Written by Sanne

What is the difference between optical and digital image stabilization?

A good image stabilization is very important for making sharp images. But how does this technique work exactly? And what is the difference between optical and digital image stabilization? Which of the 2 should you choose? In this article I answer all these questions.

What is image stabilization?

Image stabilization

Image stabilization is a technique that allows your camera to correct motion blur through small movements of the camera. If you accidentally tap the camera while taking the photo, the image stabilization will prevent a blurred picture. This is useful if you work with a slower shutter speed when shooting from the hand. With some cameras, the image stabilization is in the camera body. But this technique can also be in the lens.

What is optical image stabilization?

Optical image stabilization

There are different types of image stabilization. Optical image stabilization is the most common form. Sensors in the lens or the body detect movements of the camera. As soon as they see movement, they ensure that the optical elements move in the camera or the lens. This corrects the movement as well as possible. Large shocks are not absorbed by the optical elements. Only small movements such as hand vibrations are compensated with optical image stabilization.

What is digital image stabilization?

Digital image stabilization

Some cameras have digital image stabilization. With digital image stabilization, sensors are also used to detect the movements of the camera. As soon as the sensors notice movement, the camera ensures that the shot is postponed slightly. Only when the device is completely stopped, the picture is taken. In addition, the photo with digital image stabilization is also sometimes sharpened via software in the camera. The latter can usually also be performed with software programs on the computer.

Which type of image stabilization should I choose?

Image stabilization type

In principle, optical and digital image stabilization work equally well. The quality of the image stabilization depends more on the quality of the camera in general. An advanced camera usually also has an advanced image stabilizer. Sometimes this is a combination of the optical and digital variant. In addition, keep in mind that image stabilization in the lens is much more precise than an image stabilizer in the body. If you really want to be sure of a sharp shot, use a tripod.

Nice to know

Nice to know

Image stabilization costs the camera energy so your battery will drain faster. If you go on the road with your camera all day, it is wise to turn on image stabilization only when you need it. Turn off image stabilization even if you are using a tripod. The image stabilizer is then active anyway and can cause unwanted vibrations. Some cameras recognize that they are on a tripod and switch off the image stabilization independently.

Article by:
Sanne Camera Expert.

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