Steve's Digicams Forums

Steve's Digicams Forums (
-   Newbie Help (
-   -   Stabilized Lens? (

Owlz Dec 14, 2002 5:57 PM

Stabilized Lens?
Could someone please explain what a 'stabilized lens' is? I've seen the term in several reviews but can't find a definition.

Thank you.

Lin Evans Dec 14, 2002 6:25 PM

Think of a gyroscope - it makes it difficult to quickly change direction and smooths out any movement. This is a simplified type of explanation, but a stabilized lens works in a similar fashion.

There are two ways of stabilizing - in firmware by image "averaging" and in hardware by a similar process to the one described above. Of the two - hardware stabilization works better in my experience.

Canon has developed a series of stabilized lenses for their 35mm platform, and extended this to one of their prosumer cameras, the Pro-90 model which has a 10x optical stabilized zoom.

Olympus licensed this technology and it was found on their E-100RS and C2100UZ models with the same 10X optical zoom stablized lens. Apparently Canon would not renew the license agreement, and now there are no current models with this feature. However, if you use a removable lens Canon digital SLR - there are a number of stabilized telephoto and zoom lenses available.


voxmagna Dec 14, 2002 6:59 PM

So are these for people who shake the camera then, need to use slow shutter speeds, or use telephotos hand held?

Lin Evans Dec 14, 2002 8:48 PM

Yes, for people who wish to hand hold at shutter speed slower than recommended by the "rule of thumb" 1/focal length = shutter speed for hand holding. For example, if shooting at 300mm the minimum shutter speed should be about 1/300th.

By using a stabilized lens, it's possible to hand hold a 400mm telephoto and get good results as low as 1/60th in many cases. The stabilized lens is especially useful for sports shooters who don't use a tripod - or want to shoot from a monopod or pan action.


jsmeeker Dec 15, 2002 1:21 AM

The time I saw one of these rigs was when I attended a short seminar on aviation photography. The photographer teaching the seminar does aviation photogrpahy. It involves taking pics of planes while in flight from a chase plane. The little chase planes bounce around and vibrate. The rig helps stabilze things for him. Works real nice. Not cheap, but essential for his work.

voxmagna Dec 15, 2002 5:19 AM

Isn't this what the cops use then on their spotter choppers and planes for chasing the bad guys?.

jsmeeker Dec 15, 2002 6:33 PM


Originally Posted by voxmagna
Isn't this what the cops use then on their spotter choppers and planes for chasing the bad guys?.

You mean the thing I saw?? No. This was something that attached to a lens an some sort of support. It was used for handheld 35mm shooting.

Wildman Dec 16, 2002 12:22 AM

I own a Canon Powershot Pro90 IS (Image Stabilization). The stabilization is done mechanically through gyros that move mirrors inside the lens opposite camera shake. It's possible to shoot hand-held when zoomed all the way to 370mm (35 mm equivalent) under most lighting conditions. I've read that stabilization is worth two f-stops.

This sounds pretty complicated and even fragile, but so far, it seems to work very nicely and (knock on wood) is very reliable.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 4:02 PM.