Canon Rebel XSi DSLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (OLD MODEL)
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DSLR with Image stabilization in camera body or the lens ?? which is better Hi all,
I am a novice in the DSLR field and on the brink of buying my first DSLR.
I see some brands(Sony, Pentax, Olympus) having Image Stabilization included in the body of the camera (I think so) and Cannon has ImageStabilization in the lenses. The lenses with IS cost more than the ones without IS.
So is it better to buy camera body with IS and save some money with lenses as camera already has IS or invest more for lenses with IS??

asked by Grasshopper on October 15, 2008
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Ah Grasshopper,
As in most things in life, the answer depends on who you ask (says the old Kung-Fu matser as he strokes his long, white beard)

The argument in favor of in-body image stabilization sounds very convincing on the surface: Pay for the extra cost just once, save on all existing lenses, or new lenses that follow.

If you already have some good lenses from Pentax, Olympus or Minolta, then choosing a corresponding dSLR body with built-in image stabilization makes perfect sense. If not, then consider the following counter-arguments:

1. Good lenses (with or without IS) are often more expensive than a digital camera body, and have longer lifespan. Your digital camera body will most likely be obsolete in 4-5 years, but good lenses may serve you for 10 years or longer. So it makes less sense to pay extra for dSLR body with built-in IS.

2. Image stabilization is needed most at longer focus length, but in-body IS (mechanical moving the sensor) is only effective at shorter focus length. Let's assume that the sensor can travel up to 1mm in any direction. When focus length=50mm, this 1mm travel corresponse to 1.1 degree of angular rotation (correction for camera shake). But to achieve the same 1.1 degree correction at 300mm, the sensor needs to travel by 6mm! Even if this kind of travel were possible, the inertia of sensor unit will make the response very slow. With optical IS this is not a problem - because light has no inertia.

3. Optical IS gives you a stable image when you look through the optical view finder, so you know exectly how well it is working. Mechanical IS cannot give you a stable image through the optical view finder.
NLee the Engineer answered on October 15, 2008

I should also add that for a point-and-shoot camera, in-body image stabilization is relatively effective. This is because:

1. The image sensor is very tiny at only 10% that of a full-frame sensor. This means less mass to move around, and hence less inertia.

2. The physical focus length is much shorter at about 5-15mm. This means a smaller travel at the sensor is sufficient for IS.
NLee the Engineer answered on October 16, 2008

Just as NLee said -- in general, the in-camera stabilization is cheaper while optical lens stabilization is more effective. Canon and Nikon have released some relatively inexpensive optically stabilized consumer lenses, however, and various third-party lens manufacturers have also started adding OS to their more popular lenses as well as some longer telephotos. In-lens optical stabilization technology is starting to get cheaper and more common.
Technology Guy answered on October 15, 2008

NLee and Technology Guy,
Thank you very much for the clear information... makes my choices much more clearer than before.

Appreciate it
Grasshopper answered on October 16, 2008

Now I know what each exactly is, makes it better for me to be ok with the choice I make knowing exactly what is what

Grasshopper answered on October 17, 2008
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