Thursday, March 1, 2007
When you can't or won't use a tripod, these technologies steady your hand
With lens-shift stabilization, sensors in the lens detect camera shake, then the system shifts a group of internal lens elements to counteract the motion and keep the image from moving on the image sensor (or film, as stabilizer lenses can be used on 35mm SLRs as well as D-SLRs). Because the image is stabilized before entering the camera, you see a stabilized image in the viewfinder, too. That’s a big advantage of lens-shift stabilization. Another advantage is that camera shake at longer focal lengths is more easily dealt with by moving lens elements than by moving the image sensor. The drawback is that you have to buy special stabilizer lenses, and stabilization might not be available in the focal length you want.
Sensor-shift stabilization moves the image sensor itself, instead of lens elements, to counteract the effects of camera shake during handheld shooting. The big advantage of this system is that it works with all system lenses, not just specific stabilizer lenses. The draw back is that only the recorded image is stabilized; the image you see in the viewfinder isn’t. Most sensor-shift cameras provide a viewfinder LED that indicates when and to what degree the stabilizer is working.
It’s important to note that lens-shift and sensor-shift stabilization systems don’t prevent the camera from moving; rather, they compensate for the movement. There are also separate gyro-stabilizing units on the market that can be attached to cameras. These are even more effective than the built-in systems and can be used with any camera, but they add bulk and cost. Kenyon’s units contain two gyro wheels (to stabilize both pitch and yaw) that spin at more than 20,000 rpm (it takes them six to seven minutes to reach operating speed) and are very effective at stopping camera shake. These units can be used in conjunction with stabilizer lenses for maximum shake elimination.
I’ve shot more than 150,000 images with Canon IS and Nikon VR lenses, plus several thousand more with sensor-shift cameras, and all the stabilizing systems I’ve used (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, Konica Minolta) have given me noticeably sharper images at all the shutter speeds I normally use.
There's no big trick to using lens-shift or sensor-shift stabilized gear. Just remember to switch the system on, and give it a second or so to do its thing before you fully depress the shutter button to make the exposure.
Page 2 of 3
Get 11 Issues of Outdoor Photographer for only $14.97!
That's 77% off the cover price!