Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pentax shake-reduction

It turns out that Pentax's "shake reduction"*, built into the body (so every lens benefits) is more useful than I thought at first. Only one has to know to pause for half a second after focusing, until the SR symbol lights up in the finder, indicating it has "caught its legs".
These were taken, single exposure, with the 70mm lens, a 105mm-equivalent short-tele lens.
Conventional wisdom, pre-stablization-technology, gives a rule of thumb that the inverse of the focal length is about the minimum for hand-holding a sharp picture, so in this case about 1/100 second.
They are shown at about 100% (small part of the image).

Half a second, no shake-reduction:

Half a second, with shake-reduction:

A quarter second, no SR:

A quarter second, with SR:

One-eight second, no SR:

One-eight second, with SR:

A fifteenth-second, no SR:

A fifteenth-second, with SR:

One-thirtieth second, no SR:

One-thirtieth second, with SR:

* Every maker calls it their own thing, Nikon calls it Vibration Reduction, Canon calls it Image Stabilization, etc.

It's shameful that Nikon/Canon have not yet put this in bodies (only in some lenses), when it can be put in the cheapest/smallest bodies by their competitors! What a waste to use $1500 on a low-light F:1.4 lens by Canon and then not have stabilisation as well!


emptyspaces said...

Looks like outstanding performance. I guess I'll just have to hold my breath until Canon starts putting this in their bodies, eh? Thanks for taking the time to do this test.

Monsieur Beep! said...

I like the 1st (first) image...
it appeals to me a lot, shake it or not, haha.
Could be a good background wallpaper.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Thanks, ES.

It's shameful that Nikon/Canon have not yet put this in bodies, when it can be put in the cheapest/smallest bodies by their competitors! What a waste to use $1500 on a 1.4 lens by Canon and then not have stabilisation as well!

Anonymous said...

Question; can you see the shake reduction take effect in the viewfinder? From what you describe, it is but an indicator that it's woking.
When the IS/VR is in the lens, you can see it take effect in the viewfinder. That may explain the reluctance of Canon/Nikon to move it to the body. For when pro shooters really need to know for sure.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

No, you can't see it in the viewfinder. But to my mind, that's less important than having it.

Anonymous said...

Then a developed trust factor that you have sharp focus, consistent with all lenses. I like the sound of that.
I have thought strongly about offing my whole Canon system for this very reason. My indecision comes into play when at longer lengths (100-400mm) I see the image stabilize in the finder. Reassuring for an old guy with a bit of a shake.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Steve, you confuse me. You want to get rid of Canon? But why, since that is where you *can* see the IS effect in the viewfinder... ?

Anonymous said...

Eolake, The in-lens IS works great for the longer focal lengths at f/4 up. I do wish for IS with the 35 or 24 at about F/1.4-1.8 for low light conditions. That cannot be had with Canon's system.
May be an old man's folly.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

That's what I wish for too. Two stops gained is two stops gained, with any lens.

Anonymous said...

The high ISO game seems to be on, rather than in-body IS/VR.
Oh to be young and steady of hand again.

Miserere said...

Canikon started their image-stabilisation adventures back in the film days, so it made sense to add it to the lenses. Financial sense for Canikon, of course. Plus, it was probably easier back then to design a gyroscopic mechanism for the lenses than some mechanised film-moving contraption for the bodies.

The brands that never jumped on the stabilised lens bandwagon went a different way with the advent of digital. Minolta were the first to stabilise their CCDs, followed a few years later by Pentax, and then by Olympus.

I won't go over the pros and cons of body vs lens systems, as I think they're obvious, but I will say that for the all-around shooter, in-body is probably most attractive as ALL you lenses will be stabilised. For specialised shooters that use long lenses most of the time (wildlife, sports...), then in-lens would be my recommendation.

Of course, one can have his cake and eat it by buying the new crop of Sigma and Tamron lenses. They are introducing in-lens stabilisation to many of their lenses, and making them available in Pentax, Sony and Olympus mounts. One can buy one of these cameras to enjoy the benefits of in-body stabilisation, while buying long lenses from the third parties and use their in-lens stabilisation when needed (turning off the body stabilisation).

As for Canikon joining the game, I suspect what they'll eventually do is add in-body stabilisation that can work synchronously with their in-lens system (there would have to be some serious lens-body communication here), at which point we might start seeing claims of 6-7 stops shake reduction.

As soon as Canikon DSLR sales start declining, they'll introduce these models :-)

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

I think you are probably right about all this.

Except I'd be quite surprised if lens and body stabilization will every work together to give even better results.
I'd be happy enough to have to turn off one or the other as needed.
I have a Canon 85mm 1.2 and a 24mm 1.4. I want a stabilized body to go with them. It would make for an unbeatable low-light system.

Pascal [P-04referent] said...

You took THESE using hand-shake reduction? What, you were riding a satellite and shooting crop circles?
Because that's just what it looks like in these photos...