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Old Mar 6, 2006, 12:09 AM   #1
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I have grown used to my Lumix FX9's Mega O.I.S, but recently I bought a Powershot S2 IS, due to the fact that it was supposed to have Image Stabilization bulit in.

However, I noticed that blurring still occurred when taking photos indoors, even though in the menu, I had set the IS mode to continous.

Just wondering, is the IS in the S2 camera mechanical and optical like in the Panasonic cameras, or is it just a visual trick like in the Casio Exilim series ?

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Old Mar 6, 2006, 12:18 AM   #2
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The S2IS has true optical stabilization.

Optical stabilization is advertised to be around 3 f-stops. That might be slightly optimistic but it is close.

So at full zoom on your FX9 you would need around 1/100 second without stabilization for a really sharp image – probably a little more holding the camera out without an optical viewfinder. So you can shoot at around 1/12 second with stabilization.

At full zoom on the S2 you would need around 1/400 second without stabilization. So you would need 1/50 second with stabilization. You can't usually generate anywhere near that indoors. Hold the shutter halfway and see what shutter speed you are generating with you fuzzy shots. Or post some photos without the EXIF stripped.

If you shoot at the same zoom you used with the FX9 you will probably find the stabilization works about as well. The problem is probably that you are asking too much zoomed out. Stabilization has limits.


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Old Mar 6, 2006, 12:26 AM   #3
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What other settings did you have it set to?
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 12:51 AM   #4
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Most of the settings are default settings.

Digital Zoom is off, and other settings are on auto.

I have not tried an outdoor setting as yet, but indoors, with the fluro lights on in the afternoon with a small amount of light filtering through the curtains, I had a few blurred images at 12X Zoom without Flash.

However, 6X and below seems to be better.
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 3:06 AM   #5
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You will also find that the AF is very poor either in macro mode or using the long zoom. So, it could be that your images a blurred due to poor focusing rather than the IS.
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 6:03 AM   #6
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As you are doing better at x6 it sounds like an exposure speed problem.

The general rule is when zoomed to N mm, exposure should be 1/N seconds. So at 435mm exposure should be about 1/400 seconds, but as the S2 has IS, you might try 1/200 or even 1/100. At half the zoom range, say 200mm, you can go for 1/200, and with IS perhaps 1/100 or 1/50. Going lower than these guidelines is risky but can sometimes succeed, but you may need to take multiple shots to stand a chance of success.

To gain some speed, in P, or Av mode you can open the aperture, in P, Av or Tv use -EV to underexpose, in any mode pop up the flash, or change the ISO.

FAQ's and reviews report IS set to shoot-only provides the best result. And you can use high-speed continuous mode to increase the odds. I have these saved on the Custom mode setting.

As for macro, macro mode is fiddly to use due to the minimum focus distance rising as you zoom (and only a small portion of the wide end of the zoom range works in macro). If possible use super-macro or close-up zoom, they're a piece of cake, and a lot of fun. BTW, the manual is wrong on super-zoom - to enable it you have to hold the macro button down for a while until the icon changes.

Autofocus is harder to achieve if there are no hard contrasty features in the subject - especially if the subject is poorly lit.
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 6:16 AM   #7
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yes panasonic ois is exceptional. i have taken hand held shots as lo as 1/6 shutter and they stil come out crystal clear.
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 2:53 PM   #8
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I find that if you set the image stabilisation mode to shoot only instead of continous the S2 produces better results in terms of blurriness at full zoom. It also saves battery life.
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 4:46 PM   #9
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With the S2 IS I find I can get good shots down in the 1/10 sec region, but I can't count on it. If the subject is mobile, it's even less likely. I wouldn't tell people to expect a result on a single-shot at such speeds - but it's always worth a try.

My personal experience is that you still need a steady hand. With steady hands you definity benifit by at least 2 stops. If you don't have a steady hand I don't think the IS helps that much (it might help at the wide end, but certainly not at full tele).

I suspect the FZ30 would be a very stable camera - the extra weight should provide a bit more inertia.
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 5:36 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advice.

I set the IS mode to shoot only, and turned the Low Sharpening option off, and also changed the time to 1/100 - the images are not as clear as normal images taken without extra zoom, but is much better than before. I think my hand shakes a bit too much, so perhaps that is a major reason (the camera is a little heavy).

However, I also noticed that the camera struggles quite a bit under orange fluro light conditions, and cannot focus properly. My other cameras have this problem as well. Strange .......

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