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Kit lens Mega OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)

The DMC-G1's kit lenses (both the 14-45 and the 45-200) feature Panasonic's "MEGA OIS" optical image stabilization which is common across their entire range of digital cameras. On the G1, just like the L10 has three OIS modes; Mode 1 (stabilize all the time), Mode 2 (stabilize only during shutter release) and Mode 3 (panning; vertical stabilization only).

The stabilization test

At a range of shutter speeds we take a total of thirty hand-held shots were taken of a static scene, ten without stabilization, ten using OIS Mode 1, ten using OIS Mode 2. For these tests we used the G1's kit lens at 45 mm to produce a 90 mm equiv. FOV. The test chart was approximately 2.0 m away from the camera. The G1 was held in one hand and used in Live View Mode as this tends to produce more camera shake, and we're looking for how much improvement the two modes offer, not an absolute measurement of 'how low you can go' with the shutter speeds.

The resulting images were then inspected and given a blur score from zero to three where zero represented a very blurred image and three a sharp image with no noticeable blur (see crop examples below). Obviously the amount of blur which is acceptable will depend on your personal taste and the final image size (for instance a '2: Soft' will still look fine as a 4x6 print or in a web gallery). Example crops from these four blur scores can be seen below.

0: Very blurred 1: Blurred
2: Soft 3: Sharp

Hand-held, no stabilization (14-45 mm kit lens, 90 mm equiv. FOV)

Because of the light-weight combination that is the G1 and its kit lens we managed to achieve all sharp images at 1/125 sec but these quickly dropped away as shutter speeds got longer. Below 1/15 sec two thirds of images were blurred so as to not be usable and only one shot was considered sharp.

Hand-held, with OIS Mode 1 (14-45 mm kit lens, 90 mm equiv. FOV)

Mega OIS Mode 1 operates continuously, even during composition. Here we observe an instant and pretty dramatic improvement, indeed we only started to get mildly blurred images at 1/8 sec and even at 1/2 sec some 80% of the images would be considered good enough for 4x6 prints or web galleries. An impressive three stop improvement.

Hand-held, with OIS Mode 2 (14-45 mm kit lens, 90 mm equiv. FOV)

As expected OIS Mode 2 (which operates only during the exposure, not during composition) performs very slightly better but there's not the big leap of improvement we saw on the L10, that said the results are still very very good, a solid three stop improvement.

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