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Thread started 17 Mar 2012 (Saturday) 14:34
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Does img-stabilzation help when I'm tracking a moving subject?

 
trale
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Mar 17, 2012 14:34 |  #1

I'm trying to understand to what degree image stabilization helps (or hinders) when I'm tracking a fast-moving object. Lets say worse case a fast unpredictably moving object, for example, a basketball player moving and jumping around the court in a game.

Basically, I would be hand-holding the camera and it would be prone to vertical, horizontal, and tilt movements.

I know that IS is great when you're taking a hand-held picture of a stationary object or scene. But what about my scenario? Would IS improve the motion blur from camera movement in this case?

Assume that I would be already be using a high shutter speed, say 1/1000, to freeze the subject. Would IS add anything to the result since I'm already using a fast shutter speed? (Or would IS actually makes things worse somehow, like slowing down the AF system?)

I pose this question because I'm about to purchase a 70-200mm F/2.8 L lens, but I'm trying to decide if I should save the money and go with the old non-IS version, or pay more than twice as much for the IS II version.

General reading around the web tells me that the IS wouldn't help at all, and that having a fast shutter speed should effectively cancel out both subject movement and camera movement. But when I look back at the thousands of shots I've taken, it appears that on shots when I managed to keep the camera still (the subject is moving within the frame), the results are sharper than when I'm moving the camera to track the subject. So I'm wondering if camera movement is causing image softness even if I'm using 1/1000 shutter speed.




  
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Billginthekeys
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Mar 17, 2012 14:38 |  #2

trale wrote in post #14103503 (external link)
I'm trying to understand to what degree image stabilization helps (or hinders) when I'm tracking a fast-moving object. Lets say worse case a fast unpredictably moving object, for example, a basketball player moving and jumping around the court in a game.

Basically, I would be hand-holding the camera and it would be prone to vertical, horizontal, and tilt movements.

I know that IS is great when you're taking a hand-held picture of a stationary object or scene. But what about my scenario? Would IS improve the motion blur from camera movement in this case?

Assume that I would be already be using a high shutter speed, say 1/1000, to freeze the subject. Would IS add anything to the result since I'm already using a fast shutter speed? (Or would IS actually makes things worse somehow, like slowing down the AF system?)

I pose this question because I'm about to purchase a 70-200mm F/2.8 L lens, but I'm trying to decide if I should save the money and go with the old non-IS version, or pay more than twice as much for the IS II version.

General reading around the web tells me that the IS wouldn't help at all, and that having a fast shutter speed should effectively cancel out both subject movement and camera movement. But when I look back at the thousands of shots I've taken, it appears that on shots when I managed to keep the camera still (the subject is moving within the frame), the results are sharper than when I'm moving the camera to track the subject. So I'm wondering if camera movement is causing image softness even if I'm using 1/1000 shutter speed.

If you are waving the lens around erratically you can move it at a higher speed than an otherwise reasonable shutter speed can keep up with. IS wouldn't make any difference there either. IS, before the flames start, has its benefits, but it doesn't do anything to stop action.


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sandpiper
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Mar 17, 2012 14:52 as a reply to  @ Billginthekeys's post |  #3

No, in your scenario IS won't help. You are going to be using 1/1000th so that should prevent any camera shake, provided that you are moving the lens with your subject. If you are moving it with frequent changes of direction, then the IS can try and fight against the change of direction too, as it will see it as camera shake, so whilst it can't help it could potentially make things worse as it tries to "correct" for your movements.

If you were tracking a more predicatble subject, with a slower shutter speed, then mode 2 IS can be very useful. A classic example where I find mode 2 IS a boon is WW2 fighters or later helicopters. Fast shutter speeds are not possible as they freeze the props or rotors so they look stopped, so the slower the shutter speed the better the prop blur. I am generally going to be handholding a long lens for such shots (say 400mm) so the "rule of thumb" SS to avoid camera shake will be 1/400, but I want to go down to maybe 1/80 for rotor blur. Without IS I should get some sharp shots, with IS most of them should be sharp.




  
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newworld666
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Mar 17, 2012 14:55 as a reply to  @ Billginthekeys's post |  #4

For panning, it will help a lot ..
I don't use IS .... but if you do, you can fix up and down movements ..
You still have to be skilled enough to track the subject, but if so, you will get a higher ratio .. So for sports, many would prefer to get IS exclusively for panning.


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Mar 17, 2012 15:11 as a reply to  @ newworld666's post |  #5

One thing that IS does..shutter-speed independent, is makes framing better. Your image.. even with fast "grab" shots, will settle down more in the VF. I know, in these scenarios you don't always have time to "compose", but if you're tracking a player.. they will be more still in the VF with IS, whereas without.. they may be jumping all around.


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trale
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Mar 17, 2012 15:15 |  #6

sandpiper wrote in post #14103576 (external link)
No, in your scenario IS won't help. You are going to be using 1/1000th so that should prevent any camera shake, provided that you are moving the lens with your subject. If you are moving it with frequent changes of direction, then the IS can try and fight against the change of direction too, as it will see it as camera shake, so whilst it can't help it could potentially make things worse as it tries to "correct" for your movements.

If you were tracking a more predicatble subject, with a slower shutter speed, then mode 2 IS can be very useful. A classic example where I find mode 2 IS a boon is WW2 fighters or later helicopters. Fast shutter speeds are not possible as they freeze the props or rotors so they look stopped, so the slower the shutter speed the better the prop blur. I am generally going to be handholding a long lens for such shots (say 400mm) so the "rule of thumb" SS to avoid camera shake will be 1/400, but I want to go down to maybe 1/80 for rotor blur. Without IS I should get some sharp shots, with IS most of them should be sharp.

Thanks for that insight. Since most of my sports scenarios is as I described, I think I would be better off with the non-IS 70-200mm f/2.8L.

I'm also guessing that the not-quite sharp pictures I get when I'm tracking a subject has more to do with the AF system (accuracy and speed) of my camera and lens, than not having a quick enough shutter speed to compensate for camera motion.




  
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neil_r
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Mar 17, 2012 15:19 |  #7

On my IS lenses there are 2 IS modes one is for panning, I use this when hand holding at the track and it works well, although in that scenario the movement tends to only be in one plane


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bobbyz
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Mar 17, 2012 15:29 |  #8

1Tanker wrote in post #14103645 (external link)
One thing that IS does..shutter-speed independent, is makes framing better. Your image.. even with fast "grab" shots, will settle down more in the VF. I know, in these scenarios you don't always have time to "compose", but if you're tracking a player.. they will be more still in the VF with IS, whereas without.. they may be jumping all around.

Shooting sports for few years, I never ever noticed players jumping up/down in VF. :) And I have shot football and soccer with 500mm f4 IS.


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rick_reno
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Mar 17, 2012 17:08 |  #9

I shoot my borzoi dogs, they move pretty fast. I leave IS off.




  
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mike_311
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Mar 17, 2012 20:13 |  #10

a tripod or monopod will help more.


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Does img-stabilzation help when I'm tracking a moving subject?
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