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Camera Image Stabilization

With digital cameras, image stabilization is an option that needs to be considered. This is a technology that helps the photographer avoid blurred images when the camera is hand held. Camera shake, slow shutter speed, and use of a telephoto lens are some of the factors than may cause a blurred image.

Image stabilization allows the photographer to take clear shots about two stops slower than without it. All of this applies to a hand-held camera. When the photographer uses a tripod, the camera is steady and therefore will not need image stabilization.

This is an important point to remember because IS works best with landscape photographs. For action shots, IS may not be desirable.

There are two basic types of IS; optical and digital. Optical Image Stabilization is hardware based. The camera has a built-in gyro sensor and mini processor that detect camera shake and compensate for it. Optical stabilization works under three basic modes; continuous, shoot only and panning. Not every camera that offers optical image stabilization has all three modes

Digital image stabilization is software based. It increases camera sensitivity by raising the ISO (equivalent to film speed in non digital cameras). The problem with raising the ISO in a digital camera is that it will increase “noise,” which produces spots or blotches in the image. These are more prevalent in darker areas of the photograph.

Optical image stabilization is more effective than digital and does not add noise to the image. Before purchasing a camera, find out whether the image stabilization is optical or digital.

Dual image stabilization is defined differently by individual manufacturers. Sometimes it means that both optical and digital stabilization are used. Some manufacturers of digital SLR cameras use the term to mean that both the camera body and the interchangeable lenses are stabilized.

For digital SLR cameras, there are two options; stabilization built into the camera body or stabilization built into the lens. If you plan to take photographs of several different types with a digital SLR, it may be best to opt for the stabilization through the lens. This will allow you to use your camera for landscape, action, and portrait shots and choose the lens that is most appropriate for each situation.

Camera shake is more problematic when a telephoto lens is used, so it makes a great deal of sense to opt for a stabilized telephoto lens.

Some older camera offer no image stabilization. You can compensate for this by using a tripod, especially with a telephoto lens, or by carefully steadying the camera by holding it in both hands with arms held tightly to your sides.

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