The new crop of mirrorless cameras features crazy good “in-body” image stabilization.  Of course, this feature doesn’t work if you shoot with a lens that has image stabilization.  WTF!  The camera body will defer to the lens and shut down its own stabilization utility.

You know where I’m taking this.  I’m going to pit my expensive Sony 100-400mm zoom lens ($2,500) against a cheaper Tamron 70-300mm lens ($545) without image stabilization (which can use the IS in my Sony A7rV). Caveat, the Sony will perform much better for fast-moving objects (aka sports) where IS doesn’t work. Our test will be for a stationary object (a good hypothetical test for Wildlife that’s not moving quickly).

Ok let’s start with hand held shots taken at 100mm, 10/10th of a second.  Normally you’d want to shoot at 1/100th or faster at that focal length(1/local length). At a 1/10th we’re at 4 stops below recommended.   At full size, both images look acceptably sharp.

Sony 100mm w lensIS turn on.

The Tamron using the Camera’s IS looks the same.

But cropping in at about 400% (in Lightroom) the Sony is showing some motion blurr.

The Tamron lens using the in body IS is sharper.

This becomes more apparent at longer focal lengths where there’s more potential motion blurr.. Let’s try the same thing using 300mm (the image cropped at 200% in Lightroom). First the Sony. Yup, definately not in sharp focus.


Next the Tamron. Much better!

There you have it.  The cheaper Tamron bests the expensive Sony (when IS is possible).

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