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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 27 Nov 2015 (Friday) 13:39
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18-55 USM vs STM (IS on tripod edition)

 
Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Post edited over 3 years ago by Left Handed Brisket. (4 edits in all)
     
Nov 27, 2015 13:39 |  #1

Just bought the SL1/100D and 18-55 STM kit refurb as a replacement for my back up camera a XSi/450D. After a day out hiking and taking pics with my kids, i thought I would check out front/back focus of various lenses, with a secondary goal of looking at sharpness of the camera.

Didn't really expect to go down the "IS on a tripod" rabbit hole or even really start pixel peeping. I usually test front and back focus without even downloading the images to the computer. I feel that with a good set up, the camera LCD is enough to get within spittin' distance. But once i saw the results, even on the back of the camera, I could tell something was up so i started some testing.

I love IS, but I also have always felt that there are random cases where it can hurt image quality. Maybe i'm giving myself too much credit, but if I really try, I can handhold at SS that are way lower than most people would attempt … sometimes i feel like IS messes up the shot. At the same time i have seen that Canon claims that there are only 4 lenses that are not "tripod aware".

I either have a defective lens or the latest version of the 18-55 is not made for tripod IS use. Let me know what you think.

the ruler is set at approx. 45° to the focus target, the 10" mark is on the same plane as the target, front/back focus is not really significant with either of the lenses.

all 100% crops, SOOC JPG;

tack sharp control shot, EF adapted, manual focus, 50MM Sears Auto 2.0 @ 2.8:

IMAGE: http://logicandproportion.com/POTN/18-55%20tests/crops/1_IMG_0093_Sears_Crop.jpg

the rest are wide open @ 55mm

USM IS off:

IMAGE: http://logicandproportion.com/POTN/18-55%20tests/crops/2_IMG_0097_USM_noIS.jpg

USM IS on:

IMAGE: http://logicandproportion.com/POTN/18-55%20tests/crops/3_IMG_0094_USM_IS.jpg

STM IS on:

IMAGE: http://logicandproportion.com/POTN/18-55%20tests/crops/4_IMG_0090_STM_IS.jpg

STM IS off:

IMAGE: http://logicandproportion.com/POTN/18-55%20tests/crops/5_IMG_0095_STM_noIS.jpg

PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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That's my line!
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9,414 posts
Gallery: 12 photos
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Location: The Uwharrie Mts, NC
Post edited over 3 years ago by Left Handed Brisket.
     
Nov 27, 2015 13:41 |  #2

wanted to post the IS off versions of the lenses together as a comparison. I thought that I had read that the STM was supposed to be significantly shaper than the USM, i'm not seeing it.

USM IS off:

IMAGE: http://logicandproportion.com/POTN/18-55%20tests/crops/2_IMG_0097_USM_noIS.jpg

STM IS off:

IMAGE: http://logicandproportion.com/POTN/18-55%20tests/crops/5_IMG_0095_STM_noIS.jpg

PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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ejenner
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Post edited over 3 years ago by ejenner. (2 edits in all)
     
Nov 28, 2015 23:18 |  #3

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #17798452 (external link)
At the same time i have seen that Canon claims that there are only 4 lenses that are not "tripod aware".

I either have a defective lens or the latest version of the 18-55 is not made for tripod IS use. Let me know what you think.

the ruler is set at approx. 45° to the focus target, the 10" mark is on the same plane as the target, front/back focus is not really significant with either of the lenses.


I think the differences are actually less that I might expect. On the sharpness, I have no idea if these are what I'd expect or not.

Anyway, apparently (nearly) all my IS lenses are broken. I have been saying this for years, but am usually ignored or rebuked except for the very occasional thread or person who agrees.

First I would like to say that Canon's 'tripod-sensing' IS has improved significantly over the years. For instance, but 16-35 really is very close to what Canon claims. On a tripod the IS turns on, but almost immediately stops moving the image and it is almost impossible to get the IS to blur a shot.

The 100L, the next oldest lens, does pretty well. However, if I am say focus stacking with IS on at 1/6s or so I will get maybe 80%-90% sharp shots and the rest blurred.

The 24-105 and 70-200 f4 IS, forget it. Anything less than 1/15s with IS on (on a tripod) and it is very likely the shot will be blurred.

On the 'rebuked' point. IF you use a remote release and let the IS settle down then it is much less likely to cause blurring and you can usually shoot with IS on, but that will also be somewhat lens dependent. IME this is not how most people shoot with a remote release on a tripod. Everything is still so you generally just press the shutter button. Using the 'let IS settle down' method, Frank (haven't seen him around recently) was able to get sharp shots with the lenses he used.

Normally I stay away from this discussion because it is not one I can 'win', but have enough experiences with different IS lenses to know what I need to do (switch off IS if I am on a tripod and not holding the camera). Now something else that comes up with 'IS on a tripod' are folks using a tripod, but still holding the camera. In this case I do leave IS on.

Of course if the shutter speed is high enough (say 1/60s even), then none of this matters, tripod or not. Also the 'very old' non-tripod sensing IS was much worse and would really jump around on a tripod and you'd need really high SS to avoid blur, so in that sense the 'tripod-sensing' IS is indeed much better. but in general it is not quite as claimed - or at least wasn't until perhaps recently with some lenses (I had to go out of my way to blur the 16-35 f4 although I can't remember now exactly what I did).


