Leave your IS on

Joris

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As previously described, both Panasonic and Olympus bodies automatically disable all stabilisation when the amount of motion detected drops below a certain level. Even if you have IS switched on, it will turn itself off after the camera has been relatively static for about a second or so.

The only way to have IS active while the camera is on a tripod is to use an adapted, non-system, stabilised lens, such as an EF lens. This can be advantageous when shooting manual focus video with a long lens, because the OIS corrects the high-frequency bounce caused by touching the focus ring. Although the image will typically drift around a bit, the movement is relatively slow and is easy to correct in post, whereas the motion blur caused by unstabilised high-frequency lens bounce while shooting at around 1/50th second isn't. But in all other use cases, when using system lenses on a tripod, it makes no difference whether IS is turned on or off. It will always turn itself off.
I got back to this subject after updating my lens firmware and deciding to turn IS off for what seemed a particularly good scene... It was a somewhat windy evening with the tripod firmly planted... on a grassy surface. It spoiled all subsequent shots. Luckily I got one* in before disabling IS, which kicked in because of the wind. Won't make that mistake again !

*
P1070728_DxO_2.jpg
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LUMIX GX80 + PL 35-100 mm f/4.0-5.6 at 58mm - ƒ/5.6 - 1/3s - ISO 100

NB : Just heard Tony Northrup saying what you did on a recent video about common misconceptions in photography :
 
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Phil.H

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I always turn it off when using a tripod , I have forgotten at times and the photo doesn't look as sharp to my eye. My guess is it comes down to the camera and lens used at the time.
 

alex g

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I haven't tested this but I wonder if this makes a difference between S-IS Auto and S-IS 1 on Olympus bodies.
No, not in my experience. Trust me, I've investigated the matter thoroughly, because I would like to be able to have IS on a tripod when I want it! I assume that the manufacturers have decided to automatically disable IS is to avoid the vaguely drunken drift you get when using IS on a near-static camera, because otherwise people would likely complain about it. And in most cases, it does make sense to do so. Only when shooting at long focal lengths and low shutter speeds is it a PITA. I really wish that they would make it an option though. It would save having to carry a 7kg tripod instead of a 3kg tripod, or alternatively using non-system lenses.

I just made this quick video to illustrate the point. It's a Panasonic 100-300 on an E-M1mkII, at 300mm with the digital teleconverter switched on to magnify the image as much as possible. The camera is mounted on a tripod. In this example, lens OIS is off, IBIS is on in M-IS2 mode. I start shaking the tripod, and as you can see, there is no stabilisation being applied. I gradually increase the intensity of the shaking until at 0:11 the IBIS turns itself on. At around 0:18 I slowly reduce the intensity of the shaking until at about 0:23 the IBIS turns itself off again. To be absolutely clear, the IBIS is set at M-IS 2 throughout the clip — no settings are changed.

The same behaviour is true for all combinations of OIS and IBIS, and with all of the Panasonic and Olympus bodies I have tested: E-M1mkI, E-M1mkII, E-M5mkII, GH5S. It is also true for all the stills shooting stabilisation modes: S-IS Auto, S-IS 1, etc.

Bottom line is that the settings make no difference — on a tripod, IS will always be off, regardless... unless you give the tripod a good shake! ;)

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IBIS tripod test by Alex G, on Flickr
 
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Joris

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Obviously if you don't see a difference, leave it on. But this is what I found when I tested this some time ago.
Supposedly it really depends on the camera lens combination...

Here 4 new takes : GX80 dual IS = 42.5mm f/1.7 and 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 kit lens (sorry, didn't realise this was an Olympus thread).
One lens with POWER OIS. Once dual IS off, once on, the other with MEGA OIS. Again dual IS off and on. All ISO 100, f/5.6, focused on the thermometer scale. distance 2.5m (the chicken wire is 2cm further away).
1/5s-1/3s. All 100% jpeg files from maiden RAW files; 1:1 (100%) crops (thank you Archeopteryx).

Please tell me if you can see a difference. If anyone distinguishes accurately which two photos have IS on and which 2 off, he/she'd make my day :)

P1080071_DxO.jpg
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P1080077_DxO-1.jpg
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P1080080_DxO-1.jpg
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P1080068_DxO.jpg
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alex g

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Supposedly it really depends on the camera lens combination...

Here 4 new takes : GX80 dual IS = 42.5mm f/1.7 and 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 (sorry, didn't realise this was an Olympus thread).
One lens with POWER OIS off and on, the other with MEGA OIS off and on. All ISO 100, f/5.6, focused on the thermometer scale. distance 2.5m (the chicken wire is 2cm further away).
1/5s-1/3s. All 100% jpeg files from maiden RAW files; 1:1 (100%) crops (thank you Archeopteryx).

