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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 14 Apr 2013 (Sunday) 17:43
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Is it considered tripod if not locked down? IS on / off Q

 
JJD.Photography
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Apr 14, 2013 17:43 |  #1

I read over and over when mounted on a tripod IS should be turned off with the older Canon lenses. And I practice this when shooting landscapes or the not so occasional bird that is standing still. BUT, if the camera and lens are free to move and I must have hands on to keep the gear from slamming down the ballhead, is this considered tripod mounted? Mainly shooting birds and sports with this configuration.

Thanks for any input!


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macroimage
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Apr 20, 2013 02:41 |  #2

You could leave the IS turned on for these situations.

With older IS lenses on a tripod, there are two reasons to turn it off: one is that IS wastes battery power when it isn't needed and two is that for longer exposures, the IS doesn't turn off and will drift, adding motion blur to the picture. For example with my 28-135mm the IS makes the picture noticeably worse for exposures of 1/10s or longer. Newer lenses should recognize that they are on a tripod and turn off, but you can always turn them off manually anyway to be sure.

For fast shutter speeds, there isn't much harm in leaving the IS on, even on a tripod but it would be better turned off if the tripod is very stable.


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MakisM1
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Apr 20, 2013 09:28 |  #3

When we talk about older lenses, we talk about pre-1995 designs. The post-1995 lenses can have the IS on, since they are designed to sense the tripod.


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gasrocks
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Apr 20, 2013 10:23 |  #4

Best way to get the answer to your question: run your own test. Do some with IS Off/On, locked down, not. Depends on the lens, of course and also your technique. Gene


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Todd ­ Lambert
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Apr 20, 2013 10:43 |  #5

I thought someone already had tested this, and it was determined that when in doubt, you should always turn IS off when on a tripod? New lens or not. Can't remember where I saw that though..




  
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ed ­ rader
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Apr 20, 2013 12:19 |  #6

Todd Lambert wrote in post #15848670 (external link)
I thought someone already had tested this, and it was determined that when in doubt, you should always turn IS off when on a tripod? New lens or not. Can't remember where I saw that though..

Yes. Long exposures could be ruined by IS. I discovered this the hard way with my 70-200L f4 IS a few years back and posted results


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amfoto1
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Apr 20, 2013 13:17 |  #7

MakisM1 wrote in post #15848441 (external link)
When we talk about older lenses, we talk about pre-1995 designs. The post-1995 lenses can have the IS on, since they are designed to sense the tripod.

Sorry to say, but that's not true...

In fact, in 1995 there were no IS lenses for SLRs. The first IS EF-mount lenses were the 28-135 in 1998 and the 300/4 in 1997, if memory serves. There might have been one or two before, but not much earlier than 1997.

Whether or not an IS lens needs to have the IS turned off when locked down on a tripod is determined by the sophistication of the IS system in the lens, has little to do with the lens' age.

The list of lenses (hasn't been updated by Canon in years, so is only a partical list) that need it turned off when locked down on a tripod happen to include some of the older, less sophisticated, but also include some much newer lenses...

TURN IT OFF:

28-135
300/4L
24-105L
100-400L
70-300

While the list of lenses that it can be left on (IS senses lack of movement and turns itself off) includes lenses intro'd as early as 1999...

OKAY TO LEAVE IT ON:

70-200 (all versions with IS, including as early as 2001)
200/2
300/2.8 (both w/IS)
400/2.8 (both w/IS)
400/4 DO
500/4 (both w/IS, inlcuding the first of the super teles with IS, March 1999)
600/4 (both w/IS)
800/5.6

UNKOWN, BUT PROBABLY SAFE TO LEAVE ON:

24-70/4L
28-300L
70-300L
100L

UNKOWN, BUT PROBABLY NEED TO TURN OFF:

17-85
18-55 (all versions with IS)
18-135
18-200
55-250

HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA EITHER WAY:

15-85
17-55/2.8
24/2.8 IS
28/2.8 IS
35/2 IS
35-350L

OP, looking at your gear list, you appear to only have two IS lenses and both are on the OKAY TO LEAVE ON list... Well, actually the 100L macro isn't on any official list yet.... But it's hard to imagine Canon wouldn't assume a macro lens is going to spend it's fair share of time on a tripod, so would put tripod-sensing IS in it. I think there are no worries for you either way, even if your tripod is solidly locked down.

However for future reference, I would consider a lens being used on an "unlocked" tripod - such as panning with moving subjects and/or on a gimbal mount of some sort - to be usable with IS on in all cases. On monopods, too. There's almost always enough movement, even if it's very slight, for IS to have something to keep it occupied.

Occasionally you might have a problem with a lens that's got the less sophisticated type of IS... Heck if you do a really, really good job handholding it's possible for the IS to act up. But it would likely be a pretty rare occurance and you can see it in the viewfinder, when it occurs.

