Panasonic: why not in-body image stabilization?

Discussion in 'Olympus' started by alan_rockwood, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. This is a technical question related to Panasonic m4/3 cameras. Why do they not offer in-body (moving sensor) image stabilization for the m4/3 camera line?
    One of the reasons for not using in-body stabilization on a regular DSLR is that the image through the viewfinder is not stabilized. This objection would not apply to a camera with an electronic viewfinder, such as the panasonic m4/3 cameras. By going with an in-lens image stabilization system, and then leaving it out of some lenses, such as the 20mm f/1.7 lens, Panasonic is somewhat undercutting the advantages of image stabilization.
  2. You're looking for an answer other than the obvious economic one of attempting to lock us into buying their perhaps more
    expensive lenses and discourage stabilized competitors? To my mind this is sufficient explanation. Hard to imagine a
    compelling technical one.
  3. David, good call. Economics +1. Obviously, it would make a better camera. But marketing cameras has never been about what's best for the end user. Only what's perceived best by the spend-happy consumer.
  4. Could also be they didn't have the patents on sensor stabilzation and didn't want to pay royalties, so they figured they'd kill 2 birds with one stone, charge for it on each and every leans with OS and also not have to pay royalties or make the body itself more expensive.
    In body stablization compared to in lens, especially on something like a non-mirror interchangable lens camera is almost in the catagory of "duh". Sure in lens MAY still be better, but most people seem to see no more then maybe a stops difference or a little more. I'd sacrafice a stop of stablization to have every single lens be stabilzed, and not have to pay a price in money, complexity and size for having to add it in to my lenses (and also have lenses that don't have the option, such as the 20/1.7).
  5. All of Panasonic's image stabilization experience has been with optical image stabilization. They're also much further along the path to still/video hybrid functionality and OIS tends to work better for that. It's natural that they choose to go with OIS in their flagship still camera line, rather than switching bases and all of a sudden implementing in-body stabilization.
    Personally, I don't see what all the brough-ha is with image stabilization. I've had IS equipped cameras ... both in-body and in-lens ... since 2003. I haven't seen that it did much to improve anything ... only occasionally has it been useful.
    IS is most useful for hand-held work in good light with medium long lenses. When I have it, I use it as appropriate. A fast lens in the focal length I need to work with is a far more useful tool.
  6. jtk


    They don't do it in the body because they're not as good at it as Pentax.
  7. Godfrey
    you must realise by now that the vast majority are not interested in the results so much as the feautre list.
  8. I've always wondered if the corner of the sensor would get out of the image circle when the sensor is shifted to stabilize the image. I've read an interview to the engineers of Pentax who said that the sensor (DX size) will be about 5mm off-center when it is shifted to the maximum, which should not be marginal for the format with 23.4x15.6mm sensor. Based on that, a 4/3 sensor may be shifted around 3mm off-center at maximum, which is, again, not so marginal for a 17.3x13mm sensor.
    I haven't found any clear answer to that question.
  9. I use image stabilization quite a bit on zoom lenses on my Canon film and digital SLR cameras. I wish they Canon some fast single focal length lenses with image stabilization as well.
    Some people view lens speed as a substitute for image stabilization or vice versa. However, in my photography I have encountered many cases where I wished I had both.
  10. awahlster

