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Old Mar 16, 2008, 10:29 PM   #31
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Wow, this conversation is starting to get alife of its own! I was only Putting forth the observation that My use for VR was for the Handhold shake that I get at 200mm and beyond . In Broad daylight,Can't use a flash,and I don't have a problem w/ stop action....I just like the cleaner shots and my Detail goes way up when I use it...I fully realize VR's Rules of use and Limitations...It still Works for Me!!!!!

If I Do Some Arena Shots (lower light) I Use Faster Glass AND VR!

So There......

Peace to You all....
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Old Mar 17, 2008, 6:18 AM   #32
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JimC wrote:
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Having stablization is more convenient in some conditions, just like having a variety of lenses can be more convenient (for example, smaller and lighter lenses for walk around use, versus brighter and heavier lenses with higher quality that may have a more limiting focal range.
Jim,

We are talking about Nikon system here and whether it is worth while to pay for VR.

The argument being made by NHL and myself is NOT - repeat NOT that VR is bad.

The argument being put forth is: the money you might spend on VRmight be better spent on a good external flash depending on what you shoot.

If you can afford both - that's great. But if you can afford only one, the flash might be the more useful tool.

NHLs photos illustrate how ADDING LIGHT provided a beneficial affect. An affect that would have been missing if a person relied on stabilization alone. IF it makes you feel any better I'll say it this way - that stabilization could have been a tripod. A flash would have been better than just a tripod. Do you feel better now that I said tripod instead of IS?

That's what I mean by people using it as a crutch or the wrong tool. The 'wrong tool' could have just as easily been a tripod.

I am not arguing IS/VR is bad. Just that people misuse it way too often. Too many people are terrified of using an external flash for instance. But sometimes that really is the right tool for the job.

So - to summarize - if you can afford good external flash, tripod andIS / VRthen buy all three. If you cant afford all three then do some additional research to determine which tools will REALLY have the bigger impact on the photography you do.
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Old Mar 17, 2008, 8:55 AM   #33
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Your primary interest is sports. So, you're going for faster shutter speeds almost every time (except for perhaps some slower shutter speed panning shots to emphasize movement).

In other conditions, stabilization tends to be far more beneficial. For one thing, you can use lower ISO speeds and/or smaller apertures in many conditions without a tripod.

When I take a break from this PC (not very often lately) I'll sometimes shoot river front scenary in the early AM on a Sunday Morning, and I can do it without lugging a tripod along, even when stopping down the aperture (and it's not unusual for me to have it stopped down to f/11 or f/14 to try and get some of the closer and further parts of the image in focus, especially when shooting with lenses like my 100mm f/2 or 135mm f/2.8 (which I do use for that kind of thing -- wide lenses are not the only ones useful for landscapes).

In even lower light with wider apertures, the same thing would apply (you can get away with using lower ISO speeds without lugging a tripod along). That means higher image quality and better Dynamic Range with most models.

Granted, sometimes the examples I show are a bit extreme... I sometimes do that just to show you can get a usable image to capture moments at very slow shutter speeds if you don't have a flash or tripod with you. They may not be "tack sharp" because I'm exceeding the design limitations, but you can still get one that's usable for capturing memories at far slower shutter speeds than you could without this feature using walk around type equipment.

I take a lot of photos of friends and family, in an almost documentary fashion, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible (people talking, people eating, kids playing, etc.), and when you have a flash constantly going off (and I'm talking taking hundreds of photos at a sitting at family meals, gatherings, etc.), it is very irritating to people, especially in lower light where it can be blinding to see one going off all the time. Plus, you tend to get more posed and guarded looks using it that way.

Now, I do use an external flash. At almost any important celebration, I'll take lots of photos both ways -- enough to make sure I've got keepers with a flash, and loads more without one that I can sort through and get more keepers from. I sometimes use an external flash at outdoor parties for fill from time to time, too.

But, there are many times stabilization can come in handy.

