Optical Picture Stabilisation

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by G&R, Feb 1, 2021.

  1. G&R


    So many cameras have this. I have had my Samsung GX10 (Pentax K10D) for about 12 years, and throughout this time the OPS always bothered me because it does not seem to do anything.

    When the switch points to "Off" nothing happens, so maybe that setting works. When the switch points to "On" the green shake-hand can sometimes illuminate in the viewfinder, so something works.

    However, whether OPS is on or off, I cannot feel a difference in my hand and all the photos I have ever tried to test this with look the same. Is there a test to verify OPS actually works?
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2021
  2. You'll see the difference mostly in the images, not feel it in your hand.

    Try taking some pictures at speeds handheld from very slow to fast, with the feature turned on and off.
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  3. I never feel the stabilization, although I sometimes hear it.

    Your camera has an APS-C sensor, I think. If so, then you can follow JDMvW's suggestion by using shutter speeds well below 1.6 x focal length. If you hold the camera well, you can probably avoid noticeable camera shake without OPS at speeds that fast or faster.
  4. With a long lens, it is quite obvious when IS or IBIS is activated since the shaking of the image in your viewfinder gets noticeably reduced.
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  5. G&R


    All these years I have been shooting with OPS "off" because I thought the feature was broken on my camera.

    I do not see any change in the viewfinder. Maybe there is a difference in how its implemented between camera brands?

    I read online that IBIS does not work above 300mm, so I have tested at 200mm. The images on the camera screen raises no noticeable difference, and there is sometimes a difference when viewed on a laptop !!! :eek:

    I should have joined this forum a long time ago :confused:

    Does OPS continue to work when mounted on a tripod?
  6. Check your camera manual. Depends on the camera and the stage of development in each particular marque. In general, older image stabilization often failed spectacularly on tripods. Newer versions accommodate, but it's still usually best to turn it off then.
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  7. I have owned a Canon zoom with IS and 3 Olympus M43 cameras with 3 generations of IBIS systems. IBIS absolutely works with 300mm and longer lenses (I have used it with a 600mm FF equivalent lens). There are generally 2 options to engage stabilization (i) only when taking an exposure and (ii) whenever the shutter button is depressed half way. Make sure you have set the option on the camera to engage IBIS when you half press the shutter if you want view its effect in your viewfinder.

    Your camera was introduced in 2006, so it is possible that IBIS is not as effective as newer systems. My first IBIS camera, Olympus EPL-2 had an OK IBIS system which was far less effective than the EM-5 that superseded it. The IBIS on my EM-5 III (introduced in 2019) is far more effective than the EM-5 Mk I.

    I would agree with JDMvW on the tripod question.
  8. G&R


    GX10 firmware 1.0 does not seem to have options. OPS is greyed out in the menus with value set to "Auto".
  9. Sorry that is wrong, in the OP's context. The K10D is an SLR moving it's sensor around. How could you see traces of that in the optically independent viewfinder?
    Yes, absolutely; CaNikon SLRs stabilize inside their lenses, if at all.

    Pentax' SR seems worth having to me. - Maybe it isn't working anymore inside my K100D. Handholding a kit zoom at 1/60 sec seems doable / worth trying with SR on. Handholding a 90mm at 1/250 sec on my unstabilized system looks "not really sharp", when I am pixel peeping. The in lens OIS of my Fujis looked a bit more succesfull than Pentax' SR, but even that is great to have!
  10. With a DSLR you only see it in the viewfinder if the lens has stabilisation. My Pentax DSLRs all have their version of IBIS (SR), which works fine for the shots, but doesn't hold the viewfinder steady. My 150-500 has lens based stabilisation & it makes a huge difference to the viewfinder, (you need to turn IBIS of if using lens stabilisation or they effectively cancel out).
    Mirrorless cameras show the viewfinder image as seen by the sensor so IBIS also works in the viewfinder here.

    Stabilisation has always been a bit tricky to test, using it I have always seen a significant improvement on the extremes that are holdable, Three or four stops beyond the guideline calculation usually come out OK for me, but I have managed that at least once without any stabilisation, and I have shaken up shots well within the guidelines despite having stabilisation....
  11. "Sorry that is wrong, in the OP's context"

    Sorry for my error. No excuses, but perhaps an early senior moment.
  12. There's lots of total rubbish written online!

