October 2009
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5 tips to learn more about Image Stabilization

Tip 381 (What is Image Stabilization): You must have heard of Image Stabilization. After all, modern cameras all proclaim the power of Image Stabilization. Image Stabilization is a measure used to increase the stability of an image. It is needed since there will be camera shake at low shutter speeds, which will render an image to be blurry (and even a small amount of blur is sufficient to destroy an image when needed for stock and other uses).

Tip 382 (What does Image Stabilization do): Image Stabilization allows you to go down 3-4 f stops in terms of shutter speeds. So, for a given situation, if you are unable to properly take a photo with a shutter speed of around 1/60, then with a camera and lens with IS turned on, then you can take a shot with a shutter speed that is 3-4 f stops less, so you could go down to a shutter speed of approx 1/15 (a condition in which you would have had camera shake earlier). This is impressive, since it allows you to get a lot more light into the photo, improving the photo.

Tip 383 (Constraints of Image Stabilization): Image Stabilization is meant to handle the cases when the camera shake happens, as happens in cases when you are shooting at slow shutter speeds (example, 1/15 of a second); it is not meant to address the cases when the subject of the photo is moving. So, you cannot use Image stabilization when you are trying to get a photo of a moving object.

Tip 384 (Different terms for Image Stabilization): Different companies have different terms of Image Stabilization, but the effect of the terms are the same. Some of these terms are: Super Steady Shot (SSS – Sony), Optical Stabilization (OS – Sigma), Vibration Compensation (VC – Tamron), Shake Reduction (SR – Pentax), Image Stabilization (IS – Canon), Vibration Reduction (VR – Nikon)

Tip 385 (How does Image Stabilization work): Image stabilization techniques are built inside the lens, not in the camera. This is done by varying the optical path to the sensor. Inside the lens, there are sensors that detect movement, and accordingly move a floating lens element (more details than this will make the entire discussion more complicated, and can become manufacturer specific).

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