As promised

…so what is the deal with image stabilization/vibration reduction (IS/VR), if your lens or camera has it?

  • Use it! It is a great feature: it adds several stops to your ability to take low shutter speed.
  • If your camera is on a tripod, do not use it. It does not good and may do harm (like wearing our your battery).
  • If you are shaking wildly because you are following something, do not use it.
  • If you are tracking a subject that moves in a linear direction, like yesterday’s aircraft, use it – if you have a “mode 1/mode 2” or “active/passive” switch, which you have on high-end lenses. Mode 2/Active means “I am tracking something on one direction, so only stabilise in the direction perpendicular to my tracking”.

On Nikon and Canon, you have VR/IS in the lens. Sony does it in the body: cheaper, but less optimized to the lens length, and you can’t see the effect.

0 thoughts on “As promised

  1. Indeed – on Canon it may not be the recommendation (I’ve heard conflicting advice), but I still recommend keeping it off. Why do you need it if you have a steady tripod?

    There’s a test. Use Live View magnified 10x and see. If you see vibration, then yes, it may make sense. Otherwise do not bother.

  2. Yep. Sounds like good advice to me. Being a Nikon guy, it sounded somewhat confusing as to why Canon would recommend keeping it on (perhaps if you have a less than wonderful tripod that sways in high wind?), but I do know for sure that on Nikon keeping it on will “overcompensate” in effect and turn pictures made on a tripod blurry… which is pretty funny really.

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