Camera and smartphone buyers nowadays are bombarded with terms such as OIS, VR, steady shot and much more when it comes to the camera USPs. But what is image stabilization and should you really be concerned about buying a device with this tech?

Well, these are some of the things that will make any one curious and, here today, I will try to answer some questions that you might have about image stabilization.

Before we get on with this guide, we will have to look at the history of cameras and why this technology called image stabilization was developed.

THE BEGINNINGS

The first commercial camera – the daguerreotype camera – was invented by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre and designed by Alphonse Giroux in 1839. Back then, cameras were big and bulky and required photographers to work at a slow pace while the camera sits comfortably on a tripod, offering a perfect shot.

It was only after the invention of the 35mm film that cameras started to become smaller and more compact like the Leica 1 back released in 1925. With cameras becoming more compact, photography picked up among users who would travel with cameras to capture moments as and when they fancied.

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Source: Pxhere
Taking pictures was a luxury owing to the high cost of film and photograph development. But the biggest problem was the blurred shot that resulted due to motion or shakes while capturing images. This was more prevalent in smaller cameras.

In 1994, Nikon produced the first ever optically stabilized lens that would compensate for minor motion or jerks to get a more steady shot. That marked the beginning of image stabilization and we have come a long way from there.

WHAT IS IMAGE STABILIZATION?

Image stabilization is a collective term for a technology that allows cameras to capture a stable shot and can be replicated for videos as well.

Image stabilization can help users and the devices they use compensate for motion and movements to capture a steady image.

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Source: Pixabay
Imagine yourself sitting in front of a screen and it starts moving. This will make your vision and the perception of the image from that screen blurred. But in another case, imagine yourself sitting in a capsule where the screen and you are moving alongside. There, the visual blur would be minimal or even negligible.

This is the very principle of image stabilization where the screen from the above example is replaced with a lens and the person seeing the screen is replaced by an image sensor or a film.

By allowing tiny movements in the lens element or the sensor, the blur can be minimized to produce a sharper looking image.

WHY DO CAMERAS NEED IMAGE STABILIZATION?

Now that we understand the basic principle behind image stabilization, it’s not very difficult to also understand its needs.

With the rise of smaller cameras, users have started moving around with cameras a lot more than in the past. And there are higher chances of images getting blurred with motion and vibration while moving. In such a scenario, image stabilization is required, and more and more cameras and even the smartphone makers are now offering devices with image stabilization.

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This results in more sharper looking images and also allows users to be more candid while taking pictures. There are a number of different names given to image stabilization. However, this technology can be primarily divided into two categories — digital and optical zoom.