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Image Stabilisation Low Down

06 Jul Posted by Matt in Guides, News |
Image Stabilisation Low Down

Image Stabilisation is commonplace in nearly every digital camera these days, but have you ever wondered what this mystical technology is or how it goes about trying to make your shots less wobbly?

Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS II

Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS II

There are actually two different ways that image stabilisation (which may be referred to as Anti-Shake, Vibration Reduction, or simply as IS or VR) can be implemented, either in the lens or in the image sensor, but the technology is broadly similar in that it tries to counteract any camera movement induced by the photographer.

Even relatively mid-range compact cameras are bundled with image stabilisation technology these days, which is at least in part due to the latest craze of including longer and longer zoom lenses into high-end superzoom compacts.

At wide-angles (i.e. zoomed out) there usually isn’t a need for image stabilisation, but once you’ve added a 14x zoom lens to the mix even the tiniest amount of camera shake can be extremely noticeable. Add to that the fact that more and more compact and DSLR cameras now offer high quality video recording, and the need for something to keep your shaky hands under control has never been greater.  Of course, the purists will tell you that the only real solution is a tripod, but in the real world that isn’t always practical.

So how does Image Stabilisation actually work?

The specific technology that Image Stabilisation uses is, unsurprisingly, a bit complicated.  However the concept is reasonably easy to get your head around, and this handy video from the guys at Camera Technica shows how the stabilising works in practice on a Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS lens, which is the model that has been bundled with nearly every Canon consumer DSLR for years.


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