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Author Topic: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?  (Read 11543 times)

Guillermo Luijk

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The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« on: February 06, 2016, 05:17:18 am »

Thousands of times I hear: "WHEN USING A TRIPOD SET THE STABILIZER ALWAYS OFF". An image is worth 1000 words:







Shots done with an E-P5, 135mm, 1/1,6 s @ f/5,6, ISO200, rear wind over the tripod+camera combo was simulated with a fan.


Intuitively I always thought the IS could improve shots on a tripod when the conditions are not stable (e.g. wind or ground vibrations). When shooting on a stable environment (indoors, outdoors in absecene of wind), there is no practical difference between using the IS or not, so you just don't need to care. But when the conditions are the opposite the IS helps to improve image sharpness.

So the "WHEN USING A TRIPOD SET THE STABILIZER ALWAYS OFF" myth is false, I'd rather say "WHEN USING A TRIPOD SET THE STABILIZER ALWAYS ON", and by extension in practice: "LEAVE THE STABILIZER ALWAYS ON".

Regards
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 11:05:03 am by Guillermo Luijk »
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razrblck

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2016, 05:48:33 am »

Depends on the stabilization software, some old implementations blur images when the camera is perfectly still while more modern versions can recognize when the camera doesn't need it and turn it off automatically.

Then again, 135mm on a m43 body is a very long lens and more susceptible to tiny vibrations from pretty much anything, so leaving IS on might benefit this camera/lens combination a lot more than having a D810 with a 14mm lens on it.
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Guillermo Luijk

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2016, 09:55:36 am »

Depends on the stabilization software, some old implementations blur images when the camera is perfectly still while more modern versions can recognize when the camera doesn't need it and turn it off automatically.

I have heard that many times but I don't think the IS is turned off in the case of my E-P5, since I can hear it working during the whole exposure. It simply works better than older versions not introducing any noticeable blur.

I am having reports from people obtaining worse results when the IS is ON in long exposure with old gear like the Olympus E-510 or the Tamron SP 17-50 f2,8 for DSLR cameras. But with more recent IS lenses and IBIS bodies, the IS seems to have zero effect when the tripod is perfectly stable. So the old myth doesn't seem to hold true anymore.

Regards

mbaginy

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2016, 02:14:24 pm »

Very early after acquiring my Canon 100-400 (first version) I noticed that leaving IS turned on while shooting with a tripod gave better results.  The first times I used the lens I followed Canon's instructions to turn IS off and was disappointed with a number of images.  Then I tried with IS turned on and have kept it that way ever since.

I wouldn't generalise and suggest to do so on every lens with every camera, but it's well worth investigating, should some tripod-mounted shots show camera shake.
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Hening Bettermann

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2016, 06:57:10 pm »

Thank you for sharing this valuable info!

BobShaw

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2016, 11:54:33 pm »

The tripod is obviously moving as it is too flimsy. IS is doing what it is supposed to do and stop the movement. So it is not really a test. Try it indoors and on a decent tripod.
Whether you have IS on or off is explained in the manual for the lens. Some you can and some you can't.
Leaving IS always on just drains the battery and produces an annoying noise.
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Guillermo Luijk

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2016, 05:13:35 am »

The main purpose of this test was not to make true the "STABILIZER ALWAYS ON" mantra but prove false the "ON A TRIPOD ALWAYS SWITCH IT OFF" claimed by so many manufacturers and users.

When I know for sure that the IS will add nothing to image quality I switch it off. I also know that if I forget to do it the result will be the same in practical terms.

Regards

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ErikKaffehr

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2016, 07:38:33 am »

Hi Guillermo,

Thanks for sharing your findings. Things coming from you used to be good food for thougt.

I think it varies from system to system. With my older Sony cameras it used to be an issue.

Best regards
Erik

The main purpose of this test was not to make true the "STABILIZER ALWAYS ON" mantra but prove false the "ON A TRIPOD ALWAYS SWITCH IT OFF" claimed by so many manufacturers and users.

