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Thread: Image Stabilisation in Macro Lenses

  1. #1
    ashish's Avatar
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    Ashish Chalapuram

    Image Stabilisation in Macro Lenses

    Hi,

    I use a Canon EOS 7D and am planning to buy a macro lens. I would like to understand how much impact Image Stabilisation (IS) would have while shooting with a macro lens.

    I would be looking at a 90mm - 100mm lens. Please do suggest a few options.

    Many thanks for your help in advance.

    Cheers,
    Ashish

  2. #2
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: Image Stabilisation in Macro Lenses

    Conventional image stabilization, which corrects for angular motion, is essentially useless close to minimum focusing distance, which is where macro work is done. Canon's "hybrid IS", which is available only on the 100mm L, also corrects for motion parallel to the sensor, which is important at macro distances. I have that lens, and I find it gives me roughly a stop and a half at minimum focusing distance. I think Canon may advertise 2 stops. At long distances, the IS helps much more. I don't know if any lenses from other manufacturers have something comparable, but I know that most macro lenses don't have it.

    In a lot of macro work, flash or physical stabilization -- a tripod or monopod-- is used to avoid motion blur.

  3. #3
    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Image Stabilisation in Macro Lenses

    I have the Sigma 150 OS (Optical Stabilization). Works well,but not neccesary.Using flash is a definite plus for eliminating motion blur.
    I like the IS,OS because it helps keeping your subject a bit more stable in the viewfinder if handheld.
    Makes it a little easier to see if subject is in focus.

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    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: Image Stabilisation in Macro Lenses

    In response to an earlier posting, I tried to find out whether the OS in the Sigma 150 is conventional or more similar to Canon's hybrid. I couldn't find an answer. The only clue was here:

    * The Optical Stabilizer function is at its optimum at longer focusing distances.
    That's not really a complete answer, because even hybrid IS is more effective at longer distances.

  5. #5
    ashish's Avatar
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    Re: Image Stabilisation in Macro Lenses

    Thanks for your inputs guys....

    There is a substantial difference in the cost of an IS macro vs a non IS macro..... just wondering if it is worth the additional investment.

  6. #6
    DanK's Avatar
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    Re: Image Stabilisation in Macro Lenses

    There are many threads about this issue on various photo sites, so it would be worth it for you to search the net. It depends on what you do. If you are using a tripod, obviously, it does not matter. If you are using flash, it won't matter much if at all either. If you are doing handheld available light macro, it matters. However, almost no macro shooters have IS/OS/VC that makes much if any difference at macro distances, even if their macro lenses have IS that works at greater distances. And even with the best IS you can buy for macro, you are only going to get 1.5 or at best 2 stops.

    I have two macro lenses, one with hybrid IS and one with no IS, and in the majority of cases, I pay no attention to that feature in choosing between them. However, if I am expecting to do handheld work with available light, I prefer the one with hybrid IS.

  7. #7
    Adrian's Avatar
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    Re: Image Stabilisation in Macro Lenses

    The answer surely depends on what macro you plan to do. If you plan to use a tripod and set up carefully for shots, then IS is irrelevant. If you plan to use flash and a suitably high shutter speed, then IS is irrelevant.

    IS is relevant of you plan to use the lens hand held using only available light and fear that your Av, ISO, shutter speed combination will not deliver the results you require in terms of depth of field and sharp focus.

    If you can afford it, play safe. If you plan to use the lens for other non-macro work, then IS may well be useful. I am almost certain that the only lens that has hybrid IS for macro currently is the Canon brand.

    Adrian

  8. #8
    ashish's Avatar
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    Re: Image Stabilisation in Macro Lenses

    Thanks for your thoughts guys. Much appreciated. I think I'll give it some more thought before I take a final call.

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