The popular talk of the moment when it comes to mirrorless or small action cameras is the image stabilization feature. As you should know, shaking the camera when videoing may result in too much haziness, thus reducing the sharpness of the video. This also means getting a detail-obscuring blur when taking shots.
Hence, vibration reduction or image stabilization is important in your camera as it helps to stabilize your images. It reduces the effect of handshakes or movement while shooting a video or taking a shot. So, if you wish to capture your moving moments without blurriness, you need a camera with image stabilization.
But what is image stabilization in the camera, and what does it entail? In this article, I will give in-depth details on image stabilization, how it works, and why it is an important feature to look out for even when buying the best professional video camera.
What Is Image Stabilization in Camera?
Image stabilization is a camera feature that helps to reduce the blurriness of images or videos when taking a shot or shooting a video. It takes care of the angular and continuous shakiness of cameras.
It's always a big issue when the camera moves while taking a shot as the image comes out blur. Also, you may experience frame jitters in video cameras.
That's why image stabilization is important in cameras as it helps to combat the blurriness that arises from camera movement. One good thing about having the best camera with image stabilization is that it can take shots at a slower shutter speed than others. Yet, it produces a crispier image with low-light and less noise than the ISO.
Typically, cameras shouldn't go lower than 1/100 shutter speed, but you can go even lower when using a video camera with image stabilization. This feature stabilizes images by focusing the frame on the object before you click the shutter button. This helps when using telephoto lenses because they bounce from one place to another.
Image stabilization also helps your Autofocus system by reducing the vibrations and keeping an object steady, making it sharper. So, photographers can shoot in low light even without a tripod-
It is certain that the information above has given great insight into why you need image stabilization and how important it is. Now, let's look at the techniques.
How Does Image Stabilization Work?
Image Stabilization is only possible with the use of a floating lens element, which means the camera is able to senses the way that floating element moves inside your lens. The lens electronics feature then shifts the element in the opposite direction of the camera shake.
In a camera, image stabilization works a bit differently. Simply put, it shifts the sensor a bit to compensate for camera shake.
There is no obvious answer to which one is better between lens-based stabilization and in-body stabilization. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Image Stabilization Techniques
There are two kinds of image stabilization techniques - electronic image stabilization (AKA digital image stabilization) and optical image stabilization. Below, I have provided what you need to know about these techniques.
1. Optical Image Stabilization
This type of stabilization happens in the process of shooting or capturing, not after. It takes place inside the lens and through the camera parts. Hence, it counters the movement induced by shaky hands and bodies.
Optimal stabilization has two types, which are lens-based and in-body (sensor-shift) stabilization. Lens-based stabilization is commonly built-in in the lens where it retains focus on objects. A gyroscope detects movement, and then the lens goes on to steady the image with other elements.
Optical image stabilization is also built into the body of the camera. This feature, also called the Sensor-shift stabilization, moves to the sensor instead of the lens with a gyroscope.
Cameras like the DSLRs uses lens stabilization, while mirrorless cameras use in-body stabilization. However, some cameras use both the in-lens and in-body stabilization for more clarity and stabilizing power.
You can find out the OIS feature that the camera has by looking out for the Abbreviation IBIS (in-body image stabilization) in the specification. For the in-lens stabilization, each manufacturer has a different way they denote this feature. Cameras like Sony uses the abbreviation 0SS while Nikon indicates theirs as VR.
How Optical Image Stabilization Works?
Optical image stabilization uses a gyroscope to read movements, and then adjusts the lens or sensor. It senses motion and refocuses the camera to capture the object in motion. So, if you're taking a shot with your smartphone and the object moves, it moves the lens to capture it.
Pros and Cons of Optical Image Stabilization
1. Considering how optical image stabilization works, it uses the entire image sensor area.
2. The OIS is not limited by range.
3. The OIS is built into the lens, and it works great on any compatible camera.
1. It does not enhance per-frame motion even when the camera moves more during exposure.
2. Its physical components make the camera bulky and heavy.
3. The physical movement of the prism mechanics makes the OIS response time considerably slower than that of EIS.
4. It is more expensive.
2. Electronic Image Stabilization
Electronic Image Stabilization, also known as digital image stabilization, EIS works just like OIS but without any components' attachment. Instead, it's in the camera as a feature rather than the movements of parts. There's no need for a lens or sensor as the system senses any shake when the image hits the chip.
Besides, there is no part shift here but image movement. The sensors move the object accordingly to counter the movement of the camera and vice versa. For example, once you move to the right, the camera shifts focus to the left to match your shifting with an equal reaction.
The EIS system works in two ways to help curb the effect of image movement. First, it may increase the image's size by digitally zooming in on the image to be bigger than the sensor. This helps the system to scan the image and take out the effect of the shake.
The best way to confirm this is to check if your camera automatically zooms in when taking shots.
The second method of the EIS system makes use of a large sensor. In this method, if the video covers about 90 percent of the camera's chip area, it resizes the image to fit the available space. For instance, the chip centers the image on the sensor when it's stable.
How Electronic Image Stabilization Works
The camera software senses the shakes and shifts, and then it refocuses the frame to catch it. It's essential in HDR processes and night mode capturing when you take multiple shots at a time.
Some of the best professional cameras with image stabilization like the AKASO Brave 7 and Sony a7R IV use this feature to correct vibrations when taking shots or recording fast-moving objects. The software in them finds a high contrast point, maintains this point, and locks it in the frame.
Pros and Cons of Electronic Image Stabilization
1. EIS operates much faster than the OIS because it doesn't require physical movement.
2. The EIS systems are known to be compact because they contribute no bulk to the lens.
1. Enabling the EIS cancels out the full sensor in the output.
2. It requires frame cropping.
3. The resolution decreases by 20% after cropping
Hybrid Image Stabilization or HIS?
Today, due to technological innovation, this has led to the production of cameras with hybrid image stabilization. This feature combines both OIS and EIS.
It can be used in place of either OIS or EIS, making it the best possible solution. For cameras with this feature, the OIS provides basic hardware stabilization while the EIS enhances the video smoothening process.
The HIS doesn't do much more for images. Instead, the OIS ensures shake-free shots whichever way you want them. But for added stability with HDR and multiple exposure night shots, you could switch the EIS.
Finally, all the above information has certainly provided you with answers to the question, what is image stabilization in the camera. This feature is one of the most recent steps taken by technology to curb shakes' effects in photos and videos.
This article discussed images stabilization and its three types - optical image stabilization (OIS) and Electronic (IS). I also highlight how it works and devices that have this feature.
The AKASO Brave 7 and Sony A7II are some of the best portable cameras with image stabilization technology. So, you don't have to worry about blurry photos or videos with these cameras.