What Is Optical Image Stabilization and How Does It Work

Last Updated on November 17, 2021 by Peter Wood

Optical image stabilization is here to stop you from getting blurry photos. Whether you have a perfect still hand or not, the small movements can impact how the light hits your lens. Without image stabilization, your photographs will end up looking like you took them with shaky hands. This technology has been around for years. And most high-end cameras have integrated it. But for beginners, it is still just a concept that brands use to market their cameras. That is why you should read this article to get more information about it.

Optical Image Stabilization

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Part 1: What is Optical Image Stabilization

Optical image stabilization is a hardware solution for a lot of high-end smartphones and cameras. So it is a physical component of your device. It cannot get by a software update. This component likes a little motor inside your camera to move one or more glass components to keep them still even if you shake your device when taking photos. The primary effect of optical image stabilization is to keep the lens stable and avoid blurry images.

This technology has developed in the mid-1990s. The famous camera manufacturers such as Canon and Nixon, first implement it into their cameras. At that time, it is only for high-end, professional cameras. But currently, it is widely used on smartphones, action cameras, and more productions.

There are several types of optical image stabilization, in which the two-axis is the most common type. Other types include 3-axis, 5-axis, and more, which are more effective.

Part 2: What are The Benefits of Optical Image Stabilization

Vibrations influence photo quality a lot. Optical image stabilization, on the other hand, can help you avoid blurry images in such situations. It has multiple advantages over a software solution:

1. Offer high photo quality without frame loss. It is especially true for the observation of moving objects. Software solutions, such as digital image stabilization, require calculating a stabilized photo, while optical image stabilization produces instant results without quality loss.

2. Maximize view and constant image section. Digital stabilizer needs cropping numerous pixels at the edges of the video image while optical stabilization continuously. So the image sensor resolution or viewing field would lose.

3. Compensation of stronger vibration. The optical image stabilization in devices can deliver steady video captures even at vibrations that are up to four times stronger than software-based stabilizers.

Part 3: 5 Best Action Camera and Smartphone with OIS

Top 1: GoPro Hero 8

Price: $299.99

GoPro Hero 8 is one of the most popular action cameras on market. In addition to optical image stabilization, it also integrates the HyperSmooth stabilization technology, which offers two levels of stabilization for smooth video reproduction. It offers advanced customization to users, so aspiring creators can add more lighting and pro-quality audio conveniently. The streamlined design gives users a better experience.

GoPro Camera File Format

Top 2: DJI Osmo Pocket Action Camera

Price: $249.99

DJI Osmo Action Camera has integrated the 3-axis optical image stabilization. This handheld camera can precisely adjust for your movements in real-time and makes it easy to capture stable videos by automatically adjusting for hand movements. Moreover, it can snaps photos in stunning detail thanks to a 1/2.3" sensor, 80° FOV, and f/2.0 aperture.

DJI Osmo Action Camera

Top 3: Insta360 One R Action Camera

Price: $479.99

Insta360 One R Action Camera contains lots of advanced components, such as an optical image stabilizer, Sony 1/2.3" CMOS image sensor, 4K wide-angle lens, etc. The two configuration options let users switch between a dual-lens 360-degree recording build or a wide-angle 4K build to suit their needs. The built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support enables users to personalize their recordings easily.

Insta360 One R Action Camera

Top 4: OnePlus 7

Price: $479.00

OnePlus 7 has released in July 2020. It equips a 6.67 inch fluid AMOLED display, which is the most advanced screen ever. The optical image stabilization lets you capture the distance with three times optical zoom for detailed shots smoothly. With a 4000 mAh battery, you can take a lot of videos and photos.

OnePlus 7

Top 5: Nokia 8.1

Price: $ 202.00

Nokia 8.1 has a dual-camera setup with 12MP + 13MP. More importantly, both of them have optical image stabilization and electronic image stabilization. As you can see, compared to other OIS featured smartphones, Nokia 8.1 is more affordable. Plus, the hardware and software are as powerful as most high-end smartphones.

OnePlus 7

Part 4: FAQs about Optical Image Stabilization

1What is the difference between optical image stabilization and digital image stabilization?
The difference between OIS and DIS is that the former is hardware while the latter is software. OIS is a component in your camera or smartphone so you cannot get it through a software update. Moreover, they work in a different way to keep stabilization when taking photos. In a word, the OIS is powerful than DIS.
2What is electronic image stabilization?
Electronic image stabilization is an attempt to do what OIS does without physical hardware. It utilizes the accelerometer in your smartphone to detect small movements. Then your camera software interprets the movements and aligns each frame together. When taking photos, it is crucial in the processes of HDR and night mode. When it comes to video capture, the software will discover a point of high contrast and keep the point in the same part of the frame.
3How does image stabilization work?
Image stabilization comes in three forms, optical, sensor-shift, and digital. They utilize hardware and software capacity to keep stable to reduce vibration when you take photos.


Based on the sharing above, you should understand what optical image stabilization is, how it works, and the benefits. So, when you purchase digital cameras or smartphones, you’d better read the description to learn if it has integrated the technology. Moreover, we have shared several cost-effective cameras and smartphones with OIS. We hope that our introduction is helpful to you.

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