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Author Topic: Film cameras and IS  (Read 665 times)

Jonathan Cross

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Film cameras and IS
« on: October 26, 2022, 01:18:42 pm »

I seem to hearing more about film cameras. Perhaps this has been encouraged by Leica’s recent release(s) and comments about the M6. I also have heard the occasional comment about younger people giving film cameras a go. Certainly used ones can be very reasonably priced, but then there are the running costs.

Presumably film cameras did not have IS. With digital cameras IS is viewed as a given. Those without it often used 1/f  or 1/2f as a shutter speed guide and with better digital high ISO performance this is easier to achieve when hand holding. I was also told not to use IS at fast shutter speeds, e.g. faster than 1/500. So what is it about IS?  Is it really needed or is just nice to have?

You’re in puzzlement,

Jonathan in UK


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    • Mike Broomfield
Re: Film cameras and IS
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2022, 04:46:51 pm »

Image Stabilization (IS) was introduced in the 1st Canon lens in 1995 I believe, so before the 1st Canon 1DS body (DSLR).

As I understand it, the vibration the IS is "looking for" is the type that comes from handholding, hand shake, body instability.  It has a cadence and frequency to it that is longer than a high shutter speed exposure.  So the IS is ineffective at very high shutter speeds but can still motion effectively at slower speeds.  The Canon 100-400 gave me a ton of stability when I had it (better than the Sony I use now).  It's also general knowledge to turn IS off if the camera is on a tripod, but I constantly forget to do that with my Sony cameras and see no impact.  The Canon Lens Work III says that this was resolved early on.  High ISO comes at a price of course, so with IS I prefer to knock my ISO down a few stops if I'm not using a tripod and have IS to help.

As for "needed" vs "nice to have" it is surely dependent on the photographer.  eg a street photographer with shaky hands, slow lenses, dull days etc will see a significant advantage.  A land/sea/citiscape photographer who always uses a tripod will have little or no use for it.  Plenty of grey between those examples of course. 
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