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| p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · TDP Review: Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS USM Lens |
I would appreciate a thoughtful discussion of just how valuable IS really is. On my 400mm f/5.6L I could really see how it might help though the increase in price would drive it beyond many shooter's budget. At 16mm? Would love to hear from folks using it in the field. Does IS really make it equal to the f/2.8 version in low light?
First, thanks for the rest of your thoughtful post — the portions I did not quote here.
Let me offer a few thoughts about the IS question based on experience with other lenses.
(I have a copy of the 16-35 f/4L IS coming, so I'll have real world experience with that before long, too. I'm curious to find out just how much IS can do at 16mm. In theory, if I believe that I can effectively hand hold at 1/16 second at 16mm, we could imagine that it should be possible to handhold at .5 or 1 second with 3-4 stop IS! That is hard to believe, but we'll see.)
The IS versus aperture question is tricky and fraught with subjective value judgments, even though the underlying technical facts are fairly straightforward. When it comes to low light, an extra stop of aperture gets you one more stop of shutter speed for dealing with both moving subjects and camera motion. IS gets you nothing when it comes to your moving subject, but it can get you 2-4 stops of lower light handheld shooting when camera stability is the issue.
The advantages with long lenses are obvious, since we so often find ourselves running out of ISO or aperture when shooting handheld in low light, and when the shutter speed limitation is not so much subject motion as our own ability to hold the lens steadily.
Things are less clear with wide angle lenses, where we can sufficiently stop subject motion (if that is what we need to do) with lower shutter speeds, and we don't find ourselves caught in the ISO/aperture/shutter speed matrix quite so quickly.
However, it seems to me that when shooting handheld with any focal length there are times when we might want to use a smaller aperture (to not sacrifice large DOF for exposure) and/or shoot a relatively static subject in very low light. The widest lens I have with IS goes to 24mm, and I have found IS to be useful when shooting at that focal length.
The f/2.8 aperture can get you a slightly narrower DOF, though I suspect that this will not be very noticeable at the largest shortest focal lengths. (It would be interesting to see a comparison of 16mm at f/2.8 and f/4 that shows this clearly.)
I don't think there is a clearcut one-size-fits-all answer to the question, and I can see certain circumstances in which the f/2.8 aperture might be critical and others where the IS might be just the thing.
Edited on Jul 02, 2014 at 02:43 PM · View previous versions