PetaPixel

Nikon’s Reasons for Lens Stabilization Over Sensor-Shift Stabilization

Nikon has a support page for people who wonder why the company hasn’t added sensor-shift image stabilization to its DSLRs. The first point is that stabilizing the image before it enters the camera allows the user to see exactly what the sensor “sees” through the viewfinder, and allows the autofocus and metering sensors to take advantage of this stabilized image as well. Secondly, they state that they can optimize the system for each lens to achieve finely tuned stabilization that gains extra stops of light over sensor-based systems.

Why is ‘in-lens’ VR superior to ‘in-camera’ VR? (via Nikon Rumors)


 
  • http://twitter.com/zak Zak Henry

    Sounds plausible

  • http://twitter.com/zak Zak Henry

    Sounds plausible

  • http://twitter.com/imageconjurer Bernie Greene

    Having used the Sony alpha’s system of in camera body stabilisation I can’t say I’m convinced by this.

    The system works perfectly well for autofocus and metering on all the lenses I’ve tried with the max focal length being 300mm. Shorter lenses are less subject to motion. At 300mm they system works fine. I’ve not used a Nikon body with a Nikon stabilised 300mm so couldn’t compare but I’m happy with the results I get from the Sony. I’ve no use for longer lenses at this time.

    On the subject of optimising for each lens there may be a significant benefit for really long lenses but it should be noted that the Sony system stabilises for any lens that will fit the body. That is a huge advantage when shopping for older lenses. I’ve not tested the Olympus, Pentax or other makers who put this technology on the sensor but I doubt that it is so incredibly sophisticated that only Sony have it working well.

  • http://twitter.com/imageconjurer Bernie Greene

    Having used the Sony alpha’s system of in camera body stabilisation I can’t say I’m convinced by this.

    The system works perfectly well for autofocus and metering on all the lenses I’ve tried with the max focal length being 300mm. Shorter lenses are less subject to motion. At 300mm they system works fine. I’ve not used a Nikon body with a Nikon stabilised 300mm so couldn’t compare but I’m happy with the results I get from the Sony. I’ve no use for longer lenses at this time.

    On the subject of optimising for each lens there may be a significant benefit for really long lenses but it should be noted that the Sony system stabilises for any lens that will fit the body. That is a huge advantage when shopping for older lenses. I’ve not tested the Olympus, Pentax or other makers who put this technology on the sensor but I doubt that it is so incredibly sophisticated that only Sony have it working well.

  • Howard Haigh

    Agree with Bernie on this, I haven’t ever really noticed any problems with a non-stabilised image in the viewfinder and I’d have thought it takes just as long to move the lens component as shift the sensor so can’t see much improvement in response, plus the Sony system is linked to the lens focal length anyway (it’s tuned so that it ‘knows’ it doesn’t have to make such large movements for wide angle lenses as for telephotos and you can even get programmable adaptors for legacy manual focus primes).

  • Anonymous

    Shake isn’t a problem for eyes, we’re used to it, they constantly move without conscious effort, our optical cortex handles it.  Having used both, I think in-lens is kind of spooky and unnatural looking anyway, but that’s just a personal opinion.  Some lenses do have considerably better anti-shake capability than you can get with moving the sensor.  Not all lenses get VR/IS built in either.

  • Dave Vaughan

    I agree with Bernie also, I own a Sony system and have used their A200, 350, 850 and 900 models. I’ve also used Nikon’s D60, D3 and D3x with varied Nikkor lenses and to be honest there is very little difference between the systems in normal light and negligible difference in low light.

    Where Sony wins for me is with primes, macro and bellow setup. Any lens you attach from the old M42 glass upto the Minolta 600mm becomes stabilised offering, in my opinion much more versatility.

  • Dave Vaughan

    I agree with Bernie also, I own a Sony system and have used their A200, 350, 850 and 900 models. I’ve also used Nikon’s D60, D3 and D3x with varied Nikkor lenses and to be honest there is very little difference between the systems in normal light and negligible difference in low light.

    Where Sony wins for me is with primes, macro and bellow setup. Any lens you attach from the old M42 glass upto the Minolta 600mm becomes stabilised offering, in my opinion much more versatility.

  • http://twitter.com/joshzytkiewicz Josh Zytkiewicz

    Is there any Technical reason you couldn’t combine both ideas?

    Yes, cost would be a factor.  Would it be an improvement to have it stabilized twice, or would it not matter, or even degrade the quality?

  • Dave Vaughan

    Josh, it would be incredibly hard to get both systems working together in harmony. There are lenses made with stabilisation for cameras that have it built in. The end user then has to decide whether or not they will use the in lens or in body. If they were to use both at the same time, from what I have seen the image would not be as sharp and may look like you were shooting through glass or have what looked like heat haze.

    Again in good light, it may be difficult to pick up on but in low light, from what I have seen on forums and flickr, the results do not look right.

  • Phil

    Pentax owner here.  I like the in camera system because it allows me to use older lenses and still get IS.  I think this is really why Canon and Nikon prefer in lens IS, because they can sell more lenses.  Update older designs with IS versions etc…

    This is more important with the advent of video DLSR.  Oddly with Video since most people are focussing manually this favors the use of cheaper older manual focus lenses.  But with Canon/Nikon you lose IS.  Pentax and Sony can do IS with any lens, so video shooters have a huge advantage if they want a wide selection of lenses for less investment.

    I dont see any big advantage with in-lens IS, except that in some cases (with a few lenses) its possible to choose a panning mode, where one axis of stablization is fixed.  The viewfinder issue with sensor shift IS really doesnt hold anyone back from anything.  And you can always shoot live view if you want to know whats going (like when shooting video!)

    We shouldnt be surprised that Nikon is defending its choice of technology with some supporting arguments, but you have to use your own judgement as to which one suits your needs best.  if all you do is parrot the marketing blurb from your favorite manufacturer you wont really learn anything.

  • noss

    it’s just a business trick, with more expensive lenses…
    it could be a turn-off-able in-camera sabilizer for the normal and wide objectives,where the viewfinder’s vibration is NO bothering.
    at the case of tele- and stabilized lenses the lens stabilizing would have priority automatically…

  • Anonymous

    It’s a shame that Nikon tries to make a visual point without using any visual examples.

  • manualfocus-g

    I’ve used the Sony system with manual lenses and it’s a pain! You need to program each adapter to the correct focal length for a start. Saying that, for shorter lenses it’s very effective (around 2-2.5 stops). I only got about a one stop improvement with anything above 300mm however, which is useful,  but not enough to stop me moving to Canon.

  • David

    Nikon and Canon just want to keep selling you the same lenses over and over again with new stabilization upgrades. Most of their arguments, especially with the shift towards EVFs, just don’t hold water anymore. They (C & N) make great high end cameras for sure but need to change their archaic ways and not just rely on name value if they want to continue to compete. Remember, if you’re old enough, when people whined about how digital would never be as good as film? Now people are whining about EVFs and in camera stabilization but the reality is this is the future whether Canon or NIkon or their fanboys want to accept it.