Please tell me if you can see a difference. If anyone distinguishes accurately which two photos have IS on and which 2 off, he/she'd make my day :)

View attachment 766120View attachment 766121View attachment 766122View attachment 766123
To be honest, there are several unknown factors affecting those shots before one can make a meaningful assessment.
- How was the shutter released? With or without delayed release?
- Mechanical or electronic shutter?
- AF or MF?
- Did you refocus when the IS was turned on/off? It can affect the focus distance.

To my eye, #1 and #4 show more evidence of vertical shake than the others.
 

Joris

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To be honest, there are several unknown factors affecting those shots before one can make a meaningful assessment.
- How was the shutter released? With or without delayed release?
- Mechanical or electronic shutter?
- AF or MF?
- Did you refocus when the IS was turned on/off? It can affect the focus distance.
- All 2 seconds delay
- All mechanical shutter
- All pinpoint focus on the right side +10
- Yes, refocused each time.

Which ones are softer ?
 

alex g

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Well, 1 and 4 have some vertical motion blur, but otherwise, I don't see much difference. The shake might be caused by the mechanical shutter.

I suggest a longer delay and electronic shutter might be a more reliable test as such slow shutter speeds.
 

ScottinPollock

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My testing shows that the opposite is true.
Your own charts show significantly more artifacts when on versus off.

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Look at the top row patterns 3,5,7,9,10,8,6,4, and even 2.
 

Growltiger

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Your own charts show significantly more artifacts when on versus off.

View attachment 766130

Look at the top row patterns 3,5,7,9,10,8,6,4, and even 2.
What you are seeing there is moiré. This is critically affected by the precise angle of the lines relative to the sensor grid. A microscopic change would have a huge effect on it. You can't draw any conclusions from looking at that.
 

ScottinPollock

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Would love to hear your assessment of the 4 photos I posted
I felt #80 was the cleanest. But with that said, the test images are low contrast, and barely telephoto... so not very good candidates for this kind of test.

I commented on the OP's chart because one was clearly cleaner than the other.
 

Growltiger

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So are you saying the OP's test is flawed?
Yes, but to be fair it is not easy to create a well constructed test.

One more point. Never assume that a good tripod is perfect. When I was trying high res, I found that even a good tripod, weighed down, was completely useless for high res in even mild wind. High res results were poor. But standing the camera on a solid concrete surface produced excellent high res results.
So this could mean that leaving IS on, when using a tripod, could be very helpful in wind.
 

Mack

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Fwiw, I had a post on here about issues I was having with a RRS TVC-33 carbon fiber tripod and it ringing if a leg was tapped or thumped. I ended up putting sandbags on the leg joints to stop the thing from vibrating. How much of that can transfer to the Olympus with the IS on and doing any of its pixel shifting I don't know.

Oddly, Olympus has one self-timer set at 12 seconds. I later saw on a review of the RRS TVC-33 tripod that 12 seconds is about the time duration it takes to settle on its vibrations. Here is the link: RRS TV-33 tripod test. Some interesting stuff on sharpness loss and the use of a cable release also on that site too. I bought a Vello wireless release made for Canon that works with the E-M1 mark II and E-M1X both.
 

ScottinPollock

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Ok, so I just ran a couple of similar tests to the ones I made with one of my Nikons some time ago with the GX85, and the results were "interesting"... but still has me turning off stabilization when on a tripod.

These were using a single focus capture (via a single BBF), in manual, with an 8 second shutter delay at 150mm f/7.1 on a good Benro tripod and ball head on a concrete slab. Could I see a difference? I believe so... but we are really splitting hairs here compared to what I saw with Nikon VR lenses.

What was most interesting was my second round of testing where I introduced some vibration to the tripod with light, frequent taps to the foam covering on one of the top sections of the tripod during exposure (loosely measured at about 5Hz). The Dual IBIS did not correct for this (shots with and without the stabilization were identical). It seems clear the Dual IBIS algorithms are tuned to the kind of movement associated with hand held photography and not a resonating tripod (at least on the GX85).

So, I'll continue to preserve battery and processing demand by turning it off when on a tripod as I have yet to see any useful results in having it on.

As always, YMMV.
 
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Joris

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The Dual IBIS did not correct for this (shots with and without the stabilization were identical)
Thank you for going through the trouble.
For me in my four test photos (https://www.mu-43.com/threads/leave-your-is-on.97323/post-1310655) there are clearly two sharper and two softer. However, the difference is not the result of IS on or off, but of lens quality. The PL 35-100 mm f/4.0-5.6 kit lens (P1080068 IS on, -71 off) is good, but not a match to the superb PL 42.5 f1.7 (P1080077 IS on, -80 off). Here the latter lens with IS set on performs better than the former with IS off.

From all this it seems true that on a still tripod, as some suggested, IS is turned off automatically, at least on the GX80. Consequently, to me there seems no use in turning IS off manually even for battery economy.
 
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