Stabilization Question - Am I insane?

Started Nov 13, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Charlie Lab
Charlie Lab Regular Member • Posts: 383
Stabilization Question - Am I insane?

I've seen a lot of debate lately on IBIS/OSS/no stabilization, particularly with the arrival of the A7/R and evangelists of the m4/3 bodies.

I just want to make sure I'm not insane for not seeing the need for OSS or IBIS in most photographic situations.

I have one Sony OSS lens, I borrowed a friend's Oly m4/3 for a week, and I've used lots of non-stabilized lenses on my NEX. My impressions were:

  • For handheld landscapes, particularly at longer focal lengths, OSS/IBIS really helps when slow shutter speeds are necessary. Frankly, this is not a situation I care about. I am going to take a tripod if I'm going to take serious landscape photographs. If I want to have the same benefit, (although I hate switching to JPG mode), I have gotten equivalent or better results from HHT/AMB mode on the NEX than I got with OSS (with OSS and IBIS essentially identical for stills). 
  • For Video, the OSS seems to work much better than IBIS. I haven't taken a lot of video with either stabilization, but the IBIS added some strange warping to the video at times. I would guess that Sony's focus on video features is the primary reason Sony has gone with OSS. The plus for IBIS of course is that it is available for video with legacy lenses, assuming you could learn techniques to avoid the jello effects (I don't mind quirks, as long as they are predictable).
  • For long telephoto lenses, OSS/IBIS would both help if shooting handheld. Shooting fast-motion subjects (BiF/Sports) will show little benefit from stabilization as shutter speeds need to be higher in any case.
  • For portrait shooting, no stabilization helps. I want very fast lenses with quality bokeh, I want complete control over the results, and people don't sit still enough for IBIS/OSS to help. Shutter speed simply needs to be kept up to avoid blurring.

I guess it would be nice to have both IBIS and OSS on every camera so they could be available when their particular strengths are needed... but given the reality of size/weight/power consumption/sensor size/price trade-offs, this just isn't a reality. And for my shooting (planned landscapes, portraiture, natural light portraits, human-scale video) I don't see much advantage - certainly not enough to pay a significant penalty in any of the areas listed.

Am I missing anything here? Am I crazy for not buying OSS lenses or IBIS-enabled bodies?


If you take a great photograph, I really don't care whether it came from a Leica or smartphone. Just share it.

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