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Old Oct 8, 2009, 12:40 PM   #1
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Default Camera body Image Stabilization vs. Lens Image Stablilization

What are advantages to putting the Image Stabilization system in the body of the camera vs, the lens?

Financially, I understand that if I put IS in the body of the camera, the manufacturer gets to charge for it only once. If it's built into the lens, the manufacturer gets to charge for it every time.

I'll assume that that thought never crossed the manufacturers mind.

Why are the advantages and disadvantages to body vs lens?

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Old Oct 8, 2009, 1:46 PM   #2
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Advantages to Optical Image Stabilization:
  • Works with film cameras (Canon and Nikon still make 35mm film SLRs and there are still a lot of older Canon and Nikon 35mm film SLRs in use)
  • Presents a stabilized image in the viewfinder
  • Works with extension tubes and all teleconverters
  • Camera body is smaller, lighter, cheaper and less fragile (all other things being equal)
Advantages to Sensor Shift Image Stabilization:
  • Works with all lenses, including:
    • Pre-Digital lenses
    • Third party lenses
  • Camera lenses are smaller, lighter, cheaper and less fragile (all other things being equal)
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 2:10 PM   #3
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Agree with TCav good description.

The latest announcement from Canon on adding angle stabilization to their stabilized lens lineup is neat, waiting to see what lenses get it and most important how much .
http://www.usa.canon.com/templatedat...hybrid_is.html

Will be interesting to see in camera stabilization try to mimic it.
To do so the sensor would have to move several inches in all directions very fast.
Or maybe someone will invent some new magic to accomplish it !
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Last edited by PeterP; Oct 8, 2009 at 2:11 PM. Reason: Apparently I can't spell for the life of me.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 2:46 PM   #4
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Great points by TCAV. Canon & Nikon will still try to convince their users in-lens stabilization is superior. But in reality it's now about $$$. Take Canon for instance. They sell 4 versions of a 70-200mm lens. 70-200 2.8, 2.8 IS, 4.0 and 4.0 IS. From all the discussions I've read, getting in-body and in-lens IS to work together would be very challenging and to be totally honest not a strong gain. So, once IS goes in the body then the sale of those two expensive IS lenses goes right in the tank. And those are significant sales. Until the A900, full frame stabilization seemed another hurdle - since both Canon & Nikon are committed to full frame. Presumably that wall has been broken through so now they could make it work. But they still don't have a compelling reason to. What both have done is made their consumer zoom lenses with IS at prices comparable to Sony, Pentax and Oly. So, the argument from those manufacturers that you have to pay more for IS isn't true for the consumer grade lenses. It's still true for the 70-200 lenses. But, the reverse is true - if you don't NEED IS you can save money. Anyway, Canon or Nikon will lose big $$$ if they switch to in-body. So they need a compelling reason to do so. Putting it in all the consumer zooms is their attempt to delay that. But until one of the two blinks I don't expect them to change. And one of them will only blink if they determine they're losing enough market share because of the lack of in-body IS to offset the money they'll lose in lenses. And DSLR manufacturers make their money on lenses - it's a higher profit margin.

As a Canon user, sure it would be nice if they put IS in the body but I just don't see a compelling enough reason for them to do so - but I don't have the sales data they do and I'm not doing the market research to determine whether they're losing enough business BECAUSE of it not being there.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 3:10 PM   #5
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Everything that follows is theroetical BS

There are some claims of theoretical advantage to in-lens (Optical Image Stabilization) in that fine tuning the adjustments is easier and quicker. In addition the in-lens system can be easier adapted to a movement predictive system. But at the same time the in-camera (Sensor Shift Stabilization) system should theoretically allow for larger corrections which would better serve a wider range of users.

Additionally, again in theory, the in-camera system should be a more mechanically complex system which is harder to calibrate and more difficult to repair a sub-component BUT because the amount (total distance) of movement in-camera system is less than in-lens system the potential for wear created by movement in the in-camera system is far less. Also, since people potentially buy several bodies during the life of a lens, the issue of wear and tear on the in-lens system is amplified veruss the in-camera system.

The in-lens maybe be a better system, but the in-camera serves a wider group of people at lower long term costs.
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 4:28 PM   #6
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For more info, see: http://www.image-engineering.de/imag...tabilizers.pdf
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Old Oct 8, 2009, 5:05 PM   #7
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The camera doesn't want to move, but it is being acted upon by gravity. It is also being acted upon by the hands holding the camera up. The human body has a system of constantly adjusting it's balance. That system uses tremors to keep the system updated, both as we move and as we stand still. Those tremors are what causes camera shake. Those tremors occur at roughly 18-24 Hz. Every part of us, and everything we hold, including the camera, we are constantly shaking at that rate. When a camera has a light lens on it, it's easier to shake because it doesn't have very much inertia. But when the camera has a heavy lens attached, it's harder to shake because it has more inertia keeping it motionless. We support a camera at (or around) it's center of mass (center of gravity). As a result, camera shake will almost always be linear (Canon's "Shift Camera Shake".) If we choose to support a heavy camera on only one side of its center of mass (i.e.: holding a camera with a large lens by keeping both hands on the camera) then, as we shake, since the camera doesn't want to move, it will rotate around its center of mass (Canon's "Angle Camera Shake".) Since holding a heavy camera on only one side of the center of mass is not a good idea anyway, it seems to me that Canon's development of Hybrid Image Stabilization is a solution in search of a problem.
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