Points in Focus Photography

A Engineering-eque Ramble on Image Stabilization

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Canon rumors published some rumored specs for the camera they’re called the EOS RS or R5, though that’s not Canon’s official name for it. And among the list of rumored specs, the one that stood out to me the most, or at least as the most implausible, was the idea that between IBIS and lens based IS systems, could support 7-8 stops of shake reduction. And of course, it was doing this at the same time as the camera increased the resolution to 40-45 MP.

Suffice to say, I’m dubious of the possibility that this would actually be possible. Not for technological reasons, but simply because it runs head long into the biggest limiting factors in image stabilization, our own ability to hold still. And to put some perspective on this, 8 stops of shake reduction for a 15mm lens on a full frame camera, would put the exposure time around 15 seconds.

So in this video I’m going to talk about some of the problems associated with image stabilization, not just from a technical perspective, but also from the broader perspective as it applies to us as photographers. This includes a discussion on the hand holding rule of thumb, it’s origins — at least as best as I’ve been able to tell — and how increasing digital camera resolutions have largely rendered the hand-holding rule of thumb obsolete, at least if you want to maintain pixel sharp images.

In the video there are a couple of references to both CIPA documents as well as another photographer’s website. The following are clickable links to those resources.

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