    awahlster Moderator

    Godfrey I take it your not a telephoto shooter. I can't imagine anything better then a couple stops worth of IS when I have a 20X lens hangin on the front of my camera. While I try to stop shivering in the 40 degree water I'm standing in waiting for some stupid duck to come into view or do something interesting enough to warrent taking my hand out of my mitten.
    But since I shoot with Canon FD system gear I can only dream. Now if Panasonic or Samsung with the new NX10 had thought to put IS in the body I'd be interested in buying one. But when I think about how worthless my wide angles are on a 2X factor body or a 1.5X factor body and how even though I gain great advantage on the telephoto side of life with no IS the ONLY advantages I gain is not scanning the film and a lower operating cost.
  11. A fast lens can never be substituted but I like the glimmer of hope that IS instills in me when shooting in low light!
  12. Mark I am right there with you. My dream camera is a 36x24mm sensor of at least 12mp the size of my Olympus OM-1 (give or take a hair) for $1,000 or under. Oh and it needs to either be an SLR or else have a very, very good EVF.
    Preferably with sensor stablization.
    I've never used anything with stablization, but since I shoot a lot in low light, especially in doors having even just one stop of extra handholding with my wide angles and stardard lenses would go a long way. Being able to reliably handhold my 28/1.8 at say 1/8th of a second would open all sorts of possiblities (and having good ISO1600 performance, let alone 3200 or 6400 would trebble my possiblities as well).
  13. @Mark:
    I do shoot more in the wide to portrait tele range than in anything close to the 20x range (20x what? I read that as "20 times normal" or around a 500mm lens on FourThirds, a 1000mm lens on 35mm Film). That's an extremely long focal length for which I'd use an oversized tripod and a gimbal mount.
    My longest lens at this time is a 190mm f/4.9. When I'm at that long a focal length (7.6x), I tend to put the camera on a tripod most of the time. IS would be great ... I'd use a monopod with that lens. But it's not an essential for my work.
    Most of the time, I am shooting in the range from 0.45x (11mm) to 2x (50mm), and I tend to top out around 2.8x (70mm). IS would certainly be useful for the 1.8 to 2.8x range, if I had it, but again it's not essential if my lens is fast (f/1.8, f/2, f/2.8 is what I currently use in this range).
  14. Godfrey, of course IS matters, even if your lens is fast.
    A fast lens is great, but if I am using it primarily to get fast shutter speeds to avoid shake, then I am limiting myself to wide apertures. Which is not what I want in most situations.
    There are plenty of instances where F5.6, F8 or F11 is preferable. In these situations, IS is a godsend.
    I try to use a tripod. A lot of the time, it is just impractical. In these instances, IS is fantastic.
    When I was shooting with OM gear, it was an absolute rarity for me to use F1.2 with my 50mm; and rare to use F2.8 with my 24mm. Very rare. I would say 90% of my shots were F4/F5.6/F8; 9.99% at F11 and 0.01% (if that) below F4.
    Yes, fast apertures are great for the occasional shot when there just isn't the light. But these big, expensive apertures are surely on the way out. Modern sensors are much much less noisy than film. I can compare 400ISO on my evolt and pen shots with 50ASA velvia. And the velvia is noisier. Who wants to carry around massive chunks of glass nowadays? I've just got my new little Pen2 with the pig slow kit zoom and it is wonderful. Keep your fast expensive glass!
    So, I would like IS. It lets me shoot at apertures that suit my photos.
  15. I can't reproduce the copyright page here, but Canon EOS offers what sounds like a reasonable explanation. They say that 1) they want the image in the finder, in their case, pentaprisms, to be stable. I guess that is not the case for a no mirror approach. 2) Canon feels it can optimize the location of the optical sliding elements to a location appropriate for the length and formula of the lens. They are probably both right. Meaning Canon, Panasonic and Olympus too. I like the idea of not paying for something I don't really need. I have the 'steadiness' holding factor of a bull elephant in heat :)...actually I used to use Kodachrome 25 so in the day; so you see what school I come from. The first thing a serious photographer should practice, I feel, is dry shooting to hold the camera steady. Think rifle practice on the range.
  16. @ William:
    I really can't see the point of extended debate on the question of "is image stabilization useful?" as it clearly is, in certain circumstances. And I've said so too, even in this thread: I make use of image stabilization whenever it is available, when it is appropriate to my work.
    Image stabilization does not stop the motion of a subject. It only helps reduce the motion of the camera and lens assembly. For this reason, its utility value to me is limited. When my photographic goal is a static subject and light levels are compromised, or I want to use smaller apertures, yes: in those situations, having IS is a nice addition to my camera's range of hand-held operation. As I stated above, I find it most useful when shooting with a medium to longish lens in good light ... I emphasize "in good light" because this is the range of exposure times where the magnification afforded by a longish lens can compromise sharpness by requiring a shorter exposure time than the subject demands, and where adequate light for camera stability is the question. Extend the camera's stability and a longer exposure makes good sense.