When I know for sure that the IS will add nothing to image quality I switch it off. I also know that if I forget to do it the result will be the same in practical terms.

Regards

Enviado desde mi GT-I9195 mediante Tapatalk
« Last Edit: February 07, 2016, 08:36:50 am by ErikKaffehr »
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2016, 08:31:56 am »

I once had a night shoot completely ruined when I forgot to turn Canon's IS off.

dwswager

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2016, 11:15:30 am »

Depends on the stabilization software, some old implementations blur images when the camera is perfectly still while more modern versions can recognize when the camera doesn't need it and turn it off automatically.

Then again, 135mm on a m43 body is a very long lens and more susceptible to tiny vibrations from pretty much anything, so leaving IS on might benefit this camera/lens combination a lot more than having a D810 with a 14mm lens on it.

This is the truth.  It really depends on the implementation in the lens and the actual stability of the platform itself.

It has been demonstrated many times, for example, with older Nikon VR that shutter speeds over 1/500th that the VR would degrade the image.  Also, if you have a tremendous amount of weigth cantilevered in high wind, how stable is the platform?

Bottom line as in almost all things is testing with the equipment you shoot in the conditions you shoot. It is usually beneficial to experiment with new lenses and body combinations to see what works best.
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Doug Gray

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2016, 06:08:45 pm »

I ran a quick tripod test with a 5DS R, 70-200mm IS II at 200 and F11 on 3 different exposure times. 1/500th, 1/1000, and 1/2000. Image stabilizer made no difference at 1/2000 or 1/1000. It reduced motion blur from mirror shake about 30% at 1/500th. At lower speeds it helps even more.

I was looking for a transition region where the IS amplified motion blur but didn't see it with this combination.

So for tripod use with a Canon 70-200 IS II it seems IS On is the way to go.

There is an issue with extremely long exposure times. the IS will gradually drift. I'm not sure where, exactly, it starts to deteriorate on a tripod but guess it is on exposures longer than 1/10th.
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Jim Kasson

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2016, 06:17:41 pm »

Thousands of times I hear: "WHEN USING A TRIPOD SET THE STABILIZER ALWAYS OFF". An image is worth 1000 words:

Intuitively I always thought the IS could improve shots on a tripod when the conditions are not stable (e.g. wind or ground vibrations). When shooting on a stable environment (indoors, outdoors in absence of wind), there is no practical difference between using the IS or not, so you just don't need to care. But when the conditions are the opposite the IS helps to improve image sharpness.

So the "WHEN USING A TRIPOD SET THE STABILIZER ALWAYS OFF" myth is false, I'd rather say "WHEN USING A TRIPOD SET THE STABILIZER ALWAYS ON", and by extension in practice: "LEAVE THE STABILIZER ALWAYS ON".

Regards

I tested the a7II with a 180 and a big RRS tripod, and came to a different conclusion:

http://blog.kasson.com/?p=8391

The situation is a bit more muddled with the a7II with a light tripod, and even more so with the a7R, a camera that interacts with OSS in some strange ways:

http://blog.kasson.com/?p=9743

Jim

BobShaw

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2016, 06:37:13 pm »

Again, until you can come up with a sharp image on the tripod with IS off then the test was obviously flawed.

The tripod is poor quality tripod or nor weighted down or the head is dropping. Is the mirror locked up? If not then the camera will shake. Are you using a cable release? If not then again the camera will shake.

Bottom line. THE CAMERA IS MOVING, so of course IS will improve it.
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dwswager

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2016, 07:09:34 pm »

Again, until you can come up with a sharp image on the tripod with IS off then the test was obviously flawed.

The tripod is poor quality tripod or nor weighted down or the head is dropping. Is the mirror locked up? If not then the camera will shake. Are you using a cable release? If not then again the camera will shake.

Bottom line. THE CAMERA IS MOVING, so of course IS will improve it.

