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When should you use photo stabilization when taking photos?



Optical image stabilization – also known as IS, OIS or VR-is built into some lenses and cameras. It allows you to capture shots with longer shutter speeds than you usually can. However, there are some situations when you do not use it. Let's dig in.

OIS works by having stabilized elements in either the lens or camera body that move to counteract small movements like shaking your hands when using a long lens. It is ranked in stop so a 2-stop-IS lets you use a shutter speed two stops slower than the reciprocal rule would suggest. For example, if you use a 200mm lens, the reciprocal rule states that your lowest shutter speed should be at least 1

/ 200th of a second; With 2-stop enabled, you can use a shutter speed of 1/50 seconds. You can see it in the picture below. They were both taken in 1/40 sec, but IS was on the picture to the right.

This is really the only situation where IS will improve your photos significantly. If your shutter speed is significantly faster than the mutual focal length, it does not matter if you are using IS or not. The golden rule for IS is to make sure it's on when you use a long light light or low-light lens. That's when you should definitely use it, and it will help. Without it, it does not help, as we look at, it can make worse things. So, let's look at when you're not going to use IS.

Using a Tripod

When using a tripod, your camera is locked and stable already. IS only works when there is a motion to counteract. If there is no movement, gyroscopes and other stabilizing elements can introduce a small amount and lead to less sharp images.

RELATED: How to choose and use a tripod

] Or at least it's the theory. It's really true for older IS systems, but most newer (or high end) settings can detect when the camera is mounted on a tripod. However, the reality is that IS does not help if you are using a safe tripod so it's wise to turn it off even if you're using a camera or lens with an IS system that will detect the tripod. 19659009] You are Panning

If you are panning to track a moving subject like in sports or wildlife photography, be careful about using IS. Lenses intended for these types of subjects usually have a dedicated IS mode that shuts off an axis of IS so that it will not interfere with your photos.

If you have such a lens, make sure it is in pan mode when trying to track horizontal moving subjects. Otherwise, IS will try to stabilize your horizontal track and things can get a little strange. If your lens does not have a dedicated pan-IS mode, you should turn it off and use a faster shutter speed.

You are worried about battery life

Since the IS is electrically controlled, it uses the battery life. It is normally activated only when you press halfway the shutter button, so it should not burn by excessive amount of power in regular operation. However, if you are in Live View mode, it will be active all the time, and in combination with the Live View battery pack, you will see how long you can use the camera.

If you "have a long day or a few weeks of photography in front of you without access to new batteries or a way to charge your camera, turn off the IS. It can only get you an extra dozen or pictures, but they may be the ones worth the trip.

You play video

When you shoot pictures, you'll see the effect of IS between shots, but you will not notice it in individual shots. On the other hand, if you shoot video, you see that IS works in real time. There is a reason that video users use powerful stabilizing gimbals instead of IS for their work.

If you shoot video and do not want to risk, artifacts will be displayed and turned off. You usually get better results to stabilize in after-production, unless you use IS specifically designed for video, as in the latest GoPro models.


There are two tanker schools for IS: let it go if you do not need it or leave it until d You need it. The subscriber depends on what kind of things you are shooting. If you often use long lenses in low light, you default to. If you shoot a lot of the situations above, go with the default shutdown. I leave it and turn it on when I need it. You just have to make sure you turn it on when it's time.


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