You can't tell me that anyone that's taken a lot of images does not have some lost to blur from camera shake that could have been saved by using stabilization. Sometimes it's just as "oops, shutter speeds were too slow" looking at them later. Somtimes it's because you didnt' have what you really needed to take a given shot with you (that convenience thing again).

Because you take a lot of photos, you probably keep an eye on that kind of thing more than typical camera owners would (raising ISO speeds if necessary, opening up your aperture more, using a flash or monopod, etc.). But, you're still going to have shots lost to blur from camera shake (or softer than they would have been if you don't call it blur). Nobody is perfect. ;-)

Now, I have seen the argument that the non-IS versions of Canon's 70-200mm f/2.8 and f/4 lenses are sharper. That's a valid concern. But, I'm not convinced that the reason is because they have IS. If the different versions of the lenses were not sharing other components, Canon's design may have been improved so that the IS versions are just as sharp. Take the redesigned Canon 18-55mm IS lens as an example. It outperforms any other similar lens, with or without IS, from tests I've seen of it so far.

In the case of the Nikkor we're discussing, it's a tougher call, because you've got a very large price difference between the 80-200mm without VR and 70-200mm with VR. The VR lens also has the benefit of AF-S. But, then again, on a D300, I'm not sure how much difference it would make. I've seen Pro body Nikon shooters comment that the 80-200mm is almost as fast on a pro body. There may be more difference between them with the D300 versus one of the Dx type camera bodies (but, the 80-200mm has a reputation for fast AF, despite it's lack of AF-S).

So, spending the extra bucks for the 70-200mm VR lens may be a tougher decision, depending on what you shoot more often. For a sports shooter, it may not be the best place to put your money, depending on the type of sport, camera body and more.

For someone that is taking photos in very low light often (for example, the type of photos I like to take of live music at local restaurants when eating dinner), the stabilzation makes more sense, since your shutter speeds are almost always going to be much slower than you'd want to take them at without using a tripod, even at higher ISO speeds. That way, you focus on the blur from subject movement part (which is more timing than anything else, catching people during pauses in movement as often as you can).

Yes, it would merit some thought as to the best place to put your money, and I agree that an external flash is a good idea. So is stablization for many (if not most) people, since most people are probably going to run into conditions where they could take advantage of it if they have it, without increasing ISO speeds or dragging a tripod along. I would recommend having all of these options for more flexibility (stabilization, flash, tripod, monopod).

But, because of the greater cost difference in some of the similar lenses using Nikon or Canon solutions, it does it make it a much tougher decision where your money may be best spent.

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Old Mar 17, 2008, 9:09 AM   #34
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JohnG wrote:
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... So - to summarize - if you can afford good external flash, tripod andIS / VRthen buy all three. If you cant afford all three then do some additional research to determine which tools will REALLY have the bigger impact on the photography you do.
Absolutely, and the premiumforVR (or IS) lenses makes a good external flash an attractive option, where it might be appropriate.

But maybe it's because flash has been around longer, but I've seen more bad photos where flash was used as a crutch than bad photos where image stabilization was used as a crutch. And I'm not just referring to my own few,feeble attempts with flash. [suB]:-)[/suB]

With flash, you're trusting that the camera will record something you can't see; you don't know what the photo will look like until after you've taken it. With image stabilization, you're trusting that the camera will record something you can see.

In situations where either might be beneficial, I'll pick image stabilization.

Andlots of things are possiblein post processing if you start with a good sharp image, including, I suspect, something like NHL's example.
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Old Mar 17, 2008, 9:20 AM   #35
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Jim,

Let's clear up a misconception. I POST mostly sports work. Howevever I take quite a bit of other photos - every family event and vacation, a wedding last weekend. So, I am far from a one-dimensional photographer.

