Don’t skimp on the IS

If you are buying a lens and have a choice between an Image Stabilized (IS) version and a non-IS, be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. The non-IS lenses are tempting due to their lower price. But if you’re trying to do handheld, available light shooting in a low-lit room, you’d better have a big f-stop (2.8 or faster) or expect to get a lot of crappy shots.

Example:
is_demo

I came across a Canon 70-200 f/4L, non-IS lens, on craigslist this week, and was tempted to buy it. It’s Canon’s cheapest L lens, selling for about $540 new. Moving up from this, you have the f/4L IS, the f/2.8L, and the f/2.8L IS. They get progressively more expensive, with the 2.8 IS selling for about $1,600. But seriously, until you have the money for the big time, I think it’s a waste to invest in an L lens without IS, unless you’re absolutely sure it will be intended for full-time tripod use, or shooting in broad daylight.

Naturally, the same applies for point and shoot cameras. If it has IS and you’re shooting indoors, make sure it’s ON. You can turn it off when you’re in bright daylight, and it’ll save your battery, too.

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