Thursday, December 14, 2006

Digital camera : Image stabilization

Image stabilization is the technology that compensates the camera shaking while taking picture. It is not possible to hold the camera perfectly still while taking picture. This is more acute while taking picture when light is low. When light is low, camera uses slower shutter speed. That means camera lens is kept open for longer. The longer the lens is open; there is more chance of camera movement. The result is blurry picture.

For this problem Image stabilizer is the solution.

There are two types of Image stabilizer available optical and electronic image stabilizer.

Again there are two types of optical stabilization: lens shift and CCD shift.

Optical stabilization: Here the approach is to keep steady the elements in side the camera's lens. Even if the camera moves, the movement of lens element stays relatively still. By steadying the image projected into the camera, blurry pictures are minimized. A camera with image stabilization uses a built-in gyro sensor to detect hand movement and then relay that information to a tiny microcomputer inside the camera. The microcomputer calculates the amount of compensation needed, and a linear motor then shifts the optical image stabilizer lens as necessary. This approach is used in some Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony cameras.

CCD Shift: Here the approach is to move camera’s electronic CCD image sensor to compensate the camera movement. The sensor is mounted on a platform that moves in the opposite direction as the movement of the camera. Konica, Minolta uses this technology for image stabilization.

Electronic stabilization is also of two types. First one high sensitivity mode, here camera boosts the ISO sensitivity until you get a shutter speed fast enough for a sharp photo. Other type is some kind of post processing of a photo to remove the blur. Most often this is like using "unsharp mask" in Photo editor.

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