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Stabilizing the Situation

If you purchased your camera with one of the new image stabilization (IS) lenses, you already own a great tool to squeeze two stops of exposure out of your camera when shooting without a tripod (Figure 8.7). Typically, the average person can handhold their camera down to about 1/60 of a second before blurriness results due to hand shake. As the length of the lens is increased (or zoomed), the ability to handhold at slow shutter speeds (1/60 and slower) and still get sharp images is further reduced.

Figure 8.7

Figure 8.7 Set the Stabilizer to the On position when using longer shutter speeds while handholding your camera.

The Canon IS lenses contain small gyro sensors and servo-actuated optical elements, which correct for camera shake and stabilize the image. The IS function is so good that it is possible to improve your handheld photography by two or three stops, meaning that if you are pretty solid at a shutter speed of 1/60, the IS feature lets you shoot at 1/15, and possibly even 1/8 of a second (Figure 8.8 and Figure 8.9).

Figure 8.8

Figure 8.8 This image was handheld with the IS turned off.

ISO 400 • 1/4 sec. • f/5.6 • 135mm lens

Figure 8.9

Figure 8.9 Here is the same subject shot with the same settings, but this time with IS turned on.

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