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Thread: IS and a Tripod

  1. #1
    Ollokot's Avatar
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    IS and a Tripod

    Is there any advantage or disadvantage to having IS turned on while on a tripod,or should it be turned off.
    Pat.

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    Bill S

    Re: IS and a Tripod

    Pat,

    This is actually a per lens item. Some lenses with IS will specifically say in their manuals whether they are safe to enable IS while on a tripod. Most I have seen recommend turning it off. But it also depends on the stability of your tripod. If you have a fairly strong tripod that doesn't bounce much, I'd turn IS off in almost every instance. If your tripod is springy and not very stable, I'd first get a new tripod, but in the meantime experiment with IS on and off and see what works best for your combination.

    The bottom line is, there is no definitive answer to this question.

    - Bill

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    Re: IS and a Tripod

    I agree with Bill but would add one more item to his list. Wind rock problems when using a large lens in strong cross winds.

    Very often, I forget to turn off IS but usually I can't see any difference.

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    Ollokot's Avatar
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    Re: IS and a Tripod

    Thank you Bill and Geoff for your reply.
    The reason I asked was that I was out this morning and never turned off the IS, forgot,and as you say Geoff I encountered wind problems and my tripod is not the best . Not a very productive morning. More lessons learned.
    Best Wishes,
    Pat

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: IS and a Tripod

    As Bill S. posted, the need to turn off the IS depends upon which lens you are using. The older IS systems such as on the 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 or 300mm f/4L IS lenses require the IS to be turned off when the camera is tripod mounted (but it should be left on when using a monopod) because the IS will try to stabilize the already stable camera/lens and cause feedback problems.

    However, with the newer IS systems such as on the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS and 70-200mm f/4L IS, the lens senses that it is tripod mounted and puts the IS to sleep. Canon recommends turning off the IS "to save battery power" but I never turn IS off on these two lenses. I have never been concerned with battery power since my 40D is very frugal in power use and can actually shoot twice as many shots on a battery charge than the 50D. The IS will help if there is movement due to wind or earthquakes (just kidding about the last but, I suppose it would work in a mild to moderate quake).

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    Re: IS and a Tripod

    Hi folks,

    In agreement with all the above!

    Just to add a little background for you ...

    a few years ago I exchanged a few eMails with Canon's technical guru Chuck Westfall regarding the EF70-200mm F4L IS USM lens - and he had his to say about IS & manuals ...

    "
    For reasons known only to themselves, the folks who approve the instruction books in Japan usually seem to prefer leaving that section of the IS lens booklets somewhat ambiguous. I tried to get them to change the books for the IS super-telephotos (300/2.8L IS, 400/2.8L IS, 500/4L IS, 600/4L IS and eventually 400/4 DO IS) 7 or 8 years ago, shortly after I stumbled upon the added capabilities of those lenses while testing them, but no dice. It looks like they are finally admitting that the "Tripod IS" mode that I described online several years ago actually exists, at least with the EF200mm f/2L IS USM lens that has just been released, but I doubt that the instructions for the older lenses will ever be rewritten.

    The IS mechanism in the EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM is effectively disabled when the lens detects that it is mounted on a tripod, as I previously described to you, but it is not as sophisticated as the ones in the IS super-telephotos because it does not correct for mirror slap or other subtle movement when the lens is mounted on a tripod. However, it is important to understand that this form of disabling is different than shutting off the IS function with the mode switch on the lens. In the latter case, the IS mechanism is centered and locked into place, whereas in the former case, the IS mechanism shifts the image downward slightly for a second or so, then stops moving. It's not moving, but it's not centered or locked, either. It's effectively on standby, so that it can resume its corrective capabilities instantly if movement is detected. Again, you can see this for yourself by looking through the viewfinder while pressing the shutter button halfway for at least several seconds, assuming the lens is mounted on a tripod and the IS switch is on.

    To my way of thinking, this is not the optimum way to use the equipment. In my opinion, if you use the EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM on a tripod, it would be best to turn off the IS mechanism via the switch on the lens, rather than depending on the tripod detection capabilities of the IS mechanism. "

    Hope this helps!

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: IS and a Tripod

    Thanks Colin...

    That is a succinct and understandable explanation. I will shut off my IS when tripod mounted in the future. The canon manual was, in fact, a bit ambiguous mentioning battery saving as the reason to shut off the IS.

    I have not tested both ways but, since it cannot hurt to shut off the IS and since it is such an easy process, I will work that way in the future - at least when I remember to do it.

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    Re: IS and a Tripod

    No worries Richard.

    I normally turn mine off as well. Interestingly, a friend came back from an extensive professional overseas shoot and came to see me with concerns that he's ruined some images by leaving IS on whilst working on a tripod.

    To cut a long story short, the images were definately less sharp, but I was able to show him how to save them by (capture) sharpening them a bit more agressively.

  9. #9
    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: IS and a Tripod

    Read an interesting article a while back (can't find it but think it might have been a Chase Jarvis one) where he had looked IS in great detail.

    Turns out that the systems sample at around 1000 times a second.......sounds great.......but what if you're shooting on a bright day, you're hand holding and the shutter speeds are hovering around 1/1000s?
    Do you turn the IS off before you shoot......I don't, it usually just gets left on. He had spoken to some top pro's and they are starting to turn the IS off in these conditions as the sample rate and subsequent lens correction can clash with the speed the shutter fires at and actually cause an effect that looks like camera shake.

    Below 1/500s it doesn't do this but above 1/1000s you are better with the IS off.




    As to using it with the tripod then the Nikon lenses I use don't have a problem and there are no instructions to say it has to be turned off. If I am triggering the camera by hand I tend to leave it on as you still get some movement when the shutter is pressed. If I'm using the cable release (which of coarse I always do when I use a Tripod cos I'm not lazy in any way ) then I turn it off.
    One other thing to think about. I sometimes use the self timer when using a tripod and have it set for 2 seconds, just to let the camera settle before it fires - in the case of the Nikon lenses that is exactly how long it takes for the VR (IS for the Canon guys) to switch of and I end up with blurred shots as the lens elements jump just before the shutter goes off. I have to remember to knock the VR off first.

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