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Image Stabilization (IS)

Definition - What does Image Stabilization (IS) mean?

Image stabilization (IS) is a feature used in some digital cameras to reduce blurring of images due to vibration while taking pictures. This feature is known by many different brand names depending on the manaufacturer. The stabilization systems may be implemented using a lens or sensors.

Images may appear blurred due to the shaking that occurs while taking a picture. Using image stabilization at low shutter speeds gives clearer images with improved quality.

Techopedia explains Image Stabilization (IS)

Image stabilization works in real time in cameras and video recording devices to decrease the effects of shock and vibration in the digital images.

The most common IS configurations used in digital cameras are:

  • Optical IS — Uses the hardware settings to correct image blur. This type of IS configuration usually makes use of a built-in gyro-sensor to make the real-time corrections. This type is the most preferred by beginners.
  • Digital IS — Makes use of software and digital camera settings to reduce blurring effects. The corrections are made with the help of digital IS applied after the image is taken.
  • Dual IS — Involves both optical and digital stabilization, and is sometimes defined differently by different manufacturers.

A lens-based implementation works by using electromagnets and a floating lens element that is moved orthogonally to the optical axis of the lens. The gyroscopic sensors are used to detect the vibration of the device.

Another technology used in IS is sensor-shift, which moves the sensor that captures the image in a way that compensates for the motion of the camera. Using image sensors is advantageous over lens-based IS, as it is independent of the type of lens used.

Image stabilization acts a tool for creating clear images even when the camera is in motion. However, IS does not eliminate the blur completely — it can only be reduced to an extent. The best way to avoid shaky images is to use a tripod and image stabilizer tools.

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