    However, in most cases, where I have trouble with low light limitations on exposure is when I'm shooting active subjects, when I *need* to hand-hold the camera for mobility and framing, and when a tripod is inappropriate or impossible to use. In those situations, extending the camera's stability and allowing longer exposure times is irrelevant ... all it does is lead to a blurred subject. The solution is higher sensitivity settings and faster lenses so I can keep the exposure times down and obtain a good capture of my subject. IS does little or nothing to help in those situations.
    And these notions remain independent of the implementation of the technology. There are theoretical and practical advantages to having IS implemented in the body as well as theoretical and practical advantages to having IS implemented in the lens. Panasonic, like Canon and Nikon, have chosen the optical path. Olympus, like Pentax and Sony (aka Minolta) have chosen the in-body path, in line with their specific corporate experiences, predilections, engineering biases, etc. Bravo diversity!
    While the plusses and minuses slide back and forth in the theoretical space, having had both systems ... both IS implementatations ... in several cameras, the practical results mostly fall away for my use, for my lenses, etc. I see little to place the question of IS, or the even more nuanced notion of its implementation, as a primary criterium by which I choose what camera system to purchase. It remains, for my work, a mostly "nice to have" added feature that, if present, I take full advantage of and exploit as appropriate to my photographic needs.
    I don't have any more to say on the subject, so unless there are questions about my statements regards clarification for their meaning, I'll bow out of this debate at this point.
  17. william
    When I was shooting with OM gear, it was an absolute rarity for me to use F1.2 with my 50mm; and rare to use F2.8 with my 24mm. Very rare. I would say 90% of my shots were F4/F5.6/F8; 9.99% at F11 and 0.01% (if that) below F4.​
    when I used my OM1 with film the reason I used f5.6 - f8 was for the depth of field I needed for the photograph. I hardly worried about speed, sometimes I wanted to reduce that somewhat to get better blur of water.
    With 4/3 and my OM lenses I can't open them up enough for when I want to be shallow
  18. Gerry
    I used the rifle analogy recently, and felt it was strange for me ... I'm glad to see another who sees things the same way :)
  19. Yeah I don't think we'll see fast lenses ever disappear. The shallow depth of field is all to useful. Besides, I need them a lot. I tend to shoot with ISO400 film (2nd most common is 100, then 800). Using ISO400 film I'd say I probably average 30% at f/2.8, 20% at f/2, 5% faster then f/2, 30% at f/4, 25% at f/5.6 or slower. That is because these days most of my shots are either available light photography indoors where I am using f/1.4-2.8 or else I am using a flash with exposure set to f/4. Outdoors for portrait and landscape shots and ignoring all of the indoor people (well, toddler) and archtecture shooting I do I probably average only 20% at f/2.8 or less, but that isn't my primary shooting anymore.
    IS would be very nice to have, and have the option on every lens. Higher ISO with good quality is nice, but it doesn't solve everything. Having both to me is key. As for steadiness, I shoot my 28/1.8 at 1/15s and get very sharp results a lot of time. To me its once I get over about 50mm that I can't shoot at anything less then 1/shutter speed. At 50mm and below I can normally get a stop slower than that formula and still get great results. Now it would be nice to get another stop or two slower than that.
  20. Godfrey, the point I was making is that modern sensors and IS more and more often negate the need for fast lenses.
    Sensors are getting better all the time. I used a friend's Nikon at the weekend and the performance at 6400/12800 was just phenomenal. At 800ISO it was less grainy than 100ISO films.
    Like I said, most photography is not at large apertures, and the stuff that is, is less and less of a problem with these fast sensors.
  21. @ William:
    Well, I simply disagree with that. I will always want fast lenses, and I'm often putting on ND filters because ISO 100 is too sensitive for my needs. In the last 20,000 exposures I've made, more than 80% are at f/4 and larger lens openings.
  22. "the point I was making is that modern sensors and IS more and more often negate the need for fast lenses."
    If there are less and less fast lenses, and less and less possibility of DOF control, all the pictures will look like they are taken with disposable film cameras. As a result, the world of photography will be terribly boring.
  23. .....negate the need for fast lenses...​
    Perhaps it calls for a definition at this point. A fast lens, for me, is one where I can shoot at F 2.8 or so. And Olympus seems to have managed that in their HG zooms. Also where the distortions are reasonably corrected at that f stop. I used to love to go to a museum and do some indoor stuff, where allowed, and even with good handholding technique, I had to shoot wide open. Interestingly to me, Canon alleges in its literature that with company's latest implemention of lens based IS or whatever they call it, that they can offer up to 4 stops of low shutter speed performance without degradation..that is some claim.
  24. IS built in is needed.
    They are a video company so it's kind of expected they should have built in IS seeing as they billed the GH1 as a video first, photo second camera and their buddy Olympus already has it in their cameras...that also have video.

