Image stabilization (IS) in some lenses and cameras will actually make a picture more blurry when used with a tripod. Common advice is to turn off IS when using a tripod. I like to read advice, but then I test it myself.

I did numerous tests with my Olympus E-M5 on a tripod with and without IS. I used multiple lenses, apertures, and shutter speeds. There was no sharpness difference in any of my tests. Other E-M5 owners reported the same in online forums. I’m sure that IS+tripod is a problem for some cameras and lenses, just not for mine.

I’m going to leave IS on since I switch between handheld and tripod frequently. If I turned it off for the tripod then there would inevitably be times when I would forget to turn it back on.

For me, the lesson is that you should gather as much advice as possible, but then see whether it actually applies to your situation. There is no substitute for experiments with your particular equipment.

Thanks to Tony Sweet for mentioning the IS issue in his recent newsletter.

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