Choosing Best Camera Image Stabilization

optical image stabilization - Camera Explained

optical image stabilization – Camera Explained

The image stabilizing technology is shown in this photo.

You often see the term “IS” that may be commonly attached to the end of your digital model name, right? If you don’t know what the “IS” stands for, let me bring you a pieces of explanations. IS, commonly found with a digital camera, stands for the terminology “image stabilization technology”. This technology is useful in reducing blurry photos from camera shake.

The image stabilization technology has been introduced for long and nowadays, this technology is included in more and more digital models aimed at the consuming level

Because nowadays IS has become more popular, you should at least find out about it before purchasing a digital camera. There are several different options of the IS technology in a digital model.

The three primary configurations of digital camera image stabilization are:

  • Optical image stabilization
  • Digital image stabilization
  • Dual image stabilization

The Basics

To lower the impacts of vibration or camera shake as much as possible, a software or a hardware will be used in the IS technology inside the camera body. When you use a long zoom or shoot photos without enough light, you tend to see more blur in your photos. In these cases, the camera has to adjust the shutter speed to be slower to help the image sensor receive a bigger amount of light. The slower shuttering speed is, the more shake or vibration you’ll find with your camera, which causes the blurriness at times. Even you yourself can cause a bit blur when you just slightly move your arm or hand.

Don’t expect the IS technology to help you completely avoid the blurriness. This technology may not work for the cases in which the moving speeding of a subject is too fast compared to the camera shuttering speed that you are selecting. But this IS technology is nice for reducing the blurriness that is caused by the pretty slow moving speed of a photographer.

(Sometimes, this problem happens for almost all photographers. So, don’t have the bad feelings). It is estimated by the manufacturers that you’re going to able to capture a couple of shuttering speed settings slower than you can without the support of IS.

If your camera does not offer a nice IS system, the shuttering speed should be raised, but this can cause some trouble for shooting photos under inadequate lighting conditions. If the IS setting does not help, another way to make the shuttering speeding faster in low light photography is to increase the ISO number

Optical IS

The optical IS (sometimes abbreviated as OIS) is preferred in solid digital models which is targeted at photographers at the beginning and intermediate levels.

In this technology, a hardware is used to minimize the camera shake. For different manufacturers, the configuration for performing the optical IS may be different, but you will easily find that for the optical image stabilization, there is a built-in gyro-sensor in most digital models. This gyro-sensor calculates every moving action of photographers. This measurement is transferred from the gyro-sensor to the CCD via a stabilization microchip and this CCD shall shift a bit to make the compensation. The image is recorded by the CCD, or also known as charge-coupled equipment.

Among the forms of IS, the most accurate one is certainly the hardware correction that you can find with optical image stabilization. The ISO number won’t be raised and the image quality will not be compromised.

Digital IS

Digital IS refers to the application of software as well as the settings of a digital model to negate the impacts of the camera shake. Certainly, the ISO which measures the sensitivity of a camera to light must be raised. If your camera has the ability to capture an image with a smaller amount of light, the shuttering speed can be set faster, which helps maximum lower the camera shake.

However, with the digital IS, the ISO has been often set higher beyond the common level of the auto setting. By this way, the image quality can be affected and the noise appears more in your images – noise is the number of pixels that have not been correctly recorded. I can say in another way that, forcing a camera to capture a photo with the ISO at the higher level compared to the optimal ISO settings may negatively affect the image quality, and that’s the manner of the digital IS.

The digital IS sometimes involves in using a built-in software to lower the blur as much as possible after the photo has been already taken. This is pretty similar to the situation in which you use a computer software to edit the photo. Anyway, digital image stabilization is still effective to some extends.

Dual IS

Dual image stabilization is sometimes not easy to pin down, because manufacturers have various definitions. Most commonly, the dual IS refers to the mix between using a hardware for stabilizing the image (as you can see with optical IS) and a higher ISO setting (as with the digital IS)

At times, dual IS shows a fact in which the IS technology is included with a digital SLR (single lens reflex) model in not only the camera body but you can find it in the interchangeable lenses as well.

Working Without IS

Sometimes, you cannot find any IS form in the older digital models. Without the image stabilization, you can refer to some of the following tips to help avoid the camera shake:

  • Attach a tripod to your camera
  • Instead of using the LCD, use the viewfinder for framing photos.
  • Lean against a door frame or a wall to keep yourself steady
  • Your elbows should be braced against your body side and it’s recommended to hold the camera with two hands.
  • Try to ensure the shuttering speed to be fast every time, but you cannot use this option all of the times.

Stay smart

Lastly, make sure that you do completely understand the way that the manufacturer tells you about the available IS feature. You may easily see some misleading listings such as “anti-shake” or “anti-blur” mode with the camera, but actually there is no IS offering at all. For these types of camera, the common solution for reducing the blurriness is to set a higher shuttering speed. But sometimes, this actions may cause you encounter exposure issues, hence affecting the image quality.

In addition, different manufacturers may have different brand names for expressing the IS technology, which may get you more confused. For instance, to say about the IS, you can see  the name “ Vibration Reduction” with some of Nikon models while for Sony models, the manufacturers used the word “Super Steady Shot”. Canon may choose another word like “Intelligent IS” to show you the available image stabilization.

Before making the purchase decision, you should be certain that the brand name refers to optical image stabilization, not some kind of digital IS. To avoid the confusion, you should find out more information from the official site of the manufacturer or a trusted salesman in the store where you buy the camera.

There may be the inclusion of the optical IS only or you can find some kinds of dual IS with your camera. But certainly, you don’t have to be as concerned as for buying a camera some years ago. Though, the IS is still very important to help you obtain nice images without worrying about the blurriness. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you should check the IS offering of your camera thoroughly before the purchase. If it possible, you should check the IS type in the list of your camera specifications as well.

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