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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:46 am 
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Location: Kanduhar, Afghanistan
What is a reasonable hand holding shutter speed without IS at 200 f/2.8 without cranking the iso?

I’m really torn. I, like so many, would love to have the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM II but at $2,100 not gonna happen anytime soon. I was hoping that the new Tamron 70-200mm SP f2.8 VC would be a worthy competitor at $1,400 but the reviews are way to shot-gunned from “it is a great lens” to our very own Gordon with a “non-recommend”.

So back to my original question, I am considering looking at the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L USM “non-IS” which is only $1,200. Now I know from experience, if I’m shooting outdoors in good sun I’ll be shooting fast enough that IS won’t be that big of an issue. I also know that I can use my 35 f/2 indoors at pretty low light without IS. But, a heavy lens zoomed to 200mm at f/2.8 is a big difference, what is a reasonable hand hold speed? Would it be reasonable to still think it can be hand held indoors? I’m not thinking anything super dark like a opera, but say a wedding where you expect low light, but still reasonable lighting for indoors. (no I’m not thinking of being a wedding photog, just using that as an example) I know my 55-250 at f/5.6 has to have the iso cranked up to get decient indoor photos even with IS (but an older IS system at that).

What do you think?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:06 am 
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Crop sensor Canon, then you'll need 1 / (1.6 x focal length)

Full frame, then you'll need 1 / focal length

That is the generally accepted min shutter speed for acceptable sharpness. However, with good technique you should be able to shoot at slower shutter speeds. So it depends equally on your technique and subject material. Shooting people indoors, you'll possibly be looking at a min shutter speed of 1/60th to 1/80th, depending on their speed of movement, gesturing etc. If you can get your technique down to that then you're good to go....

It could be good shooting in low or high speed continual as well. You'll have a pick of the bunch, you middle frames should be sharper as your finger is already pressed on the shutter, etc.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:13 am 
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You could get a monopod in order to stabilize the lens - works about as good as an IS. - Without it you should be able to hold it at 1/200 sec.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:14 pm 
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as an alternative have you considered a prime lens, something like the canon 85 1.8.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:46 pm 
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As a slightly off-topic note, are you sure you actually *want* one? When you get back State-side, if you haven't already I'd seriously recommend renting the IS version of the lens for a weekend of shooting to see if you do really like the lens. I was lusting after the f/2.8 IS version of the lens for nearly two years when I first started learning about new things to buy (I'd even have dreams about the lens :oops: ) but I rented it for a few shoots and quickly discovered that it was just too bulky and annoying to use, and actually hampered my shooting because it became more of a "status symbol" attached to my camera than a tool.

I've found since then shooting with fast primes has both increased my keeper rates and improved my photography all while saving my back and shoulders some massive discomfort :) Of course, YMMV and you might indeed *need* the lens for your shooting situations :)

Forgot to mention - if you rent the IS lens you can turn it off to see how much you can get away with in terms of acceptable sharpness vs shutter speed... keep in mind the non-IS is a bit lighter so you'd probably be able to get away with 2/3rds of a stop slower than with the IS version (off).

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:30 am 
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Thanks Jiko and dubaiphill for the info. I did try turning the IS off my 55-250 and could see the results. i could get down to about 1/125 sitting still in a chair at a non moving target. So the math or fraction I gues holds true 1/(focal length).

HAHA Thanks maxjj and Plymer in keeping me grounded. Yes a lot of it probabley is more "want" :D The 85 1.8 is on my list and Plymer, that's not a bad idea to rent and see. I know I'm getting a 7D when I get home and I want to do it justice with good glass.

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Canon 550D | Canon EF 35mm 1:2 | Canon 50 f/1.8 II | Sigma 18-125mm DC OS | Tamron SP 70-300mm Di VC USD | Canon 430EX II
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:13 am 
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Have you tried different techniques holding the camera?

Google Joe McNally and Da Grip - it's a technique which may help. You might be able to adapt it with a longer lens...


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:15 am 
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Had the Canon 200mm f2.8 prime for 10 days, shoot with a Canon 6D, and have just worked out the best shutter speed: 1/640. I say best, but that's for a wedding where there isn't a lot of action, or a young child mucking around in the room with you. I'd guess sport may require faster again.

I tried the reciprocal rule, and had fair success, but still disappointing. Gradually worked up to 1/640 and feel confident with this lens at that speed. Faster is good too. The speed made ALL the difference to sharpness. So that makes it a good daytime lens, if hand held, and a less good low light lens, hand held. During the day, I think I'll keep the ISO on 400, which is no problem with full frame. This way I'll be shooting very fast at 2.8 but just right at, say, 4.5, which is SUCH a sharp aperture (not that I'd shy away from f2.8 if I wanted it). I won't be forever forgetting to adjust the ISO for smaller apertures. As I have bought this lens as a travel lens for candid street scenes and architectural detail, I don't want to be forever thinking about my shutter speed while the world passes me by.


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