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Old Mar 16, 2008, 12:25 PM   #1
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I was looking at the Oly DSLR forum at DPReview(I rarely have the time to wade through that forum), andI came across an interesting post. This is a Cameralabs video on YouTube, that shows and compares in-body and in-lens IS using an E-510 and the Leica 4/3 IS lens. The point of the video is mainly to state that you can't use both the in-lens and in-camera IS at the same time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPdy52mR6Io

But we knew that - what I find interesting is the discussion of the relative merits of in-lens and in-camera IS, the point being that in-lens IS is likely to be better at longer focal lengths (if you can afford it).

Ted
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Old Mar 16, 2008, 5:25 PM   #2
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It is a weird sort of logic they are working with though, without thinking through the consequences.. So if you put the IS in the lens you will add weight and size to the lens, and so you need 'more' IS to compensate for this, which isfortunate becausean in lens IS works well. If the design philospohy to to make things smaller and lighter (less mass waving about beyond an easy point of balance) the IS gamut need not be as wide ranging. So part of the IS function in an 'in lens' IS system is taken up compensating for the very size and weight of the IS system itself.

I suppose you could say 'you can never have enough IS', but there is a limit to the amount of stabilization that can be designed in in the first place. The paradox inherent is that if you had unlimited IS, or even just a bit more than is currently possible, the camera would have no way to know what you were trying to photograph if the lens was waving about. You are on the decking of a bobbing boat and trying to photograph a lighthouse. Even if it can make a perfectly sharp picture, how will the lens know what aspect of the wildly varying framing you want to be the central theme?
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Old Mar 16, 2008, 6:54 PM   #3
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You know, I've never thought of it this way. I always assumed it was just easier to build in-lens stabilisation, so that happened first. (Think lens attached to motor moving around vs image sensor waving around trailing a million delicate wires.)

Now that in-body stabilisation is here, I expect in-lens stabilisation to just die a natural death, not because one is much better than the other, but that it costs less and is more convenient to do it once in-body than in the lens.

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Old Mar 16, 2008, 7:18 PM   #4
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Hi Ted

Nice post and a very good throught provoking reply from OCD - made my head spin for a wee bit.

Not sure how slow a death in lens stabilisation will be, esp considering how much Canon/Nikon IS/VR glass is out there and no in body IS from either manufacturer even for the forseable future. Like every other Oly/Sony/KM/Pentax shooter we're all happy as we get the benefits of IS with every lens.

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Old Mar 17, 2008, 10:42 AM   #5
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anomaly wrote:
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Now that in-body stabilisation is here, I expect in-lens stabilisation to just die a natural death, not because one is much better than the other, but that it costs less and is more convenient to do it once in-body than in the lens.
I wouldn't count on that. canon and nikon have no reason right now to go that route. They will argue in-lens IS is better. To some people, they prefer seeing the affects of stabilization in-camera. As to whether the system is better, maybe it is, maybe it isn't - but that's not the real issue. There are two more important issues for them:

1. Both have invested in full-frame sensor technology. The current in-body technology wont work on full frames if I uunderstand. So an in-body solution would not work for those users.

2. Profit. Let's take Canon. They have a 70-200 f4 lens that sells for $550. They have a 70-200 f4 IS lens that sells for $1000. I seriously doubt there is no extra profit in the $450 they're charging. So assumingn point 1 above disappears, why would Canon erase all that extra profit?

There is no argument that many Canon and Nikon users would like in-body stabilization. But there is very little incentive for Canon and Nikon to provide it. They would have to solve point number 1 which is no small matter as both companies are tied to professional photographers so they must keep them happy (and I'm sure if they had to buy IS lenses and consumer body people didn't they'd be unhappy). And, there has to be a good reason to offset point 2 - the loss of profit. Canon & Nikon will have to lose more market share and that loss will have to be tied to anti-shake before they'll do anything. Right now both are mitigating that by introducing more consumer grade lenses with IS at respectable prices (i.e. without the $400 mark-up).

It doesn't mean this is the best solution for the consumer but it's tough right now from a business perspective to see why they would change directions. Remember, Beta was thought by many to be a better solution than VHS. But the 'better' solution isn't always the one that wins.


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Old Mar 17, 2008, 6:49 PM   #6
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JohnG wrote:
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But the 'better' solution isn't always the one that wins.
I guess I agree with you about most points (considerable existing investment, desire to make more profit, etc), but normally the cheapest wins in the end. Open markets seem to force that sort of thing, and your quote relates to that effect.

I find it hard to see how in-lens IS can survive long now that even cheap DLSRs have in-body IS. Assuming you agree that people want it (and I believe they do) then the cheapest option (in-body) will force the rest into niche areas, if they survive at all. Adding IS to cheap kit lenses is, I believe, just an attempt to delay the inevitable.

Want to take a bet that Canon and/or Nikon introduce in-body IS within 5 years? Too long? How about 3? :-)
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Old Mar 17, 2008, 7:04 PM   #7
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anomaly wrote:
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Want to take a bet that Canon and/or Nikon introduce in-body IS within 5 years? Too long? How about 3? :-)
All you have to do is monitor market share. Right now everyone but C or N is below 10%. If Sony approaches their goal of 20% then it might happen. Otherwise there just isn't a good business reason for them to do so.
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Old Mar 18, 2008, 5:23 AM   #8
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I agree with JohnG on this - As long as Canon and Nikon have a 80%+ market share I can;t see them introducing in body IS for quiet some time, even if the other manufacturers continue providing cameras such as the 510/E3/A700/A350 etc.


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Old Mar 18, 2008, 9:29 AM   #9
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JohnG wrote:
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Remember, Beta was thought by many to be a better solution than VHS. But the 'better' solution isn't always the one that wins.
I agree with your points.Just a side note: in fact Beta survived for many years in its professional format, at all television studios, until digital video quality became good enough for them to switch. So theoretically C and N could end up with two product lines: "consumer" with in-body IS, and "pro" with in-lens IS. But for the reasons you state, I just don't think that will happen.

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