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mookier Jul 24, 2005 10:26 AM

I have read a few places that when taking night shots on a tripod (like, say, fireworks), it is better to turn the image stabilization off. That doesn't seem logical to me, but I figure there must be a reason for it. My questions:

1.) Is it better to trun the IS off in such a case? If so, why?

2.) Has anybody "field tested" this by taking night tripod shots? If so, what do you find to be the differences in shot quality/clarity with the IS onvs. off, or is there no real difference?


wingnut1 Jul 24, 2005 4:46 PM

It's generally accepted that leaving IS on using a podcan sometimesresult in images that look like camera shake. I suppose the IS might try to compensate for motion that isn't there with a tripod.

Stevekin Jul 25, 2005 4:45 AM

wingnut1 is correct in saying that most anti-shake/image stabilized lenses, or bodies, will try to compensate for camera movement when it is, in fact, not evident.

Canon became aware of this phenomenon when users found degraded images when using IS on a tripod. They found,and I quote, "When there's not enough motion for the IS system to detect, the result can sometimes be a sort of electronic ‘feedback loop'. As a result, the IS lens group might move while the camera is on a tripod and all manufacturers recommend IS/AS be switched off when using a tripod.

Of course, camera shake could still be evident on a tripod if using the cheaper, light weight models. But then you would be just as well using the camera without the tripod and switching the IS/AS back on !!

Canon do, however, produce lenses with IS that can also detect that the camera is motionless. If the camera is being held steady, either by hand or on a tripod, the lenses can detect this and effectively switch the function off automatically and go into 'tripod mode', subsequently detecting and correcting for 'mirror slap' and shutter movement at slow shutter speeds.

The list of Canon lenses below is around one year old, so expect there to be more available.

EF 28–300mm f/3.5–5.6L IS USM
EF 70–200mm f/2.8L IS USM
EF 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 DO IS USM
EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM
EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM
EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM
EF 500mm f/4L IS USM
EF 600mm f/4L IS USM

For all other cameras/lenses, it is best to switch off IS/AS when using a tripod.


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