Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Image Stabilization And You
How to choose and make the best use of stabilized cameras and lenses
For the sharpest shots, a tripod is essential, but you have to carry it with you and set it up each time you want to make a shot—not great for capturing a bighorn sheep that suddenly bursts into view and is gone just as quickly. Handholding allows spontaneous freedom of movement, but camera shake can blur your images, especially when using slower shutter speeds or longer focal lengths. When using a tripod isn’t possible or practical, you want image stabilization. There are two types of stabilization systems, each with its own advantages.
Today’s IS lenses have doubled that to four shutter speeds. It’s important to note, however, that with any handheld shooting—with or without stabilization—how slow you can shoot depends in part on your skill, as well as the shutter speed and the focal length in use.
Canon followed with more IS lenses and today offers around 25 of them. Nikon was next to introduce its VR (Vibration Reduction) lenses, with similar effects. More recently, Sigma introduced a series of OS (Optical Stabilizer) lenses, and Tamron has its VC (Vibration Compensation) lenses. All of these lenses mean you can shoot sharper images handheld, and that’s a wonderful thing.
Nine years after Canon introduced that first stabilized lens, Konica Minolta gave us the first stabilized DSLR with an anti-shake mechanism that moves the image sensor to counter camera movement. While Konica Minolta is no longer making cameras, the sensor-shift stabilization method is found today in DSLRs from Olympus, Pentax, Samsung and Sony (the latter having acquired Konica Minolta’s DSLR technology in 2006).
The result of all this is that today you can shoot stabilized no matter what brand DSLR you prefer.
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