Please comment briefly on your experience with image stabilized lenses.

Editor's picture
Image stabilization is becoming a common feature in new lenses from OEM and "third-party" manufacturers. At times it seems the feature is added to lenses with fairly narrow maximum or variable apertures. While it brings costs down in lens making, do you feel it is a fair tradeoff?
Please comment briefly on your experience with image stabilized lenses.
Yes, if I can get steadier shots in a lens that is not too expensive it is worth it.
55% (63 votes)
No, I'd rather work with a "faster" lens, with or without image stabilization.
39% (45 votes)
I haven't had a chance to work with an image stabilized lens so I'm not sure.
5% (6 votes)
Total votes: 114
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Comments
William Mazzanti's picture

I use stabilized lenses constantly. I shoot a lot of Aviation related subjects handheld and a stabilized lens lets me shoot a little slower to get good blur on propellers so the aircraft looks less static in flight. I also prefer faster stabilized lenses.

Leslie B.  Jacobs's picture

I have two IS Canon Lens. The 28-135 and 18-55, The 28-135 is a magnificent performer when I use it in the studio. The camera is tripod mounted so IS has no value. Hand held on a 30d body it is a monster and I have a problem with arthritic hands so after much thought bought a Canon T1i which came with the 18-55. This camera is a delight to use, so light however the lens is cheaply made and the images not crisp despite the IS. Conclusion for me the IS makes no difference, I would rather use another non IS lens for images that enlarge nicely. As I do mostly studio work perhaps this is not a fair comparison.

Lynn Justis's picture

I am a working photographer in the aerial photograpy business. I use image stabilized lenses but do not see any difference between them and non-stabilized lenses. If a camera is used/held properly....Do we need built-in stabilization?

Alan Koppel's picture

Image stabilization lenses are usually more expensive because they are new. After a while the price comes down to reality. The trade is not worh it. I would rather work with a faster lens.

KM Enterprises's picture

There isn't any substitution for a sharp fast lens.

John Larson's picture

A good portion of my photography is High school sports. I benefit more from a 2.8 or faster lens. I would not turn down a lens with both, but VR/IS is not a priority for me.

BigScot55's picture

Why not put it in the camera body as Minolta did and Sony now does. This seems more logical.

Mark Harris's picture

Yes I like it and it has been able to help me get some good handheld images that I would have needed a tripod for!

Russ Meyers's picture

I purchased a Nikon 18 to 200 mm IS lens for my D90. We were going on a trip to Europe and I wanted to minimize the weight and size of the camera bag. The IS lens was the perfect answer!

Fred Taylor's picture

While I think a stabilization lens is ok, the mfg. are gouging the photographer on price. I would have a faster lens.

Paul Purpura's picture

I have two image stabilized lenses - a Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 zoom and a Nikon 105 f/2.8 macro. I think image stabilization works best with fast lenses that can be hand held. I also have a Nikon 400 f/2.8 prime that I use for shooting fast action sports. I use it with a mono-pod because it weighs over 10 pounds. I think image stabilization on a lens like this is a waste of money, because this lens is seldom handheld. Image stabilization also slows burst rates when shooting action sequences.

High Desert Pete's picture

My 1st of 3 Nikon VR lenses was the "fast" 70-200 f2.8 I use it for sunrise photos over the Grand Canyon where long exposures occur at f11 with 100 ISO film and even at 200 ISO I use with my D700 currently. My goal with the VR lens was to tame the camera/lens movement for the exposure times in the 2 to 4" range but it could not compensate enough. I had explained my goal and was assured- even tripod mounted- it was the best way to go by an excellent and knowledgeable salesman at a very dependable, professional shop. Alas, his advice is not the current thinking as to tripod mounted VR/IS/OS lenses.

Russ Lewis's picture

Within reason... Depends on what kind of work you do. Sometimes I need the shallow depth of field a fast lens can give me but often not. With the sensitivity increases available in modern DSLRs you don't really need the extra lens speed for stability.

Highwalker Greywolf's picture

Image stabilization in lenses is a great aid when it comes to doing handheld work where I am moving around a lot and do not have tome to set up or move a tripod.

Alan Madden's picture

I do not feel that image stabilization is worth the extra expense. I traded a good Nikkor D series zoom lens to a newer VR version of the same of the lens with image stabilization. I found that the lens did justify the added cost. I also found that the lens was not as rugged as the older lens. After paying to have the new lens repaired, I gave up on the image stabilization as an expensive option that did not justify the additional cost. I love the Nikkor D series lenses but I an not interested in the new VR series Nikkors. If I have to shoot in low light situations, it is easy to set up a lens on a tripod or just crank up the ISO on my Nikon D3.

Rim Photos's picture

They are "essential" for me and thousands like me with a common movement disorder called Essential Tremor or "ET."

Dennis Walton's picture

Image stabilization is critical for many of the handheld "portraits" I take while traveling.I prefer the lighter weight and smaller filter of the slightly slower IS lenses.

Kathleen Finnerty's picture

The Nikon 70-300 VR lens is the best lens I have ever used for nature/bird photography. It's light enough to hold and pan flight shots and the image quality is amazing.

Emerson E.  Liley Jr.'s picture

Anything that adds to a crisper image !!

Susannah Sofaer Kramer's picture

I use Canon L lenses, so the "not too expensive" part doesn't apply. I love the freedom of hand holding that my stabilized lenses give me.

Jack Verschoor's picture

The Tamron 18-270 lens with VC is the best stabilized of the ones I have used.

Gene's picture

IS is very helpful with lenses of 200mm focal lingth or longer.

Harry Boyd's picture

It effectively adds 1-3 stops to the lens because a wider aperture can be used safely. If there's a down side I don't see it, and my pictures look great.

Glenn Thayer's picture

I briefly use a VR lens and got motion sickness. It really messed me up. I am sort of old school, I prefer just using a fast lens.

Ed's picture

I would rather a faster lens but the price difference kills it as an option. i am using the Nikon 18 - 200mm.

Rich Maher's picture

What's not to like if you get nice, steady images.

Bill Adkins's picture

I have only one "IS" lens and seems to help at least 2 stops. Would love to have more.

Donna Jones's picture

The difference between my Tamron 18-300 regular lense and my 18-270 IS is great...at least 3 stops! Totally worth the cost to me! Often don't need a tripod now...

Darryl Neill's picture

I've found that image stabilization makes a major improvement in my handheld photos. I look for lenses with the feature.

Rodney Doyle's picture

For slow shutter speeds on slow zooms it can't be beat, great for my kit lenses but not missed on my f/2.8 100mm macro.