IBIS vs. OIS Test with E-M1

Started Nov 28, 2013 | Discussions thread
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tgutgu Veteran Member • Posts: 4,131
IBIS vs. OIS Test with E-M1

Since I don't want my efforts being lost in Beach Bum's thread, I want to repost my findings in a new thread. I apologize, if someone finds this inappropriate, but I don't want my efforts being done in vain.

(...) I have made some experimental testing in my office and will publish the results here via links to Google+ albums.

I have shot the images from a chair in my office against a flat white board, using best effort to keep the camera with the lenses stable. I shot hand held. The conditions from image to image did not change a lot, as it was indoors (no wind and other environmental changes) and the lighting conditions where constant. The distance to the whiteboard was close to constant.

The images where shot with the E-M1 as RAW and processed with Lightroom to JPEG images. Naturally at fast shutter speeds ISO went up, so images are more noise. To compare the images easier, I synchronized them for exposure and white balance in Lightroom.

I judged the images at full screen on an EIZO 27" monitor with 2560x1440 resolution. So the screen image has about the print size I print most often (actually it is even larger). I did not measure the sharpness but judged it visually. I did not care about 100% view as this is not relevant for practical use.

The following lenses were tested:

  • Olympus 75-300mm II at 300mm (600mm @ FF equiv.) IBIS
  • Panasonic 100-300mm at 300mm (600mm @ FF equiv.) IBIS and OIS
  • Panasonic 2.8/35-100mm at 100mm (200mm @ FF equiv.) IBIS and OIS
  • Olympus 1.8/75mm IBIS (150mm @ FF equiv.)
  • Olympus 2.8/12-40mm at 40mm ((80mm @ FF equiv.) IBIS

With the Olympus 75-100mm I could get good to excellent sharpness till 1/10s: very good to excellent: 2.5 to 3 stops, good up to 5 stops

With the Panasonic 100-300mm IBIS I could get excellent sharpnessup to 1/320s (1 stop) and good sharpness up to 1/20s (4 stops). With OIS (Mega OIS) I could get good and excellent sharpness to 1/200s (1.5 stops). With slower shutter speeds sharpness degraded a lot quicker than with IBIS, giving acceptable sharpness to 1/30s (3.2 stops). So IBIS is better than Mega OIS here.

With the Panasonic 2.8/35-100mm IBIS I could get excellent sharpness up to 1/15s and good sharpness to 1/6s giving 4 to 5 stops. With OIS (Power OIS) I could get excellent sharpness to 1/8s and good sharpness to 1/4s (4.2 to 5.2 stops). As a result, Power OIS has a slight advantage over IBIS here.

With the Olympus 75mm I could get good to excellent sharpness to 1/10s giving 3.5 stops.

With the Olympus 2.8/12-40mm I could get excellent results to 1/6s giving 4 stops and good results to 0.4s giving 4.2 stops.

To wrap it up, even conservatively, the claims that IBIS can't compete at longer focal lengths are mostly wrong. (...) IBIS gives with fairly good reliability an advantage of around 3 stops, the clumsier the lens the less is the reliability, in my opinion. IBIS is better than Mega OIS, whereas PowerOIS is significantly better than Mega OIS. Power OIS and IBIS are a close draw with Power OIS having a slight edge at the Panasonic 2.8/35-100mm. Shooting carefully it is possible to achieve around 4 stops with IBIS and some lenses.

Overall, I think that current image stabilization technologies give very good results, which are enough for nearly all practical purposes. Shooting at 1/20s with 300mm handheld and having at least a chance to get a decently sharp image is great, but certainly not common wisdom. In such extreme situations a tripod is still advisable, in my opinion, for shooting with 600mm FF equiv. a tripod is always recommended notwithstanding IS technology is able to do nowadays. Wind and other environmental conditions, even the personal mood of the shooter can influence the reliability of IS.

My tests don't want to proove anything scientifically, but show the trend: IBIS can hold up very well against lens based stabilization, at least against Panasonic's incarnations. I don't know if lens based stabilization of the main DSLR vendors is better than OIS (and thus better than IBIS), this is something others have to check.

Note: with "IBIS" I refer to the 5-axis IBIS of my E-M1 sample. I know that older IBIS implementations in the earlier PENs aren't that good and could well be worse than Panasonic's Mega OIS.

Following are the links to the Google+ albums. The file names reflect the camera model, the exposure data (shutter speed and aperture), and the focal length used. Exif data is stored with the images, you need to know how to use Google+ to the the EXIF information.

Olympus 75-300mm Test

Panasonic 100-300mm Test

Panasonic 35-100mm Test

Olympus 75mm Test

I haven't posted the test images of the 2.8/12-40mm to Google+.


Addendum: Unfortunately, the Lightroom Google+ publish service did not export some description fields to distinguish images made with IBIS from those made with OIS. In the cases, where lenses are tested with both IS technologies, the IBIS images come first, OIS images second.

Best regards


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