The Canon lenses with IS, image stabilization, have 2 switches.

  1. Stabilizer On or Off:
    • Whenever the camera is hand held, the switch should be on.
    • Whenever the camera is on a tripod, the switch should be off.
    • Whenever you need to extend the battery life, turn it off and raise the ISO.
  2. Stabilizer mode:
    • Mode 1: The normal setting unless you are panning.
    • Mode 2: If you are panning horizontally.
    • Mode 3: NOT user selectable, available only on the new 70-200/2.8IS Mk2, a tripod mode. If the lens senses that the lens is mounted on a tripod, the image stabilization system will turn itself off.

The new current stabilization system, with give you a couple of f/stops if you hold the focus button on for ½ second. It will you give you between 3 and 4 f/stops if you hold the focus button for at least a full second. I’m amazed by how good it is.

  • The image stabilization is just as much an impediment as a saviour of photos. Think of the image stabilization as a tripod build in the lens.
  • The stabilization system does not help with the movements of the subject, only with the movements of the camera and the lens.
  • The image stabilization will not help if the light is low and the subject is fast. Just like a tripod can help you take the photo of a moving car in the dark.