    As already mentioned, there are many implementations of vibration reduction. They generally fall into OS - optical stabilisation incorporated in the lens, and IBIS - in body image stabilisation.

    You will not see the effect of IBIS through an optical reflex viewfinder, only through an EVF or rear LCD in LiveView. Even then, you often have to half-press the shutter to activate it. You should then see a noticeable steadying of the image.

    The half shutter-press also applies to optical (in lens) stabilisation. This you should see through a reflex finder.

    The reason that image stabilisation is only activated by a half shutter-press is that it's very power hungry, and having it turned on continuously would quite quickly flatten the camera battery.

    Provided your tripod is good and stable, it's advised not to activate OS/VR/IBIS. The reason being that the vibration reduction system will tend to 'wander' randomly. Sometimes to the point of shifting a carefully composed framing, or even introducing image motion during the exposure.

    YMMV, since image stabilisation performance varies from lens-to-lens and from camera-to-camera.

    For example: I've found that Tamron's in-lens stabilisation is actually better than Nikon's VR lenses in many cases. Even when used on the same Nikon camera body.

    IMO, IBIS is the way forward, since it'll work with any lens. Even old lenses made when Ibis only referred to a species of bird!
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2021
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  13. G&R


    Yes, I tried it out yesterday - 300mm single handed shot of a tiny bird in a hedge. The feathers are crisp and I can even see the transparent distortion in the lens around the animal's eye - I did not even know the eyes stuck out like that!

    Point is there is no way that the OPS is failing and this irks me because when I first questioned why all shots all looked alike in the camera's built-in monitor, I took the GX10 to a top-end camera specialist, and his assessment was that the OPS is broken and needs replacing! For all these years I did not challenge his assertion :(

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2021
  14. G&R


    Actually, I can refine this. After some playing around I found this version of OPS produces vibrations that can be felt clearly in the hand.

    Using vintage kit disables the automatic OPS and the camera prompts for focal length. I am using an "extra heavy" combination to achieve 800mm as this is outside my typical range. I just now tried hand-held and there is a notable "rumble" from the camera body when OPS kicks in with this amount of zoom.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2021
  15. G&R


    It turns out there is some bad news to go with the above good news. The above does not work with Pentax K-3.

    When there is no communication with the lens the K-3 body will prompt for a focal length, which is the same. However, where GX10 has a menu setting to update the focal length, the K-3 does not. This becomes a problem if the vintage lens has a zoom, or if a lens is being swapped over, and so forth.

    Turning off the K3 does not reset the manual "Shake Reduction" focal length. To modify a manual SR focal length setting on the K-3 the battery needs to be taken out. Compounding the absurdity, having a good grip is important in reducing shake, and the K-3 has a smaller hand grip. The K3 body is only really usable with the battery grip attached.

    Each time I change the focal length on a vintage zoom lens, to use K3's "Shake Reduction" I need to unscrew the battery mount and open the camera to remove the battery and reboot to get the prompt. Does anyone have a direct line to Pentax's design team to give them a piece of my mind?
  16. With the stipulation that I know nothing about Pentax DSLRs, apart from briefly having handled one once: Do you have the latest firmware loaded?

    Having to take out the battery to make a menu change seems totally bizzare.

    But then Nikon made an 'improvement' to one of their speedlights, making it such that the ISO speed could only be set immediately after switch on. Lunacy!
  17. G&R


    Last edited: Feb 7, 2021
  18. I used to have a Pentax K-10d, which is pretty much identical to the GX-10.

    In addition to the things mentioned here, the camera has a dust removal feature that can be enabled. When it is enabled, it activates the SR (shake reduction is Pentax term for it) when the camera is powered on. The idea is to shake any dust off of the sensor. If you activate it and then turn the camera on, while holding it close to your ear, you should be able to hear the buzz of the sensor moving.

    IBIS, as implemented in Pentax cameras and their Samsung counterparts, has the advantage that it works with any lens you can mount on the camera. Pentax is very good about backward compatibility. The company claims that any Pentax lens, designed for their 35mm cameras, can be used on any Pentax dslr, and will benefit from SR. Canon and Nikon, with in-lens stabilization, can not make this claim.

    One drawback to IBIS is that, as pointed out, if does not show up in the optical viewfinder.

    I now have a Pentax K-5, which has live-view (the K10d, GX-10 do not), so I think I will experiment to see if I can see the difference in live-view.

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