PL100-400 IBIS vs OIS tested

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Nawty, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. Nawty

    Nawty Mu-43 Regular

    May 1, 2015
    Hi all,

    I posted this over on DPR but I struggle with their archaic thread system and also have had a few answers so thought I'd post here to update and for those that don't use DPR.

    Its a rainy day here so I thought I'd do some testing on the image stabilising options of the new PL100-400 mounted to an Olympus EM1.

    It's a simple test, in a neighbours garden is an old birdbox on a pine tree that had the top cut off, I often use it for a target for testing telephoto lenses. How slow can I go?

    All shots handheld @ 400mm, shutter priority and auto-iso, I just wanted control of shutter speed.

    I started with all stabilisation switched off and at 1/800 and took 10 shots (refocussing each time) then repeat at 1/400, then 1/200, then 1/100, this will give a benchmark of how stable my hands are.

    I then switched on the IBIS (Half way Rls with IS = ON) and went from 1/200 down until images seemed blurry in the VF @ 1/50.

    I then flipped the POIS switch on the lens so I believe in effect both are working, I can't confirm this or otherwise but both lens OIS and camera IBIS where whirring. This is likely how it would be if you had just bought the lens and put it on your EM1 without changing any settings. Starting at where I left off with just IBIS I did 1/50 and 1/30, seemed cheeky to go any lower.. UPDATE - it seems the switch on the lens controls the IBIS too, so you can do the test simply by flipping the switch on the lens.

    I then switched off IBIS so just OIS working and repeated 1/50 and 1/30.

    Then I looked through each shot and rated them Sharp, Marginal and Blurry. Sharp is sharp to super-sharp (no obvious blur @ 200% but focus/ISO changes might cause varience), Marginal is where there might be a touch of blur but I would have kept the shot if it were interesting and the only choice, blurry ranges from just a bit too blurry to use to woooah! This is a bit subjective but I tried to keep judging the same, no doubt other's marginal calls would be different.

    The results can be seen in the table below with a shot of the test target (1/30, f/9, ISO200).

    From this limited testing my conclusions are:

    1) IBIS alone struggles with this long a focal length. It seems fine with the 150mm of the pro zoom though - I can get a decent keeper rate at 1/15s - but that may be the FL limits of IBIS.

    2) POIS is great and gets a very high keeper rate down to 1/30 which is more than enough for any situation where you might use an 800mm EFL lens, I should probably test slower than 1/30 but in reality I would never use it as subject motion blur would become a big factor.

    3) I am happy to use it with both IBIS and POIS on, I can't say for sure if it is better than POIS on its own but it which means less faffing around in settings which I'm all for. This is how I will leave the settings. UPDATE - as above, it seems like the switch on the lens controls the IBIS too so you have one or the other, I like this.

    Hope that's of use to some people trying to make a call about this lens on an Oly body.

    UPDATE - you can view 'Both' and POIS as replications of the same settings, which shows good consistency.
    Snip20160422_1.png Both 1-30.jpg
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  2. popiT

    popiT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 20, 2014
    BayArea, CA
    Hi, nice test. I didn't do any thorough test like yours but I've found (as shooting in general) from my older P100-300, OIS is better performed than IBIS @300mm. In addition, OIS on and IBIS off increases my frame rate when using CAF. Now I just use OIS on the PL100-400 and IBIS always off. If you could do another test on CAF to confirm?
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  3. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    Yeah with the EM1, you can only have one or the other on (with the exception of the 300/4 which is designed to work with both systems). With the original EM5, you could have both on and it would cause problems as both systems would try to work at the same time and fail to do so.

    In the C gear menu you'l find a setting called Lens I.S. Priority. I believe, that when turned to on, the IS switch on the lens will override the IBIS setting, turning the IBIS off when you turn the OIS on. When set to off, the IBIS setting should override the lens switch and keep IBIS enabled regardless of the position of that switch.
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  4. acnomad

    acnomad Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 5, 2016
    Thanks for these posts. Up until now, I had believed (for no special reason) that E-M1 IBIS was more effective than OIS. I'm going to see if my P100-300 results improve with OIS on.

    Somewhat OT: does anyone have definitive results on use of OIS vs IBIS with the P12-35 f/2.8 on E-M1 and/or E-M5ii?
  5. T N Args

    T N Args Agent Photocateur

    Dec 3, 2013
    Adelaide, Australia
    call me Arg
    I have the M5II and the 100-300, and a super-quick comparo at 1/13 sec and 300mm was better with OIS than IBIS (both not sharp but 1/13 is 5.5 stops!). Just FYI. But I was not thorough like the OP here!
  6. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    I rented the 100-400mm for a 10 day trip to Iceland, and I'm not sure if IBIS or OIS is more effective (didn't really test it), but OIS is much, much easier to use with a lens this long, so I kept it on. OIS runs all the time, instead of only when you half press, which makes framing and acquiring focus a lot easier. With OIS off it's a jittery mess until you've got your focus locked in (IBIS on with half press).

    Used with EM1
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  7. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Since my original testing with the Panasonic 100-400mm I just leave IBIS on, Lens Priority off, Half Way with IS on and if I have any issues I just turn on the OIS on, on the Panasonic lenses. The two systems may not have been designed to work together, but they definitely work well in conjunction with each other and do not degrade anything.
  8. EarthQuake

    EarthQuake Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2013
    If you have lens priority off, turning the OIS switch to on does nothing, when lens priority is set to off, the camera ignores the OIS switch and uses IBIS all the time. To get that to work you need to set lens priority to on and then when you switch OIS on, it will switch from IBIS to OIS. IBIS and OIS work great together, because they don't. :D

    The only lens that works with IBIS+OIS on Olympus bodies is the 300mm 4.0.

    On older bodies like the original EM5 you could set both OIS and IBIS on and it really wreaked havoc, both systems would fight and the image would jerk all over. This is why they added the lens priority setting in newer bodies.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2016
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  9. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Whether or not the lens priority is off, turning on OIS does in fact start the lens stabilization. And as I stated, "The two systems may not have been designed to work together, but they definitely work well in conjunction with each other and do not degrade anything." This is in regards to using the lens on the E-M1, as in the original post.

    In windy conditions and at at 400mm I have found using both have been beneficial for me in keeping the lens extremely steady. I'll take your word about the E-M5 as I have not used the lens with it.
  10. gbuck

    gbuck Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 9, 2012
    Should we add the 12-100 f4 to this statement?
    Having just changed my gear to the e-m1 mkii, 12-100mm and 300mm I am trying to work out what the best settings are for IS. Should lens priority IS be set to on in the custom menu and IBIS set to S-IS1?
  11. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    I can't comment on the E-M1mk2, but with the E-M1 the switch on the lens is the IS controller. When you switch it off it switches off the IS of the lens and the body. Based on this I strongly suspect that the lens priority IS setting is moot with the 12-100f4.