Edward Jenner
5DIV, M6, GX1 II, Sig15mm FE, 16-35 F4,TS-E 17, TS-E 24, M11-22, M18-150 ,24-105, T45 1.8VC, 70-200 f4 IS, 70-200 2.8 vII, Sig 85 1.4, 100L, 135L, 400DOII.
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/48305795@N03/ (external link)
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ettlz
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Post edited over 3 years ago by ettlz. (2 edits in all)
     
Nov 29, 2015 06:40 |  #4

I can't say I've ever noticed my EF-S 18-55 IS (non-STM) having trouble with being mounted on a tripod. However IS is not perfect, and the images you've posted fall far short of the quality I'd expect from these lenses, assuming they're centre crops. (Similar with the STM versions I tried, although all of those were decentered...) In fact, the crops look like they've got vertical motion blur. I suspect this is caused by vibrations in the tripod when you pressed the shutter release, or from the slap of the mirror. These can defeat IS at slow shutter speeds, especially if it's not had a second or so to activate. This is why when testing lenses indoors I:


  1. Enable mirror lock-up and use a 10s shutter delay to reduce rig vibrations.
  2. Use Live-View mode AF (not Quick mode or manual focus).

I've a suspicion that in some models of lens with very aggressive IS there is a trade-off in image quality visible as general reduction in resolution when the mechanism is pushed to its limits, but I don't think that's what's happening here.

Here's an example. The following shots were taken with an EF-S 18-55 IS lens at 55mm, f/5.6 on a Canon EOS 7D body, on a tripod with IS turned on. They are 100% centre crops. In both cases I used Live View mode AF.

For the first shot, I had no delay or mirror lock-up and the picture was taken as soon as I pressed the shutter release button with a shutter speed of 0.4s.


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In the second shot, which was metered slightly faster at 0.3s (but I don't think this is significant), was taken with a 10s delay and mirror lock-up. This is significantly better, and is essentially as sharp as my copy of this lens gets:


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Now I'd expect the second result even with IS turned off. The point is that having it turned on has not in any way degraded the image.

Canon EOS 60D :: Canon EOS 7D :: Canon EOS 10 :: Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM :: Manual-focus Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM :: Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM

  
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raksphoto
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Post edited over 3 years ago by raksphoto.
     
Nov 29, 2015 07:06 |  #5

What was the shutter speed on the original set of samples? Or did I miss this somewhere in the post? Apologies if so.


2x 7D Mark II | 70D
EF-S 10-18mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM | EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM |
EF-S 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM | EF 70-200mm f/4L |
EF 135mm f/2L | EF 100mm f/2 | EF 85mm f/1.8 | EF 50mm f/1.2L | EF 35mm f/1.4L
My cameras are now all 7-Series

  
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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Location: The Uwharrie Mts, NC
     
Nov 29, 2015 09:10 |  #6

While i didn't use mirror lock up, as a mostly studio product photography guy, i'm very confident with tripod work … meaning i set it up nice and solid and can release the shutter smoothly. I do a half press before releasing the shutter, not going to say i wait a full second or two but i definitely don't just slam the shutter release down.

all shots were 1/80 sec, 200 ISO. This full frame shot should have all the exif data. On the left of the frame you can see a white bar thingy, that is a 150 watt halogen shop light hanging from a light stand, on the opposite side is another tungsten bulb, there is a tungsten overhead bulb on, and there is quite a bit of natural window light coming from the right. Lots of light, even for f/5.6.

had a late night last night, :-P let this coffee soak in and I will try to make some coherent comments on you guys' posts. I appreciate not being alone on doubting IS infallibility. I have thought this for a long time, but as said, it's not really a easy fight around here. Kinda why i wanted to post these results.

I will say that I took probably 20 shots with what are basically identical results, and the manual focus 50mm was taken to show no issues with camera or user error.I also used an old 70-210 that gave decent results, but it was definitely back focusing … I switched it to MF and got nice sharp images at a couple of focal lengths. However I will make a point of trying mirror lock up, and a few other things at some point today.

stay tuned.


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PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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ejenner
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Nov 29, 2015 11:37 |  #7

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #17800278 (external link)
all shots were 1/80 sec, 200 ISO.


Normally I would say that would be fast enough than any of the 'tripod sensing' lenses should produce sharp results with IS on a tripod. I would also say though that it is fast enough to avoid mirror slap, however, I always use silent mode 1 on a tripod - mirror lockup + electronic first curtain to mitigate both mirror and shutter vibrations. But again at that shutter speed I've never seen a difference.


Edward Jenner
5DIV, M6, GX1 II, Sig15mm FE, 16-35 F4,TS-E 17, TS-E 24, M11-22, M18-150 ,24-105, T45 1.8VC, 70-200 f4 IS, 70-200 2.8 vII, Sig 85 1.4, 100L, 135L, 400DOII.
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/48305795@N03/ (external link)
https://www.facebook.c​om/edward.jenner.372/p​hotos (external link)

  
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18-55 USM vs STM (IS on tripod edition)
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