Why Does Electronic Image Stabilization Work so Well on Action Cameras, and so Terribly on DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras?

When it comes to image stabilization there are two major stabilization types — electronic and optical. But how come electronic image stabilization looks so good on my GoPro but not on my "real" camera?

There are a lot of reasons for this, and this video from DPReview does a fantastic job explaining it. It has to do with a lot of variables, like shutter speed, motion blur, and sensor size. I don't want to spoil the entire video but you may be wondering what the difference between electronic and optical stabilization is anyway? 

Basically, Optical Image Stabilization, or OIS, is when physical parts of your camera lens move independently of your camera in order to counteract small amounts of motion, whereas electronic image stabilization does this through software: zooming the footage in and aligning individual frames together in order to try and recreate what OIS does in post production though this isn't without its drawbacks which the video above does a better job of explaining than I could. 

EIS can be done either in camera, where it can work in conjunction with accelerometers, or it an be done in post, where you have a bit more control. One thing that DPReview didn't have a chance to touch on in this short video is IBIS, In Body Image Stabilization, which is similar to OIS in that it physically moves something to counteract camera shake but, unlike OIS, is built into the camera but uses the sensor instead of lens elements making essentially every lens you use on that camera stabilized.

Log in or register to post comments


EL PIC's picture

Ansel Adams said .. Best Tripod is a Ton of Granite with a Screw in it .. then he fell over drunk on too much wine.

Robert Montgomery's picture

Or the third. An oldie but a goodie. Hold your camera steady. Old standby tip: 1/focal length of the lens (or zoom set if you must) = minimum shutter speed. You may not like it, but it will get you out of a jam.

Logan Cressler's picture

What about when you cant get that high of a shutter speed for the lighting conditions present, and you still really want to get that picture of the sasquatch?

Robert Montgomery's picture

Sasquatch pictures have to be blurry and poorly executed. It is an unbreakable physical law.

Rod Kestel's picture

Why not both electronic and optical?