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Do the pros use IS or non-IS?
The sports pros go IS. 74%  74%  [ 14 ]
The sports pros go non-IS. 26%  26%  [ 5 ]
Total votes : 19
Author Message
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:25 pm 
Help!!! I have just a week or so before my kid starts another swim season. I have fallen in lust with the Canon 70-200mm 2.8 and cannot decide between the IS or the non-IS. I have poured through about 25 pages of this section and there is only one question left for me.

Does anyone know if there is a consensus among professional sports photographers when choosing between IS and non-IS (or VR for Nikon) when getting a 70-200mm lens?

The concerns I have with going IS:

Arguably "softer" image
A little bigger and heavier
$500 USD price difference

My primary reason for buying the 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is to shoot low light, indoor swim meets. Although I'm sure I'll use it elsewhere, I doubt I would be buying it if it were not for the coming 3 years of swim team shooting.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:35 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 12:48 pm
Posts: 8087
Location: UK
Regardless of f/2.8, how low is low light? IS will get you longer shutter time which can make the difference if the light is low, and give you more flexibility with aperture and ISO. However, I have to ask if you're going to be doing shots of fast moving subjects? If so, then you might be wanting to use shorter shutter times to prevent motion blur of subject, in which case IS would be of limited use.

Canon DSLRs: 7D2, 7D1, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 70-300L, 100-400L, 100L, MP-E 65, EF-S 10-18, 15-85
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 50/1.4A, 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS
Compacts: Sony HX9V, Fuji X100.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:56 pm 
Thanks PoPo. There's a mix of lighting types and dimness depending on what school natatorium (pool building) in use. All generally poor. The only way to get even a 1/160 shutter speed was with a flash and that is frowned upon.

For outdoor sunlit meets, the shutter speed I use varies with the angle I go for. This is with my old Nikon 70-300 f/4-5.6 by the way. As slow as 1/250 for straight on shots from the end of the lane with the swimmer coming at me doing the butterfly stroke. Panning from the side I can go down to about 1/160 to add motion blur for some of the shots. The indoor results were just too dark so a f/2.8 should cure much of it. In my novice opinion, longer shutter time is not a concern at the pool so I could save the $500 bucks?????

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:49 am 
Having a stabilised lens makes it more versatile and the cost difference between the two versions can easily be justified by a "pro".

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:16 am 
you can always turn the IS off.. I tink it would be better to invest in the IS vershion

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:58 pm 
But Toby, the problem is that you save like 500 bucks on B&H.

Dimshot, if you decide to go for the non-IS you could maybe look at the sigma one too? :)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:43 am 
Thanks for the votes and the advice. I sprung for the IS and it has been a dream. I have to experiment more with the ISO vs noise vs shutter speed and getting action blur only where I want it. Yes I need to work on camera shake too. The versatility has been great though.

I can shoot the start with no flash: ... 368332671/

Rather than hoping the shutter will stop the action, I actually have a range of available shutter speeds so I can pan & get blur where I want it: ... 368332671/

timing is everything: ... 368332671/ ... 368332671/

but luck is still good to have: ... 368332671/

This forum was a big help.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:11 pm 
Nice shots! Great timing too.
You seem to enjoy your new lens. Congratulations!
The pictures seem rather noisy though, but it would be able to clean it a bit with some PP :)
Hope you will have some great time with your new lens!


 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 4:44 am 
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Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:03 am
Posts: 1899
Location: Southern California
I can really appreciate the difficulty of capturing this nice set of shots..
wandered over to your flicker site, and loved them all...each one a little different..and you really got the timing down..whooohooooo! Way ta go, Dimshot.


canon 7D, Mark iii 5D, ef 70-300 f/4-5.6, ef 28-135mm canon 100-400mm L IS 4.5, and a little 24-70 L f/2.8...

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 7:54 pm 
Thanks for the kudos. I am truly enjoying the lens. The noise has not gone unnoticed, and as I get more confident with the ability of this lens to handle the low light, I keep stepping down the ISO. I shoot a few hundred shots at these meets so PP is too time consuming unless there's a good way to batch process the noise.

The f2.8 is awesome for getting the low light action. I am still experimenting with the narrow depth-of-field it gives. It's great for a one kid shot, but not so good for getting two or three kids in a frame (see the last image in my previous post). The 40D custom setting pre-selects may come in handy for those moments. At the same shutter speed I am thinking smaller aperture and back to a higher ISO to keep a good exposure. If there is a better way, I am here to learn.......

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