Can Image Stabilization Benefit You?

Renting camera equipment is an ideal way to try out or temporarily use different features. One feature type you may want to include in your rental is image stabilization. In some situations, image stabilization could improve your photographs. In others, you may not need it at all. Keep reading to learn more about image stabilization, how it works, and who needs it.

What Is Image Stabilization?

Image stabilization is a useful additional camera or lens feature. It compensates for small and unintentional camera or lens movement during slow shutter speeds. As a rule, your shutter speed should not be slower than your lens length. So, if you have a 50mm lens, you shouldn't have lower than a 1/50th shutter speed. The longer the lens, the faster the speed you need.

Under certain lighting conditions, you may not be able to take pictures at faster speeds. Even if you have a large lens aperture, your pictures may be dark and blurry. That's where image stabilization works best. It allows for clearer pictures in challenging light conditions.

How Does Image Stabilization Work?

Generally, you have this feature either in the lens or the body. In the lens, an extra element adjusts to keep the focus and lighting stable. The disadvantage is that you will need this feature for each lens you use and tend to be higher in cost.

When you have image stabilization in the camera body, the sensor adjusts instead of an internal element in the lens. You can still have image stabilization no matter what type of lens you have. However, it is not as effective with longer lenses and extreme low-light situations as an in-lens image stabilizer.

When Should You Not Use Image Stabilization?

The feature is most useful when using a long lens and hand-holding your camera. These are usually situations where you won't have time to set up a tripod. Examples include traveling wildlife, action sports, or developing news photography.

However, you probably won't need image stabilization if you primarily use a tripod. With lenses, image stabilization may be detrimental with a tripod. The elements may still attempt to compensate for movement even if there is none. You may be able to turn off your image stabilization when you use a tripod.

Image stabilization is an additional tool that could improve your photographs if you use it correctly. Renting a lens or body with this feature is a good way to try it out before purchasing one. You can also rent one for a special project where you think image stabilization would be useful. Check with your local camera equipment shop to see what options they have available.