Image Stabilization Settings: A Whole New World « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Image Stabilization Settings: A Whole New World

You Be the Judge: Flight

It’s not too late to vote on the great images in the Flight category of the 1st International Bird Photography Competition. Click here to get in on the fun.

New York City Weekend Nature Photography Seminar December 8-9, 2012

Details for this great weekend seminar are available here. Do consider joining Denise Ippolito and me for a great learning experience. Do click on the link to see many of Denise’s incredible tree and flower images. Camera club discounts available; see the details at the link.

5D Mark III Guide Pre-publication Version Still Discounted

Click here for details. When the guide is complete it will sell for $50. Folks who purchase now will receive the final version and any updates for no additional charge so ordering now is a win-win proposition. If you click on the link above you will see that the list of items not yet covered is continues to shrink…. Buy now to save! The more I study this camera the more I learn how complex it is. Rudy Winston at Canon has been a huge help and so as Denise who helped me with the section on Multiple Exposures today. I still have some work to do.

Nickerson Beach/JBWR Photo-Tour August 15-17, 2012: Only 1 slot left!

Nickerson Beach/JBWR Photo-Tour August 15-17, 2012: $999. Co-leader: Denise Ippolito. Introductory slide program: Tuesday August 14 at 7pm. Limit 8/Openings:1.

This photo-tour is almost sold out. But with two great leaders each tons of experience at this site and the promise to learn a ton of great Photoshop stuff that does make a lot of sense. For more info and a collection of images click here. Please e-mail if interested.

For info on Denise Ippolito’s July 14-15 Nickerson Beach trip coming up this weekend, click here.

You will get to photograph lots of Common Tern chicks and fledglings and all sorts of skimmer nesting behavior and possibly a few tiny skimmer chicks.

great-egret-fledged-young-head-portrait-_a1c0463-gatorland-kissimmee-fl

This image of an fledgling Great Egret was created at Gatorland with the hand-held Canon 500mm f/4L IS II lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/6400 sec. at f/4 in Manual mode. (Should have been either 1/3200 sec. at f/5.6 or even better, 1/1600 sec. at f/8. Why?)

One sensor above and to the left of the central sensor/Expand AF area/AI Servo Rear Focus active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

Image Stabilization Settings: A Whole New World

All four of the new Series II telephoto lenses have three Image Stabilization modes: IS 1, IS 2, and IS 3. Here’s what Canon has to say about each:

  • IS Mode 1: Corrects vibrations in all directions. It is mainly effective for shooting still subjects.
  • IS 2 Mode: Corrects vertical camera shake during following shots (i.e., panning) in a horizontal direction, and corrects horizontal camera shake during following (i.e., panning) in a vertical direction. That means that if you hold the camera on end IS2 will realize what you are doing and stabilize in the correct manner.
  • IS 3 Mode: Corrects vibration only during exposure. During panning shots, corrects vibration in only one direction same as IS mode 2. They continue: Since camera shake is stabilized only during exposure, following a subject is easier such as when shooting a fast and irregularly moving player during sports photography.

With previous generation super-telephoto lenses (including my 800mm f/5.6L IS lens) I have long advised folks to set IS Mode 2 and leave it whether hand holding or working on a tripod and whether photographing stationary or moving subjects. In other words, in the old days it was set it and forget it. Those days are over.

When photographing the Snow Monkeys in Japan with the 300mm f/2.8L IS II lens I quickly learned that the Series II super-telephoto lenses are completely different animals. When I set IS 2 Mode and pressed the shutter button while working on a tripod the image jumped all over the place. I thought that the lens might be defective right out of the box…. I set IS Mode 3 and all was well with the world. Since then I have left the lenses on IS Mode 3 whenever I am on a tripod and been perfectly happy. When hand holding for flight as with the image below, I set IS Mode 3 as well. But when I started making head portraits of the young Great Egret above with the hand held 500mm f/4L IS II lens I very quickly noticed that the image in the viewfinder as a bit jittery. Like me. So I switched to IS Mode 1 when photographing static subjects hand held and the image in the viewfinder calmed right down.

The trick is to remember to toggle back and forth: IS Mode 1 when hand holding for static subjects and IS Mode 3 for hand held flight or tripod-mounted photography. Note also that for for flight photography my very great preference is to the the Limit Range switch to 10 meters to infinity. For close work I need to remember to set it to Full or else the lens will not focus. It will take some getting used to the fact that the Limit Range Switch on all the new lenses has been moved from its traditional position on the side of the lens barrel well in front of the mount to the rear of the lens where I find it a bit inconvenient.

When I get to Bosque I will attempt to discern if there any difference between IS Mode 2 and IS Mode 3 when shooting flight off the tripod.

great-egret-with-nesting-material-_a1c0537-gatorland-kissimmee-fl

This flight image of an adult Great Egret carrying a branch for the nest was created at Gatorland with the hand-held Canon 500mm f/4L IS II lens and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3 stop: 1/2500 sec. at f/6.3 in Manual mode.

Central sensor/Expand AF area/AI Servo Rear Focus active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image for a larger version.

Which Do You Like Best?

Take a moment to let us know which of the two images you like best. And why.

Shopper’s Guide.

Support both the Bulletins and the Blog by making all your B & H purchases here.

