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Stop misleading 'Image Stabilization' labels
Here at dpreview we're always pleased to see new technological innovations which lead to genuine improvements. However one thing which has become annoying is the increasing use of the label 'Image Stabilization' or 'Anti-Shake' to describe nothing more than a (noisy) high sensitivity mode. In our product database we only give a 'yes' flag to those cameras which implement image stabilization in the true sense, as either stabilization of a lens element or of the sensor itself (on a shifting platform) which allow you to take a blur free shot at slower shutter speeds. Some manufacturers prefix with 'Digital', however to the average consumer this isn't enough to correct what is a misleading and confusing description.
Phil: Turning up the ISO helps to freeze the action (although only if the camera primarily increases shutter speed rather than stopping down aperture) however on the cameras we're talking about here (compacts) sensors are so small that this also means a decrease in image quality thanks to more noise and noise reduction. We would like to see an end to the use of the word 'Image Stabilization' where no physical stabilization mechanism (lens shift or sensor shift) exists, a better description would be 'Low Light mode' or 'High Sensitivity mode'. We get tens of emails a week from confused consumers who assume when they see a label like 'Image Stabilization' or 'Anti-Shake' they are getting optical stabilization.
Some examples of this misleading labelling can be seen below:
"It also features an electronic anti-shake function that delivers beautiful movies by minimizing blur from shaky hands."
"...and the camera comes with ----- ’s Anti Shake DSP to reduce photo blur due to shaky hands or moving subjects."
"...intuitive controls, large displays, and long battery life. And the series continues to break new ground, with the recent introduction of functions like Anti Shake DSP, which reduces blurring due to unsteady hands or moving subjects, and the Super Bright display."
"...between the camera’s eight different programmes (including Image Stabilisation Mode with ISO 800), relieving users of the chore of having to make their way through countless menus."
"...which touts two 7.0 MP sensors, anti-blur technology and..."
"...with anti-blur technology, can be carried where bigger, bulkier high-zoom digital cameras cannot — in a pocket while skiing, in a small purse during a day on the town, or on a wrist while hiking."
A better description, although still somewhat confusing to the average consumer:
"...this model features an easy-to-use Blur Reduction High ISO mode to help reduce the effects of camera shake and subject blurring for sharper images even in dim lighting conditions such as night scenes and indoor sporting events. In this mode, the camera adjusts shutter speeds automatically to an ISO as high as 1600 to match the brightness of the subject. The higher sensitivities permit faster shutter speeds."