Image stabilization is a handy feature to have on your camera. Accept that this system does not appear on all cameras. Some cameras have image stabilization built-in, while in other cases and other mounts, the lens has image stabilization built-in. Either way, they do the same thing; they stabilize an image when your hands move while pressing the shutter release. The primary purpose is to align the focused image back on the image plane when your hands move, and with it, the camera moves inadvertently.

There are many different kinds of stabilization. I’m not going to delve too much into the different types of image stabilization. I will stick to the broader sketches and explain why it is essential to have image stabilization in the first place and the different modes of image stabilization.

By now, you must have understood that image stabilization is an essential feature to have. Depending on the make, your camera could have image stabilization built in, which automatically stabilizes all compatible lens images. Alternatively, it could be the lens that has stabilization.

Image stabilization is called different names. Nikon calls it Vibration Reduction, Canon prefers Image Stabilization, Tamron calls it Vibration Compensation, and so on. They all mean the same thing. The technology is also very similar except in the case of camera-based image stabilization, where the sensor moves to compensate for the movement of the hands rather than the small gyros that move the imaging elements inside the lens for lens-based image stabilization.

There are different modes of image stabilization too.

Let’s say you’re photographing a house and hand-holding the camera. At the precise moment when you press the shutter release, your hands move a tiny bit. Usually, without image stabilization, your image would have turned out blurry. But with image stabilization, the photo will appear sharp.

This is Mode 1 on most lenses and is used for general photography situations.

Then again, let’s say that you’re panning a bird in flight, and your hands wobble a bit in the opposite direction to the direction you’re panning. When half-press press the shutter release, that movement will be countered, and you will get a smooth panning result.

This is known as Mode 2 on most lenses.

On some lenses, such as those made by Canon, you also get a Mode 3. Image stabilization does not get engaged in this mode until you fully press the shutter release. This mode is best suited for subjects that are moving erratically. It’s difficult to predict the direction in which they will move. Mode 3

Image stabilization is particularly important when shooting videos too. It allows the user to shoot stable footage when hand-holding the camera.

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