You and I will have to continue to agree to disagree on your assertion that just about every shooter will benefit from IS. Especially when you have to give something else up to get it - whether that's in terms of paying extra for a canon or nikon is / vr lens or choosing a system with built-in AS that has a lower selection or availability of NEW lenses or lenses they can hand-hold in a store or merely a system that misses a feature they liked from a system that doesn't have anti-shake built in.

It's a tool like any other. Sometimes it's the right tool sometimes it isn't. Some examples have been posted that illustrate where it is not the appropriate tool. I'm sorry if that ruffles your feathers.

And, of the photos I posted to illustrate my point, please let me know which you think involve a sport?

I did that precisely to prevent the argument you are trying to put forth - that since I only shoot sports I cant understand what other types of photography might require. Shall I post some wildlife photos where I used flash? Shall I post some cave carving shots from India that indicate again why IS would have been a poor solution. I'll be glad to share more examples - not one of which is a sport. Just let me know.


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Old Mar 17, 2008, 9:27 AM   #36
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To repeat: ;-)

Quote:
Because you take a lot of photos, you probably keep an eye on that kind of thing more than typical camera owners would (raising ISO speeds if necessary, opening up your aperture more, using a flash or monopod, etc.). But, you're still going to have shots lost to blur from camera shake (or softer than they would have been if you don't call it blur). Nobody is perfect. ;-)
Come on now... are you trying to tell me that you haven't seen photos you've taken that would have been sharper with stablization when you didn't have a tripod with you? Or, how about photos that you could have used a lower ISO speed with if not for camera shake?

Likewise, I've got images that would have benefited from flash. Each tool serves it's purpose (and I have both options with all of my lenses).

I think Mike Johnston put it best. To repeat my previous quote from one of his articles (and the same thing would apply to lens based stabilization):

Quote:
What pleases and amazes me most about the 7D is when I think back in my mind to the thousands upon thousands of pictures I've taken in my life using too wide an aperture, or too fast a film, or struggling with camera-holding techniques, making attempt after attempt to steal a clean shot in low light. And also, of course, thinking of all the shots that got away because of camera movement. The more such examples you can recall in your own experience, the more you will love the Konica-Minolta 7D. Personally, it has convinced me that spending any less for a DSLR would have been a golden opportunity tragically missed.
Catch the Rave!


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Old Mar 17, 2008, 9:31 AM   #37
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Jim - it's a matter of how best to allocate funds. Absolutely IS can be beneficial. I just think there are a lot of other things that are potentially MORE beneficial.

If a person has unlimited funds then absolutely buy every lens with IS. or buy multiple systems. But most people don't have unlimited funds. So I merely express my opininion that IS is not as beneficial as other things.
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Old Mar 17, 2008, 10:26 AM   #38
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The current trend in the industry should help to minimize the cost of stablization as newer gear is introduced (both lens and camera body based).

The cost difference is now negligible between bodies with and without it, and the competition is getting interesting (which is good for buyers of all camera brands). For example, all of Sonys DSLR models have it now, and the DSLR-A200 is priced at the same level as the XTi after Sony decided to drop it's price right after introduction.

That kind of competition can help shooters of all brands. From tests I've seen so far (for example, Dave Ethells recent tests), the new Sony A200 has slightly faster Autofocus speed (both Full Autofocus Lag and prefocused shutter lag) compared to the Canon XTi, as well as an available ISO 3200 setting, with all lenses used on it stabilized.

I'm waiting to see more tests in various lighting (for example, pop photo's test series) to see how that part holds up. But, from user reports I've seen so far, it's a much better system compared to the A100, not only from an AF speed perspective, but from a tracking perspective. I'm sure we'll see more feedback as time passes to better judge how it compares.

Of course, Canon is not going to be sitting still. Their new XSi model is going to have an improved AF system over the XTi, and Canon is going to IS equipped kit lenses (18-55mm, 55-250mm), as well as other improvements like Live View, a faster frame rate and much more.

I think we'll start seeing a lot more newer lens models coming out with stablization now to minimize any cost differences betweeen IS and non-IS lenses as their popularity increases.

