Canon Ef Lenses With Image Stabilization

By | 17/10/2022

Camera milkshake is the thief of sharpness. The tremble of your hand as you lot hold the camera, the slight jarring when you press the shutter release – even a tiny movement during the exposure can result in blurring in the paradigm.

Much of the fourth dimension, yous won’t notice the effects of photographic camera milk shake. If you’re shooting with a fast shutter speed or a wide-angle lens, the blurring may not be significant plenty for you to register it – but information technology will nonetheless be there, and it might become noticeable if you make a dramatic crop or a big print of the paradigm.

The obvious style to eliminate motility of the photographic camera during the exposure is to fix information technology to something that volition not move, such as a tripod, and to take precautions against jarring it, such equally using a remote shutter release. However, a tripod is effective only if it is sturdy, which unremarkably means heavy, and then you can’t e’er carry one with you. In that location are also many situations where a tripod is just non practical, and several where the use of a tripod is not permitted.

Fortunately, Canon offers some other method of reducing, if not eliminating, the effects of camera milkshake: Image Stabilisation (IS).

There are various kinds of IS. Let’southward start with lens-based (“optical”) IS.The start lens with Prototype Stabilisation was introduced in 1995. It approached the problem of camera milkshake laterally. Rather than trying to stop the camera moving, a stabilised lens introduces a compensating movement inside it, with the aim of keeping the image static on the photographic camera’south sensor.

Photographer Richard Walch looks into the viewfinder of a Canon EOS R6 with Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM lens.

Action sports photographer and Catechism Ambassador Richard Walch shooting with the Catechism RF 100-500mm F4.five-7.1L IS USM, one of the range of Canon lenses with built-in optical Paradigm Stabilisation. Note the switch on the side for selecting between the 3 IS modes available.

How optical Prototype Stabilisation works

Image Stabilisation was bachelor for camcorders long earlier it was introduced in EF lenses. Even when both electronic and optical systems were available, size or weight constraints meant that neither was suitable for EOS cameras. So Canon went back to the cartoon board and took a fresh look at the problem.

Canon’s solution was to use a group of elements inside the lens that movement perpendicularly to the lens axis to annul photographic camera shake. The movement of this special lens group is controlled by an on-lath processor, and crucially, at that place is no reduction in the optical performance of the lens.

With a stabilised lens, photographic camera milk shake is detected by two gyro sensors inside the butt, one for yaw (side-to-side motion) and one for pitch (up-and-downwards movement). The sensors notice both the angle and speed of the motion.

The following sequence of events takes place when the photographic camera shutter release push button is partially depressed:

• The special stabilisation lens element group, which is locked in a central position when not active, is released.

• Two gyro sensors start upwardly and notice the speed and bending of whatsoever photographic camera/lens move.

• The gyro data is passed to a microprocessor in the lens, which analyses it and formulates an education for the special stabilisation lens element group.

• This pedagogy is transmitted to the stabilisation lens element grouping, which and so moves at the appropriate speed and management to counteract the camera movement.

• This complete sequence is repeated continuously, so that there is an instant reaction to any change in the amount or management of the camera shake.

Diagram of the path of a ray of light through a lens and the effect of movement on the resulting image.

When the camera is static, the rays of calorie-free laissez passer through the lens and course an image on the sensor. When the photographic camera moves, the rays of light from the subject are bent relative to the optical centrality (represented by the bluish dotted line) and the image shifts slightly on the sensor. You lot can see this effect in the camera viewfinder if you gently shake the camera while viewing a subject.

Diagram of the path of a ray of light through a lens, corrected for movement and thus steadying the resulting image.

In an IS lens, gyro sensors detect the photographic camera movement, and the microprocessor in the lens moves the IS lens elements the precise amount and direction required to counteract the corporeality and direction of the photographic camera shake. The result is that the image remains stationary on the photographic camera sensor.

Optical Epitome Stabilisation is effective with movement across a range of frequencies, so information technology can cope not only with simple camera shake (0.5Hz to 3Hz), but also with the engine vibrations encountered when shooting from a moving vehicle or helicopter (10Hz to 20Hz).

When the commencement EF lens with IS was introduced, it was the offset time that a loftier speed 16-bit microprocessor had been incorporated in a lens. The processor simultaneously controlled the Image Stabilizer, Ultra Sonic Motor (for focusing the lens) and the electromagnetic diaphragm (for setting the lens discontinuity).

The power required past the image stabilisation arrangement in a lens comes from the camera battery. This means that the battery life is slightly reduced when an IS lens is mounted on the camera and IS is switched on.

The Image Stabilizer unit from a Canon lens.

The tech behind Canon’southward optical Image Stabilizer organisation in IS lenses includes gyro sensors to discover the speed and management of motility, special “floating” lens elements that can motility in order to recoup for this movement, and a microprocessor to control the whole operation.