I understand what you are saying and agree.  But,  It is a given that if the camera is totally steady, VR should have nothing but a negative effect.  However, the real world discussion is really VR on or off in Situation X under Conditions Y.  If the camera isn't totally steady in this scenario then VR likely will help and it should be turned on.  Again, a little testing should always be done.
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BobShaw

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2016, 10:59:49 pm »

We agree but the exposure here if I am reading it correctly is only 1.6 secs. You should be able to take exposures of minutes without visible movement or something is wrong beyond needing IS.
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Guillermo Luijk

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2016, 03:28:45 am »

Again, until you can come up with a sharp image on the tripod with IS off then the test was obviously flawed.

The tripod is poor quality tripod or nor weighted down or the head is dropping. Is the mirror locked up? If not then the camera will shake. Are you using a cable release? If not then again the camera will shake.

Bottom line. THE CAMERA IS MOVING, so of course IS will improve it.

Again, the purpose of the test was to prove that the "on a tripod always switch OFF the stabilizer" is a false myth. The IS can help improve image quality in some situations.

The E-P5 has no mirror so it's impossible to lock it up, I used remote shutter and Anti-shock mode to minimise shutter vibration since the camera has no electronic first curtain. The speed was 1/1,6s not 1,6s. The focal length, travel tripod and fan were chosen to make more clearly visible any loss of sharpness. It was a desired situation in order to compare IS vs no IS better.



Regards
« Last Edit: February 08, 2016, 04:52:45 am by Guillermo Luijk »
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Guillermo Luijk

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2016, 03:32:07 am »

I ran a quick tripod test with a 5DS R, 70-200mm IS II at 200 and F11 on 3 different exposure times. 1/500th, 1/1000, and 1/2000. Image stabilizer made no difference at 1/2000 or 1/1000. It reduced motion blur from mirror shake about 30% at 1/500th. At lower speeds it helps even more.

I was looking for a transition region where the IS amplified motion blur but didn't see it with this combination.

So for tripod use with a Canon 70-200 IS II it seems IS On is the way to go.

There is an issue with extremely long exposure times. the IS will gradually drift. I'm not sure where, exactly, it starts to deteriorate on a tripod but guess it is on exposures longer than 1/10th.

Could you show 100% crops Doug? would be interesting to see.

Regards

hjulenissen

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2016, 03:37:43 am »

I once had a night shoot completely ruined when I forgot to turn Canon's IS off.
Could be that the sensor/movement of IS is optimized for some sensible time/movement range, and that if you use IS in 1 hour exposures, some accumulated error will start do do nasty things? Won't an accelerometer have to be integrated twice in order to provide "position", and is not such processing prone to "DC-errors"?

The IS cannot point the camera in a totally different direction. If the sensor says that the camera has moved from one extreme to the other, the sensible thing to do for an IS might be to do a "wrap around", move to the other extreme and start reducing movement over there. Or to throw its hands in the air, go to the center position (where optics are presumably best) and stay there.

I don't know how extensive the camera-stabilizer interaction is. I would assume that IBIS cameras share whatever info they deem necessary (exposure on/off timings, planned exposure time), while lens IS may or may not talk as verbosely with the camera.

-h
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Doug Gray

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2016, 02:23:40 pm »

Could you show 100% crops Doug? would be interesting to see.

Regards

Hi,

I don't actually use target images with sharp lines or edges but rather a specialized image with superimposed sine waves below Nyquist that increase in spacial frequency and I typically photograph them so that I get response magnitudes of 10, 20,30, ... 70 lpmm. I take a raw picture then process it using dcraw -4 -D -T  to produce a linear gray scale image w/o CFA interpolation. The individual RGGB plane pixels are rescaled to the image white and black points then the data is analyzed using FFTs.

My main use of this was an industrial QC setting where I could use the responses at the frame corners to determine the precise perpendicularity of the sensor plane to sub micron precision. I've adapted it to look at motion blur since it produces nice, quantifiable numbers and identifies a principal motion axis as well.

I'll dig out a center sample of the target and a couple shots when I get a chance.
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BobShaw

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Re: The myth of shooting on a tripod with IS: ON/OFF?
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2016, 04:19:11 pm »

That is not a tripod. It is a selfie stick with legs. And to make it worse you have it on a timber floor.
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