Even Tamron is getting in on the act with their new Vibration Control (for example, their new 28-300mm with VC). We'll probably see more from Tamron and Sigma (their OS lenses) as time passes. Like Canon, Nikon has added VR to some of their less expensive lens models in similar focal ranges, too.

So, cost differences between similar systems with and without it should continue to decrease as time passes, benefiting users of all camera brands.

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Old Mar 17, 2008, 12:57 PM   #39
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All great discussion; however I just want to clarify several things:

JimC wrote:
Quote:
In fairness, you may be able to use slightly faster shutter speeds with a flash for fill, depending on the exact conditions.
True but this wouldn't have worked in this instance...

May be you may have missed this, but I described earlier why I picked 1/250s in particular because this is the highest shutter speed where the flash is still in X-sync mode (on a Canon). Since I use a 500mm I need all the reach of the flash!
-> Using a higher shutter speed would have put the flash in high-speed sync mode where its output would have been considerably curtailed. In this mode the flash couldn't overcome the rear backlit anymore because it has to pulse faster at a lower intensity to follow the shutter slit!



Tcav wrote:

Quote:
With flash, you're trusting that the camera will record something you can't see; you don't know what the photo will look like until after you've taken it. With image stabilization, you're trusting that the camera will record something you can see.
There may be a truth to this; However, there's a very useful tool in the viewfinder that most photographers never make use to compensate for this defienciency:
-> The -2..-1..0..+1..+2 EV scale
Unless you've set it differently a flash will always bring the exposure to the 0 EV so whenever you're using your partial (or spot) metering, and do an AEL lock (on the background in this case), you can the scan the scene (i.e. bird in this case) and know where your flash will complete the rest of the fill to the balance level (i.e. center on 0 EV)


IMO JohnG and I have made our point as we both have our fair share of IS lenses already. In my case I just went into sticker shock with some Nikkor as at the long end, all Nikon VR lenses cost at least a $2000 premium over the Canon's equivalent, and that is if you can get your hand on one (if anyone did a check they seem to be out of stock everywhere!!!).
-> In my case, VR is not better as I can allocate this $ somewhere else - All that means is more funds for my birding or vacation trips (it's your buget do anything you want) :-):G:lol:


Here's another example: Let's take another Sigma 500mm EX for my D300 (if I decide to get this over an Oly). This lens costs less than my EF-500 f/4 IS (and a lot less than a Nikkor 500mm VR if available). F/4.5 is just fine as I realize in the rainforest I'll be mostly using flash... and with a slighly smaller aperture the lens is also quite lighter! I also got plenty of bokeh (as experienced by my Bigma with even a higher f/6.3 minimum opening)
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Old Mar 17, 2008, 1:03 PM   #40
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NHL wrote:
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All great discussion; however I just want to clarify several things:

JimC wrote:
Quote:
In fairness, you may be able to use slightly faster shutter speeds with a flash for fill, depending on the exact conditions.
True but this wouldn't have worked in this instance...

May be you may have missed this, but I described earlier why I picked 1/250s in particular because this is the highest shutter speed where the flash is still in X-sync mode (on a Canon). Since I use a 500mm I need all the reach of the flash!
-> Using a higher shutter speed would have put the flash in high-speed sync mode where its output would have been considerably cut back where it couldn't overcome the rear backlit anymore when it has to work in the high-speed pulse mode!
Yea... I know. I was going to point that out earlier, that stablization would be even *more* beneficial in circumstances like this if you don't want to drag a tripod along, because of sync speed limitations (if you don't want the flash range lost using FP mode).

I was trying to be nice and I didn't mention that part. lol But, I know you bring along a pretty hefty kit for your type of shooting, and appreciate the convenience of better support than hand held heavy lenses with IS would provide. lol

I've seen my share off hand held BIF photos from the Bigma at shutter speeds that benefited from stablization, though. :-)

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