As I do every March, headed down to Austin earlier this month for SXSW. I also brought my new camera along, a Canon 40D which I’ve had since around February. To go along with that, I rented Canon’s 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens from lensrentals.com (an awesome online lens rental shop, if you ever need that kind of thing).
I had always heard generally good things about image-stabilization including some reports of being able to hand-hold shots down to 1/8 sec or even 1/4 sec. Given that I seem to encounter a fairly average amount of camera shake (as opposed to an extraordinarily low amount of it), I was cautiously optimistic about how much the image stabilization system might be able to help me.
In short, I couldn’t be more pleased. If the phrasing wasn’t so religiously-exclusive, I might even be tempted to call this the Jesuslens (see also: Jesusnoun.) Or, put another way, if this lens wasn’t around $1,000, I probably would have bought it by now. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I knew that I’d be hand-holding shots at SXSW and I was hoping that this lens would come through for me — it sure did. I managed several keepers at 1/8 sec. and even down to 1/6 sec.
With the aid of the back of a chair in my hotel room for additional sturdiness, I was also able to work through a set of four 1/2-second exposures of the Austin skyline which I then was able to stitch together to form a panoramic. (Incidentally, Photoshop CS3 is more intuitive than I thought it’d be for making panoramas. They’ve really improved that functionality over CS2.) I may have to try that panorama-thing more often — that was kinda fun.