents motion blur due to camera shake. Camera shake happens because our bodies have a natural feedback system of tremors that helps us stand upright in our constant battle with gravity. Those tremors occur at about 18-22 Hz and usually are nearly vertical. At slow shutter speeds, relative to the focal length of a lens, those tremors shake the camera and cause the image to be blurred in a single direction (usually nearly vertically).

When shooting sports/action/wildlife, you would typically use a fast shutter speed anyway, in order to prevent motion blur due to subject movement, so if you do that, you've got motion blur due to camera shake covered as well.
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Last edited by TCav; Jan 17, 2010 at 12:07 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old Jan 16, 2010, 6:33 AM   #3
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I don't have any lenses that use IS. Even though I wouldn't use it often, I sure wish all my lenses had it...

There is probably some ongoing conspiracy to keep me from having an IS lens. I blame Washington politicians. They're all out to get me (and keep me from having an IS lens).


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Old Jan 17, 2010, 2:56 PM   #4
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i leave mine on all the time, except when usin a tripod, because apparantly it can cause blur if on a tripod.
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Old Jan 17, 2010, 7:15 PM   #5
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While all of the above is true, there are instances where IS can work against you when shooting sports. Anti shake is meant to stop the lens from moving. And while it doesn't necessarily kick in and fight you with a smooth pan it can when you suddenly shift the pan in a different direction. For example you're following a soccer player - nice smooth pan then they cut around someone and you switch dirictions and instead of panning towards 3 o-clock you suddenly go toward 1 or 2 o clock. During that switch, anti-shake can kick in and jerk you back. Now some IS lenses have a mode 2 which is meant for panning - it only detects movement along one axis - which is great for strait pans but when you shift like I mentioned above, even mode 2 reacts because now the lens detects movement along that axis.

Because of that, many sports shooters when using their big IS-capable lenses on a monopod will turn IS OFF. if they hand-hold they'll leave it on because handheld at 300mm with the weight of a 300mm 2.8 lens, IS can help more shots than it hurts. But with the monopod camera shake isn't an issue at the shutter speeds they're using so off it goes.
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