    It's just more vital to video's a shame because I'd love to put the Olympus SWD F2 zooms on a GH1 for video work
  25. IS built in is needed.
    They are a video company so it's kind of expected they should have built in IS seeing as they billed the GH1 as a video first, photo second camera and their buddy Olympus already has it in their cameras...that also have video.

    It's just more vital to video's a shame because I'd love to put the Olympus SWD F2 zooms on a GH1 for video work
  26. Godfrey I wish you would stop contradicting yourself, just for the sack of a barney.
    You first of all claim that you need fast lenses because you need , "in most cases" to to stop motion and your solution is "faster lenses".
    Now you are saying ISO 100 is "too sensitive" and you are "often" using ND filter. If 80% of your photos are wider than F4 and you are having to use filter, why not stop down to 5.6?
    So, make up your mind, in most cases their is too little light, and often there is too much. Makes no sense.
    I wish you would make your mind up - I often get the impression with your posts that you have difficulty keeping track of who you are disagreeing with at any particular time. Often, it is yourself.
  27. @ William:
    Ad hominem arguments like this are so stupid.
    The purpose of image stabilization is to reduce camera motion. It does not affect how much light there is, or depth of field, of any of the other important things I need to consider that you allege "contradict" my statements.
    I need to stop the motion of subjects and control focus and DoF, all within the exposure times that allow holding my lens/camera assembly still enough that its motion does not add undesireable blurring to my photograph. In most cases, image stabilization does not offer a solution that helps in achieving this, sometimes it does and is at those times quite useful. That is what I have stated, over and over again, without contradiction.
    I use ND filters frequently because I want/need the shallow DoF afforded by a fast lens wide open and ISO 100 is too sensitive to allow me to capture the scene with the exposure time I want, or is simply too sensitive to allow me to capture at all without overexposure. Stopping down affects the relationships of what is in focus and what is out of focus. Moving outside of a particular realm in exposure time will either not allow me to use fill flash, or stops the subject's motion too completely (some subject motion is often desirable, camera motion only rarely is), or is simply beyond the camera's ability. At the same time I need to keep the camera still too, which might include using a tripod, or IS, or a just good breathing routines...
    Is that too difficult a concept to understand? Surely you can imagine that there are diverse circumstances and scenes one might wish to photograph where different kinds of camera settings are needed? One cannot always set the lens to f/5.6 or f/8 and ride the image stabilization while spinning ISO sensitivity to astronomical heights to obtain a useable photograph.
    What is "the sack of a barney" anyway?
  28. deleted redundant response.
  29. where is the ad hominem argument?
    you still fail to see your contradictions. You use terms like "most cases" and "often" with abandon.
    You also mention the focal lengths you are using. Well, shooting distances other than straight up against the barrel, the extra f-stop or two makes no damned difference to the depth of field other than making the whole scene look soft. (you know you could hyper focus to control the depth of field with smaller apertures.
    Maybe you can point to one of the 80% of shots that required a fast aperture because of motion and DOF factors? I'd be interested to see what sort of photos you are taking that requires such precise parameters. (your portfolio shots, I must say very good, look like they could be shot at f8 with absolutely no effect on DOF). Likewise the vast majority of photography shot with say a 50mm lens can be shot at F5.6 (and say F4 on a 24mm) and still retain back to front sharpness; OR have shallow depth of field, depending on where the focus is.
    And yes, I do know there are diverse situations where people need F2 or faster. I just don't recognise those instances in your descriptions or your work.
  30. If you can't recognize when you go to an ad hominem mode of argumentation, I'm not your instructor.
    I am not sure what you mean when you say "my portfolio". I post work to at least five or six different places on the web, what's on is only a little smattering of work as I don't use this site for much other than conversation. Sorry if I'm not going to spend any time preparing and posting new work for your education.
  31. Returning to the discussion of in-camera image stabilization and how it could relate to m4/3 format Panasonic cameras, as you all know, one of the advantages of m4/3 format is that that there are adapters for using all kinds of legacy lenses from various vendors. In-camera stabilization would make this feature even more useful.
  32. @ Alan:
    It is useful for that, although ... I have bought lenses to adapt to the Panasonic G1 because they were fast, and there weren't any fast lenses of that focal length available in FourThirds or Micro-FourThirds mount, not for any other particular reason (other than to have fun). Which puts me right back in the "IS is useful occasionally but non-essential..." game.
  33. It's just more vital to video's a shame because I'd love to put the Olympus SWD F2 zooms on a GH1 for video work​
    I am not sure I follow that point Gary. Would it not be possible to get full compatibility with the GHI and the Olympus SHG grade zooms, or almost compatibility, I am never sure of that business. If you use a fluid head tripod as any movie maker will do, then image stabilization becomes something nice but not at all necessary. Please help me understand more. Thanks. I look forward to the G series and I would love to try my hand at video again. And, if my ship comes in, maybe get one SHG silent motor f 2 yummy priced lens...any more you can add on the above quote. Second question, does the limited f stops on the GH 1 kit lens you feel "crowd" you a lot in your movie making? Or just in some light situations? Never seen that lens and GH1 beast in person...ou here in MIDPAC I mean. Your results show no limits in my opinion, Are there some you feel confine you in real world shooting of video?
  34. Lens stabilization has its advantages. Even in a mirrorless system, IBIS does not stabilize the image in the viewfinder. Lens stabilization does. Lens stabilization also works in video. It doesn't with IBIS. IBIS supposedly would burn out if used constantly as would be needed to stabilize viewfinder images and video. That is why neither olympus nor any other company I am aware of uses it for those purposes.

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