Understanding the “Image Stabilizer” Function of a DSLR
One thing that is now often found on new generation digital cameras is the “Image Stabilizer.” Panasonic names this feature with the term “Mega OIS,” Canon with the term “Image Stabilizer/IS,” Pentax with “Anti Shake/AS,” Nikon with “Vibration Reduction/VR,” and Sony with “Super Steady Shot.” Other brands such as Olympus, Kodak, and Fuji soon follow this trend by equipping their cameras with stabilizers. How important is the stabilizing feature in digital photography? Let’s find out more about this feature.
In the beginning, the stabilizer feature was developed due to the amount of consumer disappointment in encountering blurs when shooting at low speeds or at long focal lengths. A photography theory states that blur-free photos can only be obtained by using shutter speeds of at least one over focal length (1/x with x= focal length). So when shooting at a focal length of 80mm, the shutter needs to be at least 1/80 seconds. The problem is when there’s inadequate lighting, camera speeds will decrease (to 1/20 seconds for instance) and the risk of blurry photos is increased from the affects of shaky hands. With the stabilizer, the camera is expected to be able to be used at shutter speeds of 3 to 4 stops lower than when not using a stabilizer. Of course when we use a tripod, this risk of blurriness is eliminated. But not everyone carries a tripod everywhere they go. From this dilemma came the idea of making a the stabilizer feature available on the camera, with the concept of a shake-detection technology (using gyro sensor) and compensates those vibrations (mechanically) resulting in sharp photos. Read the rest of this entry »