Diagram of the various planes of movement that a camera and lens might suffer.

The camera and lens might move in a number of ways. Upwardly-and-downwardly rotational movement is called pitch; side-to-side rotational movement is termed yaw. Rotation around the lens centrality is roll; lateral and vertical motion (in the 10 and Y axes respectively) are also possible. Advanced modern IS systems can detect and attempt to correct for all these 5 kinds of motion.

Epitome Stabilizer modes

One problem with the get-go EF lenses with IS was that the system saw a panning movement as camera shake and tried to overcome it. This caused the viewfinder epitome to bound virtually, making it difficult to come across and frame the subject field accurately.

On more recent IS lenses, y’all accept the choice of ii or three IS modes, equally follows:

Fashion 1 (standard): When IS Fashion 1 is selected on a stabilised lens, the IS organisation works in the same way every bit the original organization and will correct both pitch and yaw movements. It is the best style to utilize when you’re photographing static subjects.

Mode 2 (panning)
Mode 2 is the best setting to use when yous’re panning the camera to follow a moving field of study. It sets the lens to ignore the panning movement and compensate only for motion that is perpendicular to the panning direction. Information technology likewise ensures a smoother epitome in the viewfinder.

The IS organisation automatically detects the management of the pan, so there’s no need to worry about whether yous are composing portrait-format or landscape-format images or which direction yous are moving the camera.

Style 3 (during exposure just):
Image Stabilizer Mode iii was introduced in 2010 with the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM and EF 400mm f/2.8L IS 2 USM (now succeeded past the EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM) lenses. Information technology’s also congenital into a number of telephoto and zoom lenses in Canon’s EF lens and RF lens lineups, including the RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 100-500mm F4.five-7.1L IS USM.

This useful mode takes the benefits of standard IS (effective for both horizontal and vertical camera motion) just, instead of it being active all the time, it activates only when you fully press the shutter button to capture an image.

Mode iii is specially useful for sports photography where you are likely to be moving betwixt subjects quickly. In IS Way 1 this can create a crash-land or jump within the viewfinder as the IS races to keep up with the lens movements. Instead, past non activating until the shutter button is fully pressed, information technology saves the system trying to compensate for random, rapid lens motility and compensates only at the point you are taking an image.

As well, by limiting the activation to the betoken of capture, it ensures that the stabilisation group is centred within the butt, therefore offering the maximum degree of stabilisation.

Some EF, EF-S, RF and RF-S lenses with IS accept automatic panning detection instead of a mode switch. On the RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM or RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM, for example, with IS activated, the engineering is designed to observe intentional panning movement and switch automatically from Standard IS mode to Panning IS style.

The EOS R7 and EOS R10 both have the choice of a new Scene Mode named Panning Manner. Whereas IS Style ii deactivates horizontal stabilisation when you’re panning horizontally (as y’all usually would), the Panning Scene Mode can observe the subject y’all’re following and activate horizontal correction when needed in addition to vertical to aid keep the subject framed as desired.

A motorbike being ridden on a speedway track with the background blurred by the camera panning.

When panning the camera to follow a moving subject, select IS Way ii. In this fashion the IS volition ignore camera movement in the direction of panning and compensate only for any movement perpendicular to this. Taken on a Canon EOS R6 with a Canon RF 100-500mm F4.five-7.1L IS USM lens at 324mm, one/200 sec, f/8 and ISO100. © Richard Walch

Diagram of pitch and yaw movement compared to side-to-side camera shake.

In macro photography, the camera tends to suffer non only pitch and yaw movements (top image) but also side-to-side movements in the X and Y axes (lesser image). Hybrid IS is designed to address this particular set of problems.

Hybrid IS

Introduced with the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens in 2009, Hybrid IS takes the prototype stabilisation concept and applies information technology to macro photography. When yous’re using longer lenses or in general purpose shooting, camera shake appears to be rotational – that is, an up-and-downwardly (pitch) or side-to-side (yaw) move around a point, that point being the photographic camera. This is effectively corrected by the IS motors contained in the lenses. However, when you motion in close for macro photography, the camera shake movement appears to be less rotational and more shift based – equally if the whole frame is shifting upward-and-down or side-to-side parallel to the subject. This is what Shift IS, found in the Hybrid IS system, aims to correct.

Canon’due south Hybrid IS technology incorporates an angular velocity sensor, as used in all its IS lenses, which detects the extent of athwart photographic camera shake, plus an additional acceleration sensor that determines the corporeality of shift-based camera shake. The processor combines the output of the 2 sensors and moves the lens elements to compensate for both types of motility. Hybrid IS dramatically enhances the effects of IS especially during macro shooting, which is difficult for conventional paradigm stabilisation technologies.

