IBIS, telephoto, and tripods…your thoughts?

Quick post…i’ve been doing some testing and getting some interesting results that i’m not quite sure of yet.

I was making some images with the 40-150 Pro at 150mm at fairly close distance.  About 8 feet from a tripod.  First curtain electronic shutter is on.  And even with that, at this focal length and slower shutters I can see a little shutter shock.  Mild, but present.  Electronic shutter fully makes a difference.  However, aside from that… I am actually getting better results leaving IBIS on.  This is contrary to what I am used to.  The shots are definitely sharper with IBIS on.

Do you have any thoughts or experience with this?  I’m curious to hear some opinions.  Normally it is common knowledge to turn off IBIS when on a tripod.


5 responses on "IBIS, telephoto, and tripods...your thoughts?"

  1. My experience with Olympus IBIS (from four different models with 5-axis and a large number of lenses) is that it works splendidly on tripods too, so I never turn it off and have never had a reason to regret it. Maybe there are some special cases where it fails, I don’t know.

    With lens based stabilization, it seems to vary with lens model (according to a Canon shooting friend of mine that did some thorough testing a couple of years ago).

    • For long exposures I would typically turn it off. This is my first time examining this at telephoto length. Often I forget it on when going back and fourth between handheld and never noticed adverse affects at normal exposure lengths on short Tele and wider.

      • For me, it’s worked flawlessly at any focal length and for both long and short exposures. I’d say that most of my shooting is done on a tripod and more than half of it is long exposures, although since I got the E-M1 mkII, I’ve moved to 90% high res mode (so no IBIS) for long exposure landscapes. It’s pretty much only for the rare darkest night photography, where the effective shutter speed will be too long, that I shoot at 20MP.

        I suppose one could save battery life turning off IBIS for regular long exposures, but is there any other practical reason? I’d say that my main reason for not turning IBIS off is so that I won’t forget to turn it on again for handheld shooting (potentially blowing my first couple of shots handheld after an LE session).

  2. Hey Stephane

    At what long exposures do you determine Hi-res impractical ? Is this from a performance standpoint or purely practical as the exposure sequence in hi-res takes too long ?
    I ask as I have been seeing a fine mesh or grid like pattern appearing in night exposures of fixed structure
    where individual exposure times ofc5-20 seconds are needed in hi-res sequence rendering the file sort of useless.

    • Well… that depends on the subject and the environment you are shoot. The more time you need for the shots, and shot sequence, the more chances of vibration creeping in and causing those misalignments. That patterning is misalignment in the images. It comes from vibration or motion blur. If you subject wasn’t moving…its vibration. The longer the exposure time per image, the more chance of vibration affecting the shot. It is harder with such light cameras. You said 5 – 20 seconds. Total capture time… or per shot in the high res series?

      It’s like a telephoto lens. If you turn IS off…and look through a wide angle lens… everything looks still. You can hardly see your hand motion. Put a long telephoto lens, and then magnify the view without IS and see what it looks like. You can’t even keep the subject framed. That is exactly what is going on at high resolutions pretty much. The small motions get revealed.

      So key things that will help.

      1. Tripod. The more you expect out of it beyond 30mp… the bigger and/or more weighed down it needs to be. It needs to suppress vibration.
      2. What kind of ground are you on? Are cars coming by, is the soil softer due to rain… etc…
      3. Are you standing around your tripod? Your footsteps will create vibration.
      4. Are you using a shutter release PLUS a delay on the high-res mode? The cable release will introduce vibration …though much less than your finger on the shutter. Cell phone release is even better but cable is fine.
      5. Is it windy? Stand to block the wind if possible.

      I generally set a 4 – 15 second delay depending on conditions and then I step away 5 – 6 feet from the tripod. That way it has time to settle before the capture process begins.
      You will notice a difference.

      The faster your shutter speed, the less you need to worry about vibration creeping in. Long exposures add up.

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