Below is a list of the gear talked about in this blog post. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 500mm f/4L IS II lens. I just began using my new 500 the other day and so far I am loving it. It will be my big gun on the upcoming bear boat trip; I am leaving the 800 at home.
Canon EOS-5D Mark III. I love both the image files and the AF system in this great new camera.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
LegCoat Tripod Leg Covers. I have four tripods active and each has a Hardwood Snow LegCoat on it to help prevent further damage to my tender shoulders 🙂 And you will love them in mega-cold weather….
GT3532 LS. This one replaces the GT3530LS Tripod and will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
CR-80 Replacement Foot for Canon 800. When using the 800 on a Mongoose as I do, replacing the lens foot with this accessory lets the lens sit like a dog whether pointed up or down and prevents wind-blown spinning of your lens on breezy days by centering the lens directly over the tripod.
Double Bubble Level. You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am not using flash.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
BreezeBrowser. I do not see how any digital photographer can exist without this program.

43 comments to Image Stabilization Settings: A Whole New World

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    While several folks gave correct answers, with Greg Payne’s the best of those, the lesson that everyone needs to remember is this:

    Depth of field decreases as the subject to imaging sensor distance decreases. So, when you are working at close range with a long lens, near minimum focusing distance, depth of field is at a minimum and is usually measured in tiny fractions of an inch. So when you are close to a small bird or creating tight head portraits it is generally best to stop down considerably.

    The corollary is that depth of field is far less of a concern with when working with relatively distant subjects. artie

  • avatar Mark A Jordan

    Less weight, slower shutter speed to handhold? Thus f-8 1/1600 sec.

  • avatar Alex

    stopping down would cut out some of the scattered light and give a cleaner more 3D appearance and improve crisper highlights on the feathers.

  • avatar Hossam Sadek

    Wild guess after all other comments missed the “most important part of the question”: does it have to do with the color saturation of the sky in the background?

  • avatar Greg Payne

    Because you are hand holding in this instance it gives you more latitude where the sensor is located at moment of capture with smaller aperture. You have a small margin for error with a bird this close.

  • avatar Steve Read

    More Dof, IQ, Less noise…

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Yes to more do-f. But what is the importance in this instance??? That’s what’s everyone is missing. IQ is IQ at a given ISO. Aperture has nothing to do with it. Noise as a given exposure value will always be the same.

  • Art,

    In order to give time for the IS to kick in (if you were in Mode 3, that is)?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      I was in IS mode 1 as I should have been. But the aperture makes no difference in the performance of IS.

    • I actually meant the slower shutter times that the smaller aperture provided. But if you were in mode 1, then it wouldn’t have mattered, as you say.

      • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

        Antonio, It would not have mattered what IS Mode I was in; aperture or shutter speed does not effect how IS behaves.

  • avatar Greg Payne

    Did you use fill flash? Does it have something to do with that?

  • avatar Billy Wingfield

    It’s a very close-up shot, making it more difficult to get good depth of field.

  • avatar Vincent Scarnecchia

    Artie, I like the Great Egret carrying branch. It appears that the entire bird is in focus

  • avatar Katharina

    The closer you are to subject, the smaller the aperture has the be for sufficient depth of field.

  • avatar Neil Hickman

    Again, you are correct in part, but like everyone below, you are missing the most important part of the equation….OK! – You’ve got me bluffed! – If I’ve been reading your books the right way up in OZ then the three scenarios have the same exposure with the main difference being an increased depth of field. Put me out of my misery – I’m off overseas in the morning!

  • avatar Neil Hickman

    Should have been either 1/3200 sec. at f/5.6 or even better, 1/1600 sec. at f/8. Why? To get the beak tip and neck feathers as sharp as the eye.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Again, you are correct in part, but like everyone below, you are missing the most important part of the equation….

  • avatar Mark A Jordan

    Hello Mr Morris.
    Could it be the 4-stop Image Stabilization?

  • avatar Theodore Thelin

    To use the sweet spot of the lens.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Nope. The Series II super-teles are sharper from edge to edge than their predecessors. 🙂

  • (Should have been either 1/3200 sec. at f/5.6 or even better, 1/1600 sec. at f/8. Why?)

    If the Egret would’ve changed it’s position, ie, looked straight at you, you would’ve had the extra depth of field?

    Doug

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Close but no cigar. If the bird looked at me, f/8 would not nearly been enough to cover from the bill tip to the eye. The question is why not???

  • To get the tip of the beak in focus??

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      You are right there, and correct in part, but missing the most important part of the equation….

  • avatar Mike

    Why did you go with the 500mm and not the 600mm? was it that it is to close to the 8oo.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hey Mike, You must be new here: I am getting the 600 also. They are two different animals. Lots more coming when I get the 600. I may or may not keep the 800….

  • avatar Loren Charif

    (Should have been either 1/3200 sec. at f/5.6 or even better, 1/1600 sec. at f/8. Why?)

    I suspect you might have gotten improved feather detail (greater DOF) with the smaller apertures.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Correct in part, but missing the most important part of the equation….

  • (Should have been either 1/3200 sec. at f/5.6 or even better, 1/1600 sec. at f/8. Why?) To make the green blobs look more like tree tops framing the head portrait?