How effective is optical Image Stabilisation?

The effectiveness of IS may vary, depending on the user’s individual ability, merely as a full general guide the earliest IS lenses enabled sharp images to be captured at shutter speeds about two stops slower than normal. This means, for example, if you lot can obtain a precipitous image shooting handheld without Prototype Stabilisation at a shutter speed of i/sixty sec, then you volition produce results of similar sharpness at 1/fifteen sec with Image Stabilisation, other factors staying the same.

One of these factors – a key one to consider – is the lens focal length. Increasing the focal length non only magnifies the subject, it also magnifies the effects of camera shake. A useful rule of pollex is that, without IS, you should utilize a shutter speed at to the lowest degree equal to the reciprocal of the focal length when property the camera and lens by hand. So if you’re shooting handheld without IS and the focal length of the lens is 500mm, then the shutter speed should be at least ane/500 sec. If the lens you’re using offers 2 stops of IS, and so you can expect to be able to use a shutter speed of one/125 sec instead (that is, 2 stops slower than one/500 sec) and all the same get a sharp shot. More than recent IS lenses take improved their effectiveness, giving a 4-stop or a 5-finish proceeds. A 4-stop proceeds means that instead of 1/500 sec you should be able to go to 1/30 sec, while 5-stops volition take you to 1/fifteen sec. Or to put information technology the other way around, a five-terminate proceeds ways that shooting with a shutter speed of i/fifteen sec with Paradigm Stabilisation gives the same image sharpness equally shooting at ane/500 sec without Prototype Stabilisation.

Go along in mind that Epitome Stabilisation only reduces the event of camera milk shake − it has no result on blurring caused past subject move.

Cutaway drawing of a Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM lens showing the lens elements.

The IS unit of measurement is just one of the complex optical and electronic elements in a modern Catechism lens such every bit the RF lxx-200mm F2.8L IS USM.

Diagram of the Dual Sensing IS system in a Canon EOS R.

The Dual Sensing IS system in the Catechism EOS R uses information from both the lens and the image sensor in the camera to discover more types of camera milkshake and correct blur more effectively than systems using lens move data alone. The photographic camera doesn’t have sensor-shifting In-Trunk Image Stabilisation, though, so it uses just the Image Stabilizer elements in the lens to make its corrections.

Camera compatibility

The optical Paradigm Stabilisation system we’ve been talking about – gyros, microprocessor and special lens element group – is function of the lens, not the camera. This means that the IS tin be optimised for each specific lens, and that the IS will piece of work regardless of which camera you apply the lens with. In some circumstances you might encounter the prototype move in the viewfinder subsequently exposure, but this will not affect the sharpness of the exposed epitome.

In 2018, edifice on the Combination IS system used in Canon’due south EOS Chiliad mirrorless cameras, the Canon EOS R introduced a Dual Sensing IS system, which uses information from both the camera and the lens to improve the effectiveness of the optical IS. The organization acquires both photographic camera-milkshake data from a gyro sensor in the lens and motion vector data from the camera’due south CMOS imaging sensor, enabling it to accurately notice and recoup for low-frequency (slow) blur that used to be hard to notice with gyroscopic sensors alone.

Note that Image Stabilisation does non operate with most EOS cameras if you lot’re using Bulb fashion for long exposures. IS is likely to be ineffective for long exposures in whatsoever case, and you’ll become improve results switching off IS and ensuring the camera is secured against whatever move.

Diagram of the combination IS system in a Canon EOS R7.

In Canon cameras with In-Body Prototype Stabilisation (IBIS), including the EOS R5, EOS R6, EOS R3 and EOS R7, the IBIS arrangement works in tandem with optical IS in the lens to evangelize unprecedented levels of stabilisation. The lens microprocessor receives data from the gyro sensor in the lens, while the DIGIC X processor in the camera receives information from a gyro sensor and an dispatch sensor in the camera. The two processors share information in real fourth dimension in order to accommodate both the lens elements and the camera sensor to produce a super-steady image.

The Image Stabilisation unit from a Canon EOS R3.

Much equally the optical IS organization in a Catechism lens uses special movable lens elements, the In-Torso Paradigm Stabilisation tech in cameras such every bit the Canon EOS R3 has the imaging sensor “floating” magnetically so that it tin motility to recoup for camera movement.

In-Body Paradigm Stabilisation (IBIS)

So far we have just been speaking about the optical IS found in lenses, just the EOS R5 and EOS R6, released in 2020, introduced five-axis In-Trunk Epitome Stabilisation (IBIS) for the first time in Catechism cameras, subsequently included in some other models in the range as well. IBIS moves the imaging sensor in order to compensate for camera movement and maintain a steady epitome.

