Does the camera body have any sensor in the tripod mount to sense when a tripod head is attached? Or does the lens sense the stability to determine whether it is mounted on a tripod?

The main reason I ask this is to know whether it is safe to shoot with just the tripod head\plate attached to the camera without it being mounted on a tripod. If this can throw off the IS, then I would set things up accordingly.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I can tell you from personal experience, that at least with the Canon 7D and 5D Mk III, with the 70-200 or 8-15, having IS turned ON and mounted on a tripod produces blurry images. Turning off IS fixes this. Canon tells users to disable IS when on a tripod. \$\endgroup\$
    – user12016
    Oct 13, 2012 at 0:03
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @rick: It depends on the Canon lens. Canon also sells lenses with IS modes dedicated to tripod use. All of the Super Telephoto series have this feature. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 17, 2013 at 19:49

2 Answers 2


No. Tripod sensing is based on vibration measurements.

While it might seem logical that a camera could sense if something is attached to the tripod socket, they do not do that. The reason you state is enough since quick release plates often stay attached. Other accessories attach to the tripod socket such as flash brackets, camera slings, etc and would cause the same problem.

Lenses have to detect vibration to stabilize and so on some models, the use the characteristics of vibration to guess they are attached to a tripod. It may incorrectly guess, so it better to turn off stabilization yourself.

Pentax cameras use in-body stabilization (just like Sony Alpha and Olympus models) and so there is no stabilization switch on the lens. It would be annoying to have to enter the menu (or interactive status screen on some models) in order to toggle it on and off. Luckily, they have a much better prediction system: Stabilization is automatically turned off when the Self-Timer or Remote trigger is used. This solves the problem in such a way that no action is required except setting the self-timer or remote-trigger drive mode as you would be often doing anyways when shooting from a tripod.


In short, No. IS being on or off doesn't matter.

The IS mechanism cancels out vibrations but when the camera is mounted on a tripod, the vibrations are minimal.

That said, this issue depends on some lenses and the IS system. Some lenses can produce bad photos if they try to turn off IS based on the lack of vibrations.


  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the problem is that IS is not very good at cancelling these minor vibrations and may actually overcompensate them - resulting in introducing more blur. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 13, 2012 at 6:18

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