Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510

Started Dec 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
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MichaelKJ Veteran Member • Posts: 3,466
Wrotniak: IS on E-M1 essentially no better than IS on 2007 E-510

Andrzej Wrotniak provided invaluable advice from 200-2009 to many of us who were early owners of digital Olympus cameras. After a four year absence, he is back with several articles about the E-M5 and E-M1. He loves the E-M1 and has many great things to say about it. However, he tested the E-M1's image stabalization using a method he developed several years ago and concluded that it is comparable to the E-510's IS. According to Wrotniak,

After going through all this data, I can say the following:

  • Image stabilization works as I would expect in the E-M1, providing benefits ranging from slightly above 1 EV at wide angles (my educated guess) to slightly more than 2 EV at F=300 mm.
  • The expected increase at focal lengths above 150 mm did not materialize.
  • There are no dramatic changes (in either direction) since Olympus introduced this IS system in the E-510 back in 2007. Any suggestion to the contrary seem to be a marketing fluff.

Interestingly, the promotional materials on the E-M1 do not make any claims (numeric, that is) on the effectiveness if image stabilization. I consider this to be a honest approach, hoping that other manufacturers will follow: these values do not have an absolute meaning and you cannot compare them between different brands if the methods used to derive them were different.

Last but not least, remember that each EV in usable ISO settings replaces one EV in AF effectiveness. With at least two EV gained in ISO since the last E-series SLRs, we already experience an effect equivalent to 2 extra EV in image stabilization. While the hard-tech market, driven by specs and marketing blurb, may be hard to convince, I still think that image stabilization in still photography may be a transitional technology, going soon the way of the dodo.


Before people write Wrotniak off based on their personal impressions, I suggest that you read his testing methodology and his analyses. He is a physicist whose work involves designing mathematical algorithms for air traffic control systems. Imo, he is a highly intelligent person who knows what he is talking about.

 MichaelKJ's gear list:MichaelKJ's gear list
Sony RX100 III Olympus PEN E-PL1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 +1 more
Olympus E-5 Olympus E-M1
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