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Understanding Optical Image Stabilization

You recently bought a smartphone for your mother, and it has a great camera. You showed her how to use the functions to take captures. When she took some pictures and showed them to you, almost all the shots were ruined because of blurriness. This is most probably because your mother has never held a camera smartphone before, and there is one other thing that the smartphone doesn’t have optical image stabilization (OIS) feature.

What is Optical Image Stabilization?

OIS OFF vs OIS ON

The OIS technology first started to use on smartphone cameras around three years back. But it has only taken pace in the flagship devices from last year or so. This camera technology can help your mother take better capture by stabilizing the vibrations. Until a couple of years back, smartphones would use to stabilize the capture using software camera settings, which is being called as digital image stabilization, or DIS.

Getting more technical about it, the OIS uses a gyroscope to detect even the small movements, which are corrected by making the camera sensors aware about those movements. It then sends little motors in the opposite direction to make up for the movements. In short, it is a technology that would physically move the camera lens to compensate for camera movements.

OIS Vs DIS

This war between which stabilization is best and which is not has been going on for quite a time now. But the best answer you’ll get about is that it all depends on how manufacturers apply these technologies to their camera modules on their smartphones. The optical variant while is called real image stabilization by photography experts and is what you probably should be looking for in a smartphone camera. It is said to eliminate the shaky vibration while shooting a video or taking a capture as lens construction moves to compensate the shakes.

While, on the other hand, the digital images stabilization is more like a digital zoom that pushes ISO levels higher when the shutter speed drops below a point. But when ISO is at its peak, the more noise tend to be captured by the lens. But with improvements in software stabilization, which is also termed as Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS), it is hard to deny the fact that DIS was almost as good as OIS in some devices, like Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8.

Why is OIS Important on Smartphones?

Well, you must be wondering why this OIS feature is so much important for a smartphone camera. Well apart from the main reason being the real time fixation of vibration while recording a video, the OIS also helps in shooting a dark environment. Even though, you have other options like using a more sensitive sensor, a high-speed lens, or even longer shutter time if you have a manual mode available. But all these things would only make them noisy, bulky & expensive as smartphone market for sensors is not huge at all. While the long shutter time may work to some extent but it would also make you’re shooting more blurry.

OIS Phones

The above situation can be easily avoided once you’re using a smartphone camera with OIS support. The gyroscope hardware sensor would eliminate the camera shakes and would allow a better shot in the dark. Moreover, the OIS allows camera module to offer an incredibly fast reaction time. So, say goodbye to the unintentional motion and oscillation at the moment when you’re using a smartphone with OIS support.

OIS Phones

There are few things that you need to consider if you’re on a mission to take some serious photography with a smartphone. Your selection of a smartphone would affect your ability to take photographs because the first step in capturing an incredible photography is the selection of tools, and here smartphone camera would be yours. A smartphone with somewhere between, 8 to 16MP camera module should be good to start. To make it more easier for you to get you started with a smartphone photography, we have made a list of best smartphones that comes with Optical Image Stabilization feature.

What Do We Suggest?

We explained about the image stabilization, more particularly about Optical and Digital as well as what is best if you’re going on an adventure, and all you are taking is a smartphone. Though, there are few other things that you should know about stabilizing the capture while recording a video or capture a snap with a smartphone.

Tripod

Samsung Galaxy S6 Capture Defocus 1

Steady shots are the important part of your photography when it is talked in general, but that importance triples when you’re shooting a video, as it is possible to steady your hands for a moment to capture photographs, but it is impossible for almost any person to keep their hands steady while recording a video. That’s why to stabilize a shot; you need a tripod or monopod.

Software/ Apps

While there would be a digital stabilization available on most of the good smartphone cameras but wouldn’t it be great if you could also do some more enhancements. Well, you asked for it, and we shall give you. There are few genuine apps available on the Google Play Store that would allow you to do some tweaks on your videos and pictures to make them less blurry, as they can remove the shakes from it. Below is the list of few apps that’ll allow you to stabilize your photos.

iOS:

Luma

While smartphones have come a long way from being designated as go to camera for photography and videography, but there is still one area where any concrete achievement is yet to be established, it’s the stabilization. Most of the iPhone devices have impressive image sensors capable of shooting high-definition videos. But the shooting would be of no use if the shakes are been seen on the video. And it is bound to happen because it gets sloppy and amateurish as soon as you start moving around. It is an iOS app that is built for recording high-quality videos, as it offers real-time video stabilization as standard. Interestingly, it provides a one-click toggling switch for image stabilization. The enhancement can be turned ON at the time of recording or after that.

Emulsio

This is a professional video editing app that’ll do wonders to your shaky videos. Emulsio lets you use the advanced stabilization techniques, as well as adjust the strength of stabilizer according to the needs. The app lets you see the preview before you save the changes. You can also perform various video editing functions like trim down the video by cutting unnecessary parts. If you’re an adventurer and films a lot of videos while journeying across the world, then this is your go-to app for image stabilization and any other minor editing needs. Remember, it requires your iPhone to be running on at least iOS 8.0 version of later.

Emulsio

Android:

Camera FX

This is a popular camera app and would already know about it if you’re a power user. And if not, let us tell you that this is amongst the best camera app available on Android. The reasons are multiple, but since here we are talking about image stabilization. It has a feature where it won’t take a capture until it detects that the phone is on the move. The special stable mode allows users to take pretty steady shots, therefore stabilizing the recording and captures at some extend.

Open Camera

The free camera app offered by a developer Mark Harman has some serious stabilization features. Even Google Camera doesn’t pack a stabilization option, which is stock Android app available on Google Play Store. Looking at the need of stabilization in photography, the Open Camera packs an auto-stabilization feature, which would perfectly level the media captured for any shakes. This app will also show the optional audio and video stabilization support if your camera module supports it.

Holding Phone

Samsung Galaxy Note Edge - Voice Command for Camera

Doing a still hand-held photography is something that is not an easy task for everyone. Not all the people in this world can operate a camera let alone a smartphone camera with sophistication. While to some, it comes naturally, and some have to learn the basics of it. And if you belong to the latter category then keep in mind that you’ll be the reason to ruin the captures taken by you not your camera or anyone else. So, it is important to take control of the camera even if you got shaky hands. There are some simple ways through which this can be achieved. You have to brace the relationship between you and the camera you can do that by leaning up against the wall, kneeling or sitting while taking the captures.

Conclusion

It always comes to a conclusion that whether or not you’ll be able to take the a stabilized video when the moment comes to strike. Well, the answer is yes, you should be able to take or we create a better videos than before. Reason being, now you know what exactly is the OIS and what factors are responsible for the quality shake free videos. To understand more on how you can do a better smartphone photography, head over to our articles about the Focus & Defocus, as well as low-light. Only exploring would get you better results.

By Vishal Toshiwal on Friday 15th of May 2015


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