The use of IS / VR on a lens while on a monopod came up recently on a Facebook group I belong to and I thought I would address a few things…
- IS (Canon) and VR (Nikon) are amazing things and seem to be getting better and smarter with every new lens release.
- As a rule, especially when shooting sports, IS or VR are turned off when using a monopod. You are normally at a fast enough shutter speed where the IS/VR should have no effect at all, so it’s simply something else the camera and lens has to do, all while trying to maintain focus on a moving object. When IS/VR is used on a stable platform, the IS/VR can start picking up it’s own vibrations and start trying to correct for that. And last, IS/VR can use up some serious battery life.
Some newer lenses have different settings for using IS/VR while on a monopod that seem to work quite well for certain situations. There’s one setting that seems very effective when I shoot (on a monopod) panning shots at NASCAR races, and there’s another that seems to be effective while shooting handheld from a helicopter.
But for regular action photography, I almost never use IS/VR. As a matter of fact, I place a bit of tape over the IS/VR switch to make sure I do not accidentally turn it on.
Here’s a link to a pretty good article explaining all of this in some more detail, and feel free to let me know if you have any questions!