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How important are stabilised lenses?


zenpmd
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The Still Motion lot from Canada seem to use a lot of monopods (the manfrotto one with a little tripod-like feet at the bottom of it) and therefore don't seem to use stabilised lenses, unless they are in a vehicle or something similar. Is it possible to never bother with stabilisation?

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Yes, people do it all the time. Stabilized lenses = modern lenses, you might not like the character all that much. And then again, you've seen cine primes with IS?

If you have a GH2 and shoot with vintage glass on a focal reducer of some sorts, there's not much else but shooting unstabilized. A mono-/tripod might be in order though. You're always balancing convenience with what looks good. But if you want to start somewhere with your 5D, the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM seems to be a nice solid base to work from.

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Still motion, who don't shoot weddings anymore but also other high end wedding videographers have a monopod as a standard tool for run and gun and most shoot with unstabilized primes. If you shoot handheld with a unstabilized 50mm or 100mm macro that's piratically impossible to keep steady, your footage will be full of small jitters, a monopod takes most of that away but there still will be small vibrations visible just from holding the camera or supporting the lens with your hands, if you use a stabilized lens on a monopod the result will even be better. Only when you shoot on a tripod you shot turn of the IS. 

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Events where I'm chasing down things as they happen? Full-on video camera, XLRs, shoulder mount, etc. - with great OIS.

Planned and rehearsed stuff that's got some handheld shots? I much prefer DSLR/BMC look whenever I can use it... never have used stabilization in those situations.

I've found you can get a pretty manic level of handheld feel (if that's what you're after) and never look jello-DSLR if you learn to move smoothly with a good rig. And man - if you have any sort of walk/run/following-up-the-stairs kind of shots... even a $200 Came/Laing will blow away your best efforts on the shoulder.

And when your story just needs a whip-pan, the only people that notice it will be other shooters, trust me. My wife has never once said "Wow, all that sh*t just slanted!!!"

I wouldn't turn a down a stabilized lens, I'm not being a purist... I've got Nikon glass I've shot stills with since the 80's though, mounted on all kinds of cameras, and I've really only missed IS for still shoots. If Samsung gets the NX1 rocking, It'll likely be my next camera, and it seems silly to own those without one of the new zooms.

There are a lot of people (kids, I seem to want to say, or beginners?) who try to shoot something that should be lit, blocked, rehearsed, mic'd, and so on... with no lights and a PVC DIY shoulder mount, who wonder why their stuff doesn't look "cinematic" and say "but I'm a run & gun guy!!!" Run & gun is not a style, it's a circumstance. A situation you are hired to capture.

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 Is it possible to never bother with stabilisation?

​Of course it's possible.  It all depends on your shooting style.  If you want to carry minimal equipment and be stealthy IS is a must.  If you don't mind crowds of the curious looking at your tricked out shoulder rig then you can go without IS.  The fact of the matter is you can film in a lot more places using a small camera with an IS lens than with a shoulder rig or monopod.

 

I use both ends of the spectrum a lot.  Sometimes I use a tripod and sometimes I use just IS hand held.

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Yeah, Garrett is a cool guy, love to hear him talk about stuff (doesn't mean he's 100% right either, but interesting perspectives nontheless).

Also, the Tango looks pretty cool:

http://youtu.be/LouziOQD9Rg

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LouziOQD9Rg&feature=youtu.be

I understand his vision, really interesting product. Thanks for sharing... the exhibition floor at the Vegas show must be a total blast!

 

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The gentleman on the far right, responsible for filming countless blockbusters (my understanding), has a perspective concerning stabilization, especially with regard to shaky-cam trend, that I count profound... scroll to 28:00 even. 

​So the Steadicam inventor likes stabilization...  Who knew?!

Seriously though.  I like Laforet's take on the situation.  They are all just tools and used where appropriate.  I think that is where you really need to know your equipment and have a vision before filming or cutting your video.  With a CCD camera or a global CMOS camera some shakey cam stuff can work.  With rolling shutter it ruins shots a lot more.

 

I just find with IS I have more keepers... as compared to hand held (i.e. no monopod, shoulder rig, etc).

One of the reasons I am not gaga over vintage lenses and adapting all kinds of lenses is because of lack of IS.  But if you are using a monopod or tripod then it opens up a world of possibilities.

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While I would miss IS with still photos and longer lenses, I found it a bit overrated in moving pictures. It does help of course, but would not save you. But 
I dislike shoulderrigs, too! I prefer a tripod whenever possible, landscapes or macros for example never worked without a safe stand in my experience. Sometimes I had to use my lightest carbon tripod as monopod, which worked to some degree and opens quick reactions.

For any kind of shoulder- or handheld work I'm quite reluctant to went over 50 mm fullframe, that's 35 mm on S35, no matter if stabilized or not. The biggest benefit for IS is eliminating the effects on micro shaking and rolling shutter, which helps stabilizing the footage in post.

The biggest concern against IS are the modern lenses themselves, which make any focus pulling a pita. And being out of focus is a much bigger threat for me.


 

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