I've been shooting with IS lenses for about 12 years - some from both lists - and I literally can't recall the last time I actually turned IS off. Now, it so happens that the lenses I have where you're supposed to, I use mostly for handheld shooting. One, though - my 300/4 IS - I do put on a monopod sometimes during long, long shooting days... and have never seen any issues at all with it. I also should note that I don't find reason to shoot long exposures very much, at least not with any of my IS lenses. And I don't shoot video with my DSLRs. Both are situations where you might want (need?) to turn off IS. And, yes, it's true that you might save a little battery charge by turing off IS. IMO, it's very little savings. If working right, IS just doesn't seem to consume all that much power. I sometimes shoot all day with IS operating "nearly continously". For example, dressage shows (equestrian) involve nearly constant tracking and following the subjects, one right after another, usually 8 hours of shooting minimum at major events, and a pair of LP-E6 batteries will typically still have juice remaining after taking 2500 to 3000 shots. IS and AI Servo AF are running nearly the full time, though I do conserve batteries in some other ways (never use the on-board flash, minimize image playback, shortest possible duration to sleep mode, etc.)

Note if you are panning and wanting a background blur effect, some lenses have two-mode IS. Mode 1 stabilizes in both vertical and horizontal directions. Mode 2 is for panning and only stabilizes the vertical axis, doesn't try to counteract horizontal movement. (The lens senses the way you are holding the camera, in landscape or portrait orientation, and will apply the above appropriately in either case.)


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gfspencer
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Apr 20, 2013 14:18 as a reply to  @ amfoto1's post |  #8

As I hardly ever use a tripod so I am not an expert on this subject. I am actually posing a question. I was using my 70-300mm DO lens the other day on a tripod. I took a few pictures but I forgot to turn IS off. (In other words, I left IS on.) I remembered my mistake, turned IS off, and took a few more pictures of the same subject. The pictures with IS turned on were sharper than the photos with IS turned off? Does anyone have any idea why that happened? Could that be a quirk of that particular lens?


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Apr 20, 2013 14:31 |  #9

JJD.Photography wrote in post #15827665 (external link)
I read over and over when mounted on a tripod IS should be turned off with the older Canon lenses. And I practice this when shooting landscapes or the not so occasional bird that is standing still. BUT, if the camera and lens are free to move and I must have hands on to keep the gear from slamming down the ballhead, is this considered tripod mounted? Mainly shooting birds and sports with this configuration.

Thanks for any input!

As amfoto1 suggests, I shoot with a 500mm f/4L IS on a gimbal head and most often leave the IS on.

In reality, there is no one correct answer I'm afraid, it depends on the situation, the shot and the lens.

amfoto's excellent list IS lenses should help you decide some aspects of the answer based on your lens.


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ed ­ rader
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Apr 20, 2013 14:32 |  #10

gfspencer wrote in post #15849173 (external link)
As I hardly ever use a tripod so I am not an expert on this subject. I am actually posing a question. I was using my 70-300mm DO lens the other day on a tripod. I took a few pictures but I forgot to turn IS off. (In other words, I left IS on.) I remembered my mistake, turned IS off, and took a few more pictures of the same subject. The pictures with IS turned on were sharper than the photos with IS turned off? Does anyone have any idea why that happened? Could that be a quirk of that particular lens?

how long was the exposure time? did you use MLU? you may have a shaky tripod or who knows :D.


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Apr 20, 2013 14:37 |  #11

gfspencer wrote in post #15849173 (external link)
As I hardly ever use a tripod so I am not an expert on this subject. I am actually posing a question. I was using my 70-300mm DO lens the other day on a tripod. I took a few pictures but I forgot to turn IS off. (In other words, I left IS on.) I remembered my mistake, turned IS off, and took a few more pictures of the same subject. The pictures with IS turned on were sharper than the photos with IS turned off? Does anyone have any idea why that happened? Could that be a quirk of that particular lens?

The IS on the DO was pretty state of the art when it was released, and not all tripods are 100% stable.
It's not on amfoto1's list, but it is much newer than the MkI 70-200mm f/2.8L IS for instance, with newer IS. It may even be tripod aware IS.

My guess is that the IS did exactly what we want it to do. It compensated for the slight vibrations in your tripod set up.


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MakisM1
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Apr 20, 2013 14:52 |  #12

This is the page I'd read long time ago.

http://cpn.canon-europe.com …lization_lenses​.do?page=2 (external link)

The first IS lens was introduced in 95

The modification which allows IS-on when mounted on a tripod is a software mod and was included in lenses starting from the EF 300 f2.8 in 99.

I don't think there is any reason to doubt that Canon would have not included the software code for tripod detection, to any subsequent lens.

My own experience with the 18-200 suggests that leaving it on does not produce problems, to the contrary helps with mirror slap.


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Todd ­ Lambert
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Apr 20, 2013 15:03 |  #13

ed rader wrote in post #15848898 (external link)
Yes. Long exposures could be ruined by IS. I discovered this the hard way with my 70-200L f4 IS a few years back and posted results

Ah yes, that makes sense, since you're older than dirt. :p




  
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