CamerasCameras: Guides

Image Stabilization. What Is It and When to Use It?

image stabilization

Some of the most aggravating aspects of photography is motion blur induced by camera shake, which is especially noticeable with larger focal-length lenses. If you’ve ever tried to snap a perfect shot while holding the camera at a short shutter speed, you’ll understand what camera movement does to picture clarity.

Many modern cameras and lenses include an image stabilization feature, which is intended to eliminate camera shaking. So, how do you maintain the sharpness of the image? Well, you’ve got three possibilities, and these are:

  • Increase the shutter speed.
  • Use a tripod.
  • Turn on image stabilization.

In this article, we will discuss the following topics: What is image stabilization? How image stabilization systems work, and what are the rules of shutter speed.

What is Image Stabilization?

Vibration reduction, vibration correction and optical stabilization are all terms used to describe image stabilization. The basic definition of image stabilization relates to how steady a camera’s optical system is during image capture.

Without image stabilization, the final image will seem hazy if the camera is not steady, especially if you have no experience with photography.

There are several other causes of hazy or blurred images, including poor lighting, the use of long lens lengths, and slow shutter speeds combined with camera motion from a handheld camera.

If you regularly use quick shutter speeds, image stabilization technology is usually unnecessary.

How Do Image Stabilization Systems Work?

In the mid-1990s, camera makers began investigating image stabilization technologies. It has become better with each generation of digital cameras. The stabilization system can be included inside the lens or the camera. It might also be in both.

A system of gyros and microcomputers attached to a floating lens element or sensor is used for image stabilization. Your camera’s gyros detect even the smallest motions. To compensate for it, the information is passed to the microprocessor, which shifts the components in the opposite direction. All of this is happening behind the scenes without your knowledge.

The menu system allows you to regulate camera-body image stabilization devices. Image stabilization lenses may contain a switch to toggle them on and off.

Rules of Shutter Speed

To begin, while shooting handheld, you should operate a shutter speed that is at least 1/the length of your lens to eliminate camera movement. So, if you are using a 50 mm lens, the shutter speed should be 1/50. The reciprocal rule states that a 200mm lens requires a minimum shutter speed of 1/200, a 40mm lens requires a minimum shutter speed of 1/400, and so on.

Secondly, camera shaking and motion blur are not the same things. The shaking of the photographer or camcorder causes the camera to shake. Motion blur occurs when the subject moves too quickly for the shutter speed. These will cause blur or softness in your photographs, but they are not the same problem.

What Is Digital Image Stabilization?

Some cameras employ digital image stabilization, sometimes known as electronic image stabilization, mainly for video. Digital image stabilization detects movement in each frame and moves it pixel by pixel to generate a steady video.

This method can eliminate camera shaking and produce steadier footage. Post-processing software, such as Adobe Premiere Pro’s Warp Stabilizer, can also be used to stabilize digital images.

One downside of this approach is that it necessitates cropping since pixels beyond the frame must be utilized as a buffer and must be clipped out to allow for stabilization. In general, the more shaking there is in the camera, the more cropping there is.

What is Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)

Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) is a technique used in cameras and phones that helps balance the photo-taking parts of your camera or phone to reduce or eliminate image’ shake.’ This allows you to capture sharper photos with your smartphone even while it’s in your hand.

OIS is especially useful when taking photos at night or in low-light situations because it stabilizes your camera for longer, allowing it to take in light when used in a darkened setting. This results in clearer and more pleasing photos.

Lens-Based Stabilization

Lens-based stabilization employs a floating lens element that is electronically controlled and adjusted in the opposite direction of any camera shake detected. Smoother performance when employing longer focal length lenses is one of the benefits of in-lens image stabilization.

The disadvantage of lens-based image stabilization is that it is not available as an option for all lenses and adds to the lens’s cost. However, if you don’t require IS, you may be able to get a non-IS version of the lens or something comparable.

In-Camera vs Lens Stabilization

Nikon and Canon have always preferred lens-based stabilization technologies. Each lens’ image stabilization mechanism is tuned somewhat differently. Lens manufacturers may provide both image stabilization and non-image stabilization lenses.

Lens stabilization is, as you can expect, more costly. Sometimes significantly more costly. When you buy a lens, you also buy the stabilization system. With in-camera picture stabilization, you just need to purchase the system once. It is compatible with all of your lenses.

When to Turn Image Stabilization Off

Image stabilization sounds wonderful. It will assist you in capturing crisper photographs at slower shutter speeds. However, it is not always the best setting to utilize. It is sometimes preferable to locate the off switch.

  • If you intend to move the camera, disable the stabilization option. When you pan your camera, you are following a moving subject. This maintains the object in focus while blurring the backdrop. This is countered by picture stabilization.
  • Your tripod is the ultimate picture stabilization device. When using a tripod, turn off picture stabilization. This may appear to be paradoxical. If your camera is already stabilized by a tripod, you will anticipate the image stabilization feature to be inactive.


Image stabilization refers to how steady a camera’s optical system is during capture. Images will seem fuzzy and degrade overall image quality if the system is not steady.

Image quality can be improved by utilizing a tripod, an optical stabilizer, or sensor-shift optical image stabilization. It is still necessary to examine the picture stabilization capabilities of the camera.

About author

A finance major with a passion for all things tech, Uneeb loves to write about everything from hardware to games (his favorite genre being FPS). When not writing, he can be seen in his natural habitat reading, studying investments, or watching Formula 1.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *