The Modern Camera And Lens

Ok, so I grew up in a different time. A time without technology. A time when lenses didn’t have continuous autofocus. A time when cameras (and lenses) didn’t have firmware to update. When I was first starting in photography, people were skeptical when cameras started requiring batteries!

I just finished a post about my Canon RF 24-240 IS USM lens. This is a consumer level, super zoom, and I was going through a basic review of the lens and what it is capable of. When I was taking some test shots with this lens, I started to be intrigued by the image stabilization. I’ve never really been too impressed by stabilization – either in the lens, or in the body itself, mainly because I do a lot of sports and action photography, and IS isn’t a factor with action photography. IS doesn’t effect subject movement, it only reduces camera movement, and I’m always shooting at 1/1000 of a second or faster shutter speeds.

Now, when testing this lens, I started messing around with stabilization, and I’m very impressed. Actually, I’m not impressed that I can take photos at very slow shutter speeds, without a tripod, but I am impressed about 2 different things. First, I’m impressed at how well it works. Take a look at these photos. Taken at long focal lengths, and low shutter speeds, while keeping the ISO low (ISO 400 or 800 for all):

So, these images are all handheld (naturally) and vary in focal length, but all are using slow shutter speeds. The hands are 240mm at 1/60th of a second, the others are 1/3 or 1/5 of a second.

Second, I’m impressed about the potential for special effects with IS.

Take a look at this next image. I’ve taken long exposure shots of running water to get similar results, but I think I can achieve similar results with IS, handheld. In this shot, the TV image is blurred, but the frame of the TV, and the dog in the foreground are sharp.

1/8 of a second, 24mm, f/6.3
1/8 of a second, 24mm, f/6.3

I know, I’m probably a little late to the game, and this is nothing new to most modern photographers… but I didn’t grow up with this stuff. Add to this that I’m mostly doing sports photography, and many of my lenses are older and don’t even have IS, well I guess that’s contributed to me being late to the game. I bet I could capture some water flow images, handheld with a shutter speed of 2 to 3 seconds… maybe that will be another post sometime when I can go to my favorite park and give it a try.

I haven’t posted much lately, so I’m trying to start 2021 by posting some of my thoughts… Happy New Year!