IBIS operates in tandem with the IS in lenses and is particularly effective against low-frequency vibration (such as that acquired by your breathing and heartbeat) and at wider focal lengths, while optical in-lens IS is especially effective at telephoto focal lengths. The in-body and in-lens IS systems working together can deliver a groundbreaking 8-stops of combined IS, depending on the lens.1
With some lenses with a large image circle, such as the RF 28-70mm F2L USM and RF 85mm F1.2L USM, the camera’s IBIS tin can deliver up to viii-stops of IS even though the lenses practice not have built-in optical stabilisation.

The EOS R7 delivers up to 7-stops of IS when paired with RF-S lenses such as its RF-S 18-150mm F3.five-6.three IS STM kit lens,2
which has a smaller epitome circle designed to match the camera’s APS-C sensor. However, the EOS R7 has the aforementioned IBIS system as its stablemates and will deliver the same 8-stops of IBIS when using sure full-frame lenses such as the RF 28-70mm F2L USM or the RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM, for case. This is considering the large image circle of these lenses gives the sensor more room to move and compensate for a greater caste of shake.

In practical terms, following the examples we used above, 8-stops of IS means yous may be able to shoot handheld with a 500mm lens at ane/2 sec, and in fact with a wide-angle lens yous could possibly shoot handheld with a 4-second exposure. That’due south long enough to blur moving water but nonetheless keep the mural sharp without the need for a tripod.

When you’re using a lens with an IS switch on a camera with IBIS, this switch controls both optical IS and IBIS – they’re either both on or both off. If you’re using a lens without IS or a lens without an IS switch (such equally the RF-S lenses), then you lot tin can use camera settings to accept IBIS always on (analogous to Mode 1 above) or active merely when yous accept a shot (coordinating to Mode 3).

In the EOS R7, the IBIS also enables a new Auto-Level feature, which uses the sensor’s rotation capability (roll correction) to get the horizon level in your shots. The sensor rotates through only a very express range, even so, and then this won’t work with severely tilted horizons, only the feature operates whether the camera is in mural or portrait orientation, and the result is shown in the viewfinder and rear screen display.

Find out more than about In-Body Epitome Stabilisation in EOS R Organisation cameras.

Epitome Stabilisation for video

All the IS systems we’ve mentioned operate whether you’re shooting stills or video, in different combinations according to the lens in utilize and the IS technologies bachelor. The tabular array below summarises this collaborative approach to prototype stabilisation in cameras with IBIS. Likewise, boosted technologies for steadying video footage have continued to evolve. Many of Canon’southward Cinema EOS pro video cameras, for example, use an advanced 5-axis Electronic IS (EIS) arrangement. EOS R System yet and video cameras accept Picture Digital IS, which in models with IBIS uses all three technologies – lens, IBIS and digital – to enhance stability.

Contempo firmware updates accept improved the Pic Digital IS performance in the EOS R3, EOS R5 and EOS R6, remedying the slight wobble in the corners of the frame that could sometimes appear in footage shot with ultra-wide lenses.

Correction Axis
Lens Pitch/Yaw X/Y Curl


Without IS In-body IS In-torso IS In-body IS
Optical IS Optical IS In-body IS In-torso IS
Hybrid IS Optical IS Still: Optical IS

Movie: In-torso IS
In-body IS
RF Without IS In-body IS In-body IS In-body IS
Optical IS Coordinated Control3:

Optical IS + In-torso IS
In-body IS In-body IS
Hybrid IS Coordinated Command:

Optical IS + In-trunk IS
Still: Optical IS

Movie: In-body IS
In-torso IS

Accessories for IS lenses

IS lenses piece of work well when used with accessories. For example, they are very useful when you add a lens extender to increase the effective focal length of the lens by 1.4x or 2x. Every bit already mentioned, increasing the focal length means that the effects of camera milkshake are magnified, so the IS is extremely benign.

Canon EF extenders are compatible with L-series and Exercise lenses of focal length 135mm and greater, and a small-scale number of wide-aperture telephoto zoom lenses. Canon RF extenders are compatible with RF lenses above 300mm. Both are also compatible with many IS lenses.

Image Stabilisation too remains effective when extension tubes or close-upwardly lenses are used.

Continue a tripod

Although an IS lens gives more opportunities for handheld shots, there will still be times when the support of a tripod is needed − with exposure times of several seconds, for instance, or when you’re working with heavy lenses.

With some of the earlier lenses, you needed to switch the IS off when using a tripod equally the lack of movement confused the organisation and the prototype started to jump around the viewfinder. Withal, even when using a tripod, at that place tin exist some camera movement in high wind or with super telephoto lenses, which ways the IS organization can exist invaluable. More contempo IS lenses are able to detect the apply of a tripod and automatically disable the IS, if necessary.

You lot should as well leave the Image Stabilisation on when using a monopod, as it is unlikely you will be able